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 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 on 4 Feb 1840 in Athea, Co. Limerick. John was born in Abt 1810s in possibly Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry. He died after 5 Feb 1891 in probably Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (Moyvane), Co. Kerry.


Not much is known about John, or if he had siblings, although it is thought he was born in the townland of Kilbaha in the parish of Newtownsandes (renamed Moyvane in 1939), Co. Kerry. It is a possibility, although we have no proof, that John's parents were Cornelius Shanahan and Mary Dillane because a baptismal record has been located on the Irish Genealogy website,, for a John Shanahan, son of Cornelius and Mary, who was baptised in Listowel, Co. Kerry on 5 March 1809. While there is no mention on the record of Kilbaha, a Kilbaha address is given on the baptismal records of three of Cornelius and Mary's other children. However, if John's father's name was 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.

In case our John was indeed a son of Cornelius and Mary, here is a list of their children as found on the Irish Genealogy site:

Michael, baptised in Listowel on 15 October 1805 (sponsors were Michael Shanahan and Mary Keane)
John, baptised in Listowel on  5 March 1809 (sponsors were Michael Grogan and Deborah Dillane)
Catherine of Kilbaha, baptised in Listowel on 9 September 1811 (sponsors were Patrick Mulvihill and Gobnet Dillane)
Cornelius of Kilbaha, baptised in Listowel on 22 July 1814 (sponsors were James Shanahan and Honora Condon)
James of Kilbaha, baptised in Listowel on 8 December 1816 (sponsors were Patrick Paradine and Ellen Shanahan)

It is possible that Catherine above (baptised 1811) was the Catherine Shanahan of Kilbaha who married James Quinn in Moyvane on 10 February 1835 (witness were Cornelius Shanahan and Michael Shanahan). However, there was another Catherine Shanahan who married Patrick Buckley and who lived in Kilbaha and had a child named Julia or Juliann, baptised on 11 September 1839. It is of course possible that one of these two Catherines could have been a sister rather than a daughter of John above. And I am also wondering if Cornelius above (baptised 1814) have been the Cornelius Shanahan who married to a Mary McMahon and had a son, Cornelius, who was baptised in Moyvane on 14 September 1839 (with sponsors John Shanahan and Mary Shanahan)? And it is possible that James above (baptised 1816) is the James Shanahan of Kilbaha West listed in the 1901 census. James was aged 80 and a widower. There is also a Griffith's Valuation entry (December 1851) for a James and a John Shanahan in Kilbaha West who jointly leased about 56 acres from Charles L. Sandes.

It is also possible that John was related to Patrick Shanahan (c.1820-1888) of Dirreen, Athea  which, although in Co. Limerick, is very close to Kilbaha. Patrick's father's name was Cornelius.

I have also located baptismal records (on for four children of a Michael Dore and Ellen Shanahan of Kilbaha:

Patrick Dore, baptised 1828
William Dore, baptised 1832
Michael Dore, baptised 1834 and
Mary Dore, baptised 1838

Could their mother, Ellen, have been a sister of John Shanahan's?

Other Shanahans with Kilbaha connections include Margaret Shanahan who married Daniel Connell and lived in Kilbaha. They had at least four children: Patrick (born 1831), Johanna (1834), Daniel (1837) and Mary (1842). Then there is Ellen Shanahan who married a Henry Langan and who had at least two children born in Kilbaha: Mary, born in 1819, and Patrick, in 1823.  A Sarah Shanahan, married to a Redmond Langan, had a son named Denis, born in Kilbaha in 1828; and a Mary Shanahan, married to a Thomas Sperane, had at least two children: John, born in Kilbaha 1813, and Thomas, born in 1815, also in Kilbaha. There was a Johanna Shanahan, married to a James Carrig and living in Kilbaha, who had a son named James who was born in 1838. There were two Thomas Shanahans, one who married Brigid Sheehan and who had a daughter name Jane in 1838, and the other who married Brigid Nolan and had a daughter named Mary in 1862. However, we have no evidence to connect these families to our Shanahan family.

We also have information on another member of the Kilbaha Shanahans, kindly provided by Robert Fister. Robert's great-great-grandparents were Ellen Shanahan from Kilbaha and Richard Stack who were married on 15 February 1831 and had a daughter named Mary Stack (Robert's great-grandmother), born in Kilbaha in January 1832 (although her headstone gives her year of birth as 1836). Richard died prematurely and Ellen later married George Gregory. About 1850 Ellen and George emigrated to the United States with their two daughters, Nancy (born about 1842) and Catherine (born about 1848), while Mary and her half-brother, Richard Gregory (born about 1844), remained in Ireland.

Two years later, Mary and Richard joined their family in the States, arriving in New Orleans in 1852. About 1855, in Paris, Kentucky, Mary married Patrick E. Walsh who was a son of John R. Walsh from Newtownsandes. Mary and Patrick had a son named Robert Patrick Walsh who was born in 1862 in Carlisle, Kentucky. Robert had a daughter, Mary Katherine Walsh (mother of Robert Fister) who was born in 1909 in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.

Robert's research has also indicated that Mary Stack may have been related to a the family of Ellen McQuinn who married Patrick D. Shea and who lived in Nicholas, Kentucky. Ellen's parents were James McQuinn (born in Co. Kerry) and Catherine Shanahan (born in Ireland, county unknown), so the connection, if any, may be through the Shanahan family.      

In the course of my research I have also come across references to an Edmund Shanahan who was born in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes in 1841. Given Edmund's year of birth and the approximate year of birth of John above, it is unlikely that Edmund was a son of John, but it is possible that they were related given the surname and townland of birth. Edmund's story is therefore worth noting here:

Edmund became a Presentation brother, entering the novitiate at the South Monastery, Cork, in 1860 and taking Austin as his name in religion. Br. Austin became principal teacher in the South Monastery and in 1871 he was elected Superior of that school. From 1871 to 1874 he was very involved in the building of St. Joseph's Industrial School in Greenmount in Cork, and later, in 1880, he took charge of St. Vincent's School in Dartford, Kent, turning around its fortunes. Returning to Cork in 1882, he was once again elected Superior of the South Monastery. In 1889 Br. Austin was elected one of the four Assistants to the first Superior General of the Presentation order. In the late 1880s and early 1890s he travelled extensively in the United States, Australia and New Zealand collecting money to build a new novitiate at Mount St. Joseph in Cork. Br. Austin died on 24 October 1902 and is buried in the vault in the South Monastery.

The Shanahan surname is common throughout Munster and the south-east. The Shanahans were a sept of Thomond, an area which covered much of north Munster, but in 1318 they were expelled from the Sixmilebridge area of Co. Clare by Turlough O'Brien and the McNamaras. They were scattered throughout Munster, especially in counties Limerick, Cork and Waterford.

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 before 15 Feb 1896.
  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.

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

It seems Patrick never married and lived with his brother Richard. He 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.
  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 deterine 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 in 1859. She died on 15 Oct 1903.

Home Next Last

Surname List | Name Index