Descendants of Mary WOULFE (to contribute information, please email

First Generation

1. Mary WOULFE was born in about late 1810s in possibly Athea area, Co. Limerick. She died before 9 Jan 1894 in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

Unfortunately I have been unable to come up with much information on the Woulfe family. I am assuming they came from Athea, Co. Limerick as Mary above was married in Athea. It has been suggested to me that our Woulfe family came from Cratloe, a townland in Co. Limerick between Athea and Abbeyfeale but I have no evidence to support this.

I have been told that one of the children of Mary above and her husband, John, may have married someone by the name of Walsh from Marble Hole in Tarbert, Co. Kerry. However, Mary and John also had a granddaughter, Mary Collins, who married a Willie Walsh from Marble Hole, so perhaps it was a granddaughter rather than a son or daughter who married a Walsh from Marble Hole.

The Woulfe surname is quite common in west Limerick and north Kerry, also in counties Clare and Cork. The name is an anglicised form of 'de Bhulbh', the name of an Anglo-Norman family that settled in counties Limerick and Kildare. Apparently in Cromwellian times the Limerick Woulfes were forced to flee the fertile part of the county in which they had settled to less prosperous west Limerick. They also fled to Co. Clare. The west Limerick banches eventually spread to north Kerry.

Mary married John SHANAHAN, son of Cornelius SHANAHAN (caution: relationship to sons John and James not verified) and Mary DILLANE (caution: relationship to sons John and James not verified), on 4 Feb 1840 in Athea, Co. Limerick. John was born in probably about 3 March 1809 in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He was christened in probably 5 Mar 1809 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry. He died on 9 Jan 1894 in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.

If John's father's name was indeed Cornelius then it is surprising John did not name his eldest son Cornelius, following the tradition at the time of naming one's elest son after the paternal grandfather. It is possible, however, that John could have had a son named Cornelius before Patrick below (born April 1842) who might have died as a child.

Marriage Notes:

A transcribed version of John and Mary's marriage certificate was purchased via the Roots Ireland website, Unfortunately, neither the addresses of the bride and groom nor the fathers' names are provided. We do, however, have the witnesses' names, Richard Woulfe and James White.

A separate source has told me that John and Mary "were related in the 3rd and 4th grade". This apparently means they were second cousins once removed. According to the same source John was from the Kerry diocese.

Mary and John had the following children.

  2 M i
Patrick SHANAHAN was born about 14 Apr 1842 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry. He was christened on 16 Apr 1842 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry. He died before 16 Mar 1851 in probably Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

Sponsors at Patrick's baptism were James Shanahan and Ellen Shanahan.

It appears Patrick died as a child as another son of John and Mary's, born nine years later, was also named Patrick.
+ 3 F ii Mary SHANAHAN was born about 1844. She died on 21 Sep 1901.
+ 4 M iii Richard SHANAHAN was born about 1848. He died on 3 Apr 1924.
+ 5 M iv James SHANAHAN was born about 18 Aug 1849. He died on 27 Oct 1895.
  6 M v
Patrick SHANAHAN was born about 14 Mar 1851 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry. He was christened on 16 Mar 1851 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry. He died after 2 Apr 1911 in probably Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

Sponsors at Patrick's baptism were William Woulfe and Bridget Woulfe.

It seems Patrick never married. He lived with his brother Richard and is listed as single in both the 1901 and 1911 census returns for Richard's household. According to the returns, Patrick could not read, unlike Richard.

However, a Patrick Shanahan, aged "about 72" and a widower, died on 5 December 1925 in Kilbaha (of "probably old age"). The informant on the death certificate was a John Shanahan of Kilbaha (releationship to deceased not specified). Could our Patrick above have married between 1911 and 1925? Could the John Shanahan be our Patrick's nephew (son of Richard)?
  7 F vi
Honora SHANAHAN was born about 7 Oct 1852 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry. She was christened on 9 Oct 1852 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

The sponsor at Honora's baptism was Bridget Woulfe.
  8 vii
'unknown' SHANAHAN was born about 29 Apr 1854 in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry. 'unknown' was christened on 1 May 1854 in Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

On 'unknown's baptismal record, the first name is not recorded, nor are there any sponsors listed. It is possible that 'unknown' is Johanna. Although I have no evidence that John and Mary had a daughter named Johanna, a Johanna Shanahan from Kilbaha, whose father's name was John, was married in Moyvane on 14 April 1874 to a Michael Sheahan of Crohan (I have been unable to determine where exactly Crohan is located). Michael's father's name was Martin and witnesses were John Shanahan and John Sheahan.
+ 9 F viii Bridget SHANAHAN was born about 14 Jan 1857. She died on 1 Apr 1895.
+ 10 F ix Ellen (Ellie) SHANAHAN was born about 1859. She died on 15 Oct 1903.

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