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In June 2011 my husband and I stayed for two weeks in Loughrea and we were allowed to photograph the complete ‘Register of Internments of The Abbey Cemetery’.  I would be happy to look up names for anyone to see if that information might help them find their ancestors. 

I have extensive information on the Sweeney families of Loughrea and Woodlawn areas.  There were two families living in the town since about 1860 when three “carpenter Sweeney” brothers moved to the area, possibly to help Loughrea rebuild after the Great Fire.  The “merchant Sweeney” family has been there since at least 1820, probably much earlier.

In June 2009 I organized a large family reunion of the “Descendants of the Sweeneys of Loughrea”, and over 100 people attended including several from the US, UK, and even Poland.

Please let me know if I can help in any way.

Mary Van Dyke

New Mexico, USA

Ireland Reaching Out

Tuesday 18th October 2011, 02:04PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear Mary

    My wife & I visited the Loughrea  Abbey Graveyard last week, we are particulary interested in Section E Graves 63-64-73&74, The Register Index is published on the Abbey website  but on viewing the index it does not include some of the persons interred in the Grave plots, seems to have the more recent burials.  We are intersted in all persons in the above numebred graves. The surnems are Duffy-Smyth & Stratton and would be grateful if you would look up the graves E63-64-73 & 74 for me.

    Thanks & regards


    Ireland Reaching Out

    Tuesday 18th October 2011, 02:26PM
  • Hello Les.  We are very familiar with that particular plot.  When we were uploading the photos to "", we noticed that 5 stones mark the area, 2 are facing east, at the head; 2 are facing west, at the feet, and one is a floor stone.

    When the Father allowed us to photograph the register, he mentioned that the book was being uploaded to the Carmelite Fathers website, but since we had not seen the site, we didn't know if the photos were there, or just transcriptions.  At the time, we felt that we should go ahead and copy the book, then when we got back home, we would compare it to the website.  There are differences from what we saw in the register (mostly spellings of names) as well as, many headstones we photographed are NOT in the register at all!  Also, the plot-map seems to be off a little, so we are using the photographs we took of the headstones, and the register book, and their website data to match up all the names we can find.

    So, to see extensive coverage of that graveyard, go to the website of, and search for the cemetery name "Carmelite Abbey" in country "Ireland" and you will see what we've done so far.  We have 69 pages uploaded so far, up to about 1925.

    Please feel free to email us at and Alan and I will gather all the data for your plot location, and email you the photos we took, and the pages from the book for your families.  I also remember all those names in other locations in the graveyard, and will gather that information as well.



    Ireland Reaching Out

    Tuesday 18th October 2011, 02:27PM
  • Hi Mary

    thank you for replying, much appreciated, I will follow your advice and be in touch via your email address, for information we also visited the East Galway Family History Society in Woodford , Monica Hynes Manager there was a fantastic help in assisting our research, tapping into local knowledge and local reources was invaluable.I certainly wish East Galway Family History Society continuity for the future.

    best wishes 

    Les & Lyn Gilligan


    Ireland Reaching Out

    Tuesday 18th October 2011, 02:27PM
  • Dear Mary,

    I am desperately trying to find details about my 4x great-grandmother.  I have been looking for her for years - without success, and when I saw your offer of help, on this site, I thought I would ask you, if you would be able to help me? 

    Her name was Kathleen HARDY (nee O'HARA) - her husband's name was John HARDY.  All I know about her is her name, her approximate birth (1785), and that she lived in Loughrea, in county Galway.  We preume that she was Catholic, but don't know that for sure.  Family tradition tells us that her husband John came to Galway, from Dorsetshire, England, which probably meant that he was Anglican.  They had children born in Loughrea - Francis, Henry (my 3x great-grandfather), and William.  Francis & Henry were married in Galway (maybe in Loughrea) to 2 sisters (Ann/Anne & Emma SIMPSON).  The sisters were both apparently born in Galway, maybe also in Loughrea?  Henry was born in 1807.  Another family story tells us that Henry HARDY may have met his future wife at the "Fair of Ballinesloe", and after they got married, continued to live in the same area(?)

    Henry and William both emigrated from Loughrea, "Abbey Village", co. Galway (?) [family oral tradition] - Henry & his family went first to England (possibly from Yorkshire?), and later to South Australia, where they settled down in New Glenelg (Adelaide).  One of the older girls (possibly the oldest child) named Maria, was actually born in Loughrea (according to her birth record), and she must have gone to Limerick, in county Limerick, because she married an English soldier (William SPENCER - who may have been stationed there) in the city of Limerick.  They later went to Surrey in England, and after a time, also emigrated to Adelaide, South Australia.  Maria was born abt 1825, in Loughrea, and married in abt 1852, in Limerick.

    I apologize for rambling on so much, but I thought that maybe all these tidbits of information, might provide clues that might assist you in finding some more relevant information.  I have been searching lots of records, but without any luck!  Perhaps this time, I may be luckier...!! 

    Thanking you in anticipation,

    Yours sincerely (and hopefully),

    Bev SCHELLEN (nee ADAMS)

    South Australia.



    Bev Schellen

    Saturday 21st January 2012, 06:06AM
  • Hello Bev.

    At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to help, but I might have some clues.  I live in New Mexico, USA, but have ordered 2 films from the LDS Family History Library so often, they are on permanent loan to this local church, and I can access them at will.  Film #1279216 and #1279217 have the Parochial Registers of the Catholic parish of Loughrea from 1810 to 1901, baptisms, marriages, deaths.  Mind you, some years are missing in the film (maybe the original register pages were un-filmable?)

    I went to the local library last night, and looked in 1825 for Maria, but did not see her baptism.  When I came home I was thinking she might be in one of the other nearby local church records.  I also thought the family might not have been Catholic, in which case these films won't help at all.  The films have records from several churches in the Clonfert Diocese.

    This morning, I found your tree online at, and noticed (SPENCER tree) that you've got an 1861 England census attached to her.  The census shows she was born about 1830 in Loughrea, so I will go back on Tuesday night (I work during the day) and look again in 1829 to 1831 time frame.  (I'm trying to start with a "known", and go backwards in time as clues pop up). 

    Then, just now, I looked at the LDS website "" and found her marriage record!  NOT in 1852 Limerick, but on the 1st of November 1851, IN LOUGHREA!  The record can be ordered by you, thru any LDS church, if they have a Family History Library.  Call around, or go to the website; click on the tab "Library" at the top left; select "Family History Centers" and then fill in the blanks on your location, and it will show you nearby centers.  Film #101328.  This film has a note "General Register Office",  and it's called "Marriage records 1845-1870, with indexes to marriages 1845-1921."  If the Hardy family was not Catholic, then they probably were Church of Ireland, in which case a whole other research route needs to be taken, and we might need the help of the Parish Admin. on this website.

    Last night I checked on "", (in the lower right select "Griffith's Valuation"), and I looked for "Hardy" in "Galway" in parish of "Loughrea" and found there were a few Hardy names.  An Anne Hardy lived on Mob Hill, where it intersects with Castle St., and she sub-let her home to a few other families in 1856.

    I looked in the Abbey Graveyard Internment Register, and did not see any Hardy or O'Hara names.  But... that doesn't mean they are not there.  This register was bound in 1895 for the Carmelite Fathers, and many names were transcribed from an older book, about 1900 or so.  There is a note inside the front cover that says not to take the book outside, as weather can affect the writing.  I figured that the first register was water damaged, and many names could not be read, so when the 2nd book arrived, they transcribed as many as they could read at the time.  So, burial information might not be found, but Church records CAN be found!  Whether or not they're Catholic or not, there's Church records... we've got to figure out which faith, then go from there.

    The other old cemetery in Loughrea, GarryBreeda, has no register, but is also VERY OLD, and they could be there.  There is also a graveyard at the old Church of Ireland/Protistant parish, which has now become the local library.  I have no idea who we could contact to see if there is an internment register for that graveyard. 

    The other thing I noticed on your Ancestry trees is that Henry doesn't show siblings (HARDY family tree).  I found that to enter just direct lineage on your tree hampers the clues to finding family.  What I mean is that if you tract Henry's siblings, you might find their mom or dad living with them, for example in the 1851 or 1861 England censuses.  If you load everyone you know about in the families, then tract them all through time with the census records, you might find clues as to where "grandma" was living or where "grandpa" was buried.  After hunting for my g gr grandma (for 7 years!) I finally found her living with her grandson in Wisconsin after her own son moved to Oregon.  She had lived with her son for MANY years, but I lost track of her when the son moved away.  I never could find her death record until I found her with the grandson in another state!  So, it would help to find more of Maria's siblings in the English censuses (if possible) and see if any others show Loughrea, and/or if Henry and Frank have and English records you can find online at Ancestry.  You didn't post locations to the birth/deaths to some of Maria's siblings (HARDY family tree) and I'd bet a ton of record hints will show if you list locations, even if it said "Ireland" and/or "England" and/or "Australia".


    Please email me and I can provide further help if needed.

    Mary Van Dyke


    Friday 3rd February 2012, 03:17PM
  • This was a duplicate post of the one above.  I can't delete it.


    Friday 3rd February 2012, 03:48PM
  • Hello Mary,

    I noticed your original post which stated that you have information on the Register of Interments of the Loughrea Abbey.  I have been searching for some information on my Madden ancestors who lived in Loughrea in the 1800's.  My great great grandfather James Madden was born about 1815 in Loughrea and he migrated with his brother Stephen to Australia in 1842.  Their father Stephen Madden is mentioned on the 1841 Census fragments of Loughrea.  He was commissioner of affidavits and master extra chancery in the town of Loughrea.  His wife was Honoria Usher/Ussher (of the Ushers of Eastwell). I have been searching for information on his or Honoria's death without success.  

    I imagine that they were buried in Loughrea and wondered if that may have been at the Abbey. 

    Any help would be appreciated.



    Sunday 26th October 2014, 06:23AM
  • Hi Maz.

    Alan (my husband) and I just reviewed what we've got on the Abbey cemetery (which can be found here on

    Currently there are 19 people with that surname, and no one with the first names of Stephen or Honoria.  We've uploaded everyone we found in the internment register, however we still have tons of photos we haven't uploaded.  Basically what we did was transcribe the register, and uploaded every name we found.  Then we took photos of the whole graveyard, but we've only uploaded about half of the photos we've taken!

    I will keep you posted if we find any Madden names in our list of "things to do", when we finish this project.


    Thank you,

    Mary Van Dyke


    Sunday 26th October 2014, 04:42PM