Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - O'Mara - Contents

Stephen O'Mara

Stephen O'Mara and Ellen Pigott.
Detail of 1905 photo. See larger.

Stephen O'Mara,
born 26 Dec 1844, Limerick.
Parnellite MP. Free State Senator.
See Wikipedia.
His earliest memories were of the Famine (1845-1852).
[PAT/1, p.5] says: "He could remember the faces of hungry men, and people falling in the streets, faint from lack of food".
He became a successful bacon merchant.
Started work in his father's company, O'Mara's Bacon Company, in 1860, age 15, and over his life helped it grow massively.
Member of radical Fenian (IRB) movement in 1860s.
A Fenian leader in Limerick, David Murphy (born 1831), recalls in 1924 letter Stephen O'Mara joining the Fenians as a young recruit in 1862 (age 17).
Stephen's 1925 election leaflet says he was involved in "the movement of '67", i.e. the Fenian Rising of 1867.
Listed as "provision merchant", living Limerick, at mar 1867.

Stephen mar 1867 to Ellen Pigott [bapt 3 Apr 1845].
Listed as "provision merchant" at children's births. His wife worked in the O'Mara family business with him.

They were living Chapel St (beside St.Michael's RC church, Denmark St), Limerick, at Mary's birth 1868.
They lived on Roches St, centre of new town, Limerick, at least 1871 to 1886. (Same street as his parents and O'Mara's factory.)
Stephen and Ellen were living 22 Roches St as at children's birth's in 1871-1880.
Like his father, he was an early supporter of Isaac Butt's Home Rule movement. Member (with his father) of the famous Butt Committee, which secured Butt's election for Limerick city, in by-election, 20 Sept 1871. See letter of 5 Sept 1871. This was not the first Home Rule seat (there were others earlier in 1871), but its first big urban seat, a turning point for them.

Lot of travel: Family letters shows that in the 1870s and 1880s Stephen went to Liverpool and London a lot on business. Ellen kept the business running in Limerick while he was away. Many letters also show either Stephen or Ellen on long breaks out of Limerick, usually in Kilkee or Lisdoonvarna, Co.Clare. They also used telegrams to communicate when separated.

Murder case: In 1879, Stephen gave evidence at the murder of one of O'Mara's customers in a mugging. He is not yet described as a councillor. The murder victim, Michael Maher, a general dealer, age nearly 70, had come from Thurles to Limerick with plenty of cash on his person. He purchased bacon and other goods from O'Mara's on Roches St on Fri 10 Oct 1879, at which time he had a bit of drink taken. That evening he was robbed, beaten and thrown into the Shannon to drown. Stephen O'Mara gave evidence at identification of the body on Sat 11 Oct 1879. See Irish Times, October 13, 1879.

Irish nationalist politics:
Stephen pledged his support to the Land League at its founding, Oct 1879. Charles Stewart Parnell was president. See item in Irish Times, October 22, 1879.
He became a Town Councillor (T.C.) on Limerick Corporation. [DIB] says he was elected T.C. 1881.
He is listed as Town Councillor for Shannon Ward in [Thoms] at least 1882 to 1898.
Stephen and Ellen were living 31 Roches St from at least Nell's birth 1882 to 1886 [family letters].
While in Limerick Corporation, he successfully opposed the imposition of an RIC tax on the ratepayers. Nationalists were opposed to the RIC.
Parnell in 1882 reformed the Home Rule party as the Irish Parliamentary Party (also called the Nationalist Party, the Home Rule party and the Parnellite party). Stephen became a supporter, and later an MP.
Stephen was living 31 Roches St when he reported death of his 1st cousin Mary Anne Lynch in Aug 1883. He was executor of her will.
In letter of 8 Oct 1883 he is in London, and "Called on Mr. Parnell" and is meeting him again.
He is listed as "TC" (Town Councillor) at dinner to celebrate the granting of the Freedom of Limerick to Michael Davitt in 1884. See Politics and Speech by Michael Davitt in [McMahon and Flynn, 1996].
He was Mayor of Limerick 1885 (would be approximately the calendar year, Jan 1885 - Jan 1886). See the Town Hall, Limerick.
He was the first Mayor of Limerick elected on a Nationalist ticket.
He criticised the running of The Limerick Athenaeum in 1885, saying: "The Athenaeum is for the general benefit of the citizens .. not a closed borough". See Quotations in [McMahon and Flynn, 1996].

The Prince of Wales story:
While he was Mayor, the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII) came to Ireland on a visit (must be the Royal visit to Ireland, 8-27 April 1885).
The luggage train was sent on to Limerick in advance. [Pat Lavelle] says: "Grandfather met the train and talked to the equerry in his quiet, friendly way, and explained again quite firmly that there would be no question of a civic welcome. The luggage was not derailed. The Prince of Wales did not visit Limerick. Grandfather had no opportunity to refuse a knighthood and practically nobody knew anything about the incident then or later."
All the poor Limerick lacemakers had made robes, etc, as gift for Queen Victoria's family. [Pat Lavelle] says: "Grandmother felt badly about leaving it in the hands of the poor people who made it" so she bought it off them for her own family.
This is the origin of the O'Mara wedding veil in which many O'Mara daughters and granddaughters have been married (presumably pictured here).
About 15 years later, his brother the opera singer was introduced to the same Prince of Wales when he sang in London.
Mayor of Limerick 1886 (second term, would be approximately the calendar year, Jan 1886 - Jan 1887).
During his second term as Mayor, he became an MP.

Home Rule MP, Feb-July 1886:
He served as a Home Rule (Parnellite) MP for Queen's County Ossory 12 Feb 1886 to 9 July 1886.
Nominated unopposed 12 Feb 1886 when Arthur O'Connor, the winner of the 4 Dec 1885 general election, chose to sit elsewhere.
He wrote letters on House of Commons notepaper to his wife in March to June 1886. See here and here. In a letter of 6 Mar 1886 he says: "I am full of fight and rather surprised myself at the capacity of argument I have developed."
The First Home Rule Bill was introduced on 8 April 1886, and months of debate began.
In May 1886, Stephen was in London. His 12 year old son James wrote to him: "Will you send a message when you get Home Rule?"
In one letter to his wife from the House of Commons, 12 May 1886, he writes of domestic affairs and then says "The division bell is ringing, I must be off".
In letters of 17-18 May 1886 he says he is staying at lodgings in 35 Norfolk St, London. (Later in 1895 his son James is found at the same lodgings.)
His old friend Fr. Edward O'Dwyer (also here) was appointed Bishop of Limerick on 18 May 1886.
Letter of 21 May 1886 is not optimistic about the Bill: "in fact we are almost sure of being beaten this time".
Letter of 27 May 1886 says if there is another general election he will not stand: "the probabilities are, there will be a dissolution and a general election, in that case, I am free, and Ossory will have an opportunity of finding another representative. We will part with mutual feelings of relief and without a regret at either side."
He writes letter on 7 June 1886 just before the vote: "Tis now 12 o'clock and the excitement has intensified. We are likely to be beaten but it will be no disappointment to us. We are quite prepared for it and satisfied."
The Home Rule Bill was defeated on 7 June 1886. Ayes 311, Noes 341. A new general election was called.
He did not stand in 9 July 1886 general election.
He did NOT practice obstructionism. (That was his son James.)
See his contributions to parliament in 1886. And here.

He lived Hartstonge House, Limerick, from 1886 [family letters] to at least 1908 [date on a photo].
Kate Sullivan, the wife of Timothy Daniel Sullivan, Lord Mayor of Dublin, wrote to Ellen, 25 Sept 1886, asking her to join a delegation of the wives of leading Irish nationalists in making a presentation to Gladstone on 4 Oct at Chester, of the "Women of Ireland's declaration in favour of Home Rule". It is later clear that Stephen went to Chester but Ellen did not.

High Sheriff of Limerick city 1888: He was High Sheriff of Limerick City for 1888, succeeding his father.
See appointment reported in Irish Times, December 21, 1887. And heading.

Visits America in May-June 1888: He was wealthy enough to visit America on business in the 1880s, and see relations, and come back. See letters during his visit. He went on the RMS Umbria from Liverpool to New York. He got on at Liverpool, Sat 12 May 1888. It stopped at Queenstown on the way. Arrived New York on Sun 20 May 1888. He kept a diary on board ship.
He visited Pigott relations in New York. When he arrived in New York he left his card with Sir Thomas Esmonde, 11th Baronet, who was staying there.
He visited O'Mara relations in Canada. His visit was noted on p.5 of The Catholic Record, 9 June 1888.
Letter of 18 June says he struggles to describe America: "to me it seems one busy seething mass of human beings in the cities, and in the country there is a vastness and grandeur indescribable." He returned in late June 1888.

Jailed for politics in 1889: He was imprisoned for a few days in Limerick Gaol, Feb 1889.
Articles in Irish Times, Wed 23 Jan 1889 and Tue 29 Jan 1889 and Sat 2 Feb 1889 describe the prosecution of David Sheehy, MP and other nationalists for conspiracy to prevent new tenants moving into evicted farms. The charges concerned a series of public meetings held at Castleconnell, first on 20 May 1888, and another on 28 (or 22) Oct 1888. At the latter 1500-2000 people were there, including O'Mara. Speeches were made. It was charged that these meetings were to intimidate a tenant who was moving into an evicted farm. He was denounced at these meetings and afterwards abandoned the farm.
The case was held at Castleconnell, Mon 28 Jan 1889. "Among others in court were ... Mr. Stephen O'Meara, High Sheriff". The prosecutor was a Mr. Morphy. Sheehy was sentenced on Tue 29 Jan 1889.
The newspaper does not record a sentence for O'Mara. But the trial clearly fits his letters from prison.
In a letter of 3 Feb 1889 he is in prison, and being visited by "scores" of political supporters. "I want you Nell to take a cheerful view of the matter. ... [I] am determined to enjoy my time as I would a brief holiday."
In a letter of 4 Feb he asks his wife not to visit him in prison because he thinks it will stress her: "Many thanks for your loving letter, and still more for your self-sacrifice in not coming to see me." He says he is being treated very well.
He only spent a few days in prison. On 8 Feb he is already free and in Liverpool on business.

There is some confusion about his jailing:
[Lavelle, 1961] said that Stephen was summoned to court before Ballyneety Petty Sessions, with Edward Carson as prosecutor. He was asked as a Crown witness to disclose what was said at a meeting of the Irish Party leaders at which Parnell presided. He refused, and was jailed. This does not fit with what the newspaper says though.
His obituary said he was jailed "under the Forster regime" (William Edward Forster, Chief Secretary for Ireland 1880-82, died 1886). This also does not fit.

Alderman of Limerick. He is listed as "provision merchant and Alderman" at Kat's birth Sept 1889 [GROI].
He was a friend of William Abraham, Irish Parliamentary Party MP. Letters from Abraham to him in Dec 1889 to 1892 survive. [Guiry, 2016, p.23] says Abraham was a partner of the O'Maras in the Russian Bacon Company.
He was made one of the 3 trustees of the Irish Parliamentary Party funds 1890.
When Irish Parliamentary Party split over Parnell in 1890-91, he remained loyal to Parnell.
He met Parnell after his fall, alone at a railway station, with no one to meet him, "who but a year before, had been the idol of thousands" [Lavelle, 1961].
He was at Parnell's deathbed in Brighton, 6th Oct 1891, "and was one of the Members who accompanied his coffin to Dublin".
After the Parnell split, he remained as trustee of Irish Parliamentary Party funds, devoted himself to the reunion of Nationalist forces (which occurred under Redmond in 1900).
He is in London on political business at the House of Lords in letters of 17 and 18 May 1892. And see letters of 19 and 20 May 1892.
He was admitted as a member of the Catholic Institute, Limerick at meeting of 10 June 1892.

After the Parnell split, Stephen continued as Town Councillor (now Alderman) on Limerick Corporation, and bacon merchant.
He is listed as "Alderman" at his brother Jim's death and funeral in July 1893.
"Stephen O'Mara" sp bapt of his niece Nora O'Mara 1897.
"Ellen O'Mara" sp bapt of her niece Susan O'Mara 1898.
He is listed as Alderman for Shannon Ward, Limerick, in [Thoms, 1898].
He was re-elected to Limerick City Council Jan 1899.
[Modern Ireland, 1899] describes him as head of O'Mara's bacon company, and says he was also a member of the Limerick Harbour Commissioners, a Limerick Poor Law Guardian, a Governor of Barrington's Hospital and St.John's Fever Hospital, and a Trustee of the Limerick Savings Bank.
He is listed as "Alderman" at time of his son James' election as an MP 1900.

They are listed in 1901 census at Hartstonge House. He is "bacon merchant". Two servants living with the family.
He attended Dr. David Humphreys' funeral 1903 (their families knew each other, but they were not yet joined by marriage). He is listed as "Alderman".
Described as Alderman at funeral of his sister Nannie 1905.
He purchased Donnelly's bacon factory, Dublin, 1906.
He was one of the promoters of the Munster-Connaught Exhibition, Limerick, 1906.
President of Limerick Chamber of Commerce.

Leaving the Home Rule Party:
His son James resigned from the Home Rule Party (the Irish Parliamentary Party) in June 1907 and joined Sinn Fein.
Stephen says in letters in June 1907 that he understands James' decision.
Stephen resigned trusteeship of Home Rule Party funds in 1908, broadly agreeing with his son James' position. He says in letter of 8 Apr 1908: "I have sent my resignation to Redmond." (John Redmond was party leader.)
He would have resigned as Town Councillor (and Alderman) in 1908.

They are still at Hartstonge House as at letter of 11 June 1908.
They moved c.1909 to Strand House, Limerick.
They were living Strand House as at letter of 25 Jan 1910.
At Strand House when Ellen's marriage was announced in Aug 1910. See telegrams in Aug 1910 and Sept 1910. See photos of her wedding day at Strand House on 11 Oct 1910.

Ellen dies, 1910:
In letter of 23 Aug 1910, Stephen tells his son James that Ellen is in bad health. He encourages James to come over to visit her.
She died of cancer, Strand House, 26 Oct 1910, age 65 yrs, only 2 weeks after her dau Ellen's wedding.
She was bur 26 Oct 1910 at Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.
See death notice (and title) in Irish Times, October 27, 1910.

Stephen is listed at Strand House in [Census, 1911]. He is "chairman of bacon factory". His widowed daughter Mary Rynne is there with him.
High Sheriff of Limerick city 1913 and 1914: He was High Sheriff of Limerick City for 1913 and 1914.
He is described as "City High Sheriff" at funeral of William de Courcy 1 May 1915.
His grand-dau Pat Lavelle in [PAT/1, p.4] recalled him as "slight and finely made with a reddish beard and grey blue eyes that saw a lot." He "owned a broughm and a dogcart and a sidecar". His grandchildren used to love riding in the sidecar over the cobbled streets of Limerick.

He co-founded the Irish Nation League with Patrick Little in 1916, as an alternative to the Home Rule party in response to the 1916 Rising. [DIB] says: "The League was established to cater for those who were disillusioned with Redmond and his followers but were reluctant to support the doctrine of physical force." Not to be confused with Parnell's earlier movement, the Irish National League.
In Apr 1917 he was elected member of organizing committee of the National Council to put Ireland's case before proposed post-war Peace Conference (which did not happen until Jan 1919).

The Baronetcy story:
In Apr 1918, during WW1, there was an attempt to introduce conscription to Ireland. "It was a common belief in our family that grandfather was approached at this time, and offered a baronetcy if he would support conscription - and that he refused the offer" [Lavelle, 1961].

Change to Sinn Fein, 1918:
His son James helped persuade the Irish Nation League to merge with Sinn Fein in 1918.
"Just prior to the General Elections of 1918" [Dec 1918] "when the Irish Party were so signally defeated by Sinn Fein, Mr.O'Mara had espoused the latter side in politics, and to use his own words, he 'broke with life long ties', giving all his support and encouragement to the new movement, subscribing to its funds with his usual characteristic liberality".

War of Independence: See Apr 1921 interview, during the War of Independence.
In May 1921, in a time of great strain, his son James was attempting to resign from his position in the US. Stephen would not hear of it: "Tell Jim not to stab his country in the hour of her agony. I am hurt beyond words". But his son, for once, would not listen to him.
He lived to see Irish independence.

The Treaty, 1921: On 5 Dec 1921, De Valera was staying the night in Strand House, as the Treaty was being signed in London.
Talking in the drawing room, Dev asked: "I have always wanted to know, Mr. O'Mara, what you thought of Parnell". Stephen: "I'll tell you what I thought of Parnell - if he and I were walking across Sarsfield Bridge together and he said to me jump in the river I would jump in".
He was strongly pro-Treaty.
He was a senior figure at the Irish peace conference, Dublin, 13 April 1922, hoping to make peace between pro and anti Treaty factions.
He is described as an "ex-Alderman" in his son's biography, 1923.
He was called "the Governor" as a pet name by his own family.
He lived to see one great-grandchild, Ruaire Lavelle (born 1924). See 4 generations photo.

Free State Senator, 1925-1926:
He was a Free State Senator from Sept 1925 to death July 1926. Elected to Free State Senate in Sept 1925 election.
See his 1925 election leaflet.

Stephen dies, 1926:
He died Mon 26 July 1926, Limerick, age 81 yrs.
Obituary describes him as "head" of O'Mara's bacon company, says he was walking at mid-day from his office in Limerick to Strand House when he collapsed, taken home and died.
[Muffie de Courcy] said he collapsed coming over Sarsfield Bridge (the bridge leading to Strand House).
See obituary and photo in Irish Times, July 27, 1926.
See item in Irish Times, July 28, 1926. This says the flag is at half mast at Limerick town hall, and notes messages of sympathy from W.T. Cosgrave and Sir Thomas Esmonde, 11th Baronet and Mary MacSwiney and Cardinal O'Donnell (a fellow trustee of Irish Parliamentary Party funds).
Funeral Wed 28 July 1926, bur Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.
Funeral attendance included De Valera, William Redmond and Thomas Westropp Bennett and Patrick Clancy and James Ledden and John Nolan and the Mayor of Limerick and many other local and national politicians.
See item (and heading) in Irish Times, July 30, 1926. This notes message of sympathy from David Keane, Bishop of Limerick.
See brief tribute in the Senate, 19 Nov 1926.
His son James in letter of 26 Nov 1926 says: "his memory pervades my thoughts every day".
Many of his letters survive. See Rynne papers.
Stephen and Ellen had issue:

  1. Mary O'Mara,
    born 8 May 1868, Chapel St, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt Maria, 10 May 1868 [St.John's, Limerick].
    She is the baby mentioned in letter of 19 Aug 1868.
    Stephen mentions her in letter of July 1872 to his wife: "I was thinking all along the way that Mary was sick from all she cried yesterday and you may be sure I blamed myself for being the cause of it."
    In letter of 9 July 1872 to his wife he says: "Let Mary write to me if she's a good girl".
    She died of diphtheria [NOT typhoid], Roches St, Limerick, 22 Sept 1872 [GROI], age 4 yrs.
    She was bur Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.

  2. Patrick O'Mara,
    Paddy, born 22 Mar 1870 [family bible],
    can't find birth in [GROI],
    bapt 24 Mar 1870 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    He died of diphtheria, Roches St, Limerick, 11 Oct 1872 [GROI], [family bible], or 8 Oct 1872 [grave], [P40/190], age 2 yrs.
    He was bur Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.

  3. James O'Mara,
    Jim, born 11 Nov 1871, Roches St, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt 12 Nov 1871 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    He died of diphtheria, Roches St, Limerick, 8 Oct 1872 [GROI], [family bible], or 11 Oct 1872 [grave], [P40/190], age 11 months.
    He was bur Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.

    There is an undated letter from Stephen in Roches St to Ellen (maybe on holiday in Co.Clare), apparently 1871-72: "Kiss Paddy, Mary and Jim for me ... Your Mama and Dada is quite well and strong, so am I." This must be the first Paddy, Mary and Jim, rather than the second, since Ellen's father is alive (pre-1873). Probably summer 1872.
    As at mid-Sept 1872 they had 3 children.
    One month later they had none. All three children were dead.

  4. James O'Mara,
    second James,
    Jim, James Mary,
    his parents sometimes call him "Jem" in letters,
    born 6 Aug 1873, Roches St, Limerick,
    see birth cert from here,
    bapt 8 Aug 1873 [St.Michael's, Limerick], sp Andrew Lynch and Margaret O'Mara.

  5. Fr. Paddy O'Mara, S.J.,
    second Patrick,
    Patrick Joseph O'Mara,
    [family bible] says Patrick Mary O'Mara (every other sibling had Mary as first or middle name) but baptism says Patrick Joseph,
    born 13 Mar 1875, Roches St, Limerick [GROI],
    one obituary thought born 18 Mar but bapt shows that is wrong,
    bapt 15 Mar 1875 [St.Michael's, Limerick], sp Thomas Ray and Bridget Kiely.
    See bapt cert. From J/552/52.
    Martin O'Mara writes from Canada on 3 June 1875: "I am ... still prouder to hear we have one Pat in the family anyhow may he live long to enjoy the name." (Perhaps insensitive because they already had a child Patrick who died. In any case, this second Patrick lived until 1969.)
    Family sometimes called him "Pad".
    A letter of 25 May 1881 survives from his father (in Limerick with some of the children) to his mother (away in Dublin): "poor Paddy cried last night when saying goodnight to me and when I asked him what ailed him, he blubbered more and said he wanted his Mama."

  6. Mary O'Mara,
    second Mary, "Moll",
    born 11 June 1876 [family bible], Roches St, Limerick,
    see birth cert from here,
    bapt Mary, 12 June 1876 [St.Michael's, Limerick].

  7. Joe O'Mara,
    Joseph Mary,
    born 21st May 1878, 22 Roches St, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt 22nd May 1878 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    Stephen writes an undated letter to Ellen, sometime when Joe is little and Ellen is elsewhere: "As for Joe, he made three separate attempts today to go to the Railway and was caught once at the Railway gate. He cried enough, not loud but deep as he would not be allowed go to his Mama."

  8. Norrie O'Mara,
    Nora, Nor, Nonie, Noney, think NOT Norah,
    "Hanora Mary" in [family bible],
    born "Nora Mary", 3 Mar 1880, 22 Roches St, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt "Honora Mary", 4 Mar 1880 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    Her name comes from Nora, NOT from Noreen. Although her daughter is definitely Noreen.
    She must be named after her grandmother Honora Foley who had just died 1878.
    She appears as an infant in letter of 24 Aug 1881: "Noney is all but talking. You never heard so much chat."

  9. Nell O'Mara,
    Ellen, Nelly, Nellie,
    born "Ellen Mary", 6 June 1882, 31 Roches St, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt "Mary", 7 June 1882 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    Family bible incorrectly says born 13 June.
    See Wikipedia.
    Pioneer (with her husband James Mark Sullivan) of Irish film.
    She was educ at a school in London. Think the school in Highgate where her sisters went.
    See letters from London on 19 June 1894 and 21 July 1894 mentioning Nell.
    Living Strand House at mar.
    Marriage was announced in Aug 1910. See telegrams in Aug 1910 and Sept 1910.
    She mar 11 Oct 1910 to Jim Sullivan [born 6 January 1870] and had issue.

  10. Stephen O'Mara,
    born 5 Jan 1884, 31 Roches St, Limerick [GROI], or 4 Jan 1884 [family bible].
    [DIB] thinks born 28 December 1883.
    He was bapt "Stephen Mary", 5 Jan 1884 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    His father writes in a letter to his mother, 12 Oct 1886: "Stephen loves me "that big much", but his arms are not long enough to show how much he loves his Mama."

  11. Phons O'Mara,
    Alphonsus, Phonso, Phonsie, Phonse,
    born 13 Oct 1887, Hartstonge House, Limerick [GROI],
    [family bible] is wrong to say 1886,
    bapt "Alphonsus Mary", 13 Oct 1887 [St.Michael's, Limerick].

  12. Kat O'Mara,
    Kathleen Mary O'Mara, Cat, NOT Katherine or Catherine,
    born 9 Sept 1889, Hartstonge House, Limerick [GROI],
    bapt 14 Sept 1889 [St.Michael's, Limerick].
    She is not at home in census 1901, maybe at boarding school.
    In 1911 census she is found at her brother James' house in London.
    Letter of 7 Nov 1916 refers to her engagement.
    She mar 10 Jan 1917 to Billie de Courcy and had issue.
    See notice in Irish Times, 20 Jan 1917.
    They mar at St.Munchin's, Limerick [GROI]. They were mar by her brother Fr.Paddy.

  13. Another child, O'Mara, who died immediately after birth.
    See notes in [P40/190]. This lists the 3 children who died in 1872, and their ages at death, and then has "(illegible name) died immediately after birth". Name looks like "Angel". Maybe the baby was never named.

    • Family bible only lists the 12 children though.
    • There is an undated letter from Stephen to Ellen where he says: "Kiss Peter James and John for me."
    • There is a family tree in the Rynne family which appears to list a child "Peter".
    • John O'Sullivan listed another child, "Sheila O'Mara, born 1890", but think this is an error, confusion with Sheila O'Mara.

Baronetcy story: Stephen was apparently offered a baronetcy if he would support conscription in 1918, and he refused.
If he had accepted, he would have been the 1st Baronet.
James would have been the 2nd Baronet.

What might have been:
Stephen O'Mara among the 311 MPs voting for the first Home Rule Bill on 7 June 1886.
However they were defeated by 341 Noes against the bill.
From p.1241 of Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, vol.CCCVI, May-June 1886.
By 30 votes, the door closed on an alternative history of Ireland.

Stephen O'Mara, his wife and children, must be 1890 (by age of Kat).
Back (Left to Right): Joe, Paddy, Mary, James.
Middle: Nell, Norrie, Stephen O'Mara, Ellen Pigott.
Front: Phons (born Oct 1887), Kat (born Sept 1889), Stephen.

The house where Parnell died in 1891, 10 Walsingham Terrace, Hove, Brighton.
Stephen O'Mara was at his deathbed.
Walsingham Terrace was what is now the stretch of Kingsway between Carlisle Road and Walsingham Road (see map). It is now re-developed.
The Parnell house is gone, but there is a plaque on the apartment block at the site. See street view of plaque.
Image from here at English Heritage.

Baptism of James O'Mara, 8 Aug 1873 [St.Michael's, Limerick].


Apr 1921 interview of Stephen O'Mara

In Apr 1921, during the War of Independence, Stephen O'Mara was interviewed by the British writer Wilfrid Ewart.
This was published in A Journey in Ireland 1921, Wilfrid Ewart, published Apr 1922.
See p.85 and pp.86-87 and p.88 and p.92 and p.94 and p.96.

Stephen O'Mara's son, the younger Stephen O'Mara, the new Mayor of Limerick, had just been arrested, on the morning of this interview.
Ewart quotes old Stephen O'Mara as saying, looking back on the last 5 years: "The rising of 1916 gave a new soul to Ireland; she found her soul that day."
Old Stephen O'Mara says that if a settlement is reached: "Ireland can be counted on as a loyal friend. England, you must bear in mind, is our natural market for eggs, butter, bacon, cattle, and linen. We might find other markets for ourselves, but England is the natural one and always will be."

Wilfrid Ewart describes old Stephen O'Mara: "One of the most temperate and broad-minded men I came across in the South was Mr. S. O'Mara ... Of him it was said by a British officer, "If all Sinn Feiners were like O'Mara, this Irish question would soon be settled.""


Stephen's letters to his wife Ellen

Stephen wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Ellen. He was devoted to her.
In the letters, she is "Nell" and he is "Stout".
He has some great turns of phrase. Here are a few quotes:


AI animations

AI animations of old photos.
Made using Deep Nostalgia at MyHeritage.

AI animation of Stephen O'Mara in 1905 photo.

AI animation of Ellen Pigott in 1905 photo.



Sources yet to be consulted



Pictures of Stephen O'Mara


"I have got a letter" [when ship stopped at Queenstown] "from my dear wife, full of cheerfulness, sanguine and hopeful, so like herself, unselfish. I know she forced herself to write in that strain, for she always loved her Stout, ... I wonder what would become of me if I had not met her, most likely an early death, for I had no good in me when she married me and whatever is in me now, is due to her gentle and long influence"
- Diary of Stephen O'Mara on board ship on his trip to America, 1888.

"Thank God that we lived to see Jem's birthday ... May you and I live to celebrate his 21st birthday as content and as happy as we are today. It may be that God may not leave him to us, if so welcome be His Holy Will."
- Stephen in letter of 7 Aug 1877 to his wife, just after the 4th birthday of James (the second James). After the death of their children, they do not know what the future holds. In fact, they both did live to see James' 21st birthday in 1894.

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