In Search of Denis Hurley


Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland states that for the Parish of Kilmonogue,
(where Denis Hurley is from) the R.C. Parish was Clontead.  
The 1977 Irish Catholic Directory for Clonteal states that the
parish church is located at Belgooley.  Belgooly is about 15 miles west of Cork. 

Kilmarough?  Kilmonough? Or??  
Imagine my frustration upon reading a microfilm copy of the Peter Robinson papers of 1825 and not being able to decipher the name of the place of residence in County Cork of Denis Hurley and his family. 

A search of maps and Irish postal addresses did not solve the mystery. Finally in Jan 1975, a letter was dispatched to Cork City.  A prompt reply was received from an architect who had consulted a microfilm copy of the records and who provided the following information: “To my eyes the place of origin of Denis Hurley is Kilmonough  --- phonetically spelt I would suggest ……I would suggest that Kilmonough should read KILMONOGE which is in the Barony of Kinalea, in the County District of Kinsale.”

At last I had my place name identified - the parish of Kilmonoge.  Later I was to learn that ‘parish’ did not refer to an ecclesiastical parish but to a civil parish - a division of land.  The parish was comprised of town lands and if I hoped to be able to stand  on ancestral soil some day, I should have to ascertain the town land. 1977 had to be my year to go to Ireland. 

I could wait no longer to delve into Irish records, find the ancestral parish and stand on ancestral soil. And so, sixty days in advance, I booked my charter flight to Dublin for a departure date of Friday, June 17.  The Monday following my arrival day, I made my way to the Four Courts building and my search was underway.  The Tithe Applotment book for Kilmonogue showed that Hurleys were indeed living in the parish in 1825.  For the town land of Knockleigh were the names of:
     - Michael Hurley, tenant, 33 acres of land, 
                               value 11 shillings per acre.
     - Denis Hurley, tenant, 13 acres of land, 
                                value 9 shillings per acre.

Could this be the same Denis who emigrated to Canada in May 1835? Could Michael have been his father?

In Kilmonogue, 1851, there was no Hurley family living on the town land of Knockleigh, but a David Hurley was listed in the town land of Ardnaboha. 

Almost two weeks were to elapse before I would arrive in Cork City and the location of my search.  By now, the one item of information about Kilmanague that was uppermost in my mind was ‘near Kinsale.’  Wed, July 6, found me on the bus from Cork City to Kinsale, 17miles westward. 
Consulting a booklet about the area which I had obtained from the Irish Tourist Office I noted that a Carmelite Friary, established 1334, was located in Kinsale.  That seemed to be a good starting point for information. Following directions I received, I made my way through Kinsale’s winding streets and up a steep hill to the Friary. Imagine my disappointment to find that the only person available was a missionary who has spent twenty-nine years in Rhodesia and Kilmanogue meant nothing to him. However, while we chatted about his work in Rhodesia  and the political climate there, the prior returned and I presented my problem to him. The Prior felt that I should go to Innishannon and directed me to a family - personal friends of his living at Killimonogue.  Success at last, I thought, and Innishannon would be my destination the following day! I had a couple of hours to explore the historic town of Kinsale and to admire its scenic beauty before it was time to get the bus back to Cork City. 
Spotting a shop owned by a member of the ‘Hurley clan’, I went in and introduced myself as a Canadian Hurley to the proprietor of the shop, Frank Hurley, and his mother.  They were pleasantly surprised to meet me and were interested in details of the 1825 immigration which I was now telling for the ‘umpteenth’ time, and would be telling yet again and again before I left Ireland. 

‘Innishannon the next day.’
Enquires about Killimonogue led me to the outskirts of the town.  Leaving the main road I began my ascent to the town land.  This was my first walk on an Irish country road and I stopped to admire the wild roses, honeysuckle and lupins along the roadside. I passed several new homes with their neat gardens, dairy farms, little cottages, and always there was the ever-changing panoramic view as the road led upward.  I stopped to chat with an elderly lady walking down to the town to get milk and with an old gentleman tending his garden.

The day was hot (I was to learn the next day that Ireland had broken a 29 year old record for heat that day) and I hadn’t made any provisions for lunch.  I was glad to reach at last, the first farm on what was supposed to be Killimonogue. I walked up the laneway, met the teenage son of the family and his young brother.  We chatted about the dairy farm and I was shown the modern cooling equipment for the milk. An old gentleman of 90, a family relative, joined us in  conversation.  He was grieving the death of his wife only nine weeks previously.  True is the reputation of Irish hospitality, he expressed regrets that the women folk were all in Cork and that there was no one home to make a ‘cup of tea’ for me. 

I decided it was time to make my journey back.  The beauties of the countrysides, the ever-changing vistas  as I descended from the town land made me forget the heat of the day and my hunger.  I was soon back at the main road and at the house where I had received directions for my walk earlier in the day.  I called in to report to the lady of the house and her freshly baked Irish bread and tea were surely appreciated.  We discussed unemployment, lack of job opportunities for youth, the alcohol problem among the youth - Irish problem - yes- and also Canadian. 

The weekend intervened and Sunday I decided I should make my ‘pilgrimage’ to Cobh, the place from which those small sailing vessels set out in May 1825. What were the emigrants thoughts as they saw the scenic beauty of Cobh and the shores of their beloved Ireland fade from their sight. Sadness, loneliness, fear of the unknown but no doubt they were sustained by the hope that they would be able to make a better home for their family in this new land.  Visiting Cobh (pronounced Cove) for me was a nostalgic occasion. 

Monday morning found me back at the reference room in the Cork Archives. I had neglected to look at the Ordinance Survey Maps of 1845.  There, for the Parish of Kilmonogue, was Knock Leigh (where Michael and Denis Hurley were living in 1825) and the adjoining townland of Ardnaboha (where David Hurley was living in 1851). I next consulted the Catholic parish Directory and found that for the Parish of Clontead the church and rectory were located at Belgooly. 

My walk a few days ago was in the wrong area.  Belgooly was east of Kinsale while Innishannon was west. Time was running out but I decided that on my last day in Cork, I must go to Belgooly, I visited the Church, there was no adjoining graveyard and the parish priest was away.  However I had the good fortune to meet a family who have lived I the area a long time.  Again my story was told.  Kilmonogue, - yes, if I looked to my right as I walked back to the main road, the high hill that I would see was the town land of Kilmonogue - probably two or three miles away.  

Now I knew that I had the right Kilmonogue.  However time did not permit me to actually go to the town land and my desire to stand on ancestral soil will have to wait for my next trip to Ireland.

But Kilmonogue is not just a place on a map for me anymore. I know exactly where it is located.  I can visualize the countryside and its immediate location. And I have so many happy memories of the people I met in my ‘search’  - people interested in listening to yet another stranger from ‘America’ hoping to find her Irish Ancestors. 


Reference is made to a Hurley Chalice  
which is in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Cork City, 
and belonged to a Bishop Hurley.


1901 Census Extracts County Cork, Ireland
Kinsale town, County Cork, Ireland
Nuns, Staff & Students

Hurley Mary B.        72   Co. Clare
Hurley Mary J.        61   Co. Clare
Hurley Margaret      24   Domestic Servant Kitchen  Co Cork

Source: Mercy Convent, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland 1901 Census - Nuns, Staff & Students From Ireland URL, ©J 

Kinsale Town , Ireland

1901 Census - Heads of Household Index

Surname & Name
Hurley Elizabeth
Hurley Ellen
Hurley George
Hurley Julia
Hurley Margaret
Hurley Mary
Hurley Michael
Hurley Michael
Hurley Nora
Hurley Patrick
Hurley Patrick
Hurley William
Fisher street
Rathbeg, part or Urban
Bowen's lane
Friar street
Market place
Friar street
Friar's Gate
Manderville terrace
Bandon road
Bandon road
Rock street

Kinsale Town - Co. Cork, Ireland 1901 Census - Heads of Household census Index From Ireland URL, ©J

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