The Kilmacthomas Connections


During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Dowleys of Tinvane seemed to have a propensity to marry spouses from the greater Kilmacthomas area. These included members of the Cheasty, Flahavan, Kiersey, Walsh(e), and Shanahan families. The Walsh name was spelt with and without an “e” even in their own burial plot in Newtown cemetery, just east of Kilmacthomas.


The Catholic Church in Newtown, Kilmacthomas Co. Waterford where the Walshes, Shanahans, Cheastys and Kierseys are buried

Walshe(e) Newtown 1

The Walshe Grave in Newtown. Note change in spelling from Walsh


Part of the same Walshe burial plot above


The Shanahan burial plot in Newtown Cemetery


The Cheasty family plot in Newtown cemetery


The fact that these families also intermarried resulted in multiple and complex genetic relationships which are difficult to unravel. An attempt is made in the accompanying trees to relate the Tinvane Dowleys with the Flahavans, Walshes and Shanahans.

The first Tinvane Dowley connection with Kilmac was through the marriage of the first John Dowley (1737-1810) to a Cheasty. Two generations later, John’s grand-son, John Dowley (1810-1882) married Bridget Flahavan while his grand-daughter Marion Dowley (John’s sister) married a Kiersey.

In the next generation, John Dowley’s son, Edward (1855-1945), married Mary Ursula Walsh from Newtown, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. They were married in Kilmacthomas in 1879. However, Edward’s name was entered as “Dooley” in the church registry which made the marriage difficult to locate and may have been responsible for Edward’s jocose remark at his 50th wedding aniversary that they were never “properly married”.

Mary Ursula’s mother was a Cheasty while her uncle Michael Walsh of Carrigcastle married Catherine Flahavan and her niece, Agnes Walsh, married Tom Flahavan. Two of her sisters (Annie and Gertie) married Dr. Tom Shanahan while her niece married Willie Shanahan. Dr. Tom’s first wife, Annie, was an alcoholic and following a drinking bout she was locked in the bedroom wile the doctor went on his rounds. On his return he found that she had fallen from the bedroom window and broken her neck. In his earlier days Dr. Tom had played rugby for Ireland. He was the first ex-pupil from Castleknock College, Dublin to achieve this distinction. Tom Shanahan (Landsdowne & Waterford) played against England and Scotland in 1885, England in 1886 and Scotland & Wales in 1888.

Flahavan 2 Portlaw

There are many other family connections not mentioned here, but this short account serves to illustrate the complex inter-relationship between the above families. It would appear that the families mentioned may have been part of large social group which could account for high level of inter-marriage.

It is also interesting that burial plots for the Walsh, Cheasty and Shanahan families are beside one another in Newtown cemetery which could suggest that these families whished to continue their relationship in death as in life. There is also a Kiersey plot in the same churchard, but the Flahavans are interred in Portlaw.

The Ballyknock Dowleys also had a Kilmacthomas connection when Johanna Shanahan married Thomas Dowley (1788-1847). This Thomas was a brother of the Rev. Fr. Philip Dowley the founder of Castleknock College. He also built the current house at Ballyknock which was completed in 1847, the year that Thomas died.


 Main residents of Flahavans (yellow), Shanahans (green) and Walshes (blue)

8 thoughts on “The Kilmacthomas Connections

  1. Richard Foy

    Love the website and all the family history, well done.
    My name is Richard Foy. My mother is Annice Cheasty and I am connected to the Dowley family through the Marks family and it seems that i might be connected through the Cheasty line, although I don’t know how. My mother always said there are double connections in several generations between the Cleary, Whitty, Dowley and Cheasty families.

  2. Keith Attwell


    the Kiersey gravestone gave me the dates to, my daughters partner Louis Kiersey, his grandfather, grandmother, father and aunt. There are two other Kiersey plots in Newtown Cemetery which identified more great grandparents, great aunts and cousins. I visited Kilmac in May as Louis was left a house by his mother in Kilmac. In his tree is a Johanna Dowley b1832 marrying a David Kiersey in 21/02/1871 at Clonea Power?. Also have Evelyn Kiersey marrying a James Flahavan and Mary (maura) Shanahan marrying another David Kiersey. A lot of mixing around Kilmac over the decades.



  3. Mary

    Native of Kilmacthomas locality, absolutely fabulous genealogical information well done! Have some amendments to make and some queries also.

  4. joe Shanahan

    I’m very excited to come across your website. I’ve been looking for a connection to Ireland for many years. I am a descendant of John Shanahan. I believe he was born in 1806 in Ashtown. He is buried at Low Point on Cape Breton Island off the coast of Nova Scotia in Canada.

    I will collect more info and follow up with you.

    All the best,

  5. joe Shanahan

    I’ve looked a little closer. The John Shanahan from who emigrated to Canada was born on January 5, 1806.
    His gravestone in Canada lists Ashtown as the place of birth and we have seen the baptism record at a church in Piltown. His parents were listed as John and Bridget (Mulhern).

    I’m not sure if the John we are looking for is on the family tree?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

    Joe Shanahan

  6. Aidan Coffey

    Dear Joe,
    My great-grand-aunt Alice Lennon married Patrick Walshe, farmer (and widely renowned bone-setter) of Tinhalla, Carrick-on-Suir. One of their sons was a Dr John Walshe (1853-1899), who lived in Kilmacthomas. I have two questions: Are you aware of the Walshes of Tinhalla? And if so, could there be a connection between these and the Walshes associated with milling in Kilmacthomas.
    I ask because I have a death notice of a John Walshe of Kilmacthomas 15th February 1886 (aged 79), whose funeral was attended by Dowleys, Flahavan, etc (names associated with your family) and employees of Kilmacthomas and Carrigcastle mills. He was clearly one of the milling Walshe family. However, the funeral was also attended by several Lennons (i.e. various cousins of my grandfather), which I found intriguing. I hope you can shed some light.


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