Phoebe Kirkwood 1922

Phoebe Kirkwood 1922

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Phoebe Kirkwood (1922-1945) of Woodbrook, Carrick-on-Shannon had her story immortalised in David Thomson's best-selling memoir "Woodbrook" (1974). She came from a Church of Ireland family (originally of Scottish extraction) that had been settled in the townland of Woodbrook for upwards of 300 centuries. [Walford 1882]. Thomson documents the life of this family in the 1930s and with that, the parish history.

It should be noted that the house known as Woodbrook in Thomson's novel (previously known as Hughestown - the seat of Coote Mulloy Esq.) was not occupied by the Kirkwoods until circa 1847. The historic "seat" of this Kirkwood family was located two townlands further south from Usna.  Her grandfather, James Kirkwood Esq. was a tenant of this property which he renamed "Woodbrook" in as a nod to his origins. 

Her father - Major Charles Kirkwood aka "the Major" appears on the death cert of her grand-aunt Nina Kirkwood (bap. Anina Mary 1849) who died at Woodbrook in 1929. Nephew, Major C.H. Kirkwood, present at death.  "Uncle Tom" or "Colonel" Tom" refers to the Major's uncle Thomas Yayden Lloyd Kirkwood Esq. (1843-1911).

At the time of the 1901 Census, Woodbrook (house #6 Usna) was occupied her unmarried grand-aunts: Nina Kirkwood (b. Annina Mary 1849-1929) and Joanna Kirkwood (1855-1933) and servants Mary Flanagan, Brigid McGreevy, James Currid (jockey) and Michael Connolly. The proprietor being their father, TYL Kirkwood. 

At the time of the 1911 Census, Woodbrook (house #6 Usna) was only occupied by the servants: Maggy Flanagan and Maria Butler. The proprietor was Col. James Kirkwood. 

While Woodbrook was put up for sale, the Kirkwood family removed to Dublin.

It was long known that the lands of Usna (where Woodbrook stood) was the ancestral home of the Maxwells.  Usna, the land of the cry (or sigh) had 20 families put out during the Famine. Nobody else bid on it. An American brother bought the house from the Kirkwoods, and another brother went to live in Woodbrook. Finding the old house difficult to maintain, they sold it rather quickly.

In the winter of 1944, Phoebe had suddenly fallen ill. On February 9th, 1945, Phoebe Kirkwood of Sutton House, Sutton, Co. Dublin died in Merrion Nursing Home. She had been suffering from TB (tuberculosis) for 2 months. 

Thompson's Story of Woodbrook ends with Thomson receiving a letter with the news that Phoebe, age 23, had passed away. 


Additional Information
Date of Birth 1922  
Date of Death 9th Feb 1945 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) Hughestown CARRICK ON SHANNON  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Major Charles H. Kirkwood  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Ivy (born in England)  
Townland born  
Number of Siblings 1 sister  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) n/a  
Place of Death Woodbrook Lodge, Usna, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Roscommon  
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Story of Woodbrook | RTE documentary Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Walford's County Families of the UK. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Story of Woodbrook | RTE documentary Ireland VIEW SOURCE


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