Kearneys of Lisnagarran

You may or not be aware that our Branch of the Kearney family trace their origins back to the townland of Lisnagarran, which is situated about 2.5 miles North East of Portglenone. Four generations of the family are listed elsewhere on this Website. The majority of those present at the 2008 Reunion will be drawn from the Fifth Generation, i.e. they were present at the 1958 Mount Gawn Reunion. Today the family has increased and multiplied further and look forward to meeting the Sixth and Seventh Generations at the Reunion. Thankfully the name Kearney shows little sign of dying out for a while yet.

It is worth pointing out, however, that our Branch of the family, let’s call it the Mid-Antrim Kearneys only make up about 13% of all the phone numbers in the N. Ireland phone book. An examination would reveal an APPROXIMATE break-down as follows:

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Co. Down (34%) Belfast (22%) South Derry (16%) Mid-Antrim (13%) Derry City (7%) Coleraine (5%) Others (3%)

Therefore for what it is worth, and remember only going by the entries in the phone book over half of the Kearneys in Northern Ireland are located in Co. Down and Belfast. We will get over this Reunion first but maybe a wider Family Reunion might be worth considering at a future date and time.

The Townland of Lisnagarran (sometimes spelt Lisnagarron) nestles between the neighbouring townlands of Lisnahunshin, Aughnacleagh and Finkiltagh, all located north-east of Portglenone. In the ‘1837 Co. Antrim Field Name Book’ Lisnagarran was translated from the Irish as Líos na gCarn, fort of the sepulchred stone piles. ‘It is located in the Barony of Lower Toome, containing 355 acres, 1 rood and 8 perches, standard measure. About 4/5 of this townland is cultivated, the remainder consists of bog and rough ground. A bye-road runs through the centre of the townland, and another road (not finished) passes through its northern part. It contains 3 old forts.’

In the ‘Place-Names of Northern Ireland’ by Pat McKay he translates Lisnagarran as Líos Tí Ghearáin, or “the enclosure of Gearán’s house.” He implies that the modern version of Lisnagarran would lead one to suggest an Irish form such as Lóis na gCarn, “fort of the cairns,”or possibly Líos na nGearrán, “the enclosure of the horses.”

Both the 1857 and 1933 6 inch maps show Lisnagarran clearly and there seems to be more detail available in the 1933 Map. A number of houses are located along the bye-road as earlier stated. Perhaps one of these belonged to our forefathers.

We must give great credit to Jim Kearney (Ned) for tracing our ancestors back to the eighteenth century. Much of what he has written down he credits to his late father Ned and to a close examination of the Kearney Grave-plot at Aughnahoy. How the Kearneys came to Lisnagarran remains a mystery. Jim recalls hearing from different sources down the years that a number of brothers, perhaps as many as six, travelled from as far away as the South or West of Ireland, to settle in Lisnagarran. The locals at that time remarked on the strange accents of this new family.

The earliest record exists of our forefathers in Lisnagarran is to be found in ‘Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements for the Parish of Portglenone (1862)’ an Edward Kearney (born 1790, died 1886) farmed 30 acres 3 roods and 25 perches of ‘house, office and land’under lease to the Rev. William C. O’Neill (Shanes’s Castle), at an annual rent of £19 5s 0d. His son Patrick also lived closeby on this farm as well. Edward had a brother Bernard who farmed 22 acres, 2 roods and 35 perches as well in Lisnagarran under lease to the Rev. O’Neill.

Edward was married to Bridget (Biddy) Dillon, who died at the young age of 39 years. (Bridget born (1803 died 1842). We trace our earliest family roots back to Edward and Bridget. They had four children (See Family Tree), viz. Patrick, Bernard, Susan and Bridget. Unfortunately little is known of Bernard, Patrick married Sarah O’Neill, Susan married Bernard McLarnon, and Bridget married John Graham. The O’Neills, McLarnons and Grahams were all from the Parish of Portglenone. I refer to this era as the Second Generation.

Patrick and Sarah were blessed with ten children, 7 boys and 3 girls. Patrick and Henry emigrated to New Zealand, Michael to New York, John died at birth and Eddie (R.I.C.) died young (aged 26), Susan married an Eddie Kearney, Margaret married McNeill, John married Casey, little is known of Bridget, and James married Jane O’Hara, the grandparents of the 13 Kearneys we now call the Third Generation.

And so, for most of us, we are now referring to our parents, grandparents, or maybe great-grandparents. James and Jane were blessed with fourteen children in 21 years, in order Michael (Mick), Patrick (Pat), Edward (Ned), Sarah, Agnes, James (Jimmy), Harry, John, Margaret, Frank, Jane, Daniel (Dan), Barney and Hugh (who died aged 18 years). Mick married Lizzie Higgins, Lizzie’s brother Jim married Mick’s sister Agnes, Pat married Mary Anne McCann, Ned married Mary McCallion, Sarah married John O’Kane, James married Cassie Hendron, Harry married Georgie Clenaghan, John married Rosemary McErlean, Frank married Mary O’Kane, Jane married Thomas (Tommy) Carey, Margaret married John Etherson, Dan married Kay Teague and Barney married Audrey Scott. Only four remain of that generation, Georgie (Harry), Rosemary (John), Mary (Frank) and Kay (Dan).

Mick and Lizzie, Jimmy and Cassie (Buried in Crebilly), Ned and Mary, Pat and Mary Anne, Sarah and John, Harry, John, Frank, Jane and Tommy Carey, Dan and Hugh (all Aughnahoy), Agnes and Jim (Rasharkin), Margaret and John (Kilrea), and Barney and Audrey (Randalstown). Go ndeánfaidh Dia trócaire ar a n-ainmeacha.

As they say the rest is history…. The Fourth Generation will have very fond memories of the remarkable generation of Kearneys that have passed on. They were dedicated to the land, hard-working, caring, devoted Christian people, who left quite a mark and legacy for us all to celebrate and remember. We will never forget their humour and kindness.

There are no Kearneys left in Lisnagarran today. We have entrusted it to the McAleeses, our lifelong friends, who have made their own mark in the Parish of Porglenone and further afield. Lisnagarran is in safe hands.

Kearney Reunion 2008 Kearney Reunion 2008 Kearney Reunion 2008