Genealogical and Historical Research Service in County Louth, Ireland - Joe Biden ancestors


Dividing Line

Joe  Biden  (former USA  Vice  President)
and  his  Irish Finnegan  Ancestors

continued 05:-
Dividing Line


Finnegan Families, Castlecarragh Townland

The standard spellings of the surnames are used below.

          The Boundary of the two Roman Catholic Parishes of Lordship and Cooley would appear to be the Castletown River that flows under Riverstown Bridge on the now R173 road. Immediately crossing this bridge the road today appears to have been straightened from that existing in the mid nineteenth century.

          In 1855 the now R173 road was termed the High Road from Dundalk to Carlingford. After crossing the Riverstown Bridge was the village of Riverstown, in Castletown-Cooley Townland, and after the junction (beside the present Riverstown Inn) with what was termed the 'road to Newry'  was Castletown-Cooley Townland on the north side and Castlecarragh Townland on the south side. On the  latter side the land occupiers were Peter Donnelly and Elizabeth Hanlon occupying 19 acres and 1 rood; Matthew and James Finnegan occupying 22 acres and 2 roods; James Ward and Patrick Malone occupying 22 acres and 2 roods and last John Boyle occupying 10 acres and 3 roods.

          As seen, above, in the Tithe Applotments Books, 1833, for Castlecarra [Castlecarragh] Townland a George Finnegan was listed with a James and Michael Finnegan for 12 Irish acres of land.
          By the time of Griffith's Valuation survey, completed around 1852, a Matthew, Michael and James Finnegan each occupied a house and offices (that is out offices such as sheds) and jointly 21 statute acres and 38 perches of land. See above copy of this record. The land was stated to be in tillage and giving very good crops. In addition it was stated that the occupiers of Castlecarragh Townland claimed the sea weed, along the townland's seashore, in proportion to their holdings.
          For the good land the Finnegan's seemed to pay £1-6-0 an acre per annum. It was stated that some occupiers of land, in the townland, gave up their holdings because they did not receive enough rebate of rent. The rebate was likely sought due to the uncertainty, generally, with the potato crops. A Pat Carroll did leave as occupier of his house and garden in this townland, at Plot 6c, in 1853. Could he be the Patrick Carroll living in Lodi in 1875? (see Missing Friends' advertisements above).

         Also on this Finnegan holding was a house occupied by a James Donnelly, free, and held at will from Michael Finnegan and another house occupied by an Arthur Magee and held at will, from James Finnegan, for which he paid £1-0-0 a year.

          From the various records, so far searched, this would appear to be the position with the named occupiers above:- 


George Finnegan.

He maybe the George who was married to a Catherine Finnegan and children included Ann (1830); Laurence (1832) and Mary (1833) all born in Riverstown. Since the marriage entry was not located it is possible there were other children. He maybe one of the George Finnegans that died in Cooley parish around 1849-50 as he is not listed on Griffith's Valuation.

          It would appear that a Matthew Finnegan followed on his property.


Matthew Finnegan.

Matthew is listed in Griffith's Valuation. He was born about 1804 and married a Judith McBride, in Lordship Parish, but his children were baptised in Cooley Parish. Their family included:-

Mary (1859); Catherine (1861); Bridget (1863); Michael (1865) and  Rose (1868).

         When Mathew and Judith died their son Michael and family followed as occupiers on the property. Michael married a Bridget Murphy of Benagh Townland and died in 1924 in Castlecarragh Townland.


James Finnegan.

He was born about 1785 and was possibly the person who married a Judith Finnegan. It is probable that either James or Judith came from Mucklagh Townland (further to the north-east of Castlecarragh) as some of their children were born there. The family may have included:-

Mary (1815); Mic/Michael (1818); John (1819) and Thomas (1821) who was born in Castlecarragh.

          A Thomas (likely his son) followed on his property. Thomas Finnegan was married to a Margaret Finnegan in 1858, in Lordship Parish, and family, all born in Castlecarragh and baptised in Cooley Parish, included:-

John (1859); Bridget? (1861); Peter (1863); James (1865); Michael (1867); Pat (1870); Mary? (1873) and Catherine (1876). Michael followed as main occupier of the property and afterwards Catherine's family. Catherine was married to a John J Hughes from Killin Townland, in Lordship Parish.


Michael Finnegan.

He was born about 1797 and died unmarried. James Donnelly followed on his property.


Sally Finnegan - James Donnelly.

A Sally (Sarah) Finnegan was born about 1788 and married a James Donnelly, a weaver.  The weaving trade was already in decline by the 1830s. This maybe the James Donnelly who occupied a free house from Michael Finnegan. Their family included:-

Mary Donnelly (1813) and James Donnelly (1815) born in Riverstown.
           This latter James Donnelly married, in 1840, his cousin a Bridget Finnegan. This Bridget was present at the death of Michael Finnegan above, born 1797, so maybe she was a near relative?. These Donnellys followed on Michael Finnegan's property. Their family included:-

Elizabeth (1847); James (1849);  John (1851) and maybe others. The property passed to John Donnelly and afterwards to a Feehan family.

          Could this James Donnelly, born 1815, be the witness to the marriage of Owen Finnegan & Jane Boyle?.


Arthur Magee.

In the early 1850s Arthur Magee paid £1-0-0 a year for the house to James Finnegan but it was down before 1860.
         So far nothing was found to suggest the Magees were related to the Finnegans. However in Griffith's Valuation there was no Arthur Magee listed as the main occupier of a house in Templetown Townland. Yet there was an Artr Magee a sponsor in 1814 to the baptism of Owen Finnegan the son of John and Mary Kearney of Templetown. The latter maybe the Arthur Magee, born about 1788, who may have been married to a Rourke girl and died in Templetown in 1871. His occupation was a 'labourer' which could mean an 'agricultural labourer'. But again no record has, so far, been found to verify that he was the same person that lived in Castlecarragh in the 1850s.


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© MP McConnon, MC Research, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland.
(Original uploaded 20 January 2009). Last update 03 January 2022.