The population of Kildorrery today is less than one quarter of what it was when records were first taken in the 1830s. Throughout the 19th century the local population decreased at the national average of 10% per decade but accelerated to 30% between 1840-50, due to the Great Famine. Kildorrery ranked as one of the worst hit rural areas. The pre Famine maps which can now be viewed on line, show hundreds of tiny homesteads dotted along the Ballyhoura hills and other rural roads. Many of the occupants of these cabins were the people who crossed the Atlantic.
WHY DID THEY GO?
Donald MacKay in his book ‘Flight from Famine- the Coming of the Irish to Canada’, describes how long before the Famine the Irish were leaving for the New World of Canada and the U.S.A. He also describes the appalling conditions they left behind. One chapter of the book is dedicated to the ‘Peter Robinson Settlements’ of 1823-25. These settlements are significant as they were the forerunner for assisted passage which is how many Irish people made it to the New World for the rest of the 19th century and escaped from poverty.
WHERE DID THEY GO?
While many of the assisted passengers were bound for Canada (then known as ‘British America’), most made their way south to the fledgling U.S.A. where a never before seen drive of nation building presented huge opportunity in the many public works being undertaken. Britain also was always an opportunity for Irish immigrants from when the Industrial Revolution presented opportunities of work in the many factories and associated public works.
Wedding of Local Family in New Jersey, U.S.A. 1930s
Today it is believed that Ireland has a Diaspora of some 70 million scattered across the globe. That means for every one living in Ireland there are 12 abroad! The highest percentage live in the U.S.A. then Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Even for a small place like Kildorrery it means that there could be over 15,000 people around the world who can trace their roots to this parish and that is where we are willing to offer any help we can and have had great success since we started just a few years ago.
IRELAND REACHING OUT
Ireland Reaching Out was set up over the last 10 years and is a web site that anyone can contact and post a request for information on the parish page of where their ancestors were from. The requests are answered by Local volunteers who have a unique knowledge of their local parish. Click here to contact Kildorrery Reaching Out. You can also contact the Community Office on: firstname.lastname@example.org where we can put you in touch with the relevant people who can handle your request.
The Fouhy descendants and local Ireland Reaching out Volunteers pictured at the house their ancestor was born in and left for the U.S.A. over 150 years ago.
Below are a list of useful links and tips to help you research your ancestors in the Kildorrery area.
The modern day R.C. Parish of Kildorrery is made up of 6 medieval parishes called: Aghacross, Carraigdownane, Farahy, Kildorrery, St. Nathlash (Rockmills) and Templemolaga. While these are still Civil Parishes they have been in the Kildorrery R.C. Union since parishrecord keeping began so records for all are in one collection but this is where census records and parish differ as the census uses the civil parishes listed above except Aghacross, Carraigdownane and the Townlands of St. Nathlash have been included in Derryvillane. See Links below. These parishes are also the reason why we have 6 graveyards in the parish today as each one belonged to its own little medieval parish.
Kildorrery Graveyards Survey On-Line
Other Graveyards in the area
The Civil Parishes are broken down into Townlands which are based on an ancient administration system and they still exist today. The Townlands are most often the key to identifying your ancestors if they came from a rural area as they are listed in the church records in Baptisms and Marriages. They can also be the key to locating a homestead.
Kildorrery has a total of 34 Townlands of varying size. (Size is shown in acres). They are: Aghacross (355), Ballinguyroe North (830), Ballinguyroe South (339), Ballinahalisk (533), Ballynoe (326), Ballyshonack (326), Ballyshurdane (381), Ballyvisteen (387), Ballyvoddy (353), Boleynanoultagh (590), Carhoo (97), Carraigdownane Lower (310), Carraigdownane Upper (302), Cullenagh (365), Farahy (1130), Glasvaunta (91), Gortacurrig (323), Graigue (559), Kilclooney (780), Kildorrery (110), Kilmaculla (67), Knockanevin (534), Labbamolaga East (409), Labbamolaga Middle (445), Labbamolaga West (343), Meadstown (493), Oldcastletown (881), Quitrent Mountain (1197), Ransborough (138), Scart (494), Sraherla (379), Springvale (237), Tankardstown (601), Tooreigh (267).