Our Family Storybook

This page will feature posts about our own family history. I am regularly reminded that I need to get it written down (presumably in case I die and all the ‘stuff’ dies with me!) Notwithstanding such concerns about my possible(?) demise I have until now resisted committing keyboard -to -screen as there are so many gaps. I realize of course that the gaps may never ever be filled so I will run with what I know so far.

Our family names are  Gallagher from Glenties in County Donegal, Ireland and Friel from Fanad County Donegal on our father’s side. On our mother’s side we have Clinton from County Kildare and Williams from Edenderry County Offaly.

Irish family research is notoriously difficult on several fronts – sheer number of families with same surname; sheer number of families who, as a badge of honour and out of respect, named their children after parents and other family members; the propensity for members of families to live close to one another and/or to follow same occupations, and the lack of family grave headstones. Add these to the challenge of Irish vital records  – civil registration for Roman Catholics only began in 1864 so  it is difficult to get back past this date. Availability of Church records depended on the local clergy but thankfully in some instances, with a smattering of Latin and an ability to  decipher challenging handwriting, it may be possible to get  some earlier confirmation of  family members. Some parishes have records going back much longer, but our family seem to have avoided living in those!

How I wish that our parents were still with us to know what we know now about their origins. These posts are about deceased members of our family.

The Gallagher Side

This is the family with which I am most familiar. They farmed poor land on the side of a hill in Donegal.  The poet Patrick McGill (1889- 1963) who was from this area, wrote this poem about his people from here, that I dedicate here to our forebears.

by Patrick MacGill –The Navvy Poet

I speak with a proud tongue of the people who were
And the people who are,
The worthy of Ardara, the Rosses and Inishkeel,
My kindred–
The people of the hills and the dark-haired passes
My neighbours on the lift of the brae,
In the lap of the valley.
To them Sláinte!

I speak of the old men,
The wrinkle-rutted,
Who dodder about foot-weary–
For their day is as the day that has been and is no more–
Who warm their feet by the fire,
And recall memories of the times that are gone;
Who kneel in the lamplight and pray
For the peace that has been theirs–
And who beat one dry-veined hand against another
Even in the sun–
For the coldness of death is on them.

I speak of the old women
Who danced to yesterday’s fiddle
And dance no longer.
They sit in a quiet place and dream
And see visions
Of what is to come,
Of their issue,
Which has blossomed to manhood and womanhood–
And seeing thus
They are happy
For the day that was leaves no regrets,
And peace is theirs
And perfection.

I speak of the strong men
Who shoulder their burdens in the hot day,
Who stand on the market-place
And bargain in loud voices,
Showing their stock to the world.
Straight the glance of their eyes–
Under their feet the holms blossom,
The harvest yields.
Their path is of prosperity.

I speak of the women,
Strong hipped, full-bosomed,
Who drive the cattle to graze at dawn,
Who milk the cows at dusk.
Grace in their homes,
And in the crowded ways
Modest and seemly–
Mother of children!

I speak of the children
Of the many townlands,
Blossoms of the Bogland,
Flowers of the Valley,
Who know not yesterday, nor tomorrow,
And are happy,
The pride of those who have begot them.

And thus it is,
Every and always,
In Ardara, the Rosses and Inishkeel–
Here, as elsewhere,
The Weak, the Strong, and the Blossoming–
And thus my kindred.
To them Sláinte!

Daniel Gallagher son of John Gallagher of Mulnamina and Isabella nee Mulloy, daughter of John Mulloy of Strasallagh, Glenties were married on February 2, 1874. They had 10 children

  • Ellen, born December 2, 1874 in Strasallagh.
  • John born August 19, 1876 in Mulnamina, the place of birth of all subsequent children)
  • Ann born Jul 18, 1878
  • Mary born on June 4, 1880
  • Bridget arrived on June 1, 1882
  • Catherine born May 22, 1884
  • James born March 15, 1886
  • Sarah born September 28, 1888
  • Rose born August 12, 1890
  • Margaret born December 28, 1893

See the following posts

Gallaghers from Mulnamina Glenties

James, their 2nd son and 7th child was our grandfather. He married Mary Friel on September 26 1915. They had 5 children. Daniel Gerard, their 3rd child and 1st son was our father.

  • Mary Isabella 1917
  • Eileen Ann 1919
  • Daniel Gerald 1921
  • John Francis Columba 1923
  • James Patrick 1925

See the following posts

Remembering our grandfather

Eileen Ann Gallagher 1919 to 1999

Mary Isabella Gallagher – 1

Mary Isabella Gallagher -2

Hugh Coyle- Husband of Eileen Ann Gallagher 

The others are work in progress.

The Friels

John Friel and Anna Coll of Pollaid in Fanad, Co Donegal  had 8 children

  • Uney 1871
  • Hannah 1872
  • Francis 1874
  • Catherine 1876
  • Arthur 1878
  • Susan 1880
  • Mary 1882
  • Annie 1885

Discovering our grandmother, Mary Friel

The Clintons

John Clinton and Amelia Gertrude Judge of various addresses (Railway people) had 9 children

  • Bridget Eveleen 31 Jan 1887 Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo
  • Christopher Robert 2 Feb 1889 Westport, Co Mayo
  • John Henry 11 Aug 1892 Westport, Co Mayo
  • Elizabeth Mary 16 Sept 1894 Ballinlough, Co Roscommon
  • Thomas James 21 Dec 1896 Clooncorly, Rynn, Co Leitrim
  • Thomas James 10 April 1898 Ballaghadreen, Co Roscommon
  • Richard William 18 Jan 1899 Ballahadreen,  Co Roscommon
  • Alfred Joseph 6 May 1902 Cleaghmore, Ballinasloe, Co Galway
  • Florence Gertrude 12 Oct 1905 Street, Granard, Co Longford

The Williams

Living family members

A family milestone

A cousin reaches 70