Bryan aka Bernard McDermott 1785

Bryan aka Bernard McDermott 1785

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Brian Mac Diarmada aka Bryan Mac Dermott (d.1866) who is recorded living at  Cloonybrennan  (Farm #8; house 7b) in 1857 Griffith's Valuation, cannot be found anywhere in Elphin parish records (because baptisms were recorded in Latin). As there was no standard for old Gaelic names ‘Bryan’ alternates between “Barnabus” and “Bernardus” depending on the priest. In Penal times, Brian was usually Anglicized as Barnaby, Barney, or Bernard. As a result, he was also sometimes recorded as Bernard McDermott.


On 8 Feb 1814, the wedding of ‘Bernardum’ McDermott & ‘Margaretta’ Mannion (1787–1865) of Cloonybrennan took place, witnessed by Thomas Mannion & Maria Burke (also of Cloonybrennan). Mary Burke (wife of Matthew Farrell) had also previously witnessed the marriage of James McDermott to Catherine Beirne of Cloonybrennan in 1811. She had to be a cousin on the McDermott side. Margaret Mannion also features as a godparent, of great importance, in this James McDermott’s family (as does her husband ‘Barnaby’/’Bernard’). The odds are high that James & Bryan McDermott were brothers living on the same clachán (rundale farm).  Bryan and Margaret’s baptisms all gave the address as: “Cloonbrennan/ Clunebrannon/ Clonibrannon”.

Children of Bernard McDermott & Margaret Mannion:  

Hugh      8-Feb-1813     > godparents: Thomas Mannion & Mary Burke
Thomas     9 Dec 1814  > godparents: James McDermott & Mary Burke.
Mary    20-May-1816    > godparents: Thomas Burke & Eleanor McDermott
Thomas      7-Dec-1816    > godparents:   James McDermott & Mary Burke
Hugh      14-Oct-1818    > godparents:   Henry Fairly & Anne Fairly
Catherine     20-Dec-1821    > godparents:   John Beirne & Ellice Beirne
Brigid      26-Jan-1824    > godparents:   John Casserly & Mary Mannion
Patrick 23-Jan-1826     > godparents:     James McDermott & Winifred Mannion
Margaret    30-Jul-1828    > godparents:   Bernard & Catherine Byrne
John      30-Jun-1831    > godparents:   John Keenan & Catherine Birne

Their naming patterns strongly suggest that Bryan’s father may have been a Hugh McDermott,  & Margaret’s a Thomas Mannion. (First-born son named after the paternal grandfather, second-born son named after the maternal grandfather). We can see above that both of these names were important and had to be kept alive (the name was given again to a second child following the death of a first-born in childhood).

Baptisms, in those days, took place within 3 days of the birth.  They could afford to pay a “stipend” of 2/6 to the priest for each birth (wealthy families paid 5 shillings, and paupers 0/0). The ceremony was conducted in the family home,  so godparents were typically siblings and their spouses, who lived nearby. In fact, most of the godparents listed here, appear to be from Cloonybrennan (Casserlys,  Kellys, Farrell and Mannion) and are related in-laws. “Barnaby” McDermott godparented for his brothers James McDermott & Catherine Beirne of Cloonybrennan (1813); and for Patrick McDermott & Margaret Tighe of Lisnaboll (1815; present since 1810). They had to all be brothers. Margaret had a number of married siblings in Cloonybrennan:  Elizabeth (Mannion) Casserly, Catherine (Mannion) Kelly and Thomas Mannion (married to Brigid Brady).  

Bryan and Margaret were Irish-speaking subsistence farmers before the famine. Their sons Michael, Hugh II, Patrick and John (Bryan) all survived the famine, but only just. (A staggering number of Bryan’s grandchildren died young from health complications).

On 20 February 1865, Margaret (Mannion) McDermott, widow of “Bryan McDermott”, Cloonybrennan, died age 78. Informant: E11 John McDermott. Relationship to deceased: “occupier”.  [cv]

Brothers James & Bryan McDermott each had a married son named ‘John McDermott’ living with them. In the Gaelic tradition, these first cousins were known locally as John-James (Seán Shéamais) and John-Bryan (Seán Bhriain). Thomas (farm #10) and John-James (farm #7)  were brothers. John Bryan (farm #8) was their first cousin. Both Johns inherited their fathers’ farms in or about  the same time in 1866 (even though John-Bryan was a good 15 years younger than his brother).


Additional Information
Date of Birth 1785 (circa)  
Date of Death 1865 (circa)  
Names of Siblings Michael McDermott of Lugboy (m. Beirne) Patrick McDermott of Lisnaboll (m. Tighe) James McDermott (c.1789–1865) of Cloonybrennan (m. Beirne) Hugh McDermott of Clooncullaan (m. McDermott) Ellen McDermott fl.1816 Honora McDermott (m. Toolihan)  
Place & Date of Marriage 8 February 1814 at Elphin  
Names of Children Michael (c.1815) Hugh (b.1818) Patrick (b.1826) and John McDermott (b.1831)  
Occupation Farmer  
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