Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - O'Rahilly - Contents

Michael Joseph Rahilly

Michael Joseph Rahilly signs his name in his notebook at Ballylongford on Thur 3 May 1832.
See larger and full size.

Michael Joseph Rahilly,
"Michael", born 1810, bapt in Killarney, 6 Sept 1810.
Probably grew up Killarney and came to Ballylongford as a young man.
His uncle Fr. Daniel O'Sullivan was PP of Ballylongford, Co.Kerry, from 1823 until his death in June 1832.
Various of Michael Joseph's siblings came to Ballylongford from Killarney in 1831 or earlier, probably because of their uncle.
Michael Joseph was in Ballylongford by May 1832.
The McEllistrems had a story that he came to Ballylongford when he was posted there as a policeman, but it seems likely he came because his uncle was the PP. From the dates it seems he came to Ballylongford before he joined the police.

[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.) It says that he was going for the priesthood. But he fell in love with Margaret McEllistrem when on a visit to his uncle at Ballylongford. It 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.

The O'Rahilly thought in [P102/208(78 and 115)] that Michael Joseph then tried to earn a living by acting as a "tutor" in TCD.
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. O'Donoghue may be a relation of his.

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].

He married, must be in 1836, to Margaret McEllistrem [born 1812].
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.

"Mrs. Margaret Rahilly" is listed in [Griffiths Valuation, 1851] as follows:

[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.
[P102/583(1)] is transcript of letter from Margaret to her son Michael, 27 Jan 1858 (his 20th birthday).
[P102/583(2)] is transcript of letter from Margaret to her son Michael, 20 June, must be 1858.
Margaret's son Richard took over running the shop in Ballylongford c.1860.
She is listed as "shopkeeper" at death [GROI], note not "shopkeeper's widow".

Margaret dies, 1866:
She contracted lung tuberculosis c. Oct 1863 [GROI].
She died Sat 20 Jan 1866, Ballylongford, Co.Kerry, age 54 yrs [GROI]. Confirmed in [P102/29] and [P102/207(30)].
She is bur (without inscription) with her husband and brother in the "Mac Ellestrem" vault, Lislaughtin Abbey.
Their children Margaret and Dr. Michael Joseph were also bur there (without inscriptions).
The McEllistrems remembered that some Rahillys "came down from Dublin" to be bur there. The McEllistrems resented this. Michael McEllistrem (died 1930) used say: "I'll die a happy man if my affairs are settled and all the Rahillys are out of the tomb" (his father was also bur in the tomb but he himself got a new grave).
Michael Joseph and Margaret had issue:

  1. Dr. Michael Joseph Rahilly,
    surgeon in Royal Navy,
    called "Michael" by family,
    born 27 Jan 1838 [P102/9],
    bapt same day, 27 Jan 1838 [Ballylongford RC par records], NOT 27 Feb.

  2. Richard Rahilly,
    sometimes called "Dick" by family,
    born Ballylongford, Co.Kerry,
    bapt 31 Dec 1839 [Ballylongford RC par records], sp Richard McEllistrim,
    though old gravestone said born 31 Oct 1840,
    (todo) see original baptism, this is not on microfilm in [NLI],
    named after grandfather Richard McEllistrem,
    [P102/208(80-81)] says he was "Richard Henry Rahilly",
    [P102/208(115)] says he was "Richard McEllistrum Rahilly".

  3. Joseph Rahilly,
    not mentioned in [King],
    but shown on [O'Rahilly family tree] in [Sighle's papers, P106/320],
    possibly listed on Ann O'Rahilly's tree,
    died in infancy.

  4. Margaret Rahilly,
    [P102/208(80-81)] says died age c.18 (born c.1844),
    educated at a French convent, "Convent de Sainte Marie",
    wrote to her brother Michael, 29 Mar, possibly 1853 [P102/7], wrote in French, "as I know how much you love the French language", signed herself "Margaret Raleigh",
    Mary Barrett in [P102/207(30)] said Margaret was "as grand a young lady as ever you saw at home or abroad. She had a head of hair the very colour of sugar and candy",
    died unmarried, 17th May 1862, "very tragic",
    bur Lislaughtin Abbey with her father [P102/207(30)].

  5. Marianne Rahilly,
    Marie Anne, Mary Anne,
    "Marianne Joseph" in Margaret Rahilly's will 1875,
    "Marianne Josephine Rahilly" at mar,
    born 1838 (by age in 1901 census) or 1841 (by 1911 census) or 1843 (by age at mar, death).
    [P102/208(80)] says born c.1844.
    Her emigration record in 1892 has her age 40, but this is impossible as her father died in 1849.
    She was sent with her sister Margaret to convent school in France [O'Rahilly, 1991]. Had perfect French.
    She sp bapt of her 1st cousin Mary Ann Hickie's child Daniel Broder 1857.
    She wrote on 7 June 1865 from Ballybunion to her brother Richard [P102/27]. She reports on Michael's health.
    Living Ballylongford at mar.
    She mar 6 Oct 1868, Ballylongford [GROI] to Robert Morris and had issue.
    This transcript of Ballylongford RC par records says mar "1 April 1868 (assumed)". (todo) See original. This is not on microfilm in [NLI].

  6. Thomas Francis Rahilly,
    called "Thomas" or "Tom" by family,
    born Ballylongford, Co.Kerry,
    born 8th Jan 1849, just before his father's death [P102/29].

Michael Joseph Rahilly draws "A Dandy" in his 1832 notebook at Ballylongford.
See larger and full size.

Another sketch by Michael Joseph Rahilly in his 1832 notebook at Ballylongford.
See larger and full size.

Transcript of the testimonial of 1833 from John O'Donoghue, "scholar, TCD".
As published in the newspaper letter of 1893 by Michael Joseph Rahilly's son.
See full size.

Invoice of Richard Rahilly says the Ballylongford business was established 1836.
See larger and full size. Courtesy of Vincent Carmody.

The incident at Ballylongford during the Famine in 1846.
From Freemans Journal, June 26, 1846.
Also printed in The Times, 27 June 1846. See transcript.

The death of Michael Joseph in 1849.
Extract from [P102/208(81)].

The death of Michael Joseph in 1849.
Extract from [P102/207(29)].
See full page.

Mrs. Margaret Rahilly on Main St, Ballylongford, in [Griffiths Valuation, 1851].
Note her brother Thomas McEllistrem.


Ballylongford in 1829 to 1842 map.

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.



Sources yet to be consulted


Donation Drive

Please donate to support this site. I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses. Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

Help       Conventions       Abbreviations       How to read the trees

Privacy policy       Adoption policy       Image re-use policy       New 250 G VPS server.