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Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - marylund - 10-10-2008

I will be researching in Salt Lake City the week of Oct. 19. My research has been on hold for years as I volunteered for "Society stuff" and I'm stumped on what to look for.
Apparently our Irish ancestors had first lived in Montreal before being led to the St. Columban area by Fr. Phelan. Fergus' recent photos of Castlecomer reminded me that my Blanchfields had come from Kilkenny c. 1825 on a ship called Ocean but I am still looking for the Walsh origins in Ireland.
Was there an emigration scheme by a landlord that might have sent these people to Quebec? What area in Montreal might I check for other emigrants? I see references to Griffintown. My family was Walsh-Griffin. Might there be a connection in Montreal?

Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - Fergus_Keyes - 10-10-2008

I knew that Patrick Keyes (b. abt. 1787); his wife Honora Phelan (b. abt. 1782) had arrived in Canada between 1825 and 1830 and settled in St. Columban. They had four children with them ? all born in Ireland. But I had limited information about where they had come from in Ireland. There were only two clues?

1.      Honora Phelan seemed to have been closely related to Patrick Phelan, who was the priest that arranged for the Irish immigrants to settle in St. Columban. Patrick Phelan later became a Bishop of Kingston, Ontario. The records seemed to indicate that Patrick was born in Ballyragget; Diocese of Ossory; Kilkenny; Ireland. So Honora and perhaps Patrick might have been born in the same area.

2.      In the original deed for a property purchase in St. Columban by Patrick Keyes, he had indicated that he was late of Kilkenny

So it appeared that the search should start in the County of Kilkenny and perhaps around Ballyragget. We discovered that Ballyragget was part of greater district called Castlecomer. Within the area of Castlecomer were a number of small villages including one called the Village of Castlecomer. We eventually found a few Keyes tombstones in the village of Clough (or Clogh) ? another of the small villages in the general ?township? of Castlecomer

There is a site that you might want to check about Kilkenny at:
And, under maps and homeowners from 1640, you will see both Blanchfields & Walshes lived in the County.

We visited 3 cemeteries in the area ? Balleyragget; the village of Castlecomer and Clough. I took pictures of any names that sounded familiar from St. Columban. I did find one of the Walsh and another of the Blanchfields. I?ll try to attach these two images. I think both were taken in the cemetery in the village of Castlecomer, in the ?township? also called Castlecomer. This particular cemetery is quite large so I didn?t take pictures of every tombstone and there could easily have been other Walshes and/or Blanchfields.

A question for you is do you remember where you got the information about the ship in 1825 called ?Ocean??



Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - Fergus_Keyes - 10-10-2008

Hi again;

It looks like I couldn't attach two images in the same post, so here is the Tombstone from the Walsh family that I think was taken in the cemetery in the village of Castlecomer but it might have been in a very old cemetery in Balleyragget.

Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - Fergus_Keyes - 10-10-2008

If at first you don't succeed !!

Sorry, I clicked on the wrong picture and added a Stapleton tombstonee instead of the Walsh tombstone.

But now that I look at it, I am more sure that this Walsh stone is in the old Balleyragget cemetery.

In case anyone ever goes there, you have to ask the locals in order to find this particular cemetery. It is just outside of Balleyragget on the road to the city of Kilkenny and down a dirt road. It was the site of the original church in Balleyragget which was later rebuilt in the town..There is a small sign but not likely to be seen unless someone tells you it is there...

Take Care


Map of Kilkenny - Fergus_Keyes - 10-11-2008

The attachemtn is a map of Kilkenny and I centered my search in what I guess you would call the north - east corner where you see the villages of Balleyragget; Clough; Castlecomer etc.

Kilkenny Homeowners C. 1640 - Fergus_Keyes - 10-11-2008

This 2nd map shopws the homeowners in Kilkenny around 1640 and you can see a number of names that are very familiar from the St. Columban records including Blanchfield & Walsh etc.

Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - brmoriarity - 10-11-2008

Thanks Fergus!  Good information for Grace searches!

Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - Fergus_Keyes - 10-11-2008

You're welcome Ruth;

One other point that I discovered is that the area of Kilkenny called Castlecomer is right on the border of County Laois. It would seem that at least the Keyes family (and likely other early St. Columban settlers) were living on both sides - so some were in Co. Kilkenny and others in County Laois. It is only a very few miles (maybe 2 or 3 miles) from the village of Cough to the Laois Border. Also Laois which is pronounced something like "Leich" was originally called Kings county in the past.

Of course, not all St. Columban settlers were from Kilkenny (or Laois) but I think that they formed a core group and likely were all familiar to Patrick Phelan - the priest.

One last point about the Landowners Map from 1640 - it certainly doesn't show all the names of families in the area (i.e. Keyes does not appear on the map) and other families like the Phelans which have tombstones in all of the cemeteries in the area are also not shown.

Anyway, just a few points for your interest

Take Care


Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - brmoriarity - 10-11-2008

Thanks Fergus
There are many roads to follow in this genealogy puzzle.  Thanks for all you do!

Re: Irish origins of settlers in St. Columban - jeff.legault - 10-11-2008

Posting on behalf of  Al Lewis of Bytown or Bust web site in Ottawa

Hi everyone:

Great maps.

A great number of families, including I think, the Blanchfields, came to the Ottawa area from Kilkenny during the 1820's. The Blanchfields and a few other families were at St. Columban's before coming to Ottawa.

Most of the Ottawa area Kilkenny residents came from Castlecomer which had been a strong area for mining. After the mines closed down in the late 1810's, many folks came to Canada and worked here in Ottawa, at building the Rideau Canal. I'm not sure if the mines closed because of the lack of demand after the Napoleonic War in 1815 or if the mines were just depleted by that time.

There were connections between St. Columbans and the Irish in Ottawa beginning in the 1820's. Even in the 1850's, there is an example of a farm family moving from Ottawa back to St. Columbans. There is a search engine at the web site below.

Al Lewis
Ottawa, Canada