The Kelly clan from Boyle in Roscommon

The Kelly home in Boyle

The Kelly home in Green Street, Boyle

Researching family history can be a frustrating business, but Tawa resident Paul Kelly was delighted to come across a heritage site which is a goldmine for descendants of families from the town of Boyle in Co Roscommon.

Paul’s grandfather, John, grew up at No. 7 Green Street in Boyle. The site allowed people to click on a house number and add photographs of family members who had lived there. Paul added family photos which can be viewed under ‘People’ on the homepage.

Paul was also able to piece together the Kelly family history from the 1901 and 1911 census records on the site. The 1901 census in Green Street was taken just after the death of Paul’s great grandfather, also named John.

He and his wife, Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Catherine Kelly, were not recorded in that census and it is thought that Lizzie had died before her husband, around 1899. The family story is that Lizzie was a cook and midwife who died when going from one birth to the next. A photo on the site shows Lizzie holding her first son, Patrick, Paul’s great uncle.

By the time of the 1901 census, 17-year-old Patrick Joseph Kelly, an unmarried tailor, was the head of the household. Also living at number 7 were his brothers John William (Paul’s grandfather), who was a ‘solicitor’s articled clerk’, and Robert Edward, 13, and Peter Joseph, 11, both schoolboys.

Not all of the family were there on that census day. Paul was told the two youngest, Francis and Elizabeth Mary, had been placed in a children’s orphanage until the Catholic priest had them removed. Of two other brothers, one – Gustava – is not recorded, while George Francis had died at birth.

Without their parents, the Kelly children found it tough going and Patrick was not able to hold on to the family tailoring business. He went down to Dublin to work as a tailor and save for his passage to New Zealand, and to gradually pay for the rest of his siblings to migrate too.  Patrick arrived here in 1904 and Paul’s grandfather John followed in 1905. The whole family eventually came out but Francis thought Invercargill was too cold and later moved to California.

Around 140 Kelly descendants now live in New Zealand and Paul has been in contact with many of them through his research.

The two-storey house sits next to the ruins of an old bakery. Boyle is in the north of Roscommon and was once on the main road to Sligo until a bypass was put through in 1999. Paul has not yet visited there but has heard it’s in a beautiful setting with a number of lakes nearby.

Good friends and in-laws Jack and Joanne Doherty have visited and as they passed through they saw a man the spitting image of Paul pushing a bicycle up the street. Without knowing anything of his Green Street heritage, they joked that the Kellys must have come from Boyle of Co Roscommon.


6 Responses to The Kelly clan from Boyle in Roscommon

  1. Paul Kelly says:

    Hi Pat,
    Thank you for writing the Kelly Clan story. Keep up the good work spreading the word.

  2. […] recent O’Kiwi blog had some notes about my Kelly family from Boyle in Co. Roscommon. The story of my great-uncle, […]

  3. lisa says:

    Hi Paul I am Patrick Joseph Kelly grandaughter from new zeland my mum is 82 and still alive and would love any information about the kelly clam

  4. Tommy Egan óg says:

    This is my parents house. It belongs to Tommy Egan and his wife. There are a couple of Boyle resididents of my generation residing in New Zealand. Wellington/Queenstown to name a few

    • Pat Martin says:

      Hi Tommy. Thanks for the note – I look after the O’Kiwi site and I’ve been away for a few days so slow to reply. I’ve flicked your note on to Paul Kelly, who’s grandfather grew up in the house. Hope you and your parents are well.
      Regards, Pat

  5. Paul Kelly says:

    Hi Tommy
    Pat Martin brought your message to my attention.
    My name is Paul Stephen Kelly and I may have met your mother or your wife when me and my son Sam Kelly visited Boyle during the Rugby World Cup in 2015. We had a wonderful trip driving around Ireland and the highlight of the trip was visiting our family home your parents now own.
    The day we visited Boyle we arrived at the house we know as 7 Green Street and began taking photos. During this time a lady arrived at the house and opened the front door. I quickly approached her and explained our connection to the house and that my Grandfather John William Kelly once lived in the house with his parents and siblings. This was in the 1800s to approximately 1911 about the time my Grandfather emigrated to New Zealand.
    I’m sure the lady was Mrs Egan who was friendly and welcoming and showed us through the house and backyard.
    I think it was possibly your father or Grandfather who developed a web page to enable Green Street occupants to write stories or add photos to each address in Green Street. I dutifully attached some of my family historic photos to 7 Green Street.
    My Grandfathers parents who tenanted the house were John Kelly and Catherine McCann.

    Please give my kind regards to Mrs Egan who allowed us to visit the old family home.

    Kind regards to all and thank you for leaving your message on the O’Kiwi site.

    Paul Kelly

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