Gilligan Family Ballinrooaun.

Some facts relating to this family, formerly of Ballinrooaun.

Jimmy Laffey

Gilligan Family, Ballinrooaun.

Bridget Gilligan and her husband Thady Ruane.

John Gilligan was the recorded tenant of 13 acres and 29 perches in Richard Griffiths Valuation of Tenements in 1850. John Gilligan’s nearest neighbours at that time included John Screen, Thaddeus Hansberry, David Laffey, Michael Sleman, William Dolly and John Connor. The particular area of Ballinrooaun where the Gilligan family resided was often referred to locally as Windfield Road.
In 1857 the tenant of the property was Thomas Gilligan – son of John. Thomas however was only to remain as tenant for about three years as was to marry Julia Waldron from Ballagh and they moved to live on another holding in Ballinrooaun and their descendants lived there to this day though the household name has evolved and is now called Ruane due to a subsequent marriage.


In the 1861 valuations Thomas Gilligan’s elder brother, Michael, was now the tenant of the original Gilligan holding in Ballinrooaun. Michael Gilligan was born in 1819 and died in 1899 and he was married to Catherine Hynes (1830-1900). Michael and Catherine had at least three children that can be confirmed – Bridget (baptised January 4th, 1870) who was to marry William Conneely from the neighbouring townland of Windfield Upper, Catherine (born June 9th, 1866) and Thomas born December 5th 1874.

Joe Gilligan of left, pictured outside Kenny’s pub and shop, Mountbellew. Image courtesy of late Tommy Byron.

This younger and only son Thomas Gilligan, would marry on two occasions, first married Honor Mahony from Brierfield, in Abbeyknockmoy Church on March 11th, 1896. Thomas and Honor had one daughter, Mary, who was baptised on May 3rd, 1897 in Skehana church. In 1912 Honor (recorded as Nora on her death certificate) died and this left Thomas to rear his only daughter Mary. Mary was to emigrate to the United States within a few short years in 1914, when she would have been 16 or 17 years of age and she departed from Queenstown, Co. Cork and arrived at the port of Philadelphia on October 5th, 1914. Mary is recorded on the ships manifest as being 18 years of age and her nearest relative being her father Thomas Gilligan, Ballinruane, Menlough and her destination was that of her uncle Martin Mahony who lived in Philadelphia.

The 1901 census shows us that two nieces, daughters of Thomas’ sister Mary and Peter Scarry, are present in the household, namely Kate and Mary Scarry. Kate Scarry mentioned here would later marry Thomas Mannion of Moylough and many of her sons went on to become renowned national and All-Ireland cycling champions.

John Gilligan, extreme left, with John and Delia Laffey (nee Scanlon) and their children Tommy, Eileen, Michael and David. (Image courtesy Emma Laffey)

Thomas, now a widower, was to marry again in 1917 to Annie Culkeen, from Carrownea, between Ballymacward and Woodlawn, who was born in 1890 and he and Annie were to have ten children. The first born was Kathleen and her birth was registered in 1918 and she was followed by Michael (1920), Peter (1921), Annie (1923), John (1924), James (1928), Eileen also known as Lizzie (1930), Bridget (1931), Rose (1933) and finally Joseph (1935). Rose died at two years of age in 1935 and all remaining nine children attended St. Josephs National School in Ballinrooaun and are recorded in the roll books. Thomas Gilligan died in 1945 and his wife Annie (nee Culkeen) died in 1955.

Kathleen Gilligan, the eldest child of Thomas and Annie remained in Ireland and married Mark Healy from Castlegar, Claremorris and they were to have seven children – Mary (Devane) living in Milltown, Christopher living in Castlegar, Claremorris, Nora (Bailey) living in Sydney, John living in Birmingham, Katherine (Denn??) living in Cloonfad/Ballyhaunis. Mark (Birmingham) and Thomas (Castlegar) are both deceased.

The last surviving member of Thomas and Annie Gilligan’s children, Jimmy, died in Dublin in Decmber 2018, aged 91, and following Mass in Skehana Church was laid to rest in Menlough Cemetery.

This page was added on 05/07/2023.

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