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Chance Proximity

I thought it worthwhile to do this page when I found that so many different lines of research on different sides of the family often came together in the same location.

The people concerned often lived there at different times (Patrick Mortimer and John Burgess) , or, they may have been there at the same time and only subsequently become related (Sarah Rankin and Mary Anne Coneely, or, John Burgess and John P Dwyer and Grandpa van Thiel). Or, they might have already been related, known each other and even been good buddies (John Burgess and Nicholas Fleming).

Proximity also seems to have played a significant part in choice of spouses, with people often marrying those living fairly close by, but I haven't dealt with that angle here.

Great Britain Street

This has since become Parnell Street.

Both women below were to become my great grandmothers. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that they were living in the street at the same time. Mary Anne was only 17 when she married and would not necessarily have been in Dublin for very long at that stage. Sarah Rankin might not have come to the street before 1861. This may all be revealed in due course, and then again it may not.

Mary Anne Coneely
xxxx - 1861

Mary Anne Coneely was working in Ellen Berry's millinery shop at 79 Great Britain Street when she married Joseph Mortimer (see below) in 1861.

Sarah Rankin
xxx - 1866

Sarah Rankin was in domestic service to John Barrington, 202 Great Britain Street, when she married Christopher Burgess in 1866.


Joseph Mortimer
1861 - 1884

The Glasnevin connection starts with my great grandfather Joseph Mortimer who lived in the village from at least 1861 until his death in 1875. His widow and family seem to have lived on there until about 1884. Between 1866 and 1880 the family lived in Ivy Cottage, just opposite the entrance to St. Moibhi's church. The site of the house has now become part of the Enterprise Ireland complex.

Patrick Francis Mortimer
1940 -1941

Apart from the cemetery, which was always welcoming to guests, the Mortimer connection with Glasnevin was not re-established until around 1940/1 when Patrick Francis Mortimer, Joseph's grandson, moved into 3 St. Moibhi's Grove, when he married May Walsh. Uncle Pat subsequently moved south to Foxrock.

Mick Dwyer
19xx - 19xx

The only other family connection in Glasnevin that I am aware of is Mick (Michael) Dwyer, my father's older brother. He married Agnes Ferguson and they lived in Iona Drive.

Brookfield Road

Brookfield Road is in Old Kilmainham, just beyond James's St. and Mount Brown as you come out of town. Three families in particular ended up living close to one another in this area, though not all at the same time.

Patrick Mortimer
1904 - 1905

Patrick Mortimer was my maternal grandfather, and he lived at 31 Park View Terrace, which subsequently became part of Brookfield Road. He was there in 1904-1905 before either of the others appeared. There was himself, granny, and two children at that stage, Joe and May.

Nicholas Fleming
1906 - 1925

Next to come was Nicholas Fleming who first married one of granny's sisters, Bridget, with whom he had 3 children, and then married a second sister, Julia, with whom he had none. He lived in numbers 10 and 1 Lorne Terrace, which is just around the corner from Patrick's house. He arrived in No. 10, in 1906 with Bridget. After her death, in 1918, he moved into No. 1. where Bridget's older sister Julia looked after the children. He married Julia in 1921 and she died in 1923. He left the area when he married again in 1925 (Julia Kenny from Kevins Rd.).

John Burgess
1909 - 1916

Meanwhile in 1909, John Burgess, granny's brother, moved into 8 Adelaide Terrace, when he married Tess Fitzsimons. This is directly across the street from Nicholas. John didn't last long there, however. Following his defection to the British Army in 1914/15, his family had to move out of the relatively posh house, in which they had been set up by his father, into very much more modest accommodation in Oxmantown Road on the northside.

Click to open map in new window.

Aughrim St.

Patrick Mortimer
1906 - 1908

When Patrick Mortimer moved from Park View Terrace he went to Mount Temple Road on the northside. The reasons for this are not clear unless he was moving from rented to owned accommodation.

John Burgess
1916 - 1953

More than ten years later, John Burgess's family moved into the same development, just a few hundred yards away in Oxmantown Road. In the late 1930s/1940s they moved round the corner, and upmarket, to Cowper St. in the same development.

The Somme

I had been aware that my father's older brother, John, had died on the Somme in WWI. I knew little of the precise circumstances. Much more recently I was told that grand uncle John Burgess (see above) had also fought there, and that his grand-daughter, Marie, had married a German, Wolfgang, whose own grandfather had fought there, but, clearly, on the opposing side.

John P Dwyer

John P Dwyer , was a private in the Civil Service Rifles, and was killed in the assault on High Wood on 15 September 1916.

John Burgess

John Burgess was a sergeant and may have fought at Leuze Wood, which is relatively close to High Wood. John was subsequently invalided out of the army.

On the other hand, he may have been active active in the Loos area near Lille. The battle of Loos took place in late September 1915, when the town was captured but the attack failed to penetrate further north. In reserve, at this battle, was John P's Civil Service Rifles. The CSR also had the top secret task of transporting poison gas cannisters to the front before the battle. This was the first use of poison gas by the British and was in retaliation for its use by the Germans at Ypres.

Granda van Thiel

John Burgess's grand-daughter, Marie, married Wolfgang van Thiel, whose grandfather fought in the same area in WWI.

Click to open map in new window.
The distance between High Wood (top left)
and Leuze Wood (bottom right) is about three miles.

Eden Quay / Beresford Place

Eden Quay runs from O'Connell Bridge to Butt Bridge (at Liberty Hall) in Dublin City.

Patrick Mortimer

Patrick Mortimer, was was fished out of the Liffey (dead) at Eden Quay on 11 June 1918.

Sara Mortimer

Sara Mortimer (m. O'Dwyer) worked in the Labour Exchange in Beresford Place, just beside, Eden Quay, in the years prior to her marriage to Luke O'Dwyer in 1942. In one of the poems written by an office colleague on the occasion of her leaving the Civil Service, Luke is unwittingly portrayed as considering throwing himself in the Liffey if his suit is rejected.

Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

Patrick Dwyer

I put a huge amount of effort into searching for Paddy Dwyer. I knew he had drowned, in his teens, probably in Ballinasloe, at some stage during the 1920s. He was hard to find in the national indices, but then I thought I had him. On 3 March 1926, Patrick Dwyer, aged 16, died in the Ballinasloe Union area. The search was over and I put in for the cert.

Imagine my dismay when I found that the only Patrick Dwyer in the national indices, who came within an ass's roar of what I was looking for, was not my guy after all. Sure, his name was Patrick Dwyer, and he had an accidental death in his teens in the Ballinasloe area in the 1920s. But, this guy had been knocked down by a train and his father was a farmer, not an RIC pensioner.

Patrick Dwyer

I subsequently found my Patrick Dwyer and confirmed that he did not, in fact, appear in the national indices.

Howth Road

John Burgess had seven children of whom four married and lived in Ireland. Of the four, three settled on the Howth Road between Killester and Raheny: Jack, Queenie and Jim. Some of their children, who are my second cousins, still live in those houses today. I have been living in Raheny myself for the last thirty years and had no idea I had cousins, on my mother's side, living just down the road. To complete the picture my cousin Nuala, on my father's side, lives just around the corner from them, even though she probably doesn't know it yet!

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