In Search of Denis Hurley
THE ROAD TO KILMANOGUE: By Bertille 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
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
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
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
‘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
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
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.
Census Extracts County Cork, Ireland
Kinsale town, County Cork, Ireland
Nuns, Staff & Students
Mary B. 72 Co. Clare
Hurley Mary J. 61 Co.
Hurley Margaret 24 Domestic Servant
Kitchen Co Cork
Source: Mercy Convent, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland 1901 Census - Nuns, Staff & Students From Ireland URL httpwww.from-ireland.net, ©J
Kinsale Town , Ireland
1901 Census - Heads of Household
Rathbeg, part or Urban
Kinsale Town - Co. Cork, Ireland 1901 Census - Heads of Household census Index From Ireland URL