24 Sept 2022

The Grace and Teehan families from Kilkenny - a fascinating insight

Old family picture provides focal point for family research

Ordination picture with members of the Grace and Teehan families from North Kilkenny

Ordination picture with members of the Grace and Teehan families from North Kilkenny

A photograph which was sent to Kilkenny Archives by Dr Pierce Grace of Limerick, appeared in the Kilkenny People some weeks ago.
People were asked to come forward with information about the many ‘unknowns’. Dr Pierce Grace, is a son of Dr Paddy Grace (seated front row) and a grandson of Dr Pierce Grace who stands back row extreme right.
Mr Noel Drennan of Garryduff, Paulstown, his daughter-in-law Annette Meany and others who wish to remain anonymous, came forward, with the result that most of the people have now been identified. One adult and one child remain ‘unknown’.
While this very fine photograph by Arthur Greenhough of Fox, Grennhough of Rose Inn Street, depicts a Teehan (Lisnalea/Canverstown of Tullaroan) ordination, so primarily it was a Teehan family event, the Grace family of Gaulstown, Tullaroan are the underlying cement here.
Graces are numerous in that part of Kilkenny and its well to remember that Tullaroan was/is ‘Grace’s Country’ just as south Kilkenny was/is often referred to as the ‘Walsh Mountains’ because of the numerical strength of that surname there.
The chief family of the Graces were known as the ‘Barons of Courtstown’ which castle and lands they finally lost after the Battle of the Boyne, through confiscation. In taking up the sword on behalf of the Catholic King James 11, they backed the wrong horse. The castle has long gone. Not a stone remains upon a stone. Most of us too have heard of ‘Grace’s Card’ .

Nicholas Grace, the pater familias complete with side whiskers and bowler hat, (50 in 1901) of Gaulstown, whose Teehan grandson, Michael, was ordained that day and the reason for the event, had long been a widower.
His late wife had been Catherine (Kate) Keoghan (Purcellsgarden, Threecastles where the family still farm). Kate had a sister Elizabeth, who had married Henry Meagher of Currach (correctly Currachscarteen) – recently known as Bród Tullaroan.
Hence the presence of Keoghans and Meaghers.
Incidentally Nicholas’s father’s name was Patrick (1813-1890) who married a Bridget Quirke (1812-1877) while his grandfather was James Grace (1771-1863) who married a Margaret Walsh (1780-1854).
Starting Point
Nicholas and Kate Grace had 11 surviving children so let’s start there, as most are pictured here.
Paddy (1879-1950) (Rev) died PP of Castletown Co. Laois. Francis (1880-1942) ‘ Frank’ (absent) farmed at Bayswell, Johnstown which place he married into. His wife was a Miss.Bridget Bowe of Bayswell.
Their descendants still farm there. Bridget (1881-1970) ‘Ciss’ Grace Mrs. Patrick Teehan of Lisnalea and/or Canverstown, whom she married in 1902. James (1882-1968) ‘Jim’ Grace of Gaulstown who inherited the farm from his father, Nicholas. Jim married Bridget Bryan of Dunbell and had two daughters : Catherine (Kitty) and Madge. Kitty married Martin Brennan of Bawnmore, Crosspatrick and it’s their son, John Brennan, who now farms at Gaulstown. Another son James Brennan farms at Ballybeagh, Tullaroan. Madge married Joe O’ Neill who had a pharmacy on High St., Kilkenny, until relatively recently. John (1884-1915) known as Jack, trained as a draper with Todd, Burns & Co., Dublin.
The Dictionary of Irish Biography (2009) has an entry for this Kilkenny man who oddly won five All-Ireland Football medals. He played for Kickhams GAA Club in Dublin while he was learning the drapery trade. Tragically he died from pneumonia in Jervis St Hospital in 1915. Antibiotics would have saved his life today.
Unique GAA distinction
Jack Grace has the unique distinction of having captained All-Ireland senior final sides in both hurling and football though he never won an All-Ireland medal in the former.
Today, Jack Grace is considered the finest dual player in GAA history and his achievements are unlikely to be equalled (see him in the 1895 family group photo). Pierce (1885-1966) Grace (Dr.) Kilkenny – father of Dr. Paddy Grace and grandfather of Dr. Pierce Grace of Limerick. Like his brother Jack, he joined Kickhams GAA Club when he moved to Dublin to study medicine.
He is one of the very few players in both hurling and football to win ALL-Ireland medals and the only player to-date to win more than one senior medal in both sports. He was appointed RMS of St Fintan’s Hospital, Portlaoise in 1918.
After retirement in the late 1950s he returned to live in Kilkenny. Elizabeth (1887-1975) ‘ Lizzie’ (absent), married Denis Gorey (1874-1940) who was first elected to the Dail in 1922 where he served for over twenty years.
Mary (1888-1970) ‘Molly’, married Ray Crotty, baker of Parliament Street (first wife was a Keoghan of Threecastles) Catherine Mrs. Kerwick who lived at Oldtown or Huntstown, Tullaroan. Richard (1890-1974) ‘Dick’, later of Leugh House, Threecastles, another famous Kilkenny hurler.
He was known as a talented left half-back who won five All-Ireland hurling medals with Kilkenny during a career which lasted from 1909 to 1926.
He was also involved in the War of Independence as a member of the Tullaroan Company of the 7th Battalion, Kilkenny Brigade, of the Old IRA, and his home provided a save house for flying-column members. Dick married in 1935 Mary Murphy of Kilmacow and had one son.
His father Nicholas ended his days at Leugh. Helena (1893-1973) known as Lena, Mrs. Paddy Tehan of Shipton. Kilmanagh parish. An infant born in 1891 died, while another infant with the mother died in 1895.
Now let’s look at the Teehans (old spelling Tehan). The key couple are Patrick Teehan of Lisnalea /Canverstown, and his wife Bridget ‘Ciss’ (née Grace).
The 1901/1911 census returns gave me the following details of this family. Rev. Michael (1903), the key figure of the photo, was ordained for the archdiocese of Glasgow where he ended up a canon. He had studied at St. Kieran’s College from 1919 until his ordination. Nicholas (1904), inherited the family farm from his father.
His nephew Pat Brennan farms there today (ee below). John Joseph (1905) who it seems never married. Francis (1906) after some years at St. Kieran’s College, he went to Maynooth. Received sub-deacon orders 20th Oct. 1930.
Probably ordained at Maynooth in 1931. He died parish priest of Piltown in 1975. Paddy (1909) Teehan married Kitty? and lived at Ardloo near Jenkinstown.
The couple had two children, Patrick and Breda Teehan. Margaret born after 1911, later Mrs. Brennan and it’s her son Pat who farms at Lisnalea/Canverstown today. Catherine (Kitty) born after 1911.
All these Tehans/Teehans are in the photo according to Noel Drennan whose grandfather Patrick Drennan of Garryduff, Paulstown (back row 3rd gent from the left with moustache) was a first cousin of Pat Teehan father of the newly ordained priest. Patrick Drennan’s mother was a Margaret Teehan. Incidentally the Charlie Drennan,who stands in front of Patrick was a brother.
Others in the photograph are Frank Keoghan of Threecastles who was most likely a first (or first- -cousin-once-removed) cousin of the ordained man as his father was possibly a brother of the deceased Mrs Nicholas Grace; Mr Hogan of Gaulstown, a neighbour of the Graces who is I believe the grandfather of Phil Hogan currently EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in Brussels.
Mrs Mulloy who stands in front of Dr Pierce Grace, was born a Teehan. Standing behind the left shoulder of the priest with a white hat is Catherine ‘Kitty’ Grace of Bayswell, probably the wife of the absent Frank Grace.
The children who sit on the lowest step of the terrace have been identified as Peg Gorey who sits next to a still unknown girl, then Paddy Grace, the latter’s sister Cathleen (Kay) Grace and finally Mary Grace of Bayswell, a daughter of Frank Grace whose mother is present.
Patrick Teehan the father of the ordained man was the son of Michael Teehan (born 1837) by his wife Margaret Bryan who was a daughter of John Bryan of Dunbell, Maddowtown (family still resident).
This is the second reference to the Bryans of Dunbell for his brother-in-law, Jim Grace of Gaulstown married Bridget Bryan of Dunbell. Without doubt these women were closely related.
Possibly aunt and niece. Patrick himself had two brothers John (1887) and Daniel (1878). Patrick's grandfather was a Patrick Teehan of Tullaroan who seems to have had a younger brother John who was 75 years in 1901 and living at Lisnealea unmarried.
Thousands of photos
There must be thousands of photographs by Arthur Greenhough languishing in households throughout Kilkenny and beyond. Pictures demonstrate ever changing society and are as valuable as the written record as the examples here demonstrate.
They are a journey into the past and are capable of documenting every aspect of public and private life.
Alas unlike the Poole and Annie Brophy Collections of Waterford, the Fox, Greenhough negatives have not it seemed survived. Indeed one report goes so far as to state that the entire collection of negatives was dumped into the river Dinen in the early 1960s.
Grateful thanks to Mr Noel Drennan, Ms Annette Meaney and all who kindly shared these images with us and supplied much of the background information.

For another historical article, click here

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