Share This:

My great grandparents were Michael and Ellen Clasby of Craughwell.   They had 20 children my grandmother was their daughter Mary Ellen or Mary Josephine (I am not sure which is her middle name).  I believe they owned the pub which is now called Cheevers.  Anyone knowing the family, related to the family or anyone with any knowledge of the family, info would be greatly appreciated.  I am trying to find out who Michael Clasby's parents and siblings were and I know Ellen Clasby was Ellen Cunniffe and her father was Peter Cunniffe but I don't know who her mother or sibling were. Thank you.


Friday 30th Dec 2016, 08:50PM

Message Board Replies

  • mcpherson:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    I located the April 14th 1880 civil birth record for your grandmother and her name was shown as Mary. See link below. You will have to sign-in to see the record.…

    I also found the 1901 and 1911 census records for the family. The 1911 census record indicates that Michael and Ellen had sixteen children with thirteen still living. and that they were married in 1869. Note the 1911 census transcription incorrectly shows the surname as Clasly.……

    Here is the parish register for Craughwell RC church with baptisms starting in 1847 and marriages in 1856. I would look in the 1869 marriages for the exact date of marriage.

    Michael Clasby died in 1926…

    and Ellen died in 1942…

    It appears that Michael was born before 1847 when records start in Craughwell for baptisms. The 1855 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing shows a Michael Clasby in Craughwell. Not sure if that is the husband of Ellen or possibly his father.

    Roger McDonnell


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 30th Dec 2016, 09:49PM
  • Ellen had at least two other siblings, Elizabeth and John. Her parents were Peter Cunniffe and Mary Finnegan. Elizabeth married John McKenna of Monaghan in 1874 and moved to Rathdowney, and then Mountrath Co. Laois. Elizabeth had ten children altogether. Her daughter Margaret (b.1890) married a Nicholas Joseph Connolly of Wexford - they are my great-grandparents. Elizabeth was born in 1856 and John 1848. John was married to Margaret Healy and had nine children.


    As for Michael, I think he was part of the Land League, but I haven't much information on him currently since I only just found out.

    The more I find out, I will share.

    Kiran Connolly


    Thursday 2nd Feb 2017, 01:51PM
  • Thanks for the info on the Cunniffes Kiran.  I guess that makes us cousins.  I have found out quite a bit of info about the Clasbys since I posted my message.  They had 20 children and also had a pub on Main Street in Craughwell which I think today is called Cheevers and continues to be owned by relatives.  Michael Clasby was active in the Land League.  He did a lot of work on behalf of political prisoners.  He came to Boston and NY to speak and was awarded a gold watch for his political activities.  Many of the Clasbys moved to America though some remained in Craughwell and are buried in the cemetary at Killora.  I am not sure if there are any Clasbys still in the area.  Richard Clasby played football at Harvard with Ted Kennedy and was the best man at Ted Kennedy's wedding. I think there are Clasbys all over the US now.  My grandmother Mary Clasby Campbell died when my mother was 13 yrs old and my mother's family lost contact with the Clasbys.   The Cunniffes have been a lot harder to find info on though I have been in touch with a couple of relatives through Ancestry.   Thanks again and any more insights would be appreciated.

    Margi McPherson 


    Monday 6th Feb 2017, 12:07AM
  • Attached Files
    IMG_7547.JPG (547.18 KB)
    John Mckenna.jpg (726.25 KB)

    Hi Margi

    Very interesting info on the Clasbys, particularly the Kennedy connection. The Cunniffes are indeed difficult to research. I do know that the pub you mentioned was actually owned by them. Peter Cunniffe ( Ellen's father) was a farmer and a publican. The story in my family, regarding my 3x great grandmother Elizabeth, is that she was disowned by her father because the man she married (John McKenna) was a RIC officer in the town. Her father forbid her from marrying him. The day of the wedding, she told everyone she was going out to milk the cows that morning. She walked out the door, got married at the local church, and came home that evening like nothing happened. Had to eventually tell her parents she was married, when John was about to be sent to Rathdowney. Needless to say, her father went ballistic!

    I am on and the info on my side of the family us up there. If you want, search for Kiran Bal and you can find the family tree. I will attach photos of Elizabeth and John for you, to this message. 




    Monday 6th Feb 2017, 02:39PM
  • Hi Kiran, Thank you so much for the info and pictures.  Great story about your ggg grandmother's wedding day.  I think you may have solved a mystery for my sisters and I as well.  My grandfather was also a member of the RIC stationed in Galway and his father was receiving a pension from the RIC up in Donegal.  I think his brother was also in the RIC.  With my grandmother's father being so politically active, I can't imagine the marriage went over too well.  We always wondered why coming from a family of 20 children, most of whom married and had children of their own, my mother and her family didn't seem to have any cousins to speak of.  We always thought that because their mother died so young, they just lost touch with the Clasbys but perhaps there was more to it.  I was in touch awhile back with a historian from Craughwell who told me about the Clasbys owning the pub where Cheevers is today but maybe it was the Cunniffes instead.  I know the Clasbys owned a hotel on Main Street.  I saw in the Irish newspapers from and the site Find My Past, that Michael Clasby was arrested just about every week for serving alcohol after hours or on Sundays.  There was a policeman who was out to get him for his political activities. Michael Clasby wrote quite a poem in the newspaper about the policeman.  He was also arrested once for his political acitivities.  I will try to view your family tree on Ancestry UK, mine is on Ancestry US under the McPherson Family.  Thanks again for all the updates and I love the pictures.  Keep in touch. Margi.



    Thursday 9th Feb 2017, 08:35PM



    Hi Margi 

    Gear to hear from you again. There is an article written about civil unrest in Craughwell in The Times (British version) that mentions Michael Clasby. I think it was the reporting of the court case in the paper from the year 1888. 

    Peter Cunniffe, Ellen's father, was married to a Mary Finnegan. Her brother and sisters all emigrated around 1860/70s to California and lived in the Oakland/ San Francisco area. Mary's siblings were: Michael Finnegan, Bridget Kennedy, Margaret Sullivan and Ellen Spellman. You can find all this info on my tree. 

    Hope this is all helpful to you. 





    Friday 10th Feb 2017, 09:59PM
  • Hi Kiran,   I just realized that your ggg grandmother was a witness at my great grandmother's wedding.  Michael Clasby and Ellen Cunniffe  (1869).    Patrick Cunniffe was a witness at my grandparents wedding ( Thomas F. Campbell and Mary Clasby). (1905).  Thanks for the info on CA I will look into those ones  Margi



    Saturday 11th Feb 2017, 09:59PM
  • I'm connected to this thread through John Cunniffe- Ellen's brother. His son Michael Cunniffe was my great grandfather. My grandfather Fran O'Toole was adopted and raised in Dublin. It's really hard to find any pics of Cunniffes online. So any help with seeing a pic of any of them would be immensly helpful! :)

    James O'Toole Jnr

    Tuesday 14th Feb 2017, 09:12PM
  • Miriam Hi Margi,

    I am a direct descendant of the Clasbys as my grandmother was Margo clasby  and one of the youngest of the 21 children. My mother inherited the pub from Lucy and Vonnie Clasby my grandmothers sisters and my brother and his wife Robert and Mary Cheevers now live in the family home and run the pub. I will fill you in more once I know this thread is still alive. I am actually sleeping in the family home in Craughwell tonight and believe it was as a result of looking at Michael and Ellen's picture which is hanging in the pub that I was prompted to look up the clasby name and found this. 

    Miriam Cheevers MacManus 

    Miriam Cheevers MacManus

    Saturday 18th Aug 2018, 12:44AM
  • Hi Miriam,


    Good to hear from you.  My grandmother was Mary Clasby, I believe she was the oldest daughter.  She died when my mother was only 13 yrs old so I never got to meet her.  As you can see from the postings, I have been in touch with some other relatives in Ireland.  James O'Toole who is related through the Cunniffes, was kind enough to send me a copy of the picture of Michael and Ellen that hangs in the pub.  I never knew any of the Clasbys, though I know my mother and her sisters did visit with them when they were young.   My sisters and I are hoping to visit Ireland next spring and hope to visit Craughwell as well as Donegal where my grandfather's family is from.  My grandfather was a member of the RIC which may not have gone over well with Michael Clasby since he was very political, fighting for Ireland's independence.  I have an article from The Boston Globe about Michael Clasby coming to Boston and receiving a gold watch for his work with political prisoners.  He was honored in New York.   Thanks for writing and any info you can provide would be appreciated.  If you are on Ancestry, you can view the McPherson family tree to see how much info I have and let me know anything I have wrong.  Hope to hear from you and maybe meet you next Spring.   All the best.  Margi




    Saturday 18th Aug 2018, 08:01PM

    Hi Margi

    Yes make sure you call to Craughwell when you come to Ireland and you will see the place where your great grandmother was born. I would love to meet up too of course. .My brother and sister in law have met and chatted to some of the clasby from the USA over the years. It seems there was 21 children and 2 died and 6 either stayed or returned to Ireland . Auntie Lucy who I remember well was a lady in waiting to the Shriver family and remained single and returned to Ireland. She was a wonderful singer and went to America to family  to have her voice trained I'm told. She was the Grand Marshall for the St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston (I think it was Boston) . Aunts Bridget also lived in Craughwell and her daughter was the youngest lady Abyss in the Benedictine Order in Kykemore Abbey a famous girls boarding school in Connemara where two of my sisters went to school . She is buried in the Sbbey grounds . Auntie Vonnie never left Craughwell other then to go to boarding school in Tuam Co.Galwsy . Uncle frank and aunts Nono also remained in Ireland but I don't remember then and then my granny who lived in Loughrea after she married Bro. McNamara . Her name was Margo and my mother was her daughter. Aunts Bridget, Lucy  Vonnie and my granny came to our house in Moylough Co.Galway regularly on holidays. My brother Robert has the death notice of Michael Clasby  which I will get a photo of for you. The bar is where Clasbys hotel was and Cuniffees is a bed and Breakfast next door to the pub which my brother also owns as he bought it some years ago so both Ellen's family property and Clasbys family property is still with family. The bar is now in the 5th generation of descendants with the sixth helping out on small jobs. As I said my brother and older siblings know more then me so I will gather some info for you from them. Would love to read the Boston article if possible. 

    I'll contact you soon again Margi.             Regards, 





    Miriam Cheevers MacManus

    Sunday 19th Aug 2018, 10:10PM
  • Hi Miriam,

    Thank you for all the info on the family.  My sisters and I definitely plan to visit Craughwell when we go to Ireland and would love to meet you.  I will get a copy of the newspaper articles about Michael Clasby for you.  I am not good with computers so I may actually have to mail you a copy.   You may know this but there is a book called The Prisoners of Craughwell which was written by a professor at Galway University Pat Finnegan, which mentions Michael Clasy who helped with the release of his grandfather from prison.  He was a political prisoner and Pat Finnegan has a letter written to his grandfather from Michael Clasby.  I did try to get in touch with him to see if I could get a copy of the letter but was unsucessful in finding him.   I do have a copy of Michael Casby's obituary, I also have a portion of a poem written by him which was published in the newspaper about a political trial that he was involved in.  I will send you a copy of that as well, it is quite humorous.   It seems that he must have had a great sense of humor.   I will go through my newspaer articles and send you anthing I find of interest.   My grandmother's name was Mary but I do not know if it was Mary Josephine or Mary Ellen.  Some documents have Mary E and some have Mary J.  if someone knows the answer to that I would appreciate it.  Also, do you happen to know Michael Clasby's parents names?  I can't get any info earlier than him.  A local historan in Craughwell wrote a short history of Michael Clasby or me which was helpful but nothing earlier.  Anyway, if you let me know where I can send you copies of the info that I have, I will make copies and send them along to you.  Take care.  Margi



    Saturday 1st Sep 2018, 08:53PM
  • Miriam you can send your info to me at   Margi


    Saturday 1st Sep 2018, 08:55PM
  • Hi there. I am not looking for the Clasby name but I did see you spoke of a local Craughwell historian. Would it be possible to get you to give me his contact details? I am struggling with a Hyacinth Burke from Craughwell and maybe this person can help me. I am in New Zealand and it is very difficult getting information this far away. Many many thanks for nay help you can give. Regards Tony Callis Auckland New Zealand

    Tony Callis

    Saturday 1st Sep 2018, 11:32PM
  • Hi Tony,

    The local historian I contacted was Gerry Cloonan.  He is a retired Principal of Presentation  College in Athenry Galway.  He is mentioned in the book I referenced above,  The Craughwell Prisoners, which is how I heard of him but I honestly don't remember how I finally got in contact with him.  I probably Googled him though.  Maybe if you contact the College they could help you out with an address or email.  He is very knowledgeable and was quite helpful, though I recall, that ihe was a very busy man as well.  Good Luck with your search.                   Margi



    Monday 3rd Sep 2018, 04:54PM
  • Attached Files
    clasby graves.docx (372.64 KB)

    Hi all, 

    My great grandmother was Margot Clasby and Miriam above is my mum's first cousin. I have  a newspaper clipping from 1926bwhen Michael Clasby died. I will photgraph it and post it here. Ellen Cunniffe was born Helen and her date of birth is 23-11-1942. You mentioned a Richard (Dick) Clasby above,he went on to marry one of Ted Kennedy's first cousins Mary Jo Gargan. I cannot get back before Helen in terms of family research. Also from information I have Michael Clasby went to live with his grandparents in the pub, now known as Cheevers as a young boy bercause his family had been evicted during the famine, but this could be wrong. He was originally from Aggard.

    I also attach gravestone information I have come across.


    Ríona McGuinness

    Riona McGuinness

    Friday 4th Jan 2019, 05:32PM
  • Hi All


    Thanks for sharing new info.

    Ríona, if you would like to take a look, I have a tree on Ancestry that has a lot of information about Michael and Ellen Clasby, and their children. It isn't complete yet, but you might find what you are looking for.

    Miriam, Michael Clasby's parents, may be named Patrick Clasby and Ellenora Cooke Clasby. I am not 100% certain this is right. Any information is sketchy, at best once you get to this generation and beyond.

    Also if possible, could you send me a copy of thst picture of Michael and Ellen that's hanging up in Cheevers?

    My email is:

    Thanks in advance.



    Sunday 6th Jan 2019, 02:19PM
  • Hi Kiran, i would ove to have a look at your tree on ancestry. I am finally getting some time to spend on this and there are so many Clasbys in the records. I have many of my grandmother's siblings identified but have a question mark over one or two.

    thank you 


    Riona McGuinness

    Sunday 3rd May 2020, 06:30PM
  • Hi Ríona

    Search me on Ancestry as Kiran Bal. I have set my tree as public so you should be able to see it . Regards, Kiran





    Monday 4th May 2020, 02:24PM

Post Reply