The Ancestral Home

Between May 1800 and January 1851 the Kearney Family occupied a house on Main Street Moneygall, Co Offaly. William Kearney (1762-1828) and his wife Margaret raised a family of 8 Children here; Joseph, Francis, Benjamin, Thomas, Ann, Mary, William and Margaret.

Their eldest son Joseph Kearney (1794-1861) and his wife Phoebe Donovan lived here after their 1825 marriage, and raised three (possibly four) children here: Timothy/Fulmoth, William and Mary Ann.

It is probable that in the first years of their marriage they shared the house with Joseph’s widowed mother Margaret and some of Joseph’s younger siblings. (This may explain why their family was half the size of the previous generation).

Between 1849 and 1851 first Fulmoth, the Joseph, and finally Phoebe left this house in Moneygall and emigrated to the United States.

Using the Valuation Office records, we are able to find a description of the dwelling for 1850, the last year in which many of the Kearney family lived. (Source: House Books Moneygall)

• In January 1850 this house was described as 27 feet long, by 12.6 feet broad and 13 feet high, it had a slated roof, and the walls were of stone using lime mortar – the valuator further described it as an old house and out of repair adding that it was “very bad”.

• The house had a small yard with a rear entrance to an out office – probably Joseph’s shoe-workshop – measuring 20.6 feet long x 12.6 feet broad x 7 feet high.

The original house was never demolished but between January 1851 and the 21st century it was extended to the back and also upwards. The original dwelling corresponds to the ground front of the house.

Following Phoebe Donovan’s emigration the house came into the possession of Elizabeth Byron in 1857 and occupied by many different families after that date. The house is currently in private ownership and not open to the public.

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