Sunday, May 28, 2017

Riordan- where is Curraheen?

Curraheen-Riordan connection
aka where exactly in Ireland did Patrick Riordan come from?


The New Zealand death entry for my great-grandfather Patrick Riordan in 1911 stated that he was born in “Curraheen”.

Now that various Irish records have become more freely available online, I have been dipping into the Catholic Parish registers. I had begun searching for Riordans in the Kildimo/Adare parish region in Co Limerick where there was a townland of Curraheen, not far from the River Shannon, but was not finding many likely looking names in this area. Also it seemed a bit distant from other known places for the family in Ballyhea (Malone), Charleville, Glenroe (O’Donnell) which were all further south near the border of Co Limerick and Co Cork.

To check whether I might have transcribed “Curraheen” incorrectly from the register in my original search (back in the early 90s), I paid for a digital image of Patrick’s death entry from the official RGO register. Definitely Curraheen. And his mother’s surname was definitely Quane.
Today I changed tack from searching Irish parish registers, and plugged ‘Riordan, Curraheen’ into Google.

Bingo! In the online 1829 tithe applotment books, I found a ‘widow Riordan’ living in Curraheen, in the parish of Ballylanders.(Also found a John Quane in Knockbrack, in the parish of Ballylanders, on the same page.)
(Ballinlanders was the spelling used in the applotment books, but Ballylanders was the spelling on the parish registers.)


A check on the parish map on the National Library of Ireland website showed that Ballylanders parish adjoins Glenroe parish, where Dean James Joseph O’Donnell, Patrick’s first cousin, came from.

So I returned to the National Library of Ireland website to look again at the Catholic Parish registers, this time looking for Ballylanders Parish. Unfortunately, the entries in the register of baptisms only start in 1849, and it seems that Patrick Riordan was born around 1847. But I soon found that I was finding plenty of familiar names in the register- lots of Quanes, and O’Donnells, as well as Riordans. On 16 Dec 1849 there was a “Bidy Riordan” who was a sponsor for a baptism. I wondered if this might be Patrick’s mother.

Then finally I found an entry that made it seem almost certain I was looking in the correct register. On June 4th 1850, Ellen, daughter of John Riordan and Bidy Quane, was baptised. One of the sponsors was Dan Quane. Ellen would seem to be a sister for Patrick Riordan, out great-grandfather.



It seems that I have quite likely found the “Curraheen’ that Patrick Riordan hails from, in the parish of Ballylanders, in the diocese of Cashel and Emily, Co Limerick. I have read that it is possible to trace births prior to 1849 in this parish but accessing the records is expensive. But I will search further in this online parish register later to see if I can discover other siblings for Patrick Riordan.

27 May 2017
Sidenote: Funnily enough, I have maternal ancestors (Heneberry/ Cronage) from the same diocese, just over the border in Co Tipperary, in Ballyporeen.