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Donated Material: Graveyard Inscriptions

Ruan Graveyard by Linda Hogan and Frances O'Halloran

Points of Interest, Acknowlegements and References

Many of the memorials in Ruan old graveyard date back to the 17th and 18th century and are fast becoming illegible. A project was undertaken in January 2012 to record and photograph all the headstones in Ruan old and new burial grounds. We came across an interesting collection of family names no longer represented in Ruan and many families who are still in the parish (see below).

We hope that our recordings will be of interest to the local community and to genealogists.
It should be noted that we did not make assumptions when transcribing incomplete or much worn inscriptions and noted only what was readable. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, errors and omissions may have occurred.
Linda Hogan & Frances O’Halloran

Points of Interest

The oldest grave with a legible inscription in Ruan old burial ground is that of the O’Griffy family. This tomb clearly was built for a person whose family were important and influential in the area in the 17th century. O’Donovan and Curry’s book, “The Antiquities of County Clare: Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839” states that “the O’Griobhthas of Cluain na gClochan have a monumental stone within the old church at Ruan in the south side wall near the west gable.” The same source says that in 1318 the O’Griobhthas were allies of the O’Deas against de Clare. In 1483 Mahon O’Griobhtha, Bishop of Kilalloe died and was buried at Canon Island. In 1599 the O’Griobhthas were in possession of castles in Ballygriffy and Magowna. According to Frost’s history, Murtagh O’Gripha in the parish of Dysart in 1666 was a Franciscan friar. Marcus Griffy was parish priest of Dysart in 1704. The Tithe Applotment Books of 1843 show a Thomas Griffy in Kiltifura, Ruan and Michael Griffy in Ballyoganbeg. In 1855 Griffith’s Valuation shows Martin Griffey living in Cloonnogolaghaun where he has a house, offices and approx 16 acres of land. The 1901 census does not show any Griffy family in Ruan, but in 1911 there are two Griffy families, John in Ruan Commons and James and Kate in Rineen.

The Kerin family tomb is dated 1688 and has an inscription in Medieval Latin. There is another O’Keren slab inside the church with no date on it. The Tithe Applotment Books of 1843 show N Kerin Esq. as a land owner in Nouen, Ruan. Griffith’s Valuation of 1855 shows no Kerin family in Ruan, but the 1901 census shows a Kerin family of five in Ballycarroll. In the 1704 Teige Kerin was parish priest of Kilnamona and Ruan.

Sir Michael O’Loghlen
Many visitors to our village ask about the O’Loghlen mausoleum and unfortunately there is not a lot we can tell them because there is no inscription on it. The O’Loghlen family is associated with several houses in the parish including Cahermacrea in the late 1700s. There is also a very elaborately carved slab with the name Hugh O’Loghlen and a date 174? but no townland given. By 1789 the family was in Porte where Sir Michael was born, as were his four brothers and two sisters. His eldest brother, Hugh, stayed on in Porte and was High Sherriff of Clare. The family was still in Porte in 1837 but by 1855 they had left Porte and Sir Michael would seem to have been living in Nutfield (Drumconora). When he was made a Baronet in 1838 he took the title of Sir Michael of Drumconora. There is a story that two O’Loghlen brothers were drowned in the Black Lake when their boat capsized on Christmas Eve. If these were brothers or nephews of Sir Michael we don’t know but it could explain why the family left.

When Sir Michael died in 1842 his title went to his eldest son, who then became Sir Coleman and is recorded as living in Drumconora in 1856 and was leasing land in Aughrim Ross ( Rockview) to his brother Bryan. Coleman died in 1877 and Bryan became the 3rd baronet but by then he had emigrated to Australia where he married Ella Seaward and became Premier of Victoria. By 1901 we find a Colman O’Loghlen and his sister Ellen, both unmarried, living in Rockview. Colman is described as ex DI RIC. Also in 1901 we find Lucy, Annie and Bedelia O’Loghlen living in Drumconora. Annie is described as a cousin born in Australia so she must be Sir Bryan’s daughter. By the time of the 1911 census, Sir Bryan’s son Michael has returned from Australia and is living in Drumconora with his cousin Lucy.

Michael became the 4th Baronet on the death of his father in 1905 and served as Lord Lieutenant of Clare from 1910 to 1922. In 1911 Michael’s sisters Ellen and Biddy are living in Rockview. In 1934 Biddy sold the property to the Clarke family. It is thought that these two sisters are in the mausoleum and also their brother Michael. By the 1930s all the family had left Ireland, the descendants of Sir Michael are now in Australia where the present Baronet lives. Until 1922 there was a statue of Sir Michael in the Four Courts in Dublin. When it was destroyed during the Civil war the people of Clare replaced it with the statue that is now in Ennis courthouse.

Neptune Blood
This grave is interesting because it is very old (1773) & it has most unusual carvings of waves and sea-shells and the name Blood is not associated with Ruan. The family is linked to Kilnaboy, Applevale and Roxton. The first Neptune Blood seems to have been so named because he was born at sea in about 1600 when Red Hugh O’Donnell was fighting the Earl of Thomond in the Kilnaboy /Kilfenora area. A sea-going ship was considered the safest place for an expectant mother.
In 1641 we find a Neptune Blood complaining that “he was robbed and forceably despoiled of his goods and chattels and spiritual livings” during the rebellion of that year. The family home of Kilnaboy Castle was “pulled down by rebels” during the rebellion and the ruin is now known as An Cabhail Mr. The family then went to Boharsallagh which they renamed as Applevale (opposite Rath church). A Neptune Blood is recorded as having died there in 1744. A son William Blood lived in Roxton and the family was still there in 1855.

We would like to acknowledge the work done by Naoise Cleary and the Corofin Heritage Group in the 1980s when they recorded the inscriptions in Ruan and other County Clare graveyards.
We express our thanks to Mr. David Rowe of Dublin who put us in touch with Professor Anthony Harvey of the Royal Irish Academy, whose help in translating the Latin inscriptions was invaluable.

Clare Champion
Reminiscences of a Country Boy by George O’Donnell
Houses of Clare by Hugh Weir
Frost’s History of Clare
Clare County Library Website
Antiquities of County Clare by O’Donovan & Curry


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Ruan Graveyard