I was born in 1941 and christened Edward Joseph Leslie Dowley after my father and great-grandfather (Edward) and grandfather (Joseph) respectively. Being the eldest in my generation I was lucky enough to have known my great-grandfather, Edward Dowley, for a short time before his death in 1945.
When I attended Piltown Boys National School in 1946 I was a contemporary of one Thomas Dowley of Beech Farm, Fiddown. This Thomas was a great-grandson of Philip Dowley (1830-1915) of Ballyknock Co, Waterford. However, as he pronounced his name “Dooley”, the connection was lost on a five year old at the time.
In the same school there were a number of Briscoes who always claimed that they were descendants of the original owners of Tinvane. I have since been able to confirm that this claim was correct (see Briscoe Family History).
For all my six years in Castleknock College, Dublin (1953-1959), each meal was “overseen” by a huge portrait of the Rev. Fr. Philip Dowley, the founder of the college. Fr. Philip originated from Ballyknock outside Carrick-on-Suir, in the County of Waterford and was a great-great-grand uncle of the above Thomas from Fiddown. This, together with the fact that so many of the Tinvane Dowleys were educated in Castleknock, seemed to suggest that Fr. Philip must be a relation. However, all enquiries within the Tinvane family could not confirm any relationship with the Ballyknock Dowleys.
In the late 1950’s, when I was on holidays from Castleknock, I had my first visit to the Old Faugheen graveyard, with my grandfather and Mark Dowley, where, armed with wire brushes and other cleaning implements, we uncovered the gravestone of Richard & Honora Dowley, interred in 1773, together with their son John, interred in 1807.
This information, together with long conversations with my grandfather (Joseph Ignatius) about the Dowley family gave me an interest in delving further into the Deise Dowley history and trying to make connections between the different Dowley families in the greater Carrick-on-Suir area. It now appears that there are some seven distinct Dowley families in the greater Carrick-on-Suir area – Baker Dowleys, Ballyknock Dowleys, Boatmen Dowleys, Coolnamuck Rd. Dowleys, Mothel Rd. Dowleys, Seskin Dowleys and Tinvane Dowleys.
Family, work and rugby commitments forced me to postpone my interest in the family history for a number of generations. However, more recently, I came across the fanciful but very readable account of the Ballyknock Dowley family by Mrs. Betty Wilkinson of Australia. This together with a recent visit from Mark Dowley (California) and reading his memories of holidays in Tinvane during World War Two has renewed my interest in the Dowley history.
Now that I have retired, I have more time to devote to this project and to see if I can confirm any relationships between the different Dowley families in Carrick-on-Suir. To date, no direct connection can be made between any of these families but a common ancestry is assumed at some stage in the past.
This document concentrates on the Tinvane Dowleys but includes information on the other Deise Dowleys where available. The greatest emphasis has been placed on my own family line from Tinvane to Castlane to Piltown to the Carlow Dowleys. It has been prepared mainly for my own personal interest as well as providing some historical data on the Dowley family for my own immediate descendants. I hope it will be used by others to add their own family histories to this document. It also attempts to give some insight into the geography and natural resources of the Suir valley for those who may not be familiar with the Carrick-on-Suir area.
As this is a work in progress rather than a final document I would welcome corrections and further information about the many Dowley descendents. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Dowley: Many thanks are due to Mark who initiated much of my interest in the Dowley history. Mark, together with his father Arthur, have provided much of the early history on the Tinvane Dowleys together with data on the other Dowley families in Carrick, especially the Ballyknock Dowleys and their American descendants. His recollections of holidays in Tinvane in the 1940’s have also proved very informative in describing the day-to-day happenings in Tinvane House at that time. He has also provided much needed help in reviewing and correcting the present document.
Raymond Dowley: Thanks to my brother Raymond for his help in revisiting the old Faugheen graveyard and in making contact with the current inhabitants of Ballyknock and for his interest in the family history. He also arranged a few very enjoyable rounds of golf for Niall Quirk and myself in Carrick which facilitated the pleasant exchange of information and anecdotes about the family.
Niall Quirk: Thanks to Niall for providing most of the legal documents regarding the Tinvane Dowleys as well as interpreting their contents. As M. J. O’Neill-Quirk were the legal advisors to Edward Dowley & Sons, Niall was also able to provide valuable information on why some of the legal and commercial decisions were made. He also provided valuable information on all of his uncles and aunts as well as his grandfather Edward Dowley.
Milada Dowley: I am eternally grateful to Milada for salvaging all the audited accounts for Edward Dowley & Sons Ltd., Kyran Dowley Ltd., Killonerry Estates Ltd. as well as Albatross Fertilisers Ltd. and making them available to my two sons for their professional appraisal. Milada has also provided nearly all the information on the Waterford branch of the Tinvane Dowleys.
Robert & Douglas Dowley: Thanks to my twin son accountants, I was able to get professional comments on the audited accounts of Edward Dowley & Sons Ltd. from 1906 to 1974. Their opinions were invaluable in assessing the success or otherwise of the business over the years, especially in the years immediately before the sale of the company in 1974.
Anne Tunney: Thanks to Anne for providing original photographs of her grandparents, Edward and Ursula Dowley.
John Shelley: As the Agricultural Advisor to Edward Dowley & Sons Ltd., John was able to provide valuable information on the general trends in agriculture from the late 1950’s up to 1974. He also was able to provide professional information on the product range as well as sales figures and the effect of local and national competition. John was also the best-man at my wedding to Cora Morrissey in 1966.
Cora Dowley: Thanks are also due to my long suffering wife who has spent many days accompanying me to graveyards and listening to my ramblings and theories on various aspects of the Dowley family. She has also read and edited the text where my literary deficiencies were quite apparent.
Marjorie Hutchinson: Many thanks are due to Marjorie for providing all the information on the Flahavan, Walsh and Shanahan families of Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford.
Geraldine Foley: Thanks to Geri for the valuable information on the Canadian branch of the Coolnamuck Rd. Dowleys.
Linda Riley: Thanks to Linda for all the information on the Coolnmuck Rd. Dowleys that emigrated to Bromley, Kent, UK.
Others: Thanks are also due to many other members of the extended Dowley family for providing important information as well photographs for the project. I would particularly like to thank members of the Tybroughney Dowleys (Maylon, Dot and Aline), the Tinvane Dowleys (Anna, Maeve and Noreen), the Bacon Family (Anne and Tommy) and Gerard Quirk.
Leslie J. Dowley