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   Welcome to the Frampton Irish Blog. I will try to provide a blog edition each month. Each edition will have a theme. I will try to include such items as updated information on my research activities, new things I am learning, interesting tidbits on Frampton Irish persons and families, and occasionally some research tips. If I present questions and issues to you, and you have answers or comments, I invite your feedback either on the guest book or if you prefer by email to me at

Ireland, Part 3 Feb 17, 2011

The theme of this blog is Ireland, part 3. I will repeat my pattern of marking some items as WELL WORTH IT or DISAPPOINTMENT. I began my day of discovery by taking a morning walk to the car dealership where I could pick up my rental car. The rental agency was north of Wexford across Loch Garman. I walked across the Wexford bridge. A much earlier version of this bridge is the one that the rebels of 1798 crossed to take the Town of Wexford. I picked up my rental car at 9:00 AM. While there, I noticed a sign that pointed the way to the County Wexford Archives. I had made e-mail contact with the director of the archives before I left for Ireland. The director told me that she doubted that the archives would have anything that would be of interest to me that I couldn’t find at the County Wexford library. But before I left town in my car, I drove past the archives and noticed that it opened at 10:00 AM, so I decided I would drive north for a while and then return to the archives just to check with them again. I proceeded north to the villages of Blackwater and Kilmuckridge. Both of these villages have significance to the Frampton Irish. I was also getting accustomed to driving on the left side on very narrow roads. I passed through Blackwater and proceeded to Kilmuckridge where I stopped to turn around. Kilmuckridge was the Catholic parish where I had found the baptism record for my Great Great Grandmother Anastasia O’Connor. Although, in some Frampton records her parents Matthew O’Connor and Catherine O’Brien were reported to be from Killencooley. But recalling that in my previous blog I had learned that the Kilmuckridge Parish was previously known as Killencooley.

I took some time to study the maps I had obtained and located the Townland of Killencooley and saw that I would need to turn off the main road a few miles south of Kilmuckridge. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off as there was no sign. So I turned off the main road at the next intersection which took me to the Townland of Ballynamona. I took a quick look around and studied my map again to determine how to get to Killencooley. The road to Killencooley was just a few hundred yards north on the main road. Turning onto the Killencooley road, I noticed another country road with a sign that pointed to Ballynamona. So Killencooley and Ballynamona were adjacent to each other and connected in a way. I stopped and took photos of the area around Killencooley and noticed it was very near the coast. By now it was past 10:00 AM so I went back south to the County Wexford Archives. I introduced myself and said what I was looking for and the woman I talked to took me to the archives director’s office. The director recalled her e-mail to me, but after I told her the specific townland names I was interested in, she agreed to take another look. She soon returned with some archive documents she thought might be helpful. One of the documents was an old advertisement for the sale of some estate lands by the landlord in and around the Parish of Kilmuckridge. On the second page was a list of tenant farmers and there was the name of my Great Great Great Grandfather Matthew O’Connor. He had a farm in the Townland of Ballynamona! I believe this indeed was him because the Townland was next to Killencooley and it was within the Catholic Parish of Kilmuckridge, which were direct matches for what I already knew. I was permitted to take digital photos of this document. So some might call it "serendipity," but my thoughts always focus on how my actions may have been guided by my ancestor. I accidentally had just visited the Townland of Ballynamona which I had no intention of visiting. Then I checked once more at the archives, even though they had already told me they would have nothing I would be interested in. I was delighted! This record could have only been obtained in Ireland. It was WELL WORTH IT!

I left the archives and proceeded north on a different highway. I went to the village of Oulart. Oulart was a very small village in comparison to Blackwater and Kilmuckridge. My first destination was to go to Oulart Hill where one of the battles of 1798 occurred. The road to Oulart Hill starts in the village immediately next to the Catholic Church. The Oulart Church was a beautiful stone building and a mason was working there on a restoration project. However, it was not the same church where the Frampton Irish had worshiped, as that church was burned down by the British forces shortly after 1798. The road to Oulart Hill was the most primitive and narrow road I would drive on in Ireland. The bushes on each side of the road rubbed against the side of the car and I thought that vehicle traffic was the only source of "road maintenance." There was a parking area and a monument at the top of the hill. The monument narrative was the first evidence I found that made reference to some of the rebels of 1798 being "transported" to Canada. The view from Oulart Hill was spectacular. The inland mountains could be seen to the west and the ocean could be seen to the east. I could pick out the areas around Blackwater and Kilmuckridge in the distance. I got out my maps and studied the surrounding areas. I have come to believe that my Murphy ancestors came from the Townland of Tinnock or Ticknock. That townland was just below Oulart Hill to the west. The first battle of 1798 did indeed occur in the "backyard" of the Murphys. The visit to Oulart Hill was WELL WORTH IT.

I then went back to Oulart and went around the south of Oulart Hill to the Townland of Tinnock. While there, I notice a very old "estate house" made out of stone. It had an entry gate with a sign that said "Tinnock House." Could this be the "Colclough’s Gate" I had found reference to in the Rebellion Papers? If so, my Murphys lived no more than 1/4 mile from here. I thought that I would ask about this at the County Wexford History Museum later that day in Enniscorthy. Before leaving the Oulart area, I explored the Townland of Bolaboy where my Doran ancestors were from. The Frampton Irish Devereuxs had come from the Townland of Kilcotty, the Martin Murphys came from Ballynamuddagh, and the Sinnotts came from Kilbride. I studied the maps and it occurred to me that Bolaboy, Tinnock, Kilcotty, Ballynamuddagh, Kilbride and Oulart were all "walking distance" to one another. I was indeed in the heartland of the Frampton Irish. Understanding this geography perhaps could only be achieved in an actual visit to Ireland and it was WELL WORTH IT.

I then proceeded north on "country roads" to get to Boolavogue. At Boolavogue is the Fr. Murphy Centre. It is a re-creation of the Catholic parish village where Fr. John Murphy was the parish priest. Fr. John Murphy had become the reluctant leader of the 1798 Rebellion. The re-created village gave me an excellent vision of what conditions were like during the time in which my ancestors lived in County Wexford. It was WELL WORTH IT.

My next stop was the National 1798 Rebellion Centre in Enniscorthy. This was absolutely the best visitor centre/museum that I had visited in Ireland. It had many interactive displays and a video display that evokes great emotion. It also had a nice café and gift shop. Enniscorthy celebrated its 1,500 year anniversary in 2010 and they still had some "1500" shirts available, so I bought one. I inquired about directions to the County Wexford History Museum, but was told that it was closed for renovations. Now I was not able to access the historical information there nor could I possibly get an answer to my question about "Tinnock House." So this was another timing problem that resulted in DISAPPOINTMENT. But Enniscorthy and the 1798 centre was WELL WORTH IT.

I returned to Wexford Town for the evening and planned on more adventure the next day. My second day involved a longer drive to the Town of New Ross. I went to New Ross for the purpose of seeing the "famine ship" replica of the Dunbrody. This may be the only place in the world where a replica of a "famine ship" can be viewed and toured. The funds for this replica had been provided by the Kennedy Foundation as the original Dunbrody was the ship that transported the ancestors of President John F. Kennedy to the United States. The Kennedys were from County Wexford in an area near New Ross. New Ross had been their port of departure. While the Frampton Irish had mostly left for Canada long before the famine, ships very similar to the Dunbrody had been used to take them to Canada. Further, the original Dunbrody had been built in 1845 in Quebec City. It was one of hundreds of ships that had been built from 1817 to the famine years that were constructed of Canadian timber in the Port of Quebec City. Many Frampton Irish, including my own ancestor Andrew Murphy who was a ship carpenter, were involved in ship building and its supporting industries in Quebec City. They had built many of the ships that would carry the "famine emigrants" to Canada and the United States. The Dunbrody was much smaller than I anticipated. Below decks can be found the makeshift shelves where entire poor Irish families were forced to stay as "steerage" passengers. They were only allowed above deck, once a day. Interpreters dressed in period costume were on board that gave presentations about the voyage and the conditions that the emigrants had to endure. The tour of the Dunbrody was WELL WORTH IT.

I then stopped at the Irish National Heritage Park outside of Wexford Town. The park had re-creations of Irish farms and settlements through the ages. A trail starts at the visitor centre that winds through Irish history starting with the oldest settlements and working its way towards the Viking and Norman invasions. I have visited many "cultural centers" in places like Hawaii and the American southwest, but this was the first time I had been to such a place where the indigenous people being interpreted happen to be my ancestral people. So I enjoyed it tremendously. The park has a café, gift store and visitor centre, it was WELL WORTH IT.

After a train ride back to Dublin the next morning, I enjoyed my last afternoon and evening in Ireland. I first went to the Kilmainham Jail museum to see where my ancestor Miles Murphy had been imprisoned for his activities in the 1798 Rebellion. The old jail is most famous for imprisonment of the "political prisoners" who actively lead the various rebellions for Irish independence. The tour guide showed us where the prisoners had been held and in some cases executed by hanging and firing squads. I was most interested in the oldest section where the 1798 prisoners had been held. The cells they were kept in were very dismal. Next to the jail was the Kilmainham court house, where the 1798 prisoners had been released in 1806 due to lack of "habeas corpus" and the "good will" of the British government. The tour of Kilmainham Jail was WELL WORTH IT!

I apparently was very successful at blending in and looking like an "Irishman." As I walked away around the block from the Kilmainham Jail, some British tourists stopped me to ask directions to the Jail. I momentarily contemplated telling them that my ancestor had been imprisoned there because of their British government! But I "bit my tongue" and calmly gave them the directions and they were most surprised at my American accent. I stopped at the Guinness brewery on the way back to my hotel. I quickly went through the self guided tour to the top where I received my "complimentary" pint of the stout. This was the only true "tourist trap" I had visited in my entire trip. But it was WELL WORTH IT. I finished the evening with an Irish dinner and another Guinness at the pub attached to my hotel. The pub had live Irish music that evening and it was a great treat. It was a great trip and the WELL WORTH IT scores clearly outnumbered the DISAPPOINTMENTS.

My trip to Ireland represented somewhat of a closure to my Frampton Irish research. I have been working for several years on writing a manuscript that would be a new comprehensive history of the Frampton Irish. I knew that I had no business writing such a tome without having actually visited the heartland of the Frampton Irish. Like all projects of this nature, a time comes when the research must be turned-off and the manuscript come to completion. That time now has come! So I now have only a few follow-up research projects. I still need to make a trip to Salt Lake City to screen some more Quebec notaire records. I also intend to wait awhile to see if the Irish Family History Foundation finally places the indices for the County Wexford records on-line so I might do some additional screening, especially on the early Oulart Catholic parish records that were not available at the National Library of Ireland.

But about two months ago, I began diverting my attention to a separate unrelated history project. It is a history manuscript that has to do with what I previously did in my career with the U.S. Government. I intend to attend an upcoming reunion of former employees and co-workers where this manuscript can be talked about and interpreted. This manuscript may ultimately become more marketable than my work on the Frampton Irish for which my small business has significantly decreased. I don’t know if this decrease in business represents a decrease in interest in my website? So because of this diversion, my Frampton Irish blogs will now become rather infrequent over the next several months. 

Ireland, Part 2 Dec 14, 2010

The theme of this blog is Ireland, part 2. I will repeat my pattern of marking some items as WELL WORTH IT or DISAPPOINTMENT. I arrived in Wexford Town in the morning and the B & B I was staying at was walking distance from the train station. The B & B was definitely not a four star hotel but it was just what I was looking for. I had a comfortable room with "Irish breakfast" served every morning. The owners were very friendly and helpful and I felt welcomed and surrounded by Irish people and some other "foreigners" like me. Staying there was WELL WORTH IT.

My first venture in town was to visit the Wexford County library. The library was very busy (filled with happy Irish children!) that morning and the librarians had little opportunity to chat. I was told to come back at about 1:30 PM as one of the librarians who knows the most about local history and genealogy would be available then. So I went to get some lunch and enjoyed walking down the narrow streets and looking at the small shops. Among my Wexford ancestors were the Murphys, so I was delighted to find a fishing shop with the name Murphy proudly displayed above the front doors and windows. I returned to the library and had a great talk with the librarian. She showed me many things that they now even had available online that I wasn’t aware of. The greatest thing she gave me was a photocopy of a map of the Catholic parish of Oulart and its surrounding parishes that had all the townlands named with their respective boundaries. I had been looking for a map which showed the Frampton Irish heartland and now I had one. I think I only could have obtained such a map by making a visit to Wexford, Ireland in person. So this was WELL WORTH IT.

The librarian told me that they had all the microfilms for the County Wexford Catholic parish records on hand. I told her that I did research in these records at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and the film the NLI had for the Oulart parish didn’t start until after 1830. I told her that I had found out through a paid record request to the County Wexford Genealogy Centre that some earlier records existed for that parish and I was hoping that during my visit to County Wexford that I might be able to browse these earlier records. She told me that the microfilms they had were identical to those available at the NLI and they did not have any of the earlier records. She told me that those earlier records for Oulart had been found years after the filming was done and those records were submitted to the Wexford Genealogy Centre for indexing. I told her that I tried to contact the Wexford Genealogy Centre prior to my departure to Ireland to make an appointment to meet with one of their genealogists. She told me that the Centre had lost its charter (due to poor service) from the Irish Family History Foundation and the Centre was now closed and all their records were sent to the centre in Kildare. This is why the Irish Family History Foundation does not yet have the County Wexford records online. I had planned on visiting the Wexford Genealogy Centre, but now it was closed and it was too late to include Kildare in my travel plans. I am convinced that if I would have been able to browse these earlier records, I would have found several additional records of the Frampton Irish, as I believe that the Catholic Parish of Oulart was the epicenter of the Frampton Irish heartland. This was a great DISAPPOINTMENT. But at least the mystery of what happen to the Wexford Genealogy Centre was solved. It also was once again illustrative on how the Irish Family History Foundations seems to have a monopoly on the indices for early Catholic parish registers. Oh well, nobody has said that Irish genealogy is easy!

Then I showed the librarian some of the references I had found that indicated that the County Wexford library had some microfilms for very early Wexford Town newspapers. I was hoping to look at the local Wexford Town newspapers to see if any references are made to ship departures for Canada. But, she told me those references were in error and that the earliest Wexford Town newspapers were on microfilm and retained at the NLI. I had just come from there and my travel plans were to return to Dublin on a Sunday when the NLI is closed and then departure for home on Monday morning. This was another DISAPPOINTMENT. I thought to myself that I should have made my plans in an opposite manner to visit Wexford Town first and then go to Dublin second. But the County Wexford library did have some early Finn’s Leinster Journal newspapers were I found some interesting items. I found a July 4, 1798 announcement of amnesty for the insurgents of the 1798 Rebellion to voluntarily surrender and the conditions of that. I also found a March 19, 1806 article that was about the ultimate release of the State Prisoners being held for rebellion in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. This was another "proof" concerning my Frampton Irish ancestor Miles Murphy who had been at Kilmainham, because he left Ireland in 1806, the same year as the release. However, his name was not included in the article, but the article said "the remainder of the State Prisoners will be liberated immediately." Then the library also had an 1831 edition of the Wexford Independent (published in Wexford Town) and in the February 11, 1831 edition I found an article reprinted from the Quebec Gazette that discussed emigration and new settlement in Quebec in 1830. The article even mentioned Frampton. So I did get some research done at the County Wexford library that I would not have been able to do anywhere else, so that was WELL WORTH IT.

While at the library, I also discovered that local history in County Wexford is generally researched and published in "hard copy" journals. The primary journals for the Frampton Irish heartland are the Blackwater Journal, The Past (concerned with the area of Oulart), and The Journal of the Wexford Historical Society. These journals are published annually and distributed to the members and subscribers of the parent organizations and the library had only certain copies but not all that have been published. I was able to find the latest Journal of the Wexford Society for sale at a local bookstore so I bought it and it had several articles of interest to a person with ancestors from Wexford. I also discovered that the County Wexford library has a number of things online of interest to those with Wexford ancestors. The library website can be found at To access the online resources, click on library catalog from the main page. Then click on online library. Then click on browse. Some copies of journals (The Past and Wexford Historical Society) can be found under the heading of "Local History Journals." Another item of interest is the History of the Diocese of Ferns. Under the heading of "Catholic Parishes in County Wexford" can be found listings of the parishes and all the names of their respective townlands. Also, the Evolution of the Catholic Parishes was a publication where I learned that the Catholic Parish of Kilmuckridge had earlier been known as the Catholic Parish of Killincooley.

While staying in Wexford Town, I had the opportunity to walk around town a lot. I saw the monument to the "pikemen" of 1798, as Wexford Town was one of the locations that had taken and under control of the insurgents of 1798. I also found the monument to Commodore Barry. He was original from County Wexford, but after emigrating to the United States, he became known as the "father of the American Navy." But perhaps the greatest site in Wexford Town for a person with Wexford emigrant ancestors was the Wexford Quay (waterfront). The Quay is on Loch Garman which is the estuary bay of the Slaney River. The Wexford Quay would have been one of the most accessible ports for the Frampton Irish emigrants to depart from. With a little imagination, I could almost picture old sailing ships tied up to the quay ready to take passengers to the New World. This was potentially where my Frampton Irish ancestors stepped off from their beloved Ireland onto a ship that would take them to a strange new place. They may have continued to look back towards the quay until it disappeared from sight and they would never return. But here I was 200 years later caught in a moment of wonderment about that fateful event. Sitting on the bench on the Wexford Quay was WELL WORTH IT.

Wexford Town is sort of a tourist location for people from other parts of Europe. I noticed on Saturday, that there were "bagpipe bands" and other musical and dancing entertainment on the main shopping street. This was an unexpected pleasure for me. I stayed busy with research and exploring each day I spent in Wexford Town.

Some records have been found for the Frampton Irish in the records of the Catholic Parish of Wexford Town. Although, the church where those events occurred is long gone. In the 1850s, two "twin" churches were built in Wexford Town to serve the Catholic parishes of the time. These churches are still standing today and are active parishes. If one of these churches was located in my town of Boise, Idaho it would be equivalent of our diocese cathedral. As one of these churches was no more than two blocks from the B & B I was staying at, I decided to attend the Saturday vigil mass. The church was almost filled. It was delightful to hear the prayers and hymns in the Irish accent. It was somewhat of a magical experience. It dawned on me as I left, that somewhere in that church were undoubtedly people who were probably related to me in some way. I may have even looked them in the eye! But after 200 years of separation, how could the connection ever be made?

In my next blog, I will share the adventures of my "drive around" in County Wexford.

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