Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - O'Rahilly - Contents

Richard Rahilly

(Left to Right): The O'Rahilly, Ellen Mangan, Richard Rahilly, Nell, Anno.
Photo c.1887.
See larger and full size.

Richard Rahilly,
born Ballylongford, Co.Kerry, bapt 31 Dec 1839.
See Wikipedia and Wikitree.
A highly successful businessman, shop-keeper and entrepreneur in Ballylongford and N Co.Kerry.
"A patriarchal figure not only in his own family but also in that of his younger brother" [Gaughan, 1986].
He was educ boarding school, Ennis, Co.Clare (must be Springfield House).
Aodogán had his French exercise book from this school, beautiful copper plate writing.

He sp bapt of his 1st cousin Mary Ann Hickie's child Daniel Broder 1857.
He wrote on 7 Apr 1858 from Ballylongford to his brother Michael Joseph [P102/26]. "Business is very dull at present in Ballylongford".
He took over family business in Ballylongford c.1860, in the old Rahilly house, Ballylongford.
"Richard Rahilly" (note not Mrs. Rahilly) is listed in Ballylongford in 1861 as baker, draper, fish curer and merchant, grocer and one of the principal farmers ["Memory Lane", The Shannonside Journal, 1994, p.121].
He may have had a previous marriage with a child born 1862.
He sp the bapt of his 1st cousin Edward McEllistrem 1863.
His mother and brother died 1866. He wrote some family dates in [P102/29].
He is described as "merchant", living Ballylongford at marriage.

Richard mar 1868 to Ellen Mangan [bapt 24 Nov 1835].
"Richard Rahilly, Ballylongford" is listed under "Bakers" and "Grocers" and "Drapers" in [Slater's directory, 1870].
He sp bapt of David Joseph Hickie January 1872.
He sp bapt of his wife's niece Catherine Mangan Feb 1872.

The Rahilly business:
Richard built up his parents' business, expanded into many fields.
He was a grocer, spirit dealer, shopkeeper, baker, miller, fish curer, draper, general merchant, farmer, landowner, importer, inventor, post office and shipping agent. He became the wealthiest man in the area.
These were prosperous times for Ballylongford at the mouth of the Shannon. Royal Navy craft were frequent visitors to Ballylongford Bay. The port served much of the outlying area, even Limerick. (The town is much reduced in importance today.)

Richard was apparently not a publican. He sold wine and spirits but apparently did not run a public house.
He is listed among "grocers and spirit dealers" but not among "public houses" in [Slater's directory, 1870].
He is listed as a grocer in [Bassett's, 1880-81], which also confirms he was a spirit dealer.
He is in "grocers and spirit dealers" but not in "public houses" in [Slater's, 1881].
He is in "grocers" but not in "vintners" in [Guy's, 1893].
Aodogán met a woman in Ballylongford who said her uncle bought the shop from Rahillys, and there was a great store of wines in the cellar under the shop.

Richard was wealthy enough by 1874 to build a fine new 3 storey Rahilly house, Ballylongford, beside the old Rahilly house, at corner of main crossroads, the only 3 storey house in Ballylongford.

Richard was a mainstream constitutional nationalist when younger. (He does not seem nationalist later in life.)
He attended Daniel O'Connell centenary celebrations in Dublin in Aug 1875 [Bourke, 1967].
In Sept 1875 he took part in an enthusiastic Home Rule meeting in Ballylongford which was addressed by Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, Home Rule MP for Co.Kerry.
See his licence to carry arms, granted 1876.
He is listed as "grocer" at Margaret's death in May 1877 [GROI].
Richard was at another moderate nationalist meeting, the North Kerry Farmers' Club, at Ballylongford on Fri 14 Sept 1877. See report in Irish Times, September 18, 1877. Again Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, Home Rule MP for Co.Kerry, gave a speech. Richard seconded a vote of confidence in Blennerhassett. Reports that it was a Land League meeting are incorrect.

[Bassett's, 1880-81] lists Richard as shipping agent, grocer, spirit dealer, baker, draper, hardware dealer, "iron, coal and timber yard" and "artificial manure and seed merchant", also listed under "hotel keepers and posting establishments", but not yet postmaster. (His 1st cousin Mark McEllistrem is postmaster.)
Apparently became postmaster for Ballylongford in 1880-81. Note that the sensitive job of postmaster would have to be approved by Dublin Castle, would only go to those considered loyal.
[Slater's, 1881] lists him as the postmaster for Ballylongford, and also lists him under "bakers" and "grocers and spirit dealers" and "linen and woollen drapers".
[Letter by Eliza Patt, 1881] says: "you never saw such a deserted place now as Ballylongford. It's Richard Rahilly that holds the Post Office there now ... He is the only person that is doing any business in Ballylongford now".

He was very progressive, inventive.
He wanted a machine to record sales in the shop. No such device on the market, so he proceeded to invent one of his own. It was said to be the first cash register seen in Munster. One story [O'Rahilly, 1991] is that an English salesman saw this, and his company started to design one of their own. Rahilly considered taking legal action, but was advised not to in the end. Another version of story [Bourke, 1967] is that Richard was inventing cash register, got into trouble with someone else's patent, which stopped him. See history of cash registers.
It was also said that the Rahillys were the first people in Ireland with a domestic fridge. He brought it from America. See history of fridges. He wanted to install an ice plant - could have shipped salmon by rail to Dublin, fresh for the London market - but his wife wouldn't support the plan. Years later The O'Rahilly said if they had put in the plant, he might never have left Ballylongford.
His wife Ellen put down almost every idea he came up with. She was against everything. Family story that she stopped him patenting something, and he always held that against her.
Aodogán in [O'Rahilly, 1991, p.16] says he asked Alfred about her. Alfred said he could sum her up in one word: "She was a bitch." Alfred said Richard was terrified of her, used take refuge with their family.

Richard was involved in setting up of the co-operative creamery in Listowel.
[Gaughan, 1974] and [Gaughan, 2004] show that after many amalgamations Listowel co-op became Listowel Dairy Company, then Kerry Co-op, now Kerry Group (which owns Dennys).
Invoice letterhead of 1885 describes him as "R. Rahilly, Insurance, Steamship, Flour and Commission Agent".
Entry for Ballylongford in [Guy's, 1886] lists him as Postmaster, baker, draper, emigration agent, fish curer and merchant, grocer and one of the principal farmers.
On 22 June 1886, he wrote to his son Michael (age 11) regretting his own recent behaviour: "I gave you so frequently .. bad example in many ways. .. I allude to my having" [cut off edge, must be "drunk more"] "than I ought on our trip to Queenstown, but which I trust that you will never again see from your father". He urges Michael to "avoid the possibility of such a sad thing occurring to you by .. joining the League of the Cross and becoming for all your life a total abstainer" [P102/34].

Justice of the Peace, Poor Law Guardian:
Richard was a loyal British subject. He was a Justice of the Peace in Co.Kerry.
Appointed JP on 19 Dec 1890 [P102/35].
[Thom's] lists him as JP from 1892 edn.
He is listed as a JP when he signs a group letter in the Irish Times, February 12, 1891, from many JPs and notable figures of Co.Kerry, urging John Adye Curran, County Court Judge of Kerry, not to leave the county, and praising his work in reducing crime.
He was JP until his death 1896.
In a letter of 17 May 1891 [P102/44(14)] he refers to his brother-in-law Patrick Fitzgerald's support for Parnell: "Patt of course with his accustomed aberration of intellect is a rabid Parnellite".
Though an anti-Parnellite, he rescued a Parnellite candidate from a mob at a meeting in Astee, nr Ballylongford, in July 1892 [Bourke, 1967]. This would be in general election, 1892, the first since Parnell's downfall and the split.
It is thought that his younger brother's brilliant children were helped through school and college by their rich uncle in Ballylongford.
He owned boats, sailed the Shannon and Atlantic coast. He went to race meetings, trips to England. Had summer vacations, mainly in Co.Clare.
Unlike the Humphrys, the Rahillys and Mangans were very much interested in this world - comfort, beauty, gardens etc.
[Guy's, 1893] lists him as JP, emigration agent, grocer, baker, draper, farmer, and agent for Bannatyne's flour and meal stores.

Richard's last will dated 14 Mar 1893, with codicil apparently on the day he died, 24 Mar 1896.
[Slater's, 1894] lists him as postmaster, grocer, draper, merchant and "general dlr" (would be "dealer").
He was a magistrate, sitting on the Board of Guardians in Listowel (Listowel Poor Law Union).
Nell's marriage settlement 1895 lists him as a JP. It shows he had shares in Guinness and Midland Great Western Railway.
[P106/346] is letter of 25 Jan 1896 from him to Dr. David Humphreys. See image.

Richard dies in 1896:
Richard attended meeting of Board of Guardians in Listowel on Thur 19 Mar 1896 [The Kerry Evening Post, Sat 21 Mar 1896].
Though [P106/318(5)] says it was Thur 12 Mar.
He cycled home to Ballylongford in torrential rain and wind for 9 miles. Got pneumonia.
He died at his house, Ballylongford, Tue morning 24 Mar 1896, age 56 yrs [The Kerry Evening Post, Sat 28 Mar 1896].
Newspaper death notice in [P106/318(7)] and obituary in [P106/318(4)].
He was bur Lislaughtin Abbey near Ballylongford.
Newspaper funeral list in [P106/318(5)].
Mass card in [P102/38] and [P106/37].
Estate valued for probate at £24,945 [NAI]. This is about £10m in today's money.
He left his entire estate to Ellen. Estate granted to her 3rd Sept 1897 [NAI]. (todo) See papers in [P106/204].
Probate granted at Limerick to his widow, of effects in England valued at £621, sealed at London 23rd February 1898 [National Probate Calendar, England].
Their son Michael Joseph took over business in Ballylongford. But he was anxious to marry and leave, and he sold it off 1898.

Ellen leaves Ballylongford:
Ellen left Ballylongford in 1898, and moved closer to her dau Nell (in Limerick city) by purchasing a grand country house, Quinsborough House, Co.Clare.
Quinsborough was purchased by [Deed, Nov 1898]. Conveyance of house and lands to her dau Anno for £3000 (about £1m in today's money).
Ellen and her dau Anno lived at Quinsborough. Ellen always wanted to be gentry. She never liked being a shopkeeper's wife, no matter how wealthy. (Even though Mangans were only small farmers, they looked down on shopkeepers.)
After Richard's death, Ellen continued supporting the education of T.F.'s brilliant children.
Nell and her family moved in with them at Quinsborough when Nell's husband Dr. David took ill. Apparently moved in in 1900. (Though Nell and David left their children there and went travelling.)
Ellen is listed in 1901 census at Quinsborough. She is described as "Farmer". Anno is with her. Her grandchildren Dick and Sighle are also with her, without their parents, who are travelling in Egypt. They have 3 servants living with them - a nurse, a female general servant and a coachman.
Quinsborough is described as having 13 rooms. 12 windows in front of house. It has 11 out-buildings - consisting of 2 stables, 1 coach house, 1 harness room, 1 cow house, 1 calf house, 1 piggery, 1 fowl house, 1 turf house, 1 shed and 1 store.

Ellen dies in 1903:
Ellen attended Dr.David's funeral May 1903.
Her will dated 16 June 1903.
She died at Quinsborough, Dec 1903, age 68 yrs.
She died 11 Dec 1903 [grave], [NAI], or 4 Dec 1903 [mass card], [GROI].
Mass card in [P102/42] and [P106/38].
She was bur Lislaughtin Abbey near Ballylongford.
Dick (age 7) and Sighle (age 4) were left alone in Quinsborough while everyone went to the funeral. Sighle told me she remembered they had a tremendous day sliding down the stairs on a tray. Their stern grandmother would have been horrified to know how they spent her funeral day.
Admin of estate granted to Nell, 13 Apr 1904, estate only £1,109. Richard's estate had been spent, and dispersed to the children.
Richard and Ellen had issue:

  1. Margaret Rahilly,
    born 5 July 1869, Ballylongford [GROI],
    bapt 10 July 1869 [Ballylongford RC par records].
    She died as a baby, of diarrhoea, 25 Aug 1870, Ballylongford, age 1 yr [GROI].

  2. Nell Rahilly,
    Irish revolutionary,
    born Mary Ellen Rahilly,
    born old Rahilly house, Ballylongford, Co.Kerry,
    born 27 Apr 1871, according to family records and baptism entry (the next day).
    Birth cert says born 28 Apr but seems likely that is wrong.
    She was bapt 28 Apr 1871, Ballylongford RC church. See baptism entry, part one and part two. From here.
    Bapt sp by Thomas F. Rahilly and Ellen Mangan (probably her grandmother).
    "Mary Ellen" in Margaret Rahilly's will 1875 and at her marriage 1895. Often called "Ellen".
    At marriage she is "Maria Helena" in church record but that is just the Latin. NOT Mary Elena or Mary Ellena.
    Her family later changed surname to O'Rahilly but she did not since she was already married by then.

  3. Anno O'Rahilly,
    Irish revolutionary,
    born Anna Rahilly,
    born old Rahilly house, Ballylongford, Co.Kerry,
    born 17 Feb 1873 [GROI].
    See birth notice in unknown newspaper. From [P106/318(3)].
    She was bapt 19 February 1873 [Ballylongford RC par records].
    She was known as "Anna" when young. "Anna" in Margaret Rahilly's will 1875 and on grave. NOT Anne.
    Later in life she adopted surname "O'Rahilly". Known as "Anno" when older.
    "Aine" in Irish.

  4. Michael Joseph O'Rahilly, "The O'Rahilly",
    the 1916 leader,
    born Michael Joseph Rahilly,
    born new (3 storey) Rahilly house, Ballylongford (built 1874), Co.Kerry,
    born 22 Apr 1875 [GROI].
    Though Aodogán O'Rahilly said he was born 21 Apr.
    The plaque at the site indicates he was born in the new house. Though Mrs. Finucane (of the old Rahilly house, Finucane's pub, Ballylongford) says in 1966 letter [P102/548(3)] that The O'Rahilly was born in the old house, not the new house.
    He was bapt 24 Apr 1875 [Ballylongford RC par records].
    Named after his grandfather Michael Joseph Rahilly.
    Normally called "Michael" by family, sometimes "Mick".

  5. Margaret Rahilly (second Margaret),
    born 12 May 1876, Ballylongford [GROI].
    She died of bronchitis, 7 May 1877, Ballylongford, age 1 yr [GROI].
    Newspaper death notice in [P106/318(2)].

Baptism of Nell Rahilly, 28 Apr 1871, Ballylongford.
From here.

Richard Rahilly sign.
Now in Finucane's pub, Ballylongford.
Photo 2006. See full size.

This is thought to be Richard Rahilly's name carved (presumably when he was young) on a theatre seat in Dublin.
Blathnaid O'Rahilly acquired this (sometime after 1951) when she was walking past a theatre being renovated in Dublin, either the Olympia Theatre or the Gaiety Theatre. Some of the workmen called to her and asked her wasn't she connected to the O'Rahillys. When she said yes, they gave her the carved seat.
See larger and full size.
See also The O'Rahilly carving his name (apparently following his father).

Richard Rahilly listed among "grocers and spirit dealers" at Ballylongford in [Slater's directory, 1870].


Home Rule meeting in Ballylongford, 1875

The Home Rule meeting in Ballylongford in 1875.
Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, Home Rule MP for Co.Kerry (Isaac Butt's Home Rule party) speaks at Ballylongford on Mon 6 Sept 1875. Also present was the Irish nationalist politician and journalist Alexander Martin Sullivan.
There is praise for John Blake Dillon and the 1848 Rising.
Among those taking part is Richard Rahilly. He seconds various motions.
From Tralee Chronicle, September 10, 1875. See p.1 and p.2.



[Letter by Eliza Patt, 1881] says: "you never saw such a deserted place now as Ballylongford. It's Richard Rahilly that holds the Post Office there now ... He is the only person that is doing any business in Ballylongford now".

Invoice letterhead of Richard Rahilly, 1885.
See larger and full size. Courtesy of Vincent Carmody.

Letter of 1888 from USA addressed to Richard Rahilly.
See larger and full size.

Richard Rahilly in June 1895 in the ledger books of Tim O'Connor of Tarbert Island.
See larger and full size.
Rahilly is importing "kilds" of stout and porter through O'Connor.

The letterhead of a letter from Richard Rahilly (died Mar 1896) to Dr. David Humphreys, 25 Jan 1896.
See full size. From [P106/346].
The name "Michael Joseph Rahilly" on the letterhead is a mystery. Richard's father Michael Joseph died back in 1849. It could hardly refer to him.
Richard's son Michael Joseph, "The O'Rahilly" had left university after illness. It seems he was home in Ballylongford, working in the family business, with his name on at least one run of letterheads.

AI animations

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

AI animation of photo of Richard Rahilly, c.1887.

AI animation of photo of Ellen Mangan, c.1896-1897.




Sources yet to be consulted


Pictures of Richard Rahilly

Richard Rahilly grave, Lislaughtin Abbey


Unidentified Rahilly / Humphrys photos

Unidentified - Did Richard Rahilly have a previous marriage?

Richard Rahilly,
of Ballylongford,
mar Ann Murphy and had issue:
  1. Ann Rahilly,
    bapt 1 May 1862 [Ballylongford RC par records]. This year is not online.

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.