Saturday 5 May 2018

The Daly Brothers

I recently received an email from a distant cousin on my mother's side, who had come across my blog. Her great-grandparents were Richard Daly and his second wife, Sarah Jane McGrane. They married in St Laurence O’Toole’s Church in Dublin, on 30 July 1879. Richard worked as a car-man, like a modern-day taxi driver, but with a horse and trap. And, Sarah Jane is better known in the family as the mother of Frank Teeling and his brother, Fr Camillus, the Cistercian monk. 

My new-found cousin is actually a double third cousin - related on two separate lines. We are third cousins once removed via Sarah Jane, who was a younger sister of my great-great-grandmother, Margaret (McGrane) Byrne. And, third cousins twice removed via Richard Daly, who was a brother of my third-great-grandmother, Jane (Daly) Byrne. Both families lived in Upper Jane Place and Lower Jane Place, parallel rows of cottages, off Oriel Street, in Dublin city. 

Richard and Sarah Jane had five children born in Jane Place - William, Myles, Sarah Mary, Richard and Margaret. They were all raised by their step-father, Christopher Teeling. Their father was an old man, more than forty years older than Sarah Jane, and he died in 1888, when the children were small.

Sadly, Sarah Jane buried three of the children from her first marriage. William was twelve when he died in 1893, Sarah Mary was twenty-two when she succumbed to tuberculosis in 1906, and Margaret caught pneumonia and died in 1909, aged twenty years. What terrible heartbreak for Sarah Jane and the rest of the family. Only Myles, born on 25 July 1882, and Richard, born on 6 November 1886, lived to see old age.  

Myles Daly married Catherine Wisely on 28 September 1909, and went on to have nine children. After their marriage, and as part of the Gaelic revival taking place across Ireland at the time, they changed their surname from Daly to O'Daly. But, unlike his step-brother Frank Teeling, Myles was not politically-minded. It was his wife Catherine who joined Inghinidhe na h√Čireann, an Irish nationalist women's organisation, and later Cumann na mBan. Still, during 'the troubles', when Frank was on the run, having dramatically escaped from Kilmainham Gaol, he often found refuge with Myles and Catherine. 

Richard, or Dick as he was called, kept the Daly surname, without ever adding the historical 'O'. He worked as a wood-sawyer, like his brother Myles. On 27 October 1910, he married Catherine (Kate) McGrane. His grandniece remembers hearing they needed a dispensation from Rome, before they could marry, as they were so closely related. And, it turns out, Kate was a first cousin of Dick's mother, a daughter of her uncle Francis McGrane. Kate grew up in Jane Place too. So, we have a triple relationship with Dick and Kate's children! 

Both brothers each celebrated over fifty years of marriage. Myles made his home in Shelmartin Avenue, in Marino, while Dick lived not far away in Rutland Place. Dick died first in November 1965, and Myles passed away in April 1968. Both men were buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Here'a a picture of them together, probably taken at the celebration of Dick and Kate's 50th wedding anniversary, so about 1960.

Dick and Kate Daly (sitting) with Catherine and Myles O'Daly, c.1960

With special thanks to my cousin Barbara for sharing her extensive knowledge and pictures of the ['O]Daly family with me.

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. Was Catherine ever in danger for "harboring a fugitive"? Connecting with your multi-related cousin has surely made for a wonderful story here. Interesting about the addition of the "O" to the surname. Does that make it more difficult to research families in Ireland? I have noticed on the few records for my Irish ancestors both Gorman and O'Gorman within the same family but I have not given any thought to whether it means anything.

  2. They were absolutely in danger, Wendy. Even civilians were in real danger from the police and army then, never mind those actively participating in the Independence movement, and the reintroduction of the 'O' and the 'Mc' was also very common around that time, as people attempted to reassert their Gaelic identity. It doesn't make it much harder to research in Ireland though, LOL - we've already learnt to pay little regard to spellings!

    1. My grandmother was called Margaret Frances Wisley from Co Laois born in the late 1800's. I wonder if she was related to Catherine Wisely?

    2. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that, my relationship is on all sides bar the Wisely side, so I have not researched them.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!