Hi Michael ... we actually have corresponded before (check your emails from October 2010). Unfortunately, you recite the family folklore version that still hasn't been substantiated all these years later, but we all had believed it for a long time. About two years ago, I decided it was high time to take that final step to settle the question. I arranged for DNA analysis of Eugene Forde in Easkey, whom you met along with son, Des. I had corresponded with Eugene, Agnes, Jackie and Des since I was a teenager.
The science showed why we are never able to find records proving a relationship between "your" John Forde and "my" John Ford (no e) -- there is no DNA match between my father and Eugene and/or Desmond in Easkey/Grange.
So, the mystery continues. I have never found a civil registration of Bridget (Thornton) Ford's date of death, nor a burial site, though there is a concerted archaeological effort being made recently to map and reclaim abandoned cemeteries in the county.
Note also that my great-grandfather never had an "e" at the end of his surname, and none of the civil records I have identified for him, his sister Mary or his father John spelled Ford with the extra letter either. It seems odd that John Ford would adopt the extra letter only upon marrying Bridget White/Whyte. Do you have a civil marriage for them?
I wonder if you have had a DNA test done at FamilyTreeDNA? or MyHeritage? These produce the most reputable results. The only other slim possibility is that some non-paternal event/adoption is part of the story.
My thanks for your message; it is good to see that you are still continuing your research and I'm sure I'll see your future discoveries as part of Des' online group.