We are pleased to announce an update to Ireland: The Annals of Beara: the release of the indexed version of Volume 2, which joins the indexed version of Volume 1 and the image-only Volume 3.
In 2009, Riobard O’Dwyer published a three-volume study of the families of the Beara Peninsula (West Cork, Ireland). The work contains information on families from the parishes of Adrigole and Allihies (Volume 1), Bere Island and Eyeries (Volume 2), and Castletownbere and Glengarriff (Volume 3). Volume 3 also contains a brief history of the O’Sullivan clan. The family records range in date from 1776 to 1992, with the majority of records in the period 1822-1956. Many of the families and descendants are traced from their origins in Beara to the United States and other countries.
Bere Island is about 1.5 km off the coast of County Cork. It was originally in the parish of Killaconenagh but became a separate parish in 1890. “As of 2012, the population was approximately 200, but the past population was significantly higher. At the time of the 1841 census the population was 2,122. However, by the 1851 census the population had decreased to 1,454 due to the Great Famine. The population decline continued in line with the national trend for emigration throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.” (“Bere Island,” Wikipedia). The main industry, as might be expected, was fishing. In addition, the British Navy had a long presence on the island.
Eyeries Parish is located on the northern coast of the Beara Peninsula. Like Bere Island, it experienced significant emigration as a result of the Great Famine. One of the primary occupations of Eyeries Parish was fishing. It was in Eyeries that “mackerel curing first started for the American markets.” (O’Halloran, W. History of West Cork, 1916) However, this industry declined around 1930. Another major employer of the residents of Eyeries was the copper mines in nearby Allihies, which began to decline in the 1860s and collapsed in 1884.
To research the families of Bere Island and Eyeries Parish, O’Dwyer used the Catholic and Church of Ireland parish records, as well as civil records and interviews of residents. In the case of Bere Island, roughly eight years of marriages and nine years of baptisms were missing from the Catholic Church records of the mid-1860s to early 1870s, but through study of the civil records, O’Dwyer traced 46 missing marriages and hundreds of births. Likewise, in Eyeries Parish, there were 200 people who were never entered in the records, and O’Dwyer had to use alternate methods to find them.
This database is now indexed for Volumes 1 and 2. Volume 3 is currently browse-only. Tables of contents for all three volumes may be downloaded to help locate the volumes and pages for specific towns and parishes in Beara. The NEHGS Library also holds the research papers of Riobard O’Dwyer in its Special Collections, call number Mss 1097.
Special thanks to Sam Sturgis for his help implementing this update and to Jean Maguire for authoring this post.
Please note: This database is available to Individual-level and above NEHGS members only. Consider membership.