Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,
Michael Joseph Rahilly,
[P102/208(78 and 115)]
gives an account of him.
It implies that he grew up Killarney, not Ballylongford.
(His father may never have left Killarney.)
says that he was going for the priesthood.
But he fell in love with Margaret McEllistrem
when on a visit to his uncle
says his father was angry with him leaving the priesthood and cut him off.
[P102/208(81)] has a slightly different version. It says his uncle Fr. Daniel O'Sullivan was educating him at Ballylongford, that he fell in love, and then his uncle would have nothing more to do with him. It says his father was probably dead.
[P102/208(78 and 115)]
that Michael Joseph then tried to earn a living by acting as a "tutor"
But T.F. O'Rahilly says in [P102/172(1)] that this is just confusion caused by John O'Donoghue's testimonial from TCD (see following).
Michael Joseph received a testimonial dated 30 Jan 1833 from John O'Donoghue, "scholar, TCD". He probably needed this testimonial to join the police.
Policeman (member of County Constabulary):
Michael Joseph Rahilly joined the County Constabulary (later the Irish Constabulary, later the RIC).
He enlisted probably 1833. [P102/208(81)] says he stayed with them only 6 months.
He was possibly stationed in Mallow, Co.Cork.
[P102/208(115)] says "He was bought out by a priest at Mallow (or was prevailed upon to leave if purchase were unnecesary)".
He is not found in [RIC records] because he left too early.
"Michael Rahilly" and
"Margaret McEllistrum" (note maiden name)
sp the baptism of Michael's nephew
John Hickie 1834.
That is, they were friendly or engaged at this time,
but not yet married.
Maybe they had a long engagement because both families disapproved of the match.
He might be "Michael Rahilly" who wit marriage of Patrick Egan and Joanna Breen of Ballylongford, 27 February 1835 [Ballylongford RC par records].
He might be "Michael Rahilly" who sp bapt of Maurice Shanahan, son of Maurice Shanahan and Ellen Moloney, of Ballylongford, 12 May 1835 [Ballylongford RC par records].
married must be in 1836
(see date of business established)
to Margaret McEllistrem
Her family ran McEllistrem shop in Ballylongford.
They didn't want her to marry him. They disapproved since the police were considered below business. (Ironically, Margaret's nephew Edward McEllistrem later became a policeman in America.)
Michael Joseph was a shopkeeper in Ballylongford:
Margaret stayed in her home town of Ballylongford, set up shop with her husband just down road from her family's shop, McEllistrem's.
It had been thought that Michael Joseph was continuing a Rahilly family business in Ballylongford, but this may be the start of it.
Invoice of Richard Rahilly says the Ballylongford business was established 1836.
Margaret had a great head for business, and took all the local business from McEllistrem's shop down to Rahilly's shop. The McEllistrems grumbled about this into the 20th century.
He might be "Michael Rahilly" who wit marriage of John Fitzpatrick and Honora Hanrahan of Tarbert, 31st Jan 1837 [Ballylongford].
"Michael Rahilly" in letter of 1842 [P102/3].
He had a collection book in 1843 for Daniel O'Connell's Repeal fund. (Repeal of the Act of Union by peaceful means, quite a moderate cause for Catholics.) This is [P102/4].
The Famine incident, 1846:
A report in the Limerick Chronicle, June 1846, tells of an incident at Ballylongford during the Famine in 1846.
Government response to the start of Famine in 1845 had already by this time included the import of cheap food and a program of public works.
The Limerick Chronicle says that in June 1846, a rumour spread in Ballylongford that the local merchants were petitioning the government against any more cheap food imports. As a result, "a gang of labourers engaged on public works in that district rushed into the village armed with spades and shovels .. threatening to plunder the stores of Messrs Mulcachy, Blair and Rahilly."
The mob "attempted to break in to the concerns of Mr. Rahilly" and "his wife remonstrated, and was hustled about in the crowd". The mob then went down to Mr. Mulcahy's business and assaulted him.
When Richard Rahilly was carrying out repairs
to the old house in Ballylongford,
getting rid of thatch roof,
replacing with slate, he found a date in the rafter - 1847.
Michael Joseph is listed as "shop keeper" and "merchant" (deceased) at his sons' marriages.
His brother-in-law Richard Mac Ellestrem, of whom he was very fond, died Aug 1848. Michael Joseph built an impressive tomb for him at Lislaughtin Abbey.
Michael Joseph dies, 1849:
Michael Joseph died 7 Mar 1849 [P102/207(29-30)], age 38 yrs, leaving wife with small children. This was during the Famine.
[P102/208(81)] says he went to see a friend called Scanlan of Tullahennel (Aghavallen par), who had a fever. Michael Joseph caught the fever and died. Scanlan recovered.
He is bur (without inscription) in the vault of his brother-in-law Richard Mac Ellestrem in Lislaughtin Abbey, near Ballylongford.
Mary Barrett in [P102/207(30)] said: "Your grandpapa Rahilly took a place for a tomb in the Abbey after his brother-in-law dying. They buried him in the ground until the tomb would be made".
[P102/6] is application to take out probate by Margaret Rahilly, widow, dated 30 Aug 1849 (date 17 Sept 1849 on outside).
Mary Barrett (bapt 1835) writing in c.1906 [P102/207(29)] says to The O'Rahilly about his grandfather's death: "a sore loss to all his friends and family. Your good gran mother after his death gave more charity than Ballylongford was worth. A better woman never stood in Ballylongford since or before or ever will. She was loving and affectionate to all."
Margaret carries on the business:
Margaret carried on the business in Ballylongford, while bringing up children.
After the Famine (1845-50) the shop ran a ticket agency for people emigrating to America.
She pushed the children to go to school, university.
Managed to send her children to good schools in Ireland and France, Michael Joseph to university, and set up Tom in Tarbert.
It seems probable that her unmarried sister-in-law Margaret Rahilly helped run the shop.
[P106/14] (12 in index)
is letter from Margaret from Queenstown, 31 Aug 1857,
to her son Richard (age 17)
on how to run shop in her absence.
Margaret dies, 1866:
Michael Joseph and Margaret had issue:
The death of Michael Joseph in 1849.
Extract from [P102/208(81)].
The old Rahilly house, Ballylongford (now Finucane's pub).
Photo 2006. See full size.
Mac Ellestrem vault, Lislaughtin Abbey, Ballylongford.
Burial place of Michael Joseph Rahilly and his wife.
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