Not long ago, I received a copy of the memorial card for my great-granduncle Myles Byrne and his wife Elizabeth. It was found in a bible belonging to Elizabeth's God-daughter. Her daughter was kind enough to send a copy to me. Genealogically speaking, memorial cards often provide clues as to the subject’s date of death, their respective ages and their last place of residence, but it is those with photographs that I especially love! This card shows a picture of my Granny's Uncle Myles and Aunt Elizabeth.
Myles Byrne was the eldest child of Francis Byrne and Margaret McGrane. He was born on 15th January 1873, sixteen months before his brother James. James Byrne was my great-grandfather. Myles lived in Upper Mayor Street in Dublin’s north city for the first six years of his life. The family then moved to nearby Jane Place, off Oriel Street, where they lived for more than half a century.
In October 1897, Myles married Elizabeth Bethel in St. Agatha’s, North William St., Dublin. Myles was twenty-four years old and Elizabeth was twenty-three. Elizabeth was also the eldest child born to Patrick Bethel and Margaret Doyle, in 1874. For the first few years of their married life, they lived with Elizabeth’s parents in Clarence Street. By 31 March 1901, they had moved to 25 Upper Jane Place, where they occupied one room in a three-roomed cottage, sharing the house with another family.
In 1911, they lived at 25 Lower Jane Place in a four-roomed cottage, where they and their growing family occupied two rooms. Records show that Myles and Elizabeth had six children, five girls and a boy; Margaret, Elizabeth, Mary, Patrick, Kathleen, and Sarah.
Myles was a general labourer and carter by occupation. He would have worked in the Dublin Docklands, which was then the chief port for trade between Ireland and England. No doubt, times were poor, but the little cottages in Jane Place must have been better than the tenement conditions that many Dublin labourers found themselves in, at the time.
Myles died on 2 November 1928, aged fifty-five years, and was buried in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. He had suffered from 'cancer of the tongue' for five months before his death. Elizabeth died on 21 February 1954, just short of her eightieth birthday. She was also buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam / Rest in Peace.
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