Descendants of Bryan CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) (to contribute information, please email

First Generation

1. Bryan CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) was born in about 1740s in possibly Monagea, Co. Limerick. He died in probably Monagea, Co. Limerick or north Co. Kerry.


I think it likely that Bryan above who married Maria Flanagan and had a son named Myles who was baptised in Monagea, Co. Limerick in 1777 is the father of my 4th great-grandfather Myles Cunningham. I had already figured Myles was probably born in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick around the 1780s and that his father's name was Bryan (Myles and his brother Daniel and probable brother John all appear to have called their eldest sons Bryan, it being traditional at the time in rural Ireland to name the first-born son after the child's paternal grandfather). However, having seen a photo of two pages from a parish index book showing Cunningham baptisms in Monagea (Templeglantine was part of Monagea parish until about 1850 when it became a parish in its own right), in which one of the entries was for a Bryan Cunningham, son of a Bryan Cunninghma and a Maria Flanagan, who was baptised in Monagea on 26 January 1777, I became more convinced that Bryan and Maria were the parents of my ancestor Myles. However, because I have insufficient proof of this, I have added a caution beside the names of Bryan and Maria. I had been expecting to find that Myles's mother's name was Ellen as Myles and his brother Daniel and probable brother John all appear to have called their eldest daughters Ellen, it being traditional to name the first-born daughter Mary or after the child's paternal grandmother. However, it was not unusual at the time to name the eldest daughter after her maternal grandmother, so perhaps Maria's mother was named Ellen.

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 have not been able to prove 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 on the transportation documents 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.

Bryan married Maria FLANAGAN (caution: not verified). Maria was born in about 1750s. She died.

They had the following children.

+ 2 M i Myles CUNNINGHAM was born in possibly January 1777. 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 1800. He died on 18 Oct 1887.
+ 5 M iv Timothy CUNNINGHAM (caution: not verified) was born in possibly about 1800s. He died.

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