Thursday, 21 April 2016

Clonamery Graveyard, Parish of Inistioge, county Kilkenny

Clonamery or Cloone consists of the townlands of Ballybub, Bishopsland, Clonamery itself, Coolnamuck and Oldcourt and lies within the Roman Catholic parish of Inistioge.  Clonamery is an enclosed graveyard surrounded by a substantial wall. The ruined pre Norman church was in use until about 1691;  the earliest part of the church dates from the 10th century and has a Maltese cross carved over the lintel of the doorway.   According to Carrigan (The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory. 1905) it is dedicated to St Broondhawn, but other sources say this site is traditionally associated with St Brendan.   Just outside the west boundary wall on a high point are the remaining foundations of two beehive and circular shaped stone houses.  The now ruined Cloone Castle belonged to the Fitzgerald family, known as the Barons of Brownford until forfeited under Cromwell in 1653. The family reclaimed the Castle and lands of Cloone, Ballygub and Coolnamuck and held them until 1691 when Edward Fitzgerald fell at the Battle of Aughrim; the property was again subject to forfeiture.
Cloone can also be written Cloen, Cluen or Cluain   Oldcourt is also known in ancient documents as Courteryhane, Cartirehan or Cortrehane.  Clonamery is also written as Cloneamery.

Access to the graveyard is signposted from the main Inistioge to New Ross road.  The way down the boreen becomes very narrow and unpromising so perseverance is necessary.  Another, almost missable sign points apparently in the direction of very large and very empty field; again perseverance is necessary;  a long uphill walk across the field gradually reveals the graveyard and ruined church coming into view......

The names of the people carved on the memorials here are:-
Barron, Brennan, Browner, Byrne, Callaghan, Carty, Cashin, Cleary, Cosgrave, Culleton, Darge, Doyle, Flood, French, Grant, Hutcheson, Hutchison, Joise, Kavanagh,  Keeffe, Kelly, Knox, Lavin, Maher, Millett, Murphy, Mylott, O'Carroll, Pendergast, Roche Synott, Tobitey, White and Wilmott.  One stone, now almost illegible is marked with the name Sylvester Whe.....but more on this stone below.

Places marked on the memorials are:-
America, Ballilogue, Ballycommon, Ballygub, Ballyinduff, Cappa, Cloen, Clone, Cluen, Coolnamuck, Coolraney, Coolsilla, Fidown, Great Island, Inistioge, Iinstiogue, Kilcoss, Killeen, Kilmacshane, Kilross, Lenaught, Lower Cluen, New Ross, Oldcourt, Pleaberstown, Russelstown, Thomastown and Whitechurch.  

The identifiable masons who carved the stones are:-
Colles of Kilkenny, Mullen of Kilkenny, Power of Ross (New Ross, Wexford)),  and Walsh of Carlow.  It is interesting to note that people are going outside the county to get their headstones carved; this may reflect the position of the graveyard en route as it were to New Ross but it may also reflect where people were going to get their shopping or an area they they had a reason to visit.  Carlow is quite a distance from here and seems a very long journey to make just to order a headstone.

One unsigned stone has been identified by Carrigan as the work of Darby O'Brien of Rathpatrick from the south of county Kilkenny, near Waterford.  This headstone he describes as carved from granite, with a bordure all around and a large plain cross on the front.   Carrigan describes it as badly carved and was unable to read the full inscription when he visited this graveyard over a hundred years ago. This headstone is now very corroded and still difficult to read but is inscribed "Here lieth ye body of Sylvester Whe........"   Nothing more is legible.   Another source read the stone as "Here lieth ye body of Silvester (sic) Wh(it)e"   (Old Kilkenny Review 1956/57. Clonamery Church by J. J. Hughes).    He says the name is White but that two of the letters which were in high relief had been sealed off.   There are certainly other headstones for the family of White in this graveyard but unhelpfully this particular old headstone has almost certainly been moved to its current position within the shelter of one of the church walls.  I am sure this has been done for the protection of the stone but the original position of any headstone is important since people were often buried next to other family members.  One of the other White headstones dates back to 1829; this is for White of Cappa, parish of Inistioge.  There might well be a connection but since the older stone has been moved it is now impossible to tell unless documentary evidence of a connection comes to light.  Sylvester, though, is a very unusual name and offers hope of identification.  Darby O'Brien had a distinctive if vernacular style and worked as a stone carver in the first quarter  of the 18th century.  It is very interesting that he was operating at Clonamery: not an easy journey from Rathpatrick and a long way for a carved stone to be hauled by a donkey and cart or indeed a long journey for Darby O'Brien to make, even if the stone to be carved was available locally. Judging by other headstones carved by Darby O'Brien, Sylvester Whe....  is unlikely to be a very prominent citizen but probably someone of fairly humble origins.

Darby O'Brien's stone to Sylvester Whe...........


  1. I recently found your blog & congratulate you both on such a very professional & interesting site, and for your sterling work in documenting these historic sites.

    I have spent quite some time in the past trying to decipher old gravestone inscriptions in South Kilkenny & appreciate how difficult it often is, so hope that you may be able to help me in my research.

    I haven't visited the Clonamery Graveyard, but am interested in any inscriptions you might have for Brennan's of Ballygub & possibly Barron's.

    In particular if there is any gravestone for an Andrew Brennan, wife Mary nee Kinealy, son Daniel (born 1850). This Andrew is possibly son of Daniel Brennan & Bridget Barron of Ballygub, baptised 3rd November 1826 with siblings John 1830 & Mary 1833.

    I assume that you are recording the details of all inscriptions for the graveyards you research, but are these published anywhere online as I was unable to find them up to now ?

    Many thanks for any help that you can give, and keep up your great work.


  2. Apologies for the delay in replying to you. Have been on holiday. I will check out your queries tomorrow. Clonamery is full of Barrons as you might imagine.

  3. No memorial exactly to your information but the following may be of interest. No 24. Erected to Thomas White of Cappagh, parish of inistioge in memory of his father Edward White who died Oct 15th 1849 aged 81 years. Also his mother Julia White who died May 5th 1829 aged 39 years. Also his son Edward who died Nov 7th 1878 aged 32(?) years (query age as it seems unlikely unless the son is of a second marriage). New slab added to the above memorial - In loving memory of Anastatia Brennan 1880=1956. Her parents Dan and Margaret Brennan (nee White) 1850-1921. RIP.
    No 7. In loving memory of Daniel Brennan, Ballygub died 12th August 1939 aged 77 years. His wife Mary Anne died 19th July 1946 aged 82 years. RIP. This is a Celtic Cross by Walsh of Carlow. This stone is next to a stone to Edward Brennan of Coolsilla died 1938.
    There are three headstones erected to Barrons of Ballilogue all standing together (Nos 27, 28,29). The earliest date on the oldest is 1792. There is no mention of a daughter Bridget marrying a Brennan but I will copy them for you if you think they might be useful.
    There is no stone at all with the name Kinnealy.

    1. Hello Mary & many thanks for your reply & for checking your records.

      Edward Brennan of Coolsilla was a brother to Daniel hence his headstone next to Daniel & his wife Mary Anne (nee Sheehy). Are there any other graves referring to Coolsilla ?

      I have that Edward & Daniel were sons of Matthew Brennan & Margaret Ryan so is there a memorial to their parents ? They had a brother Michael & several sisters:- Catherine, Mary, Margaret & Ellen.

      Edward married Ellen Roche of Coolsilla and I have that she died in 1941 & is buried in Clonamery, so is she on Edward's stone ?

      I can't find Dan & Margaret Brennan and daughter Anastasia in either the 1901 or 1911 census records.

      Daniel & Mary Anne had children Margaret (1904), Matthew (1905) & Michael (1907). Margaret married John White & they died in Kilmacshane but are both buried in Clonamery according to her obituary from 2004 (she lived to be 100 years old !).

      I would be interested if you have recorded any of the above, &, if it's not too much trouble, any other Brennan headstones.

      One last request - you mention that Coolraney & Pleaberstown are referenced on stones. May I ask for the names of the person(s) with these places, in case they are of interest, both being the Coolsilla side of Inistiogue from Clonamaery.

      Again many many thanks for your help


  4. There is no other mention of Coolsilla in this graveyard. except for Stone No 6 which is a stylised Celtic cross by Power of Ross. It is decorated with shamrocks, vine leaves, grapes, oak leaves, acorns and a heart and inscribed "on whose soul sweet Jesus have mercy". The inscription reads" Erected in loving memory of Edward Brennan, Coolsilla who died 9th Nov 1938 aged 68 yrs. also his son Matthew who died young. Also his wife Ellen Brennan nee Roche who died 4th Nov 1941 aged 64 yrs.
    Stone no 23 (next to 24 already sent to you re Thomas White of Cappagh. Stone No 23 reads "In loving memory of John White Kilmacshane died 3rd Dec 1956 aged 59 yrs and his wife Margaret died 7th Feb 2004 aged 100 yrs."
    The only Coolraney reference is No 2 "here lies the body of John Kavanagh, merchant of Thomastown who died April 3rd 1806 aged 51 years. Erected by Thomas Kavanagh of Cloen (sic). attached to the above is a newer stone possibly hiding older inscriptions "James Barron, Coolraney, Graiguenamanagh died 19th Sept 1967 aged 79 yrs. Edward Barron, Oldcourt, Inisitioge died 2nd Jan 1972 aged 75 yrs. His wife Mary died 16th Sept 1978 aged 73 years. RIP. This newer stone has an IHS entwined and two celtic knots as decoration. It is marked Barron. Rest in Peace.
    Stone No 22 "in memory of my dear father Patrick Brennan, Pleaberstown (sic) who departed this life 17th December 1879. Erected by his loving daughter Joana Brennan in America"
    No 25. In loving memory of the Barron Family Lr cluen and the Murphy family Coolnamuck, James O'Carroll died Sept 1954 aged 10 months. Kathleen died Jan 1961 aged 4 1/2 (four and a half) yrs. RIP. Erected by Mary Brennan nee Barron and Eileen O'Carroll. In a railed enclosure.
    There are no other references to Brennan at all. We don't have photos of these headstones regretfully.
    Hope this is of some help to your genealogy. Are you related to those Kavanaghs of Kilmacshane? They seem to be all mixed up with those Barrons of Oldcourt and Barrons of Ballilogue, Stone No 27 reads "Here lies the body of Mary Barron als Kavanagh who depd this life August 17th 1792 aged 68 yrs and her husband David Barron of Oldcourt who depd this life August 20th 1796 aged 80 yrs and their son John Barron of Ballilogue who depd this life Decemr(sic) 3rd 1800 aged 56 yrs. Erected by David Barron, son of the above David Barron to their memory. May they rest in peace Amen". Decorated with an IHS.
    You probably have a great many relations buried in this graveyard who may not have got mentioned on a stone...
    Kind regards

    1. Many thanks again for that information

      I am researching my wife's Treacy ancestry, & on her maternal line she has ancestors from Ballygub, namely John Ryan who married Margaret Brennan in 1878. I believe that Margaret's parents were Andrew Brennan & Mary Kinealy (as previously mentioned), & John Ryan's were Pierce Ryan & Margaret Hamilton.

      I was hoping that some of them might have gravestones in Clonamery

      I have that John Ryan & Margaret Brennan moved from Ballygub to Pleberstown around 1879.

      Of course researching families with such common mames as Brennan & Ryan is very difficult.

      There were still Hamilton's in Ballygub in the 1901 & 1911 census records, but none in Clonamery graveyard, so I wonder where they are buried ? More research is needed on them.

      Kind regards, Kelvin

    2. Mary Castelyn,

      Below is 'part' of the original message I tried to send you on this blog, but it is too long. Do you have an email address so that I can send you the whole message? I believe I've corresponded with you in the past, but know much more now.


      Would you know anything about Richard Baron of Brownsford? He appeared to be a younger brother of David Baron, both the sons of Thomas Baron. Richard moved to Clonmel to become a merchant and his descendents ended up in Tipperary Town and were later known as Barrons. The other thing is I'm trying to figure out the background of the first David Baron of Brownsford as one source claimed his male-line ancestor was John Moritz, Viceroy/Chancellor of Ireland, son of Maurice FitzThomas, 1st Earl of Desmond, and his first wife, Catherine de Burgo, daughter of Richard de Burgo, 2nd Earl of Ulster. Long story on the sources, but that background is inconsistent with having origins in Burnchurch.

    3. Hello Chris, I do remember you being in contact before about the Barons of Brownsford. I remember the excellent and detailed research you had done on this family. Unfortunately we know much less than you on this subject and are not able to answer your query. I know you are accessing archives and original materials in your research and do wish you well in sorting out this query.
      Mary and Bernie

  5. I have had a quick look in a printed version of the graveyards at St Columcille and St Mary's Graveyard at Inistioge and there is nothing that matches your family of Ryan and Brennan. No Hamiltons at all. This was printed by The Heritage Council in 2004.
    There are Treacy/Tracys buried with headstones at Kilcurl. We will post Kilcurl as soon as possible. Of course they might be buried at Ballyhale? Not done comprehensively yet. We will look out for your Pierce Ryan and Margaret Hamilton. Hamilton would be fairly unusual and there was a Hamilton protestant Rector in Knocktopher circa 1830s. He however did not die in Ireland.
    We may find them yet.....

    1. I did some research on the Irish Newspaper Archives site ( & found death notices for some Ryan's from Ballygub where they were interred in The Rower cemetery, so I need to check that out at some stage.

      The Kilcurl Treacy's are related to my wife, & the headstones with photographs are documented on Declan Tracey's website at


  6. Hi
    Just discovered your blog - interesting. My grandfather and uncle are buried there - Pierce and Laurence Millett - but wondered whether there were many other Milletts buried there? My understanding was that they are but there are no headstones. I would be very interested if you could advise. Thank you.bernadette

  7. Hello Bernadette We have checked the Clonamery Burial register which runs from 1946 - 1978. John Millet, male, 60 years, catholic, farmer, married, of Coolnamuck died 6/2/1947 and was buried there on the 8/2/1947. Parts of the register are extremely faint and the entries not always in order so date is the best we can get but we think it is accurate. Robert Millot male, 85 years, catholic, labourer, married of Fiddawn died 24/11/1954 and was buried 22/11/1954 (think he must have meant it the other way around?) Matt Millot, female, 70 catholic, farmer, labourer, single of Fiddawn died and was buried 8/1961 (record keeper has not put in precise date for either death of burial), Michael Millot, male, 69 catholic, labourer, married of Coolmuck (sic) died 27 March and was buried 28th March. No year has been written in but the entry is after 1964 and before Jan 1972. Pery Millot, male 85 years, catholic, labourer, married of Fidawn (sic), died 20 April and was buried 19 April - this does not make sense but this is what is written. I wonder if he meant to write it the other way around.....burials are usually one or two days after death, occasionally three days after death. Again no year is recorded but this entry falls between May 1964 and Jan 1972.....The headstones at Clonamery read " In loving memory of Pierce Millett Fidown, Inistioge died 18th April 1968 aged 85 yrs, His son Laurence died 27th Jan 1979 aged 48 yrs. RIP". There are two stones to Mylott. No 14, "Erected to the memory of John Mylott Great Island died 3rd Jan 1947 aged 61. And his parents Thomas and Mary Mylott. And his brother Michael, Coolnamuck. And his wife Teresa Mylott died 14th July 1970 aged 84 yrs. And her daughter Anne Culleton died 13th Feb 1991 aged 74 yrs". No 15. "Erected in loving memory of Edward Mylott Coolnamuck who died 2nd May 1942 aged 97 yrs and his deceased father, mother, brothers and sisters all interred her. RIP" Some of these don't match, I know but I am sure you will be able to sort it all out. The record keeper of the burial register has not always spelt things correctly and also omitted dates.
    Hope this is helpful to you
    Kind regards
    Mary and Bernie

  8. Hi Mary, I've been told members of the Bolger family are buried in this graveyard.
    Anne Bolger died 18th January 1917
    Michael Bolger died 10th of May 1919
    I can't find any headstone for them , can you confirm if they are buried here.
    Mant thanks

    1. also Patrick Bolger died 30th December 1948
      Bridget Bolger died 1st May 1978