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
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.
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.
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