Folks on this site were wonderful providing family information when Covid broke and getting to Ireland was just a dream. Now, I am happy to say we are finally going in May! We are booking through CIE travel and flying into Shannon from America. We plan to find a private driver to take us to visit Foxford, Swineford, Callow and Killaser areas in Mayo.
Any suggestions on a knowledgeable driver, places to stay between Shannon and Foxford would be appreciated.
My connection to Mayo is on my paternal grandmother’s side.
Anthony McNulty and Bridget Linsky were my great great grandparents. They arrived in NYC with Margaret and Julia April 22, 1886, departing from Queenstown on the City of Rome, listing Swineford as their origination. They are buried in Rochester, NY 1889 and 1890.
They had six daughters:
Mary, baptized 10-14-1860 in Killasser Parish, Callow, Diocese Achonry. Witnesses Ned Linsk and Mary Linsk. She is my Great Grandmother.
Her sisters and info from birth data located:
Julia: 7-18-1870 Foxford
Margaret: 11-9-1876 Colonaghlin
Anna (Anne): 8-14-1869 Mayo
Bridget Agnes: 1/27/1864 Foxford,
Catherine (Kitty in my mother’s notes): 8-12-1868 Foxford
My Great Grandmother, Mary McNulty, came to America May 30, 1881 on the Germanic into NYC from Queenstown. It appears she traveled by herself, then sister Julia arrived, showing up on Census reports for Rochester. Mary married Edward John Moodie 1892, having two daughters. One being my grandmother, Victoria.
Margaret’s Declaration of Intent document states she left Queenstown for America April 1886 and was born in Mayo August 20, 1876.
Griffith’s Valuation shows several McNulty possibilities in the area.
Thank you very much for any advice on how to locate relatives would be appreciated. We would LOVE to share tea with them. This is my once-in-a-lifetime retirement dream trip finally coming true.
AudreyFriday 22nd Sep 2023, 09:35PM
Message Board Replies
I forwarded your message to a volunteer who is very knowledgeable about Killasser parish.
Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘
I’m in the US, but my grandmother, Anne Marie McNulty, was born 10 Oct 1885 in the townland of Callow. I think your Anthony McNulty may have been her father’s cousin, but I don't have the right paper trail to be sure. I do share a DNA match with someone in Anthony’s line, but can’t locate my notes right now as to who that was. I've done a lot of research in the parish, so I can provide you with some additional info about the people you listed.
Bridget McNulty was baptized in the Church at Callow (St. Thomas the Apostle) on 24 December 1863. I'm attaching a copy of the page from the parish register. The later date you have for her birth can be explained. The civil registration of births started in 1864, so her birth could not have been registered in 1863. I'm surprised that they even had her birth registered, since it wasn't required. There was a lot of confusion about the new requirements, though, so her family may have had her registered just to be sure. In addition, people sometimes did not get around to registering births until some time after the actual date, and there was a fine for being more than 30 days late, so they would often make up a birth date which would avoid the fine. People were not as fixated on birth dates back then as we are now, which is also why you get such anomalous results in later censuses and other records – people often simply did not know on what date they were born.
Catherine was baptized 16 Aug 1868 at the same church, and a copy of her entry is also attached.
By the way, don't be surprised at the spelling of the mother's maiden surname in some of these entries. The surnames Lynskey/Lynsky/Lenskey are all anglicizations of the Irish surname Ó Loinscigh, found principally in Mayo and Galway. The name is sometimes found in older parish registers as “Lynsk” or “Lensk”. The families in the area would have been entirely Irish-speaking in the mid-1800’s, but most people did not know how to write Irish any more (they were taught to read and write in English in school, where Irish was usually not allowed). As pronounced in Irish, the name could be misheard by an English-speaker as something like “Lenshky” or “Lenshk”, and even the priest who made the register entry may have been unsure how to spell it. In later years, it settled down in most cases as Lynskey or Lynsky, which can be seen in later register entries. There is another surname, Ó Loingsigh, used by several different families in other parts of Ireland, which is believed to be related, but which was usually anglicized as Lynch or Linchy. The Mayo surname Ó Loinscigh was also sometimes anglicized as Lynch, but the Lynskey form is much more common in Mayo. One does sometimes see Lynch used there, though. The family of the famous American actress Jane Lynch (who starred in ”Glee” came from close nearby, as was explained when she appeared on the show “Finding Your Roots”.
I've been unable to find baptismal records thus far for Anne, Margaret and Julia. The “Colonaghlin” you found in one of the civil records is a mistake. It should say Cullonaughton, but the clerk recording the info may have misheard the name. The family lived first in Callow, where Mary and Bridget are recited as having been born. Catherine is shown in her baptismal record as being from Cullonaughton. Callow is on the east side of the Callow Lakes, and Cullonaughton is just across the lakes on the west side, so the family must have moved after Bridget’s birth and before Catherine’s. Though it’s so close, it’s possible that Cullonaughton is over the parish boundary and located in the parish of Toomore. That could explain why the baptismal records for the last three children are not in the Killasser parish register. It could also explain the references to Foxford in the civil records. I’ll check into that further.
I can send you more info about the family, surnames, place names, etc. if you’re interested, but I’ll cut this off here for now.
Sorry, forgot to upload the parish register entries, so here they are. By the way, I'm the person Roger was just talking about.
Thank you Kevin and Roger. I appreciate everyone's help.
My plan is to spend at least 2 full days in Foxford, Killasser and Swinford, finding a B&B to stay. It sounds like such a lovely area and if I can locate family, that would be perfect, but should at least be able to drive by family property. Griffiths shows Anthony McNulty near Cartron, Swinford Road N26, and the Callow Road area. I'd also like to visit Callow Lough Lower and any church that may still exist with family ties. From my research, it appears the McNulty's were active in the church and may all be related.
I am building my list of must see areas and appreciate any suggestions. Now that we have a definitive trip planned, I am getting excited! I was up until 2 am our time until my eyes wouldn't focus any longer working through Griffiths.
Glad the info was helpful. As to the local church in Callow, St. Thomas the Apostle, it's still there. You can see pictures of it and more info about the church at this site:
You can see more info about the townland of Callow at this site:
and information about the townland of Cullonaughton (using the current spelling of Cuillonaghtan) at this site.
At both pages, there are links to other records which relate to the specific townland, such as Griffith’s Valuation and the 1901 and 1911 censuses. There are several entries for Anthony McNulty in Griffith’s Valuation, but I suspect they are not for your Anthony. He was probably too young to hold a tenancy at the time (he would probably have been in his teens then) and there were also one or more other Anthony McNulty’s living in Callow. One of them was my grandmother’s uncle, who I know was not the same person as your Anthony, because his wife was Mary Tunny and I have the records for all of their children. As I said, though, I suspect that your Anthony was a cousin of my great-grandfather (Thomas McNulty) and that Anthony. Both Anthony cousins might possibly have been named for the grandfather they shared, but the records from back then are not clear.
At both pages, you can also see the Upper and Lower Callow Lakes depicted in the interactive maps, and the location of the church, on the N26 road opposite Lower Callow Lake, right after the point where the L5376 road branches off to the north. The Corthoonduff area where many of the McNulty's lived is up that road (the L5376). There is a bridge which crosses from Callow to Cullonaughton in between the two lakes. Callow is An Caladh ("the callow") in Irish. The word calladh in this case means a low-lying area near water, or else a landing place, referring to the Callow Lakes. The parish name, Killasser, is Cill Lasrach in Irish , meaning “Lasair’s church”. Lasair (from the Old Irish lasar, meaning “flame” or “fire”) was not an uncommon name in medieval Ireland, but Cill Lasrach is believed to be named for a particular saint who was born in County Fermanagh and came to the Killasser area, where she is believed to be buried. The church at Callow is a “sub-church” within Killasser parish. The “main” parish church is the Church of all Saint’s further to the east, in the center of the parish. It was first erected around 1837, but was completely replaced by a new church in 1868. I don’t think the people in Callow attended mass there, but some baptisms or marriages may have taken place there, and relatives who lived closer to that church may have attended mass there. The parish registers which are available online are combined for both churches.
There are also several sites of older churches in the parish, probably originally monastic sites, which were abandoned by the time of or after the Reformation. Two of them are Cill tSeasnáin and Teampall Maol. In Irish, a reference to a formal church uses the word: (i) “cill”, for a monastic church; (ii) “teampall”, an older word taken from the Latin “templus” (so, when you see the word “temple” in a place name like Teampall Maol, it normally refers to a very old church); or (iii) “eaglais”, which is the current word for a church (and the greater church, as an organization) , and comes either from the Norman French “église” or the Latin “ecclesia” (from which “église” was itself borrowed). Since the ancient Gaels did not worship indoors, they had no words for a building where religious services were held, and had to borrow them from Latin and/or French. In the period when Catholic churches were technically not supposed to exist (late 17th-18th century), people celebrated mass either outdoors (at a “mass rock”) or in a house provided by someone in the community (sometimes even a Protestant landlord), called a “teach an phobail” or “house of the people/community”. Since the 1990’s, I understand that an outdoor mass has been celebrated annually at the ruins of either Cill tSeasnáin or Teampall Maol, as a sort of memorial of those days (and of the old churches themselves). I visited Callow in the late 1970’s, but didn’t see either of those sites, because they were not talked about much back then. You could ask for directions at the exiting church, if you’re interested.
There was a history book published in 2011 in Ireland, entitled “Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish”, which contains lots of information about the area. The author is Bernard O’Hara, who was apparently working with the Killasser/Callow Historical Society. It can sometimes be found on Amazon, where I bought a copy a few years ago. The ISBN is 978-0-9850753-1-6, in case you want to look for it there or elsewhere. It is also available for downloading on Kindle readers, at a very reasonable price.
In Irish, the surname McNulty is Mac an Ultaigh, which literally means “son of the Ulsterman” (Ultach = Ulsterman, and Ultaigh is the genitive case of the word), but it may simply refer to descent from the Ulaid, a people for whom Ulster is named (in ancient Ireland, the Uluti tribe), which in remote times ruled the entirety of the North of Ireland. There are several stories about the origins of the surname, but according to MacLysaght in his “Surnames of Ireland”, the McNulty surname originated in County Donegal, and that is where the Mayo McNulty’s came from. A family of McNulty’s migrated to the Callow Lakes area in East Mayo in the 1640’s, and in the course of time, McNulty’s became numerous in the region. There are also still McNulty’s in Donegal and nearby counties. In Killasser, McNulty was the most common surname in the area in 1911, with double the number for any other surname (Durkan was the next most common name).
Since you’re doing research to prepare for your visit, there’s another web site you might want to check out. In the 1930’s, Irish schoolchildren were sent out on class projects where they interviewed mostly older people in their parish about the history and customs of the area. Some of the interviews were conducted in English and some in Irish. Over 250,000 interviews were conducted and they are available online at the Irish National Folklore Collection Project’s site:
The content of the interviews varied from place to place, but they can cover local history, local place names, people known to the person being interviewed, local myths and superstitions, and other customs, such as how holidays or weddings were celebrated and even on what day of the week people customarily did their washing or baked bread. It’s said to be the largest national folklore collection in the world, and the interviews can be fascinating. I’ve read all of the entries for Killasser, and they were quite interesting. The National Folklore Collection Project also has folklore podcasts (Blúiríní Béaloidis. or “Folklore Fragments”) which one can listen to (in English and Irish) at this site:
Hope you enjoy your visit!
Go dté tú slán! ["Go/travel in health!"}
Thank you so much! I will read through your information. I've been working on a list of items I need to see while having a private driver for a few days so they can work up an itinerary.
Does anyone happen to know if any of the Catholic churches are still standing? Bridget was baptized 1860 and thought it was the Callow Church... Kevin, I have that Killasser Parish book that mentions church buildings changed, as did their names. It is great. So many McNulty's... one even listed as an early Priest. I need to refresh myself on that. It sounds like the original church they were baptized in is still there, so I'll definitely try to visit and go inside.
Now the hard part - trying to locate living McNulty relatives. Not an easy task.