Teh Autumn 2003 issue of the Journal of the Genealogical Society of Ireland has an article entitled "Kirwans From Galway In a Well Worn Prayer Book" by Ignatius Fennessey.The Society and Father Fennessey have kindly consented to allow me to post the article here:
"On 16 November 1980, the second day of his apostolic pilgrimage in the Federal Republic of Germany, Pope John Paul II, at Osnabrück, north Germany, spoke of the foreign Catholics who had settled there after the Second World War."Together with their few worldly possessions", he said, "these people brought with them the precious treasure of their faith, which was often symbolized only in the well worn prayer-book of their former homeland."
In the Franciscan library at Killiney (FLK), Co. Dublin, there is such a prayer-book, with title-page missing, which has been passed on from person to person since the middle of the seventeenth century.It was printed at the famous 'Officina Plantiniana' in Amsterdam about the year 1644; the first date in the Table for Movable Feasts in it is 1645.Although it is in Latin (this edition has also a small section in Italian), it was used by families in Ireland such as the Waddings in Waterford.This particular copy was used by the Kirwans of Co. Galway, and came to Killiney from the friary in Galway city.
It is indeed well worn, even damaged, with illustrations removed and parts cut out; some black stains look as if they were made by ashes carried home on some Ash Wednesday, which was a fairly common practice.But what is of interest to genealogists is the information written into it in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by members of the Kirwan family.To identify the particular branch/es, some clarifications are necessary.
Fr. P. J. McLaughlin wrote at length about the eccentric scientist Richard Kirwan (1733-1812) who was the son of Martin Kirwan of Galway.Martin had married on 30 October 1728 Mary French of Duras and Cloughballymore (or Clogh), three miles from Kinvara, Co. Galway.Richard (born at Clogh) was one of four sons, the other three being Patrick, Andrew and Hyacinth.Richard Hayes mentioned a Patrick Kirwan of Cregg, Co. Galway, who married a Mary Martin of Dangan (died about 1751, he said); they had a son, George, who was killed in a duel in France, and another, Richard, a soldier (1708-1779).Hayes said that they were the uncles of Richard the scientist.In our prayer-book there is a beautiful tribute to Mary Kirwan (née Martin, who died in 1754) from a son named Edmund, who is not mentioned by Hayes.
But first, there are some earlier entries.In the calendar of saints' days at the beginning of the book, on the page for February (signature **8 recto, I think), in the blank space opposite the dates 25-27 February, the following is written in faded ink:
"Patrick Kirwan died the 2(-) of feb: 1669 betwixt 8 & 9 of ye (the) clock att night".
The date may be the 25th; it appears unfinished, running off the page.On the verso of the following page (signature ***), opposite the dates for 28-29 May, in faded ink there is:
"My mother in law Mary Kirwan als (alias) Bodkin died ye (the) 29th of May 1678"; the date is repeated for clarity's sake".
At the end of the prayer-book, at the beginning of the short section in Italian on the Rosary, on p.666, which was left blank (probably facing a picture page which has been removed), the following is written:
"Captain Kirwan dyed at Creg(g) on Wednesday the 27th of August in the year of our Lord 1746 & the 77th of his age."
The space of a line is left blank, and then the following tribute is penned by the same hand:
"Mary Kirwan alias Martin of Dangan, my Dearly beloved mother dyed at Clough (Clogh) on tuesday ye (the) 16 of July 1754.Shee was born at Clough ye 29th of July 1683.Shee was in her character free, open and sincere, an entire enemy to dissimulation & delivered her thoughts with great vivacity & cheerfulness without giveing offence, wh. (which) made her company extremely aggreeable & her death very much lamented.Shee was of a fine size & most exactly shaped.Shee had a most beautifull face & very regular features.Shee was generally allowed (considered) to be singularly handsome, even untill cruel death snatched her from her Drl (Darling) son Edmd (Edmund) Kirwan."
Her other son, Richard, born in 1708, was educated in France and joined the Irish Brigade.Six feet, four inches tall, he became a famous swordsman called 'Risteárd Buidhe a' Claidhimh9 - the word 'buidhe' may mean that he had flaxen hair.He made his name at the battle of Fontenoy, and King Louis XV presented him with a watch studded with diamonds and pearls.Becoming too famous as a duellist (nicknamed 'Nineteen duel Dick'), he had to leave France, and entered the Austrian service until 1751, when he returned to Ireland.A song in Irish in his honour, hailed him as the Champion of France.He married Maria Bermingham (Lord Athenry's family), and died at Woodfield, Co. Galway, in 1779.
His nephew was Dr Richard Kirwan of Dublin, a native of Cregg, Co. Galway, the renowned scientist mentioned above.He lost a valuable library when the ship transporting it from Galway was captured in the English Channel by an American privateer in 1781.
"The books were brought to Beverley and sold by auction, and subsequently came into possession of Dr Nathaniel Bowditch, who in his will bequeathed them to the city of Salem (Massachusetts).Dr Kirwan was reported to have been born in Galway, and died in 1812.The books are in the Philosophical and Salem (Mass.) Athenaeum."
He soon built up another library, and continued his scientific research, despite suffering from severe stomach spasms and dietary problems.He lived in well-heated rooms, had to be protected from draughts, and always wore a hat.The poverty of the people depressed him, and he complained that Irish music 'gave him the gripes'; nevertheless, he gave valuable assistance to Edward Bunting, the collector of Irish airs, although he preferred Italian music.He made detailed observations on the weather in Dublin for twenty years from 1787; and these were the first such observations made in Ireland with accurate instruments -barometer, thermometer, rain gauge and his own anemometer.
When he was young, he must have delighted in the view of Kinvara Bay, and cheered his heart at the hospitable fireside of the beautiful Mary Kirwan (née Martin), his grand-aunt.Perhaps he handled the family prayer-book at Clogh, and chatted with her darling son, Edmund."
See L' Osservatore Romano, English weekly edition, for 1 December 1980.
FLK, shelf mark XT 109; it is a copy of the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, reformed by Pope Pius V, known as a 'Pius Quintus'.It contains the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for all the seasons of the liturgical year, together with other Offices, litanies, prayers for the Sunday masses, the gospels of the Passion of Jesus, and more.This prayer book was called a Primer in English; its history and contents can be seen in J.M. Blom,ThePost-TridentineEnglishPrimer(CatholicRecord Society, 1982).
See P. J. MCLAUGHLIN, 'Richard Kirwan: 1733-1812', in Studies 28 (1939) 461-74, 593-605 and 29 (1940), 71-83, 281-300. The Kirwans were at Cregg Castle before the Blakes. The Clogh estate near Kinvara was held by a succession o£ Frenches, Lynches and Blakes; see PATRICK MELVIN, 'The Galway tribes as landowners and gentry' in Galway: History & Society, ed. Gerard Moran (Geography Publications, 1996), 321.
See Kirwans in RICHARD HAYES, Biographical dictionary of Irishmen in France (Dublin, 1949), l45f . Cregg is the name of six different townlands in Co. Galway, and there are four named Dangan; see General alphabetical index to the townlands (etc.) of Ireland (Baltimore, 1986), 327.For Kirwan and Martin families see also Galway: History & Society in index; distinguish between the Martins of Dangan and the Kirwans of Dalgan.
Patrick Kirwan was a member of the supreme council of the Catholic Confederation at Kilkenny in 1646; see M.D. O'Sullivan, Old Galway (Cambridge, 1942), 257.He was thanked by Ireton for protecting Protestants during the war; see PATRICK MELVIN in Galway: History & Society, 344.His son, Martin, married Mary Bodkin; see footnote 6
Martin Kirwan, the son of Patrick (1646), married Mary Bodkin, and 'was the father of Captain Patrick Kirwan, of Lord Bofin's Infantry, in the service of King James II. Captain Kirwan married in 1703 Mary, daughter of Richard Martin, of Dangan, and on the death of his father in 1705, succeeded to the Cregg estates'; see JOHN O'HART, Irish Pedigrees; or. The origin ana stem of the Irish nation, Vol. I (New York, 1923), 512.
There is an Edmund Kirwan (1783) mentioned by JAMES KELLY in Galway: History & Society, 252.
See Richard Hayes in footnote 4.
See R. J. KELLY in the Irish Book Lover, Sep./Oct. 1930, 145.Kelly's informant told him that the American ship, named the Pilgrim, was 'then in command of Captain Hugh Hill'.But MICHAEL DONOVAN (see footnote 10) said that the captain's name was Thomas Kirwan, descended from the family of Cregg (p.xcii); he noted also that Dr Kirwan's daughter Eliza in 1792 married a Colonel Hugh Hill, 'subsequently of the Battle-axe Guards' (p.lxxxix).
See BRENDAN MCWILLIAMS, 'Weather Eye', in the Irish Times for 22 June 1994 and 23 June 1998.For Richard Kirwan see J. WARBURTON, and others. History of the City of Dublin, ii (London, 1818) , 921-5; MICHAEL DONOVAN (who knew him) , 'Biographical account of the late Richard Kirwan, Esq.', in Proceedings R.I.A., iv (Dublin, 1850) , lxxxi-cxviii ; JOHN HENNIG on Goethe's knowledge of Kirwan's book on minerology in the Irish Book Lover (Jan. 1955), 86-7; and P. L. MCLAUGHLIN, as in footnote 3.