Sherlock Holmes' grandmother from Kilkenny

And Arthur Conan Doyle's mother lived in Kilkenny city

Sean Keane


Sean Keane


Sherlock's mother

Arthur Conan Doyle's mother, Mary Foley (1832-1920)

A fascinating new book on the lives of extraordinary Kilkenny people has proven that the author of the Sherlock Holmes books is of Kilkenny extraction.

Arthur Conan Doyle's grandmother was from Kilkenny city. Her name was Mrs Mary Foley (1837-1920). And Conan Doyle's mother,  also named Mary lived on James's Street, Kilkenny as a very young child before her mother, a widow, was forced to flee to Scotland in 1847 after she had been disinherited by her protestant family who had been 'repulsed' after she had married a catholic who died suddenly of a heart attack leaving Mary to fend for herself and her young family.

She set up a school for governesses in Edinburgh and also took lodgers. One of those was Charles Doyle, who later married Mary's eldest daughter, also named Mary; the mother of Arthur Conan Doyle.

The story forms a chapter in a new book by Kilkenny resident, Donal Cadogan,  called 99 Lives - Kilkenny Connections.