Descendants of 'unknown' CUNNINGHAM (to contribute information, please email

First Generation

1. 'unknown' CUNNINGHAM was born in abt 1750s in north Kerry or west Limerick. He died in possibly Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.


I think it likely that 'unknown' above was named Bryan because all three of his sons (whom we know of) who had children appear to have called their eldest sons Bryan, suggesting they were following the tradition at the time of naming their first-born son after the child's paternal grandfather.

It is thought that 'unknown' above was originally from the Templeglantine area of Co. Limerick but either he or his sons all moved to Co. Kerry at some point in the early to mid-19th century. His sons Myles and Daniel settled in Kilbaha in the parish of Newtownsandes (now called Moyvane) while his putative son John moved to Irremore, near Listowel.

Parish records have been located (on for several Cunninghams with Kilbaha connections who may be related to 'unknown' above:

A Mary Cunningham of Kilbaha married a Daniel Mangan in Moyvane on 29 July 1843. Witnesses were Thomas Mulvihill and George Mahony. Baptismal records have been located (on for an Elizabeth and Daniel Cunningham, children of a James Cunningham and a Hanora Thornton of Kilbaha. Elizabeth was baptised on 7 December 1841 (sponsors were Michael Thornton and Mary Thornton) and Daniel on 18 May 1844 (with sponsors Daniel Cunningham and Honora Cunningham). Could James have been a son of 'unknown' above? Or could he have been a son of 'unknown's son Daniel? However, we have no evidence to show that 'unknown' had a son or grandson named James.

Another Cunningham family with Moyvane connections was that of John Cunningham who was married to Catherine Moore and whose son, Cornelius, was baptised in Moyvane on 30 December 1834. However, it is not known if this family lived in Kilbaha.

According to family lore, our Cunningham family is connected to Philip Cunningham, the Moyvane-born rebel who was transported to Australia following the 1798 Rising and became the leader of the failed Castle Hill convict rebellion of March 1804. However, I haven't been able to prove there is a definite connection between Philip and our Cunninghams or a link between him and the townland of Kilbaha. While Philip Cunningham's birthplace is shown as "Moyvane, Co. Kerry" on transportation documents, I have been told that from 1690 until 1939 the parish now called Moyvane was known as Newtownsandes, so it is a possibility that the Moyvane that's documented might actually relate to one of the TOWNLANDS of Moyvane North or Moyvane South located in the PARISH then called Newtownsandes. I have also read that Philip Cunningaham was born in a place called Gleann Liath (or Gleanlea or Glownlee) in the parish of Newtownsandes/Moyvane. Gleann Liath forms part of the townland of Murher which is located directly to the west of both Moyvane North and Moyvane South (with Kilbaha being directly east of Moyvane South), so it does seem likely that Philip Cunningham came from this general area. I am wondering if Gleann Liath might be located on the eastern side of Murher, close to the border with Moyvane North/South, which might explain why Moyvane was specified on the transportation papers.

Whether or not there is a connection, Philip Cunningham's story is worth telling: he was born probably in the 1760s and, according to 'Home Thoughts from Abroad – the Australian Letters of Thomas F. Culhane' published by the Glin Historical Society in 1998, was involved in nationalist activities with the United Irishman in north Kerry in the period leading up the 1798 Rising. "Gerald FitzGerald and Sandes had appointed Phil Cunningham of Gleann Liath, Moyvane, Bill Leonard of Aghanagran, Marcus Sheehy of Duagh and Pat Galvin as leaders in their respective parishes. Tom Langan (Captain Steel) had charge of Glin parish and surrounding districts.... Eventually all these men were arrested and sent to Botany Bay... [They were] put on board the convict ship Anne, which did not leave Cork until much later".

Other sources tell us that Philip Cunningham was related in some way to a Cunningham family in Co. Tipperary, and probably sometime in 1790s he moved to Clonmel in that county where he ran a public house and worked as a stonemason. In February 1798 he married a local woman whose surname was Black. In Clonmel he became a leader locally of the 1798 Rising which led to his deportation to Australia on board the 'Anne I', which docked in Port Jackson in NSW in February 1801.

The Castle Hill Rising was the first rebellion in Australian history. Involving Irish convicts (mostly political offenders arrested in the aftermath of the 1798 Rising), the revolt began with the rebels' seizure of their convict station and culminated in a clash between the rebels and government troops. After the troops opened fire, the convicts fled and the rebellion was broken. Philip Cunningham, who had been wounded in the melée, was captured and immediately hanged.

The Cunningham surname is common in all areas of Ireland, especially Ulster and Connaught. In east Ulster the name is mainly of Scottish origin, and in other areas it is mainly the anglicised form of native Irish names, such as MacCuinneagáin.

'unknown' married 'UNKNOWN'. 'UNKNOWN' was born in abt 1760s. She died.

They had the following children.

+ 2 M i Myles CUNNINGHAM was born in abt 1780s. He died before 1 Mar 1879.
+ 3 M ii Daniel CUNNINGHAM was born in abt 1780s. He died.
+ 4 M iii John CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) was born about 1791. He died on 18 Oct 1887.
  5 M iv
Timothy CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) was born in possibly about 1800s in Co. Limerick; or Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He died in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

Unfortunately we have no information on Timothy.
Timothy married Mary GRIFFIN (caution: not verified). Mary died.

I am assuming, although I have no firm proof, that Mary was the wife of our Timothy Cunningham. I am basing my assumption on a baptismal record located for a Dermot Cunningham, son of a Timothy Cunningham and a Mary Griffin of Kilbaha, who was baptised on 26 November 1841 (the sponsor was Winifred Cunningham).

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