(parents of Joan Gaffey):
Line of Descent to Joan Gaffey
|Lived||near Mayobridge in Clonallan Parish, near Newry, County Down Ulster (bet 1820 and 1850),|
|Marriage||Mary Torley (c1826, no documentation)|
Patrick GAFFEY ( c1827-1901)
William GAFFEY (1828-1913)
Daniel GAFFEY (1835-1916
Mary Ann GAFFEY (1840-1863/64)
Daniel Gaffey is a mystery man.
We don't know when or where he was born, married or died.
Even his name, Gaffey, is a rarity in the county he
lived in. The stronghold of
the Gaffey clan was traditionally an area north of the town of Athlone, in
Westmeath, a county in the centre of Ireland. More than a few Gaffeys were
active in the Rebellion of 1798, and when that was bloodily put down, they
went on the run. According to
a local report of the time:
Tuesday 1st May: We hear from Athlone on Saturday night a party of
carabineers together with detachments of the yeomen , cavalry and infantry
proceeded to the lands of Broomhill on an information of concealed arms.
Some pikes, a few guns with a small quantity of powder, balls and
swan drops etc, were discovered by the force of picketing.
Three persons were lodged securely in Athlone and two persons named
Gaffy, concerned in the above named concealments escaped in a boat across
the Shannon, though a great number of shots were fired at them, the effect
of which could not be known.'
Did one of those Gaffeys escape and head north to
Ulster, and settle for anonymity in the foothills of the Mountains of
Mourne to raise a young Daniel Gaffey?
Unfortunately, records of the area are few and far
between – even information on births, deaths and marriages is sketchy.
Under the restrictions imposed on the Catholic population of Ireland,
Catholic churches in the province were not allowed to keep registers much
before 1830, and those of Clonallon Parish, near Newry in County Down,
between 1826 and 1830 are very sketchy, although Daniel's name is recorded
as witness to a marriage there in August 1828.
We do know, from the records that do exist,
that Daniel Gaffey had six children, and led the life of an Irish tenant
farmer in the first half of the 19th century.
However, there's an intriguing entry in the NSW death certificate of
Daniel Gaffey's son, another Daniel: his fathers's occupation was given
as " hatter".
However, there's an intriguing entry in the NSW death certificate of Daniel Gaffey's son, another Daniel: his fathers's occupation was given as " hatter".
Surviving records of the time suggest that if the Gaffey
children went to school, it would have been to the small National
(Catholic School) in Mayobridge, near the Catholic chapel.
school was a "small slated cottage",
established in November 1832. However,
the fee for each pupil was one shilling per quarter - but despite this, it
had an enrolment in 1836 of 103 boys and 48 girls, all of them Catholics. It's more than likely that the
Gaffey children did not attend - or if they did, the lessons they
learned weren't long lasting, as more than a few of them appear to have
been illiterate, signing their names with crosses in documents in New
It's more than likely that the Gaffey children did not attend - or if they did, the lessons they learned weren't long lasting, as more than a few of them appear to have been illiterate, signing their names with crosses in documents in New South Wales
According to the same records, the Catholic chapel was a
roughcast and whitewashed stone building on the main road between
Warrenpoint and Rathfriland, which passed through the crossroads of
Mayobridge. It was built in
1806 at a cost of £1000, and, in 1836, the average total attendance at
the Sunday Masses was 1,400 - so it's more than likely Daniel, his wife
Mary (Torley) and six children were among the congregation.
The church has since been replaced by a more imposing bluestone Gothic
The church has since been replaced by a more imposing bluestone Gothic structure.
Mayobridge, a small picturesque village 8
kilometres from Newry, in County Down, Northern Ireland.
(2000), old houses of the village are centered around Gorman’s pub and a
shop but the village is expanding with many new houses being built on its
In 1834, in the Tithes Applotment books for the Parish,
Daniel is listed as an occupier of land in the old townland of Crone (more
usually spelt Croan) in Clonallan Parish.
The nearest village, Mayobridge, was about three kilometres to the
south of Daniel’s rented land which totalled 7 acres, 2 roods, and 34
perches, over four allotments. The main crop in the area, as noted by the Tithe clerks,
was oats, which sold at an average price of 13s 3p 3f per barrel; as well,
there were two linen mills close by.
The Gaffey’s landlord was the Meade family, who owned
considerable property in the province.
They were absentee landlords, keeping mainly to their estate in
England, with their interests looked after by an agent, Crane Brush.
The welfare of their tenants was never uppermost in their minds –
in the mid 1840s, they decided cattle and sheep were more profitable than
tenants and less of a liability, and Brush refused to renew many leases,
thus pushing many families into emigration.
By the time the Griffiths’ Valuation of the Croan
townland was carried out in 1845-48, Crane Brush’s plan had been largely
successful. The number of
occupied houses had been reduced to four, instead of the dozens listed
there only 15 years earlier, in the Tithes’ survey.
The Gaffeys were not among those still living there during the
Daniel was possibly a victim of the Irish Famine of
1845-46, or he and his family may have been forced out to England by his
landlords. What is certain is
that Daniel had died by the time the surviving members of his family, led
by his eldest son Patrick, made the move to Staffordshire in England, then
to Australia, where they settled in the New England district of New South
Wales over the period 1857-62.
Dan Gaffey’s allotments were in the townland of Croan, a tiny farming area, with two linen mills, just north of the village of Mayobridge
 Tithes Applotment Book, Clonallan Parish, 1834, Vol2
 Parish Records for Clonallan Parish, 1828-1847
Index to assisted immigrants arriving Sydney and Newcastle 1844-1859,
Persons on bounty Ships (Board’s Immigrant List), 1857, and NSW
Index to Immigration Deposit Journals, 1853-1900, Archives Office of NSW
Belfast Newsletter, May 4, 1798
Details on the school from the
Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Parishes of County Down 1, 1834-6, South
Down, Vol. 3, p1 (eds: Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams, for the
Institute of Irish Studies, University of Belfast)
Clonallon was both a civil and an ecclesiastical parish.
Sean McCartan, an Ulster history researcher.