Michael Fanning of Boynton & Delavan Tazewell Illinois, brother of William “Big Bill” Fanning

Michael Fanning born Tipperary 1810 died 1900 in Boynton Tazwell Illinois US. Married to Bridget Feehan 1852 Illinois. Buried in St Marys Cemetery Delavan Illinois. He was the father of Edward Fanning who settled in Paterson New Jersey.

Michael Fanning born Co Tipperary Ireland 1810 and died 1900 in Tazewell Illinois was the brother of my gggrandfather William Patrick Fanning of Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland and Bulla Victoria Australia.

Given my recent Ancestry DNA match with Timothy Brophy a descendant of Edward Fanning the son of Michael Fanning and Catherine Keyes I have decided that Michael Fanning of Tazewell was definitely the brother of mygrgrgrandfather, William Patrick Fanning. I was 99% sure before but this DNA result has clinched it for me.

A few years ago I was contacted by a fellow family historian about Michael Fanning and possible connections with her Keyes ancestors who lived in Paterson, Passaic County,  New Jersey, USA but originally came from Co Tipperary and Co Leix in Ireland.

She told me that a Michael Fanning had married Catherine “Kitty” Keyes in Co Tipperary about 1833. They lived in Dromard (Dromard More or Dromard Beg) civil parish of Killavinoge (Templemore), Co Tipperary  It is said the Fanning family lived in Dromard around this time. A Michael Fanning was sponsor to Ellen Keyes 6 Mar 1835 at Graffin (Knockgraffin?) and may have been Edward’s father.

They had two children. Edward was baptised at Clonmore in the Catholic parish of Templemore on Dec 28 1833. The baptismal sponsors for Edward were Steven Mackey and Ellen Kavanagh. John the second child was baptised 22 May 1836 (sponsor- Judith Keyes). He is said to have died young in Ireland. His mother Catherine “Kitty” Keyes also died young. On the Baptism record for the second child “Joanna” is clearly written and the priest did not use Latin for his entries.

Edward emigrated to the US sometime before the age of 21. He settled in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey where many of his mother’s Keyes extended family were. His father Michael was already in the US. Edward later lived in Paterson New Jersey and served in the Civil War in Co. G, 7th Regt. NJ Vols.


Edward Fanning 1833-1900


Edward Fanning’s second wife was Sarah Tracey. Edward died in Mar 8, 1900 in Paterson New Jersey. Below is an obit for Edward in the local paper:

FANNING – In this city on Thursday March 8 1900 Edward, beloved husband of Sarah Fanning, aged 66 years. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral on Monday, March 12, 1900 from his late residence, 138 Jersey street, at 9 o’clock a. m. and from St. John’s R. C. church at 9:30 o’clock a. m. Interment at Holy Sepulchre. 
Paterson Evening News 
Friday 9 Mar 1900″

Paterson New Jersey Silk Mills about 1908
Paterson New Jersey Silk Mills about 1908

Recently I was contacted by members of the Brophy family and they sent me what they know about Edward Fanning. Timothy Brophy, a great grandson of Edward, has researched his family history and published a book,The Brophy Lane Chronicle, which he kindly sent me. Below are three pages from this book which relate to this Edward. I have also included a photo of Edward’s son, also Edward.

Edward Fanning Paterson 1834-1900 Obit st

Edward Fanning 1834-1900 Tipperary to Paterson NJ
Obituary of Edward Fanning of Patterson 1834-1900 son of Catherine Keys and Michael Fanning

Edward Fanning, born 1862 was the grandson of Michael Fanning and Kitty Keyes. He was an excellent carpenter and contractor. He designed and built the very intricate and beautiful altar woodwork in Paterson’s Saint John’s Cathedral. Paterson NJ Congress & main St

Corner of Main and Congress Streets Paterson New Jersey

Edward Fanning 1862-1896
A later photo of Edward Fanning 1862-1896

From  Brian Brophy a direct descendant of Edward Fanning came information that Michael’s parents in Co Tipperary were an Edward Fanning and that his mother’s surname was Darmody. Walter F Brooks who wrote The History of the Fanning Family sent Fanning a letter and a survey to fill out about his family:

Walter Brooks Letter 1899 keep_0001

Letter sent to William Fanning by Walter Brooks who was researching Fanning family history for his book.

Walter Brooks survey cr
Survey completed by William Fanning for Walter Brooks

This letter was sent to William T. Fanning  (1875-1925) in 1899, he was Edward’s son and Michael’s grandson. . This was one year prior to the death of  William’s father Edward Fanning (1833-1900) so we can assume the father and son  talked about completing this document  together. It lists Michael Fanning and Catherine Keyes  as  Edward’s parents and Ed Fanning and ? Darmidy  as his grandparents. The place of birth is listed as the Parish of Clonmore, Tipperary, Ire. Dec. 24, 1834. Clonmore is an alternative name for Killovinoge. Templemore is the more well known name for this parish.

In the past I commissioned research with Tipperary Family History Research into Edward Fanning and Johanna (Judy or Judith) Darmody and there were only two Fanning Darmody marriages in Thurles Parish. One was Ed Fanning and Johanna in 1808 and then Patrick Darmody married a Catherine Fanning in 1840.

I think this pretty much proves that the Edward Fanning living in Paterson New Jersey was the son of Michael Fanning my gggrandfather’s nephew. But whether the Michael Fanning from Tazewell is his brother is a little harder to prove at this stage.

Recently I was sent a newspaper clipping by Brain Brophy a descendant of Edward fanning of New Jersey. It proves that the Michael Fanning in Delavan Tazewell County in Illinois was the father of Edward Fanning of New Jersey and hence the son of Edward Fanning and Judy Darmody.

The Morning Call 24 July 1886

I also asked for any marriages of a Michael Fanning that might be relevant. None of the marriages that TFHR came up which seemed likely. However, they also didn’t not come up with the marriage of Michael and Kitty Keyes, which is odd. I have since found their marriage record through Rootsireland.ie.

Michael Fanning and Catherine Keys Marriage 1833
Marriage record of Michael Fanning and Catherine Keyes of Dromard 1833 Co Tipperary

They were married in the RC parish of Templemore on 14 Feb 1833. Catherine’s address is given as Dromard. Unfortunately there are no fathers’names or an address or occupation for Michael. Very Frustrating. Witnesses were James MacGrath and Thomas Ryan.

They had two children, Edward and John.

Edward Fanning son of Michael and Catherine Keys Baptism 1833
Edward Fanning son of Michael Fanning and Kitty Keys born 1833 Dromard Co Tipperary

Edward ended up in America and lived in Paterson New Jersey.which is about 900 miles east of Delavan Tazewell Illinois.

Johanna or John Fanning birth son of Kitty Keys and Michael Fanning 1836
John Fanning son of Michael fanning and Kitty Keyes 1836

I checked the microfilm and the entry looks very much like Joanna so maybe the story of their being a younger brother John is inaccurate.

Another source stated that Edward’s father married again to Bridget Phean (Feehan) and lived in Delavan, Tazwell Co Illinois.

Michael Fanning applied to become a US citizen on April 9, 1844 in Tazewell Co Illinois. This document which is very hard to read lists his birthday as November 9, 1806 and that he left Dublin Ireland on March 11, 1836 and landed in New York on or about May 1, 1836.

Michael Fanning Declaration of Intention April 9 1844 cr p1

Michael Fanning Declaration of Intention April 9 1844cr page 2
Michael Fanning Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen April 9 1844

“Michael Fanning an alien born free white person of the age of thirty two years and upwards and presented to the said court a written declaration of his intention to make application to be admitted as a naturalized citizen of the United States in conformity with the …… acts of Congress hereto passed on that subject, with the desire that the same might be accepted, registered, and certified accordingly which said declaration was —– by the same Michael Fanning sworn to in open Court before the Clerk thereof and is in the words and figures following to wit: …………I, Michael Fanning, an alien born free white person of the age of thirty three years and upwards………that I was born in the County of Tipperary the ninth day of November 1801 (? could be 1811) and that I am near thirty four years of age……… that I migrated from the port of Dublin….on the eleventh day of March 1836 and landed at the city of New York………on the first day of May or thereabouts 1836……………..”

Michael could not write and made his mark on the document.


Michael Fanning (Fannan) and Bridget Feehan (Fahan) were married on 22 Feb 1852 in Tazewell county. They had seven children. He was a farmer with 280 acres in Delavan.

The History of Tazewell county Illinois published by Chas C Chapman has the following entry on Michael Fanning:

Michael Fanning, farmer and stock raiser, sec. 16 ; P. O. Boynton.
Michael Fanning, as the name implies, is a native Irishman, 
and ranks among the more generous agriculturalists of this town- 
ship. He was born in the County of Tipperary, Ireland, about 
1815. Growing to manhood in Ireland, he acquired a good com- 
mon-school education at such odd times as the duties of the farm 
would permit. While still a young man he crossed the Atlantic for 
the New World, landing in New York City during the Spring of 
1835, and for sometime worked in the Metropolitan City at 50 cents 
per day. From thence he went to Savannah, Georgia, where he 
hired as a steamboat hand, thence to New York and Pittsburgh, 
from whence he took passage on the Wisconsin, the only steamboat 
then plying the Illinois River, for Pekin, then but a small place, 
that Mr. Fanning describes in the following manner : Landing from the 
boat I discovered but few dwellings, mostly log cabins, on what is 
now the main street. The village probably contained, at this time 
about 25 inhabitants, mostly Frenchmen and Southerners. Mr. 
F. afterward made the acquaintance of Mr. Tharp, Wm. Mosley, and 
others, many of whom have passed the dark river. In 1851 Mr. 
F. joined an expedition enroute for California. After some months 
of weary travel he reached the golden coast, where he remained 
some 13 months and became quite successful as a miner. Return- 
ing to Tazewell Co., he again worked as a farm hand for a time. 
In 1852 he was married to Miss Bridget Ann Phean, of Ireland. 
During this year Mr, F. leased property until enabled to purchase. 
He is now the owner of 280 acres, and one of the most generous of 
men. Of this marriage eight children were born, seven of whom 
are living — James, Thomas, William, Mary, Sarah, Ellen and 

The History of Tazewell county vol 2  in genealogy trails has the following entry:

Fanning Michael Ireland, Boynton 1837 1900

1837 being the year he arrived in Tazewell county.

The History of the Webster Family by Charles William Webster page 3 which relates to Michael Fanning:

The History of the Webster Family page 3


Michael Fanning Tazewell 1870 US Census
1870 US Census for Tazewell Illinois Michael Fanning & family
1880 Illinois Census Boynton
1880 Illinois Census Boynton
Fanning Land Holdings in 1891 from the Plat Book of tazewell
Fanning Land Holdings in Boynton from the Plat Book of Tazewell 1891

Children of Michael Fanning and Bridget Ann Feehan:

James F Fanning born 25 Nov 1851 Delavan, married Mary Mack, died Peoria Illinois 16 Mar 1925.

Bloomington Pantagraph 17 Mar 1925


Mary A. Fanning  married Charles Byron Webster 1 Mar 1881 in Boynton Tazwell Ill. She died in Rantoul Illinois 3 Nov 1888.

Elizabeth Fanning died 16 Feb 1932 in Chicago Cook County.

John F Fanning who was born 6 April 1856 died 21 June 1868.

Sarah C Fanning born 10 June 1860 died 13 Mar 1903.

Thomas Fanning born 13 Feb 1859 died 20 Oct 1898.

William born 31 Aug 1854 died 1 Nov 1885.

With the exception of Elizabeth they are all buried in St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Delavan.

Brian Brophy has kindly sent me a copy of the probate papers for Michael Fanning. So far a death certificate for Michael has not been found.

Michael Fanning tazewell Probate and Will page 1 cr
Page One of the probate papers for Michael Fanning of Tazewell

Brian Brophy believes that the Edward fanning who was sent a notification of the probate is his gggrandfather.


Michael Fanning Tazewell Probate and Will page 2 cr
Michael Fanning Tazewell Probate and Will page 2


Michael Fanning born 29 Sept 1810 died Tazwell Illinois 1900
Michael Fanning born 29 Sept 1810 died Tazewell Illinois 1900. St Mary’s Cemetery Delavan Illinois.


My gggrandfather’s brother was a Michael Fanning born in Thurles Parish to Edward Fanning and Judy Darmody on Sept 23 1810 whereas the above gravestone has 29 Sept. This record was from a typed book transcribed from the original parish registers at some stage. The 23 could easily be a 29. I have asked Tipperary Family History Research to check the microfilm if one exists. TFHR got back to me after checking the microfilm entry and it is clearly 23 of Sept.

Michael Fanning of Tazewell US Obituary cr
Obituary of Michael Fanning of Tazewell March 3 1900
Obituary Michael Fanning of Delavan Weekly Pantagraph 9 Mar 1900


Lissaroon, the Oldest Fanning Property and Homestead

Photos of Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland, home of William Fannin (1731-1802) and Sarah Ryan (1742-1817) and Fanning descendants.

Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland
Lissaroon on the day we visited April 2012

Another highlight of my stay in Co Tipperary was meeting Fanning relatives and  visiting Lissaroon. We were taken there by my fourth cousin Delia, her husband Timmy and son Willie. We were also shown around Ballycahill Cemetery and Church, Loughmore Cemetery and various other related Fanning sites around Thurles as well as calling in on the Lisdonowley Fanning family.

There are photos of Lissaroon and more information and stories in the post “Lisaroon the Home of William and Sarah Fannin These are some photos of the back of Lissaroon which I don’t think I have already posted.

Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland (3)

Lissaroon is a townland just north of Thurles in Co Tipperary North. This property is the earliest Fanning site I have been able to find. It was I have been told settled by Fannins in 1741. I don’t as yet know where they moved from. I was told they came from France which may mean Normandy and that they were an Anglo-Norman family.

There are records of William Fannin living there and he is buried in Ballycahill Cemetery. His birth date about 1731. His wife Sarah Ryan is also buried there as are many other member of their family. But William and Sarah are the earliest Fanning ancestors. Lissaroon was their home and property. They rented from the Trant Family of Dovea. Eventually with changes in the Land Acts the Fanning family came to own Lissaroon as freehold land. They were well off and prospered in the region. My cousins told me that all the other Fannings in the area can trace their roots to William and Sarah Fannin.

What struck me was the refinement in design of the fittings in the house dilapidated as it is. I was surprised as I expected a practical farmer’s house. The inside of the house is falling down which is a shame. But there is an elegant corner cupboard and original wooden table and chairs as well as the remains of a beautiful coloured marble fireplace. On the walls there are remanants of flowerey wallpaper. Some of the other walls were brightly painted. A lot of evidence of a feminine influence.

Lissaroon Wallpaper Co Tipperary Ireland (2)
Detail of remaining wallpaper at Lissaroon Homestead Co Tipperary Ireland
Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland Detail of Marble Mantlepiece (2)
Detail of Marble Mantelpiece Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland

The house itself apparently had a portico with coloured glass like that at Dovea House.

Dovea House Co Tipperary Ireland
Portico of Dovea House, The Big House, owned by the Trant Family who the Fanning family would have paid rent to

I have seen quite a few photos of Lissaroon but actually being there was very different. It is quite close to the road and used for grazing cattle. No one has lived there since 1926. Unfortunately it is deteriorating.

It was fascinating hearing about the place from Willie who used to visit as a child. He said it was origianlly thatched and surrounded by a beautiful garden of fruit trees and flowers. He can remember picking the flowers. The trees had to be cut down as they had become dangerous.

Lissaroon Interior Original Chair Co Tipperary Ireland
Chair at Lissaroon. Note wallpapered or painted wall behind
Lissaroon Inside Co Tipperary Ireland
Interior with Corner Cupboard Lissaroon

A family called Meehan rented Lissaroon for a number of years. They wanted to get public housing and could only be eligible if their present dwelling was condemned. So they, much to the horror of the Fannings, had Lissaroon condemned. It took a lot of calling in of favours to have it reinstated and not pulled down.

Fanning’s Tower House Farrenrory Co Tipperary Ireland

Farrenrory Castle in Co Tipperary was home to William Fanning an Anglo-Norman. He owned 1,000 acres there in 1650. Included are photos of the castle and surrounding buildings and land as of 2012.

Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory View from

Ballingarry View from Fanning Castle Farrenrory Co Tipperary (3)Above are views from Fanning Castle tower house in Farenrory Ballingarry Co Tipperary.

On my recent trip to Ireland and Co Tipperary I thought I would have a look around Ballingarry as there are Fannings documented living there in medieval times.

There were different Fanning families at Ballingarry, Mohober, Farrenrory, Garynegre, Gortfree and Glengall.  In 1305 William Fanning was leased the Manor, Castle and lands of Mohober.

The earliest mention of Farranrory I have come across so far is the following:

25th April 1555 Inquisition taken at Clonmel

The jurors say that Nicholas Richard and John Fanyng Fitz Geoffery of Ballyngarry, Teige Beare O’Howlaghan and Dermot O’Treassy alias O’Twee of the same, kearns, advised procured and abetted by Geoffrey Fanyng gent, willfully burned a house at Ferenrory conmtaining 40 cows with 60l of William Fanyng gent and also a girl called Sawe Iny Canlyen who was in the house.” From the Calendar of Ormond Deeds.

Dec 20 1579 Edmund Fanning of Farrinrory, gentleman, son of William fanning late of the same grants to Thomas….

Richard Fannynge of Farrenrory 1589 Fiants of Elizabeth
Richard Fannynge of Farrenrory pardoned 1589 Fiants of Elizabeth

Dec 13, 1592 Edmund Fanning of Faren Rory is mentioned in a commission.

In 1641 in the Down Survey William Fanning of Upper and Lower Ffarrenrowry owns lands.

1654-56 In the Civil Survey the castle at Farrinrory is inhabited by William Faninge, gent and papist.

1654 William Ffanninge of Farrenroe has been issued a certificate of transplanation.

Even though death was the punishment for not leaving I have read that the transplantation scheme was a bureaurocratic nightmare and not everyone left for Connaught, some stayed on without their estates.

In the Hearth Money Rolls 1665-67 a David Fanning de Fearanrory has one hearth and 2s.

1670 the lands of the Fannings at Farranrory are owned by Sir George Ingoldsby, Earl of Anglesey, Protestant. He most likely got it from Ltn Jessy. While the soldiers of Cromwell were rewarded with land many sold their estates on.

When I got back to Dublin I looked up the pedigree of a William Fanning of Farrenrory in the National Library and found this document:

William Fanning of Farrenrory Pedigree cr
Pedigree of a William Fanning of Farranrory Co Tipperary National Library Dublin

John D’Alton in his Illustrations Historical and Genealogical of King James’s Irish Army List of 1689 outlines some of the family lineage of the Fannings of the Ballingarry area and of Kilkenny:

Richard Fanning captain King James's Irish Army List 1689 Vol1cr
Richard Fanning captian King James’s Irish Army List 1689 p621

Farrenrory Castle is described in the Ordinance Survey Letters by John O’Donovan. These letters are now online at Ask About Ireland.

In Oct 1840 it was described in the Ordinance Survey Letters as ” a round castle measuring 17′ 6″ in diameter on the inside and its walls well grouted 9ft in thickness and about 40 ft in height. It is three stories high; the third floor rested on a stone arch still remaining the others were of wood and have long since disappeared, as usual. The doorway which is on the N.W. side is pointed and constructed of cut lime stone. The windows are all constructed of cut lime stone and are some quadrangular, some roundheaded and some pointed. ( See Dic Noyer’s Sketch)

(Vol 1 Tipperary page 559. So far I haven’t been able to find the sketches.)

In William Healy’s “History and Antiquities of Kilkenny” published in 1893 there are these pages relating to the Fannings of Farrenrory and Ballingarry:

William Fannynge of Farranrory and Kilkenny died 1590 page1 cr
William Fannynge of Farranrory and Kilkenny p2 cr

William Fannynge of Farranrory and Kilkenny died in 1590. (From History and Antiquities of Kilkenny William Healy). In John D’Alton’s book “Illustrations, Historical and Genealogical of King James’ Irish Army List” 1861, William Fannyng who died in 1590 is described as “the settler”.

It seems that these Fannings who lived at Farranrory originally came across from Kilkenny. I have read that they came to Kilkenny from Waterford, not sure if there is any way of knowing if this is true.

I have also seen a family tree which has Edmund, the brother of William Fanning of Farranrory who died in 1590, being the the Edmund Fanning who settled in Connecticut. Again, who knows?

“Ballingarry History The Fannings, Lords of Ballingarry by Michael J. Fitzgerald on  Ballingarry.net also has more information and stories of the exploits of the medieval Ballingarry Fannings.

I asked around in Ballingarry and was directed to the house of Martin Maher who I was informed by a local  man in the street “is into all that crarp”.  Martin was very helpful and assured me that there is nothing left in terms of buildings associated with the Fannings in Ballingarry or Mohober but that at Farrenrory there is a round towerhouse in Pollard’s Field.

After getting lost the usual number of times we found it. The castle was up a drive and just visible from the road. It was unfortunately surrounded by layers of mud and cow poo which we sank into.  Afterwards we went to visit a fourth cousin and had to turn up in our socks. Although, they being farmers didn’t seem to mind. “Where there’s muck there’s money ” they told us.

The townland of Farranrory was owned by William Fanninge of Farrenrory, son of James Fanning according to the pedigree above, in 1641 recorded in the Civil Survey. It was described as a good little castle with a good thatched house and some cabins. In the Down Survey 1655-6 it is depicted along with five houses surrounding it. Farranrory became the property of Lieutenant William Jessy of the Cromwellian army, who is recorded with two hearths in the Hearth Returns for 1666/7. He was most likely an absentee landlord.

The following description of the tower house/castle comes from the Slieveardagh site which sourced their information from Richard Clutterbuck’s thesis. I wish we had had this with us when we were looking over the Tower House:

“Location: Farranrory is situated in the east of Slieveardagh on the hills overlooking the Munster River Valley. The land is used predominantly for pasture today and was estimated to be mostly pasture in 1654 (Civil Survey I, 115). The site is approximately 4.2km northeast of Ballingarry parish centre.

Farrenrory castle is sited at an altitude of 210 metres on ground sloping gently to the southeast. The site has a south-easterly aspect and is sheltered by the hills. A small stream tributary of the Munster River runs approximately 40 metres to the east of the tower house cutting a small valley in the shale bed rock. The tower house is 190 metres north-west of a road which runs east-west into Co. Kilkenny.

Ballingarry Fanning Road Castle Farrenrory Road uo to
Road up to the tower house from Farranrory Rd

A lane connects the site to the road and probably served the original settlement and the modern farm yards and houses as well as continuing up the hill as a lane to the fields.

Fanning Tower House Original Entrance
Fanning Tower House Original Entrance on the west side

Description Farrenrory Castle is a free standing tower house with a circular plan. The castle is constructed of coursed limestone surviving to the level of the second floor above which it is derelict. The interior has mural chambers (vaulted chambers in the thickness of a wall),  stairs and an internal vault. The exterior ground level of the structure has a very slight base batter (thicker at the base).

The gable of a derelict farm house is attached to the west side of the tower house, partially obscuring the original entrance (Fig. 45, Plate 19). The tower house has a maximum external diameter of 10.4 metres and an internal diameter of 5.2 metres for the main ground floor chamber. Farrenrory survives to an approximate height of 8 metres.

None of the original woodwork or door survives in the interior of the tower house and was probably salvaged for a later building. This robbing resulted in the breach in the ground floor embrasure (an embrasure is an opening in the defences of a castle used for shooting at attackers) and also the destruction of the tower above the second floor.  Farrenrory tower house has a major structural crack in its facade and may be in danger of collapse.

Fanning tower house Farrenrory Co Tipperary
The derelect farmhouse attached to the tower house on the west side
FAnning Tower House Farrenrory Ballingarry structural crack on the west side
Fanning Tower House Farrenrory Ballingarry showing the structural crack on the west side

The tower house was entered through pointed-arch cut limestone door located in the western quadrant of the tower. The door frame has two orders one of which accommodated a yett (gate or grille of latticed wrought iron) held in place by chains through holes in the left jamb and the apex of the door frame. The gable of the later farm house obscures the right hand side of the jamb.

Dedication plaque
Dedication plaque above main entrance, now blocked up.

A dedication plaque is set in the wall above the door; unfortunately this plaque is illegible. Presumably is a dedication to the builder and owner of the tower house, probably a member of the Fanning family.

The main entrance leads to a small lobby area. Two inward opening pointed-arch doors led from the lobby to a mural chamber and a secondary lobby. There is a cruciform musket loop with downward splayed expanded terminals directly in front of the main entrance. This is set in a single flag of limestone and is reached by a recess in the main ground floor chamber.

Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory Interior (9)
Cruciform musket hole

There is also a murder hole in the lobby ceiling which drops from a mural chamber in the first floor.

The small ground floor mural chamber probably acted as a guard chamber or storage space. This chamber has a vaulted roof and has two recesses in the walls for cupboard space.

The secondary entrance lobby gives access the main ground floor chamber and the vice (spiral staircase) through inward opening door set in pointed-arch limestone frames. The jambs still retain some pivot holes and hanging-eyes for the heavy wooden doors as well as the holes in the jambs for the cross bolts. The chain for the yett can also be drawn through an aperture from this lobby.

The ground floor main chamber is circular in shape with coursed shale walls and three deep set embrasures for windows. The embrasure in the south-west quadrant has been broken out. The floor of the chamber is obscured by rubbish and debris from the walls and corbel roof (corbels are stone brackets). The chamber originally had a wooden ceiling.

The embrasures are vaulted, still with the impression of the wicker-work centring. Narrow slit windows are round-headed and constructed of dressed limestone with splayed ingoings. The exterior of the southern light has carved spandrels with a triple-leaf motif. On either side of the lights are musket loops. These are deep apertures splayed at an angle to the windows, although their exits on the outside of the tower house have been removed and blocked. Portions of the vaulting of the southern embrasure have collapsed where it corresponds with the first floor embrasure overhead.

Window on the second floor
Window on the second floor

The vice is accessed through an inward opening segmented pointed-arch door from the secondary lobby and was lit by a single narrow window. The first floor was reached through a pointed-arch door directly off the vice. A mural passage (a passage in the thickness of a wall) from the vice leads to the chamber with the murder hole. The passage is lit by slit windows and has a small gun loop next to the murder hole over the ground floor main entrance.

The wooden floor of the second storey was supported on corbels. The floor has three deep embrasures each with narrow ogee-headed windows of dressed limestone.

On each side of the lights are apertures for gun loops. These pierce the wall as small circular holes created by two shaped pieces of limestone. The first floor has a vaulted ceiling which is now in a dangerous state of repair.

Fanning Tower House Farrenrory Ceiling
Ceiling of second floor

The second floor can still be reached by the remains of the vice though some of the steps have been removed. This floor as too dangerous to inspect but appears to have been larger then the lower floors. The original walls partially survive and contain the remains of a number of windows around its circumference and a slop stone on the north-east side of this floor.

Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory Slop Stone
Slop stone for carrying away kitchen waste Farrenrory Fanning tower house

The remains of the second floor are obscured by the growth of grass, ivy and a tree. The tree is probably destroying the internal vault with its roots.

Interior from second floor
Interior from second floor

There is no apparent garderobe or a fire place in the tower house, although these may have been contained on the second or upper floors. (there is a garderobe or medieval toilet) There is no evidence for a bawn or wall around the tower. However, the area around the castle has been used as a farm yard with stone out-houses and these may have robbed and obscured any original bawn walls.”

Richard Clutterbuck has also written another article discussing Farranrory Tower House in Trowel Vol. IX, 1998/9, titled “Farrenrory Tower-House, County Tipperary A Gentleman’s Home” :

Farranrory Tower House Richard Clutterbuck Trowel 1998 p13

Farranrory Tower House Richard Clutterbuck Trowel p14 Farranrory Tower House Richard Clutterbuck Trowel p15

Farranrory Tower House Richard Clutterbuck Trowel p16

Richard Clutterbuck’s article on Farranrory tower house from Trowel printed with his kind permission.

There is also a description and evaluation of Farranrory in the Archaeological Survey of Ireland from a 2003 visit:

Farranrory Castle National Monuments Description page 2
National Monuments Service description of Farranrory Tower House

Martin Maher edits the Ballingarry Journal and is involved with Ballingarry.net a fantastic site for the Ballingarry area and people with excellent articles on the history of the area. He gave me a copy of the 2004 edition which has a photo of Farrenrory Castle with this information :

” Farranrory Castle (also known as Prout’s Castle) is situated about three miles from Ballingarry village and about half a mile to the west of the Munster River. It was a round castle, three stories high, the third floor rested on a stone arch still remaining; the others were of wood and have long since disappeared. The doorway on the northeast side was pointed and constructed of cut limestone, as were all the windows. The Fannings, who were the greatest landowners and most numerous Norman family in the area occupied the castle for many years. The ruins of the castle which are situated on Pollard’s land can still be viewed.”

Dr Thomas McGrath writing in Landlordism in Ballingarry Parish in 1650 and 1850 describes the various Fanning holdings differently:

“In comparision to the Butlers, the Fanning Family, who were also of Anglo-Norman origin, were of minor importance though they were well established in Ballingarry holding 4,454 acres. Nicholas Fanning held 1600 acres at Ballingarry. Jeffry of Glengall held 474 acres consisting of Glengall(1184) Grawn(100), Ballaghboy(150) and Gortnassy(40). William Fanning of Farrinrory held 1,980 acres: Farranrory(1,000), Cappagh(680), and Kilmackenoge(300). Edmond Fanning of Gortfree held 400 acres therein.”

I don’t know if there is any connection between my Fanning ancestors and those at Farrenrory as there are no records after about 1680 to make any connections. There don’t appear to be any Fannings living in the Ballingarry area today or during the 1850’s (Griffith’s Valuations) and they may have moved to the Thurles area. There is mention made on the Ballingarry.net site of a Mr Fanning setting aside land for the new Ballingarry Church before he sold his land to Mr Jacobs. The new church was built in 1731 so there was a Fanning around at or just before this time.

Visitation Book of James Butler Land for Ballingarry Chaopel Mr Fannin 1754
Visitation Book of James Butler 1754

The Fannings who lived at Lissaroon are said to arrived there in 1741 but from where we don’t as yet know. Perhaps some one reading this may know what happened to the Ballingarry Fannings. Certainly in our family the names William and Edward appear frequently.

It was a highlight of my time in Co Tipperary climbing around this castle. The first time we were there it was raining and I discovered that all the photos I took had a big raindrop in the middle, so we had to go back the next day. This time armed with gumboots (in Ireland they call them wellingtons) kindly lent us by Eileen Creed our Cashel B&B (Ard Ri House- highly recommend) host and her husband.

It was also a lovely sunny day so much more enjoyable. I loved the land around the castle, very pretty and protected, my kind of place. We climbed up on top and sat up there and surveyed the surrounding countryside and imagined what it must have been like living there.

While exploring the castle ruins it was great not to have to worry about snakes !! Thank you St Patrick. At home it would be highly prized snake habitat. To be honest we didn’t see a lot of wildlife in Ireland and Spain compared to back home which is a bit sad. I guess centuries of occupation have taken there toll. The downside of all that history. At least while driving around Ireland I got a break from seeing roadkill which is so prevalent on my drive to work on the Pacific Highway in NSW.

Entrance to the road leading up to the tower house


Fanning Tower House Farrenrory Co Tipperary
Fanning tower house window
Fanning Castle Farrenrory Arrow Loop Window
Ceiling of Fanning tower house Farrenrory
Fanning tower house Farrenrory interior arches

Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory Interior (9)

Richard Clutterbuck mentions that ” the multiple gun or musket loops place this tower house in the sixteenth century when hand held guns became numerous in Ireland.”

Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory Interior


Ballingarry Fanning Castle Farrenrory, the garderobe or medieval toilet which emptied down to the outside of the castle.
Back of the castle, toilet waste exit?
Internal stone staircase


Land Around Farrenrory Castle, View from the Top

If you want to read more about Farrenrory and the medieval Fanning family go to this site http://www.slieveardagh.com/history/farranrory-castle/ It is worth looking at along with ballingary.net

Old Photos of Roscrea, Loughmore & Templemore Co Tipperary

Photos by Robert French of Roscrea, Loughmore and Templemore Co Tipperary Ireland taken between 1870 and 1910. These photos and many more are in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.

These are some more photos by Robert French of areas in Co Tipperary that would have been very familiar to the Fannings.

These photos are part of the Lawrence Collection of 40,000 Irish photos and are in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.

Loughmore Castle Co Tipperary
Loughmore Castle Co Tipperary
Main St Roscrea Co Tipperary Robert French
Main St Roscrea Co Tipperary Robert French
Market St Templemore c1865-1914
Market St Templemore c1865-1914
Market St Templemore Co Tipperary c1865-1914
Georges St Templemore Co Tipperary c1865-1914
Military Barracks Templemore c1865-1914CR
Military Barracks Templemore Co Tipperary c1865-1914

Old Photos of Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland

Old photos of Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland taken by Robert French in late 19th century and early 20th century. One of many photographic collections in the National Library Dublin.

English: National Library of Ireland, Dublin, ...
National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These photos of Thurles in Co Tipperary were taken by Robert French between 1870 and 1910. They are part of the Lawrence Collection in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin. The National Library’s complete collection of Digital Photographs can be found here. You can use the search box to find particular areas in all the collections.

The Fanning families lived around and in Thurles. My direct ancestors were all baptised in Thurles Parish.

Thurles Main St Co Tipperary
Thurles Main St Co Tipperary
West Gate Thurles Co Tipperary
West Gate Thurles Co Tipperary
Friar St Thurles Co Tipperary
Friar St Thurles Co Tipperary
Castle and Cathedral Thurles Co Tipperary
Castle and Cathedral Thurles Co Tipperary
Castle and BridgeThurles Co Tipperary
Castle and BridgeThurles Co Tipperary
Main St Thurles Co Tipperary
Main St Thurles Co Tipperary
Main St Thurles Co Tipperary
Main St Thurles Co Tipperary
Market Square Thurles Co Tipperary
Market Square Thurles Co Tipperary
New St Thurles Co Tipperary
New St Thurles Co Tipperary
West Gate Thurles Co Tipperary
West Gate Thurles Co Tipperary
THe Mall Thurles Co Tipperary
The Mall Thurles Co Tipperary
Presentation Convent Thurles Co Tipperary
Presentation Convent Thurles Co Tipperary
Catholic Cathedral Thurles c1880
Catholic Cathedral Thurles c1880

Fanning Graves in Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland 2011 Photos

Ballycahill Cemetery in Co Tipperary Ireland is where my earliest Fanning/Fannin ancestors are buried. These photos were taken in 2011. The cemetery is close to Thurles to the north.

These recent photos of Fanning and Fannin graves were taken in June 2011 at Ballycahill Cemetery which is close to Thurles city in North Tipperary.

Tipperary Studies has many Graveyard transcriptions on their site and they are adding more. They have Ballycahill Cemetery transcriptions. They also have a lot of other interesting genealogical documents.

Delia Cullen nee Mullany in front of the Fanning Family Graves at Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland June 2011
Delia Cullen nee Mullany in front of the Fanning Family Graves at Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland June 2011

There are more photos and information on Fanning burials in this post “Fanning Family Grave Inscriptions and Photos Co Tipperary“.

Tipperary Studies in Thurles Library has just added a list of Ballycahill Cemetery gravestone inscriptions. They have a growing number of Tipperary cemetery inscriptions as well as other family history sources on their site.

Gravestones of William Fannin died 1802 and his wife Sarah Fannin died 1817 both of Lissaroon.
Gravestones of William Fannin died 1802 and his wife Sarah Fannin died 1817 both of Lissaroon.

William Fannin and his wife Sarah Ryan are the earliest of my Fanning ancestors I have been able to trace. There are photos of  Lissaroon in North Tipperary in this post. There is more on Sarah and William Fannin in this post “Descendants of William Fannin and Sarah Ryan”.

Michael Fanning Lisaroon died 1878 Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland
Graves of Michael Fanning, his wife Catherine Ryan, Thomas Fanning and his wife Hanna Bannon, Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland 2011

Hanoria (Nora) Fanning was married to Edmund Deavy 18 June 1879 in Thurles Parish. His father was Patrick Deavy and mother was Anne Campion. He was born in Derry Rathdowney Co Laois in 1846. He and Hanoria had three children, two were girls and not sure about the gender of the third. Anna Maria Deavy was baptised 10 May 1880 in Rathdowney. Her godparents were Michael Campion and Bridget Fanning. All of these children are said to have emigrated to America. Edmund remarried Mary Ryan in 10 Feb 1887 in Galmoy Parish Co Kilkenny and they had a daughter Johanna born about 1889. Edmund died before 1901.

John Fanning died 1824 Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary
John Fanning died 1824 Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary
Family Family Memorial Ballycahill
Family Family Memorial Ballycahill
Ballycahill Cemetery William Fannin died 1802
Ballycahill Cemetery William Fannin died 1802
Ballycahill Cemetery Sarah Fannin nee Ryan died 1817
Ballycahill Cemetery Sarah Fannin nee Ryan died 1817
INn with the Fanning family graves John & Ellon McGrath Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary
In with the Fanning family graves are the graves of John & Ellon McGrath Ballycahill Cemetery Co Tipperary

Church Photos Co Tipperary Ireland 2011

Three North Co Tipperary Ireland Catholic Churches. The Roman Catholic Church of St Cataldus at Ballycahill would have been the church that Fannings living at Lissaroon would have frequented.

St Mary's Church of Ireland Thurles Co Tipperary
St Mary’s Church of Ireland Thurles Co Tipperary

The sister of my ggggrandfather William Patrick Fanning “Big Bill” is buried in the church cemetery of St Mary’s with others of her family. Her married name was Sarah Sheehan. There is more on Sarah  in this post “Sheehans of Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary“.

Church of the Assumption Thurles Co Tipperary 2011
The Catholic Church of the Assumption Thurles Co Tipperary 2011
St Cataldus Ballycahill Catholic Church Co Tipperary Ireland
Inch Catholic Church Co Tipperary Ireland
Inch Catholic Church Interior
St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Church Inch Co Tipperary
Inch Catholic Church looking towards back
Inch Catholic Church looking towards back

The Catholic Church at Inch would have been the church of the Fanning family. It was built on a slope, the bell tower has been put on the Church recently when it was done up. But when it was originally built the “supppression orders” were in place, so the Church had to hidden from the British as they were not allowed to build churches. The Bell Tower was on the ground next to the Church – to keep it hidden. Now it is on the top of the Church.

St Cataldus Catholic Church Ballycahill
St Cataldus’ Catholic Church Ballycahill Co Tipperary Ireland
Interior St Cataldus' Catholic Church Ballycahill
St Cataldus’ Church
St Cataldus' Catholic Church Ballycahill Co Tipperary Ireland
St Cataldus’ Catholic Church Ballycahill Co Tipperary Ireland built c1835

Fannings in Feudal and Medieval Times in Co Tipperary

The History of Clonmel by W. P Burke 1907 at archive.org mentions Anglo-Norman Fannings in the 13th and 16th centuries in Co Tipperary Ireland.

The History of Clonmel by William P Burke published in 1907 can be easily read online at archive.org The pages below mention Anglo-Norman Fannings in the 12th and 16th centuries in Co Tipperary Ireland.

Co Tipperary Cahir Castle Butler Coat of Arms
Butler Coat of Arms Cahir Castle Co Tipperary

History of Clonmel p7 croppedHistory of Clonmel page 8croppedClonmel in the 16th Century Fanning kerns cropped

Ballynahow Castle Co Tipperary Ireland 16 th Century Purcell Castle
Ballynahow Castle Co Tipperary Ireland 16 th Century Purcell Castle

Fanning and Darmody in Griffith’s Valuation of Co Tipperary Ireland 1850-1

Fanning & Darmody listings and details from Griffith’s Valuation published 1850-1 for Co Tipperary Ireland.

Fannings, Fannins  & Darmodys listed in Griffith’s Valuation

Griffith’s Valuation for all counties of Ireland can be searched at Ask About Ireland. It is a free site and you can look at the original documents.

Listed alphabetically by townland and all in North Riding, County Tipperary. The parishes are civil parishes. The dates I have given are the printing dates.

Michael Fanning poor Law Union of Thurles, Barony of Ikerrin, Parish of Templeree, Townland of Ballinlassa. Street No 6a. O.S. Sheet or Town Plan Ref 29. Map Ref 5. Michael Fanning’s name is bracketed with William Tracy 6b and Michael Brennan 5. Michael Brennan has land, William Fanning House and land and William Tracy has a house and land. The combined amount is 4 acres 3 roods 20 perches with a net annual value of 2 pounds 15 shillings. Value of the buildings was 15 shillings net annual value.

Margaret Fanning Poor Law Union of Thurles, Parish of Holycross and Townlandof Ballyvoneen. Street No 2e. House with annual net value of 6 shillings. Map ref 57. Mar 1850.

Patrick Fanning Poor Law Union of Thurles, Barony of Eliogarty, Parish of Thurles, Townland of Bawntamena. Street No 1. Land 6 acres, 2 roods, 12 perches net annual value of 9 pounds 16 shillings.

Martin Fanning Poor Law Union of Thurles, Barony of Eliogarty, Parish of Twomileborris, Townland of Blackcastle, Street No 3AB Map Ref 47. Land with Mrs Maher 28 acres 8 perches value 5 pounds 18 shillings combined. 3Aa is a house, office and garden, 1 acre 2 perches, value 11 shillings and value of building 3 shillings; rented to James Maher by Martin Fanning and Mrs Maher. Mar 1850.  Continue reading “Fanning and Darmody in Griffith’s Valuation of Co Tipperary Ireland 1850-1”

Fanning and Darmody in Slater’s Directory Co Tipperary Ireland 1846

Slater’s Directory for Co Tipperary Ireland in 1846 list a number of Fannings and Darmodys in various trades in Thurles.

Slaters Directory 1846 Thurles
Slaters Directory 1846 Thurles

Patrick Fanning is listed as a baker at Main St;
John Fanning as a leather seller in Main St ;
John Darmody was also a leather seller in Main St.
Under Public Houses are listed Edward Fanning at Pudding Lane, John Fanning at Main St and Patrick Fanning also at Main St.