On Saturday, 21 May 2011 a reunion of Connolly relatives is taking place in Kinlough. It is the first time this family had congregated in circumstances other than in mourning at the passing of a family member or in celebration at the marriage of another of this extensive clan.
By Michael Traynor
The family are part of several generations of victuallers and farmers associated with the village. They can trace their origins to a tombstone in the old cemetery on the Dartry road on the outskirts. This tombstone commemorates a 17 year old ancestor who died at the time when the area was affected by the ravages and horrors of the Rebellion of 1798. Following from that dark era Ireland entered a period of unsettled times when emancipation of Catholics was uppermost in the minds of many.
It was the era of the landlord. In Kinlough the dominant landlords were the Johnston family who started taking over local land in 1700 and established their seat when they constructed the majestic Kinlough House on the extensive Oakfield Estate in 1740. Evictions were witnessed in the local parishes, particularly under the rule of Captain James Johnston who was landlord between 1843 and 1848.
These brutal evictions occurred during a time when Ireland was ravaged by the scourge of the potato blight and the deaths and sufferings resulting from the Great Famine. Terence Connolly (1837 – 1882) was a local farmer that established a victualler business in the village during this period. His residence and shop was located on Main Street opposite the Church of Ireland. This property adjoins the current location of the Connolly Victualler business.
In this small four roomed house Terence lived with his wife Mary McGowan and reared their family. Terence continued the family tradition of naming the first born son Terence. This custom extended for nine generations of the family. Terence (1867 – 1923) married Rose A. Warnock and in this small house 13 children were reared. These were the post Famine years which saw a new form of hardship prevalent throughout Ireland and which Kinlough did not escape – emigration. Terence and Rose saw their first born, 19 year-old Terence (1888 – 1967), face the emigration trail to New York, where, after a seven-day crossing of the Atlantic he was processed at Ellis Island on 1 September 1907.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.