Feagreen and its people
By “Seán Óg”
The townland of Feagreen (Fegreen), in the [Catholic]
Parish of Ennistymon and electoral area of Magherareagh, occupies
an area of three hundred and twenty four acres, two roads, and seventeen
sq perches, and is situated three miles south of Ennistymon. It
is bounded to the North by Ballyvraneen and Furglan, to the east
by Monananagh and Keelkyle, to the south by Illaunbaun and to the
west by Mooghna.
Feagreen rises at two points, the highest point
being three hundred and forty six feet above sea level. The land,
classified as glayee and peaty gleyee, is generally moist and demands
a lot of attention to keep it productive. Under EC criteria it would
be designated as a “disadvantaged area”. It is mainly
a farming community that live here, being part of the Macnamara
Estate which was divided in the 1880s, the farms are relatively
small. The children attended Furglan National School and before
that a Hedge School, which was built in 1879 by Foudy Brothers,
Carhuduff, Milltown Malbay. The school, under the Principalship
of Mr. John Ryan, opened its doors to enrol the first pupils on
February 2nd 1880.
Feagreen, in leaner times boasted of eight families
but sadly families are fewer now with only one family remaining
in residence today. The families settled mainly on two avenues,
(boireens or boiteens), one running west/east from Ennistymon/Derrymore
road and the other, with a branch, running south/north from the
Furglan road. Three families resided on the former with only one
still residing there now. The first on that avenue was McGuanes.
(1) John McGuane
and his wife Eileen Marrinan, from Knockacarn,
Moughna were the last to live here. They had seven children, Thomas,
Michael, John, Mary, Helen, Bridget and Ann. Bridget is married
and lives with her husband and family in her mother’s homeplace
in Knockacarn. The family transferred to Killucan, Co. Westmeath
in 1959. An Irish Land Commission divide of a big estate. John’s
father, Patrick/Paddy (died in 1961 age 73) and his wife Kate (McGuire,
died 1981 age 85), lived there before that. They had 8 children,
John, Thomas (Tondy), Peter, Kathleen, Nancy, (Baby) May and Peggy.
Paddy’s father, Patrick/Phatie/Patsy (died 1935 age 78) lived
there before him with his wife May/Margaret (Devitt, died 1932 age
78) from Been, Inagh. Andrew McGuane, a step brother of Paddy married
Margaret McGuire, a sister of Jack McGuire. It is said that there
was a Daedach Devitt living in what is known locally as McGuane’s
Mountain. There are no signs or ruins of the house there today.
(2) Next we meet the homestead
of James Maguire (died 1982) and his wife Mary/May
(O’Loughlin from Kilshanny, died 1963). They
had two children, Owen and PJ. The family moved in 1966 to “Leyden’s
Place” (Devitt’s) in Ballyvraneen where Owen built a
new house and lives there with his wife Catherine Shannon, Killeenagh.
They had three sons, Owen, Brendan, PJ and two daughters, Mary and
Grainne (RIP). Jamsies’s father, Patrick/Patsy (died 1949)
and his wife Bridget/Bid (Devitt from Ballyvraneen, died 1949) lived
here and they had three sons and three daughters, James, Owen, Patrick
(Paaty), Nora, Kate and Maria. Nora (died 1992) married Lawlor,
Kate married Paddy McGuane, Feagreen and Maria married Michael (Mickey)
(3) Finally, on this avenue we
meet the home of the Hynes family where John’s
wife, Mary (Baby) Garrihy from Aylebrack and her
sons Michael and John jnr. still reside. John’s father, Michael
who came from Ballycotton, Liscannor and his wife Ann Maguire
inhabited this home and they had one son, John and two daughters,
May and Dilly.
(4) On the second avenue leading
from the Furglan road, we have the former residence of Patrick (Patty)
Connelly which was built in the fifties by Patrick
Costelloe replacing the older house. Patrick married Delia Guthrie
from Moymore and they had two daughters, Mary and Ellen (Elley).
Mary married Pa Greene and resides in Moymore and Ellen married
George Dunleavy and lives in Ballyea. Patty’s father Michael
married Maura Coughlan and they had two sons, Patrick and Johnny
and four daughters, Delia, Susan, Elley and Bridget. Johnny emigrated
to the USA, Delia married John Quinn of Carhucloch. Susan married
Sharry of Liscannor, Elley and Bridget went to Australia.
Michael’s father, Cornelius had two sons,
Michael Con and Paddy Con which brings me to the house next door,
(5) where Paddy’s family resided. Cornelius
came down from Kilaspuglonane, near Moymore Church. Paddy (died
1929 age 90) married Bridget/Biddy (Malone, died
1938 age 82) and their son Jim was to survive them there. They had
eight sons, Jack, Anthony, Joe, Cornelius, Jim, Tom, Michael (Mickey),
and Willie (Claus) and two daughters, Mary and Bridget. Mary died
as a young child. The others emigrated to the United States of America
while Jim stayed at home and married Margaret Corry from Been, Inagh.
Bridget came home and married Thomas/Tommy Egan from Rockstown (Knockpatrick).
Bridget died in 1924 at the age of 35 years. Cornelius and Jim were
very good athletes, they used to run to Monanagh Bridge for a swim
and back again. Jim, after mowing a meadow of hay at the Glown (Gleann)
with a scythe ran to a sports in Milltown Malbay, entered for the
one mile race and won by ten lengths or so the story goes. Cornelius
who emigrated to Chicago at the age of eighteen, won a gold medal
in the World Cross Country Championships there. He came home from
Chicago in February 1947 and it is related that following a heavy
snowfall he stripped off and rolled in the snow, caught pneumonia
and died in May 1947, age 71. He is buried in Moughna (Mooghna)
Cemetery – John McGuane, Pat Mahony and John Garrahy were
the grave diggers. Joe Conneely was the only one to marry, his wife
was Katey Doherty, Tony’s sister from Lavareen. Joe joined
the police in Chicago and was very good to anyone who emigrated
there from home. He helped them to get work and into the police.
While in the police, John won a medal for bravery, he took on Al
Capone’s gang and was nearly killed; he survived by putting
his finger under the hammer of the gun which prevented it from being
fired but got his finger burst in the process.
There is a story told that when Joe went to Chicago
with only enough money to get there and while looking for work to
earn enough for the fare home to Ireland he met up with a Police
Captain on the beat, Joe told him that he was looking for work to
put some money together to take him home as “there is no work
here”. The Police Captain offered him the opportunity to join
the Chicago Police. Joe replied he would do anything, the Captain
told him there would be no need to go home if he joined, Joe was
then a fine 6’-01/2’ young man. Joe duly presented himself
at the precinct, was signed up and fitted out with a uniform etc.
He was home after 3 years to visit his ageing parents, met up with
Katey Doherty and they both went back to Chicago. Joe himself rose
to the rank of Captain.
Jim and Margaret Corry had two daughters, Mary
and Mary Margaret and five sons, Tom, Pat, Jamsie, Joe and Michael.
Jamsie and Joe were twins. Michael died young and Mary died as a
child. Mary Margaret now lives in the south of England.
(6) We move south along the avenue
where we come to the house of Jack McGuire who
was married to Delia Garrihy from Aylebrack (Aillbreach).
They had two sons, Thomas (Tomo) and Peter and two daughters, Margaret
(Baby) and Bridie. Tomo stayed at home on the farm but emigrated
to his sister, Margaret in the USA in the sixties, his brother Peter
married Mary Russell and lived in Fahanlunaghta Beg. They had three
daughters, Bridget (Biddy), Noreen (RIP) and Peggy. Jack McGuire’s
sister Margaret married Andrew McGuane, a step brother of Paddy
McGuane, Feagreen. Andrew had the place in Fahanlunaghta and Margaret
was Peter (Peadar) McGuire’s aunt. Margaret emigrated to England
and married Henchy from Mount Callan. They later went to America.
Bridie married Joe Ryan and lived for a while in Derrymore. They
had two sons, PJ (RIP) and Sean. The farm in Fahanlunaghta is now
farmed by Francie Talty. Jack McGuire had a relative, Owen McGuire,
a master craftsman/carpenter who with the Murrihy’s built
houses in Ennistymon. Owen married Bridget/Bridgey Clair from Ballyingaddy
area, lived at the bottom of Churchill and carried on a carpentry/car
making business there. His son Patrick was to succeed in the business
until he died in the mid 1960s. Patrick’s sisters Katey and
Annie lived with him while Bridget married a Maguire from the North
of Ireland, has a son a priest who visited the area recently. A
gravestone in Moughna cemetery reveals a Thomas Maguire who died
July 10th 1879 aged 98 years and Bridget who died 20th Dec. 1874
aged 80 years. It was erected by Owen Maguire, Ennistymon and Peter,
Anne and Margaret Maguire.
(7) On the hill to our left we
have Egans. Thomas (Tommy) Egan from Rockstown
lived here with his wife Bridget Connelly, Jim’s
sister, they had seven sons, Tommy, Dan, Pat, Mickey, John, Joe
and James and three daughters, Mary, Margaret and Bridie. Thomas
died in 1925, of a broken heart, at the age of 55 years; his wife
Bridget predeceased him, by three months, in 1924 at the age of
35 years, a victim of the great flu. She died after the youngest
boy, James, was born. Mary stayed at home and looked after all the
other siblings, she is buried in the New Cemetery, Ennistymon. Tommy
died in 1936 of TB at the age of 28 years, Joe, born in 1923, died
in 1947 and Pat died in 1995 aged 84 years. Dan went to the US as
did Mickey who later went to England. Pat was in service around
at home as was Joe. John emigrated to England as well as Margaret
(who now lives in Lincs, England) and Bridie. John married Bridget
(Biddy) Doherty, Tom’s youngest daughter from Ballyvraneen.
(8) Finally at the end of the
boireen we arrive at another McGuires, Pat (Patrick
T) McGuire. Pat married Bridget (Bid) Conneely,
Monanagh, an aunt of Maria Clancy. Pat and Bid had four sons, Tom,
Owen, Jackie and Michael (Micklo) and two daughters, Mary and Nano.
Owen (died 1968) married Maria (Haren of Lavareen, died 1978), and
had four children, May Mary/Mai (died 1999 age 77), Paddy, Jackie
and Hanna. Jackie was killed in an air crash in Rhodesia in the
fifties. Jackie Snr married Dora Morgan and lived in Cloncoul, Ennistymon.
Jackie Snr got the place from his cousin, another Maguire. The old
house was further up the hill from the present house in Cloncoul,
Ennistymon. Micklo married in Lisdoonvarna and had no family. Tom
and Nano stayed on the farm. Bridget (Bridie) Kennedy, Mooghna lived
with them until she married Michael (Miko) McGuire, Knockacarn.
Patrick T/Pat (died 1912 aged 72), his wife Bridget/Bid (died 1940
aged 87). Their daughter Mary died young in 1907 aged 21 and son
Patrick died in infancy. Tom died in 1973 aged 83 and Nano died
1981 aged 93.
Some extracts from the old roll books of Furglan
School show that seven pupils (scholars) from Feagreen attended
on the day it opened 02-02-1880, Bridget McGuire aged 12, Anne McGuire
aged 8, John McGuire Jnr, Anthony McNamara, Pat Beakey aged 8, Michael
McNamara aged 9 and Michael Conneely aged 9, from Moy school while
James McGuire aged 9 arrived to school on 03-02-1880 and Margaret
McGuire aged 7 attended on 07-02-1880. Mary O’Donohue aged
12, John O’Donohue and Thomas Egan aged 10 were admitted on
09-02-1880, while Mary Conneely aged 7 came on 16-02-1880, John
Conneely aged 11 on 18-02-1880 and Marie McGuire was enrolled on
23-02-1880, from Rockmount school. Some of the above started school
for the first time while others came from the Hedge School.
Parish Magazine 2001