Mullarney Family of Ballymanus


My 4th great grandfather was Thomas Mullarney of Ballymanus Upper Townland, in the Glenealy Parish of County Wicklow.  He was born around 1808 and died around 1877.

In 1835, in Old St. Michael’s of Rathdrum (church is no longer there), he was married to Elizabeth Ellis, and they were both living in Garrymore, Ballinacor, Wicklow at the time.

It’s unclear when they moved to Ballymanus, and became caretakers of one of Daniel Tighe’s properties there, but it was certainly between 1835 and 1841.

I learned of this ancestor upon a trip to Ireland in October 2019, by procuring the death record of known ancestor Sarah Mullarney-Howlett, who was mother to my 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Howlett-Leonard.  On Sarah’s death certificate, it stated she died in Ballymanus Townland, and was wife of schoolteacher (Thomas Howlett).  This was a revelation to me, as all my Irish ancestral research had, up to that point, been confined to North County Dublin.

A Trip to the Valuations Office

Once I studied a bit more about Sarah, I learned that her parents were Thomas Mullarney and Elizabeth Ellis, also of Wicklow.  The 1852 Griffith’s Valuation matched up the name Thomas Mullarney, at House Lot 3 of Ballymanus Upper.

I paid a visit to the Valuation Office in Dublin, and managed to get a nice copy of the Valuation Map for Glenealy Parish, which was used for the above valuation document.

I was also able to look through the old cancellation books, to run the full chain of title from 1842-1978.  The landlord for the Mullarney House was Daniel Tighe, who was also a neighboring landowner/tenant (as you can see from the above roster).  The Mullarney lot was measured at 9 acres, 3 roods, and 0 perches (about the size of ten football fields).  The 9 acre land was long valued at 5 pounds sterling (inclusive of house).  The house situated on it was always known as the “Woodranger’s House” in these cancellation books.  I would be very curious to learn which house this is, and if it’s still there.  As of 1978, the house lot had been subdivided onto a smaller land, and was then owned by a Bernard Kelly.

Information from the Petty Court Sessions

Thomas was listed as caretaker of this particular property of Tighe’s, and he appears in many petty court sessions in Ballymanus/Glenealy, where he complained of trespassers and thieves:

  • In March of 1841, Thomas witnessed Francis and Dennis Toole trespassing on his tenant property, breaking a fence, and apparently stealing holly crops.
  • Also in March of 1841, Thomas witnessed Phillip Doolin breaking a fence and stealing oak crops.
  • In January of 1842, Thomas witnessed Mary Toole and Elizabeth Dowdall breaking the fence and stealing oak plants.
  • In June of 1842, Thomas witnessed Luke Cullen stealing sod and a horse from his tenant property.
  • October 1842, Thomas witnessed John Fitzpatrick stealing oak trees from his tenant property.
  • In 1851, Thomas witnessed Keven Develin stealing heath from his tenant property.
  • March of 1854, John Beety stole oak trees
  • Sept 1857 and in June of 1862, Thomas was charged for allowing his mare to wander out into the street.
  • October 1857, Thomas was accused by a local tailor Richard Byrne of threatening his life.
  • April of 1860, Thomas witnessed the trespass of cattle onto his tenant lands, said cattle owned by James Bradshaw
  • In January of 1865, Thomas owed Joseph Cowley for goods.
  • June of 1866, Thomas stood up as witness for William Mullarney, who was accused of assaulting Mary Kerwin.  William served a week of hard labor.  William was 17 at the time, so he could have been Thomas’ son, nephew or little brother.
  • August of 1867, Thomas was charged with public drunkenness, and had to pay a fine of one shilling.
  • July 1868, Thomas was charged with having an unlicensed dog.  He licensed a male greyhound two days later
  • March 1869, licensed a slate mongrel.
  • July 1871, licensed a black sheepdog.
  • June 1873, public drunkenness again.
  • March 1874, licensed a brown mastiff.
  • March 1876, licensed a black sheepdog


Run-ins with the Law

Whom I believe to be Thomas’ brother or father, James Mullarney of Ballymanus, had a few run-ins with the law:

  • In May of 1842, James trespassed onto Daniel Tighe’s woods property in Ballymanus, and was convicted.  He had to stay in prison for a fortnight and pay a fine.
  • In July of 1864, he struck Martin Cullen on the public road in Glenealy, and had to stay in jail for a week and pay a fine.
  • In 1866, he landed in prison (unknown charge)

William Mullarney, mentioned above, who had spent a week in jail for assault, and who might be little brother or nephew to Thomas, also had a record:

  • One Eliza Mullarney had a child named William in the Rathdrum Workhouse on 19 Feb 1868.  No father listed.  Was this a child of William’s?  Or was this Eliza the same who was wife to Thomas?
  • April and May of 1869, William was arrested twice for assaulting George Loftus Booth, although the cases were dismissed.

Beyond Ballymanus

By 1877, Daniel Tighe’s son, James, acquired title to the land, and most all other land in the Parish, and at that point, Thomas Mullarney drifts off of title.  He had clearly lost the lease by then.  What is not so clear is what happened to him after that, or when he died.

Thomas Mullarney and his wife Elizabeth had four known children:

  • My ancestor Sarah Mullarney-Howlett (1836-1865).  Sarah died quite young, of tuberculosis, about two years after giving birth to my 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Howlett-Leonard (pictured above).
  • Patrick Mullarney (1844-1906).  Patrick was a national schoolteacher, just like Sarah’s husband, Thomas Howlett.  Patrick was also schoolmaster of Glencullen National School in South Dublin from 1881-1894.
  • John Mullarney (1852-1901).  John had a large family and lived in Georges Quay of Dublin City.
  • Thomas Mullarney (1854-1873).  Died as a teenager.

Given that his wife Elizabeth died in 1892, a widow, at aged 82, it seems reasonable to believe that Thomas Mullarney was born around 1808 (Wicklow parish baptismal records from that period are hard to find online), and could have died around 1877, when he lost the lease to the Tighe family.

Thomas was born about ten years after the execution of Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, who put this townland into history.  I wonder if his parents knew Billy (or were somehow connected to him)?

Patrick and his family lived in Glencullen, Rathdown, South County Dublin (just a bit north of Wicklow), so perhaps Thomas died in that area too.


Scott Leonard

San Francisco, California

Comments about this page

  • I am a Mullarney, and I live in Ballymanus Upper, Glenealy, though born and brought up in Dublin. I am amazed to read this!

    By CLAIRE MULLARNEY (11/11/2021)
  • Scott, you have done amazing research for your family, well done. Regarding finding out if the house still exists or what is there now there is a facebook page called glenealy historical. If you contact them and ask to join the group you could post the information you have from the cancelled books about the ownership of the house up to 1970s and perhaps some of the Glenealy people in the group may be able to tell you if the dwelling is still there or what happened to it.                            Regarding your mention of Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, in Wicklow like many other Irish counties we have a number of townlands with the same name, which is very confusing. The Ballymanus that Billy Byrne was from is actually in a different part of the county and is not the townland near Glenealy. 


    By Margaret Connolly (12/12/2019)

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