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Peter Farrell was born on 28 May 1815 in the townland of Clone, to Peter Farrell and Catherine Cary. He grew up in a tightly knit community living close together in a rundale clachan. His large family lived in a tiny cabin on a small patch of land, likely with no windows. He never attended school and from an early age was expected to help out his father with manual work. The family would have been heavily dependent on their small potato crop, which was planted each year and dug up in the late summer months. His siblings included Mary, Brigid, Margaret, Patrick, Elisabeth and Mary. They were close to their neighbouring cousins, the Doyles, the children of his aunt Eleanor.

Peter married Ellen Byrne of Hackestown Parish on 2 Feb 1837, when he was twenty two years old, witnessed by her brother William Bryne. They settled in Clone and he worked as a labourer.

Children of Peter and Ellen

Mary  B. 2 Nov 1839

Catherine  B. 16 Sep 1841

Brigid  B. 15 May 1846

Peter  B. 6 Jun 1848

Margaret  B. 27 Jul 1851


Poverty was widespread at this time and seven out of every ten families had nothing to eat. Things got worse in September of 1845, when the potato crop first failed. A fungal disease caused the potatoes to decompose and turn black, destroying what was the main meal of the entire peasant class. People began to starve and any supplies sent by the British were not enough to support the massive population. The famine peaked in 1846, the same year Peter and Ellen had their daughter Brigid. 

The famine finally ended in the 1850s, but the country was in bits. In total, one million people had died and one million emigrated. Killaveny was left a ghost village. Peter and Ellen lived there a few years more before moving on. They lived a short distance outside the village of Rathdrum. 

Ellen died in 1878 and Peter lived the last year of his life with his daughter Brigid and her new family. He died on 28 March 1879, aged sixty four.


Additional Information
Date of Birth 28th May 1815 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 2nd Mar 1879 VIEW SOURCE
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Peter Farrell  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Catherine Cary  
Townland born Clone  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Ellen Byrne  
Place & Date of Marriage 2 Feb 1837  
Occupation Labourer  
Names of Siblings Mary, Bridget, Margaret, Patrick, Elisabeth, Mary  
Place of Death Rathdrum  
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