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My ancestors - O'Rahilly - Contents


Dr. Michael Joseph Rahilly




Dr. Michael Joseph Rahilly, c.1865 (before his death in 1866).
From [P106/41].
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Dr. Michael Joseph Rahilly,
surgeon in Royal Navy,
born 27 Jan 1838,
grew up Ballylongford, Co.Kerry,
educ boarding school, Springfield House school, Ennis, Co.Clare (later the home of Rynne), he was there as at 1851-52,
educ boarding school, Killarney College, Killarney (near what is now College St, see old map),
poss. educ Tralee College,
educ boarding school, Clongowes, Co.Kildare, left probably 1855.

He was NOT educ France. This was confusion between a letter from his sister Margaret from France in maybe 1853 and a confraternity card of his nephew The O'Rahilly ("Michael Raleigh") in Paris in 1895 [P102/61].

He studied medicine.
Entered Queen's College, Cork for academic year 1855-56, guardian Mr. R. Spence, 7 Nile St, Cork.
He was brilliant scholar, great linguist.
Became friends with the scholar and writer Dr. George Sigerson (born 1836, studied medicine at Queen's College, Cork, from 1856).
Letters [P102/583] show some of his lectures were held in Dublin.
MD 1859 (Doctor of Medicine), 1st place in practice of medicine, living Ballylongford at time.
See Irish Times, June 29, 1859.
He was said (e.g. in [P106/160]) to be the first medical graduate of Cork university, but this is not true.
LRCS Edin (Licentiate Royal Coll Surgeons Edinburgh) 1859.
Listed as of London as at 21 Dec 1859 [P102/208(80)].
[Sighle's papers, P106/15] (14 in index) is a letter of 8 Apr, c.1860, where he says his friend George Sigerson is trying to persuade him to study Irish.

Surgeon in Royal Navy, 1860-64:
He had distinguished, though short, career as surgeon in the Royal Navy.
Entered navy 1860. NOT officer.
Served on HMS Gladiator (launched 1844) from 1860 to 1864, in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
HMS Gladiator was wooden hull, paddle wheel propulsion, 2nd class frigate, launched 1844.
In Penzance, Cornwall, is the grave of his predecessor: "In affectionate remembrance of George Hext Bellringer, Jun., late acting assistant surgeon of H.M.S. "Gladiator", who departed this life near the Island of Bermuda, on the 4th November, 1859; aged 22 Years".

[O'Rahilly, 1991, p.6] says that when Michael Joseph was waiting to board ship at Queenstown, Co.Cork, he wrote to his brother Richard, asks him to "send me my favourite book" which he says is History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798, by William Hamilton Maxwell. His copy of the book is in [P102].
[O'Rahilly, 1991] thought this might show some early interest in nationalism, but in fact the opposite. Maxwell was an Ulster Protestant who served in the British Army, and the book is famous for its anti-Irish, simian depictions of the rebels. Liking this book shows how pro-British the Rahillys were.

Michael Joseph was appointed as an Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Navy on 6 Jan 1860.
He is listed among Assistant Surgeons in [Navy List, Mar 1860].
Notebook shows "My wandering from March 1860 to June 1861".
From 23rd Apr 1860 to 6th May 1860, he was on HMS Gladiator off Greytown, Nicaragua.

From 4th Feb 1861 to 5th Mar 1861, off "Vera Cruz", Mexico (Veracruz, on Gulf of Mexico).
From 21 Mar 1861 to 14 Apr 1861, Havana (Cuba).
The American Civil War started on 12 Apr 1861.
Left Havana on 14 Apr. On Thur 18 Apr 1861, his notebook says: "This evening it was so cold that I could scarcely smoke on deck".
On 19th Apr 1861, "estamos distante 200 milas de las Burmudos" (Bermuda).
From 20 to 22 Apr 1861, Bermuda.
On 28 Apr 1861, "360 miles from Halifax" (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada).
From 2 May 1861 to 31 May 1861, Halifax.
On 8 June 1861, off coast of Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
On 18 June 1861, Staten Island, New York City. "I see from my window the gigantic city lying before me".
On 30 June 1861, Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Still there (or there again) on 8 Aug.
On 17 and 18 Aug 1861, Staten Island, NY.
On 2 Sept 1861, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
They took on board the Governor of Nova Scotia, George Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby (then the Earl of Mulgrave). On Sept 7, 1861 the Governor arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, aboard the HMS Gladiator.

On 27th Sep 1862, off "Vera Crux" (must be Veracruz, Mexico).
On 21st Jun 1864, Barbados (Caribbean).

He treated young John Barrett, child of his 1st cousin Mary Barrett, must be in 1864. She later writes: "What a lovely gentleman he was. Only for God and him my old son would die at 2 years old" [P102/207(30)].

Death, 1866:
He got tuberculosis (NOT tropical fever).
In June 1865 he was in Ballybunion, Co.Kerry, with his sister Marianne. She reports on his health in a letter [P102/27].
He is listed among Assistant Surgeons in [Navy List, Sept 1865].
His mother died Jan 1866.
He rented an apartment at Queenstown Feb 1866 [P102/23].
He died unmarried, Sun 22 Apr 1866, Ballylongford, age 28 yrs, of tuberculosis [GROI], [death notice].
[P102/29] says died "Sunday April 20", but Sunday was the 22nd not the 20th.
See death notice in Nenagh Guardian, May 2, 1866.
He was bur Lislaughtin Abbey with his parents and his sister Margaret [P102/207(30)].
He is not listed in [Navy List, June 1866].




Michael J. Rahilly passes his medical exams in Cork to become MD, 1859.
From Irish Times, June 29, 1859.



Michael Joseph Rahilly in the list of Assistant Surgeons in [Navy List, Mar 1860].
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A sample illustration from Rahilly's "favourite book", showing the Irish 1798 rebels as sub-humans.
From p.66 of History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798, William Hamilton Maxwell, 4th edn, 1854.
Liking this book shows how pro-British the Rahillys were.



Picture of HMS Gladiator.
From Rahilly's notebook. Dated 1861.
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Rahilly at Veracruz ("Vera Cruz"), Mexico, Feb 1861.
From his notebook.
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Rahilly at Havana ("La Habana"), Cuba, April 1861.
From his notebook.
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