There is a map of Ballyjamesduff at this link

The O'Reilly family of Ballyjamesduff

The first O'Reilly whose ancestry is documented is

Robert (1766 to 1847)
(who may have been named after a Robert O'Reilly whose will is dated 1767, although there is no known connection).

The Anglo-Celt, published in Cavan, Feb 5 1847 contained this notice:  
On the 5th instant, at Killeshandra, in the 81st year of his age, Mr. Robert O'REILLY, father of the Very Rev. Thomas O'REILLY, P.P., of Killeshandra. His charitable and kind disposition endeared him, during his short residence at Killeshandra, to a large circle of acquaintances; and the numerous procession which accompanied his remains to the grave fully attested the people's love for his memory, and their deep grief for his loss.

Robert had these children:

Richard (b. 1803), who was described by his son Fr Richard as a grazier and merchant, married Rose McManus, probably about April 1831, and there were 8 children. He died on 12th February 1872, aged 69 years, and is buried in the O'Reilly plot at the cemetery at St Mary's Church, Crosserlough.

In his will, his estate was valued at 3,000, and his son Robert is the principal legatee. Richard's will describes him as a farmer and grazier, and it describes Robert as a shopkeeper and farmer.

The following is the text of a registered deed, which describes a contract entered into between Richard O'Reilly and another O'Reilly family in Cornahilt in which a trust is set up, using the land at Cornahilt to ensure an income for Rose, should she be widowed.

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for registering deeds leases and soforth...579368

A memorial of an indenture of deed of assignment made the twenty eight day of April one thousand eight hundred and thirty one between Robert O'Reilly of Cornahilt in the county of Cavan Farmer of the one part and Richard O'Reilly of Ballyjamesduff in the said county of Cavan Farmer and Shopkeeper of the other part, whereby the said Robert O'Reilly of Cornahilt for the considerations herein mentioned did devise grant set and confirm let release and confirm unto the said Richard O'Reilly (in his actual profession the same being by virtue of a bargain and a sale to him thereto made by the said Robert O'Reilly for the term of one whole year by indenture bearing date the day next before the day of the date of said indenture in consideration of five shillings and by force of the statute transferring uses into profession) and to his heirs and assigns during the continuance of the indentures herein after specified, all that part of the lands of Cornahilt situate lying and being in the barony of Castlerahan and county of Cavan, containing thirty three acres one rood and twenty perches of arable meadow pasture land and bog or thereabouts be the same more or less, and also all that and those that part and parcel of ground in the town of Ballyjamesduff and county of Cavan, situate in Stradone Street containing Forty four feet in front and thirty feet in breath be the same more or less, with all and singular, the rights members and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining during the term of the first indenture viz for and during the natural life and lives of Philip Reilly now aged sixteen years Richard Reilly now aged seven years the eldest and third sons of the said Robert Reilly party thereto and Philip Lynch second son of Patrick Lynch of Kilinkere in the county of Cavan now aged seven years and the survivors and survivor of them all and during thirty one years at the yearly rent of Forty six pounds three shillings and one penny the second indenture for and during the natural life and lives of Hugh Porter son of Matthew Porter of Clough aged about Twenty four years and Joseph Porter son to said Matthew Porter aged about eighteen and James Morrow son of Robert Morrow of Lord Farnham's deerpark aged about thirteen years and the survivors and survivor of them all and during Twenty one years which ever shall last longest at the yearly rent of three pounds thirteen shillings and three pence sterling and which deeds are confirmed and assigned by the same Robert Reilly to the same Richard Reilly and as to the execution thereof are witnessed by the Rev Thomas Reilly PP of Crusherlough and by Eugene McManus of Lakeview in the county of Cavan Esq and this memorial as to the execution thereof by the said Richard Reilly is witnessed by the aforesaid Revd Thomas Reilly

Signed and sealed in presence of (Signed:) Thos O'Reilly William Gahan Richard O'Reilly...

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for the registering of deeds, leases, and so forth ...585811

A memorial of an indenture of settlement made the twenty eight day of April one thousand eight hundred and thirty one between Richard O'Reilly of Ballyjamesduff in the county of Cavan shopkeeper of the first part and John McManus of Lakeview in the county of Cavan Esq and Rose McManus spinster daughter of the said John McManus of the second part and the Rev Thos O'Reilly PP of Crosserlough. Richard O'Reilly for the consideration mentioned therein mentioned did devise grant, release, confirm unto the said Rev Thos O'Reilly and John McManus in their actual profession (the same being by virtue of a bargain and sale to them thereof made by the said Richard O'Reilly upon trust and in consideration of the intended marriage of the said Richard O'Reilly with the said Rose McManus and for five shillings consideration, by indenture bearing date the day next before the day of the date thereof and for the further sum of Four hundred pounds sterling the marriage portion of the said Rose McManus to him paid and secured) all that and those the town and lands of Cornahilt containing by estimation thirty three acres one rood and twenty perches, and also that part or parcel of ground situated in Stradone Street in the town of Ballyjamesduff containing forty four feet in front and thirty feet in breath be the same more or less lying and being in the Barony of Castlerahan and county of Cavan, to have and to hold the same to said Rev Thos O'Reilly and John McManus upon trust to the use and behalf of the said Rose McManus, that is to say to permit and suffer the said Rose McManus and her assigns in case she shall survive her said intended husband to receive and take out of said lands and premises during her life the clear yearly sum of fifty pounds sterling (to be paid her by two even and halfyearly payments that is to say on every first day of May and every first day of November) as her annuity or jointure, and after the decease of the said Rose McManus, to her children lawfully to be begotten provided always and it is hereby agreed that if the said Richard O'Reilly shall at any time during his life by his last will and testament pay or sufficiently secure to the said Rev Thos O'Reillly and John McManus their heirs and assigns the sum of Four hundred pounds sterling to be applied by them in such manner and form as is herein before described in respect of the said annuity of Fifty pounds as near as the nature of such different interests may or shall allow then and in such case the said annuity of Fifty pounds shall not be raised and which deed contains a clause by which if the said Richard O'Reilly becomes bankrupt or insolvent at any time during his coverture with the said Rose McManus the trustees named in said deed shall have power to raise of his property the sum of Fifty pounds yearly for the use and benefit of the said Rose McManus any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

Signed and sealed in presence of (Signed:) Felix McManus William Gahan Richard O'Reilly

John McManus Thos O'Reilly

These properties were surveyed in Griffith's Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864

O'Reilly, Richard Castlerahan Cornahilt Ballyjamesduff Brewery Lane

O'Reilly, Richard Castlerahan Kilmore

O'Reilly, Richard Castlerahan Moodoge Town of Ballyjamesduff Anne Street

O'Reilly, Richard Castlerahan Moodoge Town of Ballyjamesduff Oldcastle

O'Reilly, Richard Drumlumman Kilgolagh

O'Reilly, Richard Drumlumman Mullaghoran

Thomas was PP of Killeshandra until his death in 1849, and was with his father when he died there. The Anglo Celt, March 30, 1849 had this notice:

Died at his residence, on Wednesday, the 28th inst., the Very Rev. T. O'REILLY, P.P. of Killeshandra, of typhus fever, contracted in the discharge of his clerical duties. The rev. gentleman was remarkable for humility and benevolence, and his decease is deeply deplored by all classes, Protestant as well as Catholic, who came within the sphere of his influence.

Typhus was common in Ireland at the time of the famine.  A clergyman would be more susceptible when he visited the sick and dying. If this is the same man, and it seeems to be, then the date on his gravestone is not correct.
Fr Thomas's estate was worth 120, and his affairs were administered by Rev Pat O'Reilly, of Cargallen. Fr Thomas is buried in the O'Reilly plot in Crosserlough;

Bernard lived in Clare, Crosserlough, there is a Bernard Reilly (no 'O') recorded there in 1856, and this man and his sister, whose name is not recorded, had a farm of about 60 acres until they both died, leaving no known descendants, as local people have no knowledge of such a family;

Richard's children were:

Thomas (baptised 9 Feb 1832; his godparents were his uncle, the Rev Thomas, and Mary O'Reilly) was High Sheriff of Co Longford in 1901/2, and was a J. P., or magistrate from 1885 until 1913. He lived at Templemichael Townparks, in the main street of Longford town, and later at Goshen House, Edgeworthstown;

John (baptised on 16th November 1833; his godparents were Luke Reilly and Anne Reilly) was a Jesuit, and was Rector of Oscott College, a prestigious Catholic college near Manchester, according to the Anglo-Celt of 30 Jan 1932. There was a Fr John O'Reilly SJ who gave his date of birth as 28 November 1833 from Virginia Co Cavan, who entered the Society of Jesus, European Province on 24 June 1863, and died on 17th January 1892 at Wakefield, Yorkshire. It is difficult to be certain that this is the same man, as John O'Reilly is one of the most commonly occurring names in Cavan;

Mary Louisa
Mary Louisa (baptised 14 February 1836; her godparents were Robert Reilly and Eleanor McManus) probably the Mary O'Reilly who joined the Loretto Order in 1853 when she was 17, as M. Martha, and died in India on 29 Oct 1863, when she was 27;

Eleanor, known as Etta (baptised 1 April 1838; her godparents were Thomas O'Reilly and Mary Ann Plunkett) was married to a Richard Sheridan of Mountnugent, and had a daughter, Maria Louisa, born 1870, known as Minnie, who was a nun, Sister Francis Gertrude, and worked in the Asylum for the Blind in Merrion, Dublin. She died in 1948;

Elizabeth (baptised 1 April 1839; her godparents were Thomas O'Reilly and Ann Plunkett) was also Minnie, married to Dr Fitzpatrick, and had a son named Dermot, and three daughters, one of whom was married to a Mr Rice, and one of whom worked in a bank in Dublin;

Robert (baptised 7 June 1840; his godfather was Thomas Linch [sic]) see below;

Fr Philip SJ was born on 20th September 1846, entered the Society of Jesus on 31st October 1867, and in his CV he stated at that time that his parents were both living, and that he had four brothers, and one sister, which means that Sr Mary, and one of the other sisters had pre-deceased his father. He died at Park Royal, Middlesex on 16th June 1926; and

Fr Richard SJ who was born on 31st December 1849, entered the Society of Jesus on the 19th April 1872, and also stated that he had four brothers and one sister. He died at St Stanislaus College, Rahan, Tullamore aged 82, on 21 January 1932. His obituary was published in the Anglo-Celt of 30 January 1932. He was described as having a good sense of humour, and was very popular.

Robert (1840-1890) was Chairman of the Oldcastle Board of Guardians, and married Annie Duffy (1854-1925) on 28 August 1873, when he was 33 and she was 19. The church marriage record spells his surname as Reilly.

Her father, John Duffy, (?- 1915) whose wife Bridget may have been Bridget Brady, was reputedly (according to an Anglo-Celt piece) related to the following;

Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903), of the United Irishmen, who married three times, had seven sons (one of whom was a John Gavan Duffy, born 1844, but who is not the John Duffy in question here, and a published pedigree of the Gavan Duffy family does not support the tradition of a relationship), and three daughters, and was Prime Minister of Victoria in 1871;

George Gavan Duffy, Charles' son (1882-1951) one of the five Irish signatories of the Treaty in London in 1921; and

General Eoin O'Duffy (1892-1944) first Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, and founder of the Blueshirts.

These prominent Duffys came from Monaghan, where Duffy is the most numerous surname, making the job of tracing the exact relationship problematic.

Robert and Annie are buried in different graves; Robert in Crosserlough, and Annie in Ballyjamesduff, with her sons Richard and Robert, and Robert's wife Catriona. Annie was widowed at 36, and was 67 years old when she died.

Robert died a broken man, after his money was lost when a business owned by Patrick Fay, and in which he had invested, was declared bankrupt in September 1886. He died on 19th May, 1890, after having served on the Oldcastle Board of Guardians which owned and managed the workhouse. He was vice chirman in 1883, and chairman from 1885 up to the time of his death.  He attended the meeting of the Board on 18 February 1890, for the last time.

After his death at the age of 50 years, his cattle were taken away by the sheriff to be sold to pay off debts. His daughter Cecilia often told of having the scenes of anguish described to her surrounding this traumatic event.

After he died, his property was divided amongst his brothers, including the Jesuits, and his widow moved to a cottage at the farm at Kilmore, which may have been her dowry when she married Robert. Robert's will valued his estate at 882.10s.0d.

When Annie died, her sons, Robert and Richard, disputed her will, and went to court to obtain their shares of the property. When the matter was settled, Robert was given Cornahilt and Moodoge farms, while Richard obtained possession of Kilmore, which he later sold to Callaghans. There was a settlement of 200.00 to their sister Celilia.

Robert (1840) and Annie had 9 children:

Richard St Xavier (baptised 5 Aug 1874; his godfather was his maternal grandfather, John Duffy, and his godmother was Rose O'Reilly) who did not marry, went to the USA and returned to live in very comfortable circumstances in Ballyjamesduff, but he lost his savings in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and he and his brother Robert went to court over the family farm when their mother died. He was regarded as aloof, and unfriendly. He died on 8th December 1937;

Gita, (baptised 29 August 1875; godparents John Duffy and Susan Delaney) was born Marguerite Mary Josephine O'Reilly on 28 August 1875, and baptised the same day according to the Carmelites, or the next day, according to the Church records, which may mean that there was very little time allowed to lapse between births and baptisms. Her religious name was Sr Magdeleine de Jesus, and she was a Carmelite nun in Figeac, Lôt, in the south of France (about 130 miles east of Bordeaux, and 30 miles south of Aurillac), where she died on 13th April 1943, aged 67 years. She is buried in the convent there, where (in 1994) some of the elderly nuns can recall her, from their own early days. The newspaper cutting regarding the crucifix owned by Mrs Anne Cecilia Lee (nee O'Reilly) from the Irish Press of 3rd October 1966, contains several fundamental errors. Gita entered the Carmelite convent at Bordeaux in 1898, before transferring to Figeac, but St Thérèse had died the previous year, 1897.

It was possible to obtain relics of the saint, and the family has one, which is inscribed 'from Lisieux, December 1923. A relic, a crucifix, was sent to her mother during an illness. Annie wore it constantly, and when she died, it was buried with her. Another crucifix, Sr Gita's own personal property, was given to the family after her death, and this is the one which still exists;

Translated from the original French

Carmel of Figeac

7 Avenue Jean Jauris

46100 Figeac

Tel 85 34 27 53

Sister Magdeleine of Jesus

Sister Magdeline of Jesus - Marguerite Mary Josephine O'Reilly, was born on the 28th August, 1875, in Ireland. She was the daughter of Robert O'Reilly and of Anne Duffy. She was baptised on the same day according to her baptismal certificate.

Having entered the Carmel of Bordeaux on 24th February 1898, she received the habit of Carmel on the 27th October of the same year, 1898.

At the request of Mother Isabelle of the Angels, herself transferred from Carmel of Bordeaux to that of Figeac to undertake the office of Prioress the previous year, Sister Magdeleine of Jesus arrived in our Carmel on the 9th October, 1898. She made her profession on the 5th November, 1899. And on the 8th November she received the black veil of profession at the hands of Monsignor Enard.

She died on the 13th April, 1943, at the age of 67.

Several sisters of our monastery now living, knew Sister Magdeleine and remembered her. Sister Magdeleine was in charge of the making of religious habits, and their repair. One sister who was a postulant at the time, and who was preparing for the reception of the habit remembers her association with Sister Magdeleine on the occasion. Having come to Sister Magdeleine for her measurements, she received the following exhortation, such as might be given by a more experienced to a younger sister: "don't waste your time with trifles!"

Her religious life was that of a fervent Carmelite. Suffering from a heart trouble, she knew her days were numbered, but remained serene. When Mother Prioress informed her gently of the less than hopeful diagnosis of the physician, she cried out joyfully "Laetatus sum", the opening words of psalm 121 (the office was said in Latin in those days), "I was glad when they said to me, let us go into God's house".

She rests in our cloister cemetery.


Jesus, Mary, Joseph

The 27th day of October, 1898, Sister Magdeleine of Jesus, whose name in the world was Marguerite Mary Josephine O'Reilly, daughter of Robert O'Reilly and Anne Duffy, inhabitants of Ireland, received the habit of the Order in the monastery of the Assumption and of St Joseph of the Carmelites of Bordeaux, and on the 5th day of November, 1899, the said sister of 24 years, 2 months, and 8 days, having been born on the 28th August, 1875, and baptised the same day, according to the baptismal certificate, made her profession in Chapter in the presence of Monsignor Emile-Christophe Enard, bishop of Cahors, our most Reverend Father Superior, and in the hands of Reverend Mother Isabelle of the Angels, Prioress, in the presence of the entire community.

In testimony of which her profession was witnessed:

"I, Sister Mary Josephine Madeleine of Jesus make my profession and promise Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience to God our Lord and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the obedience visitation and guidance of our Reverend Father, Visitators and Superiors, as established by our Order, the Bulls and Briefs of our Holy Father the Pope. And I make this profession according to the Rule (Primitive) of the Order of Mount Carmel and this until I die"

Sister Marguerite Mary Josephine Madeleine of Jesus

+ E. Christophe, Bishop of Cahors

Sr. Isabella of the Angels

Sr. Victim of the Heart of Jesus

Sister Therese of Jesus

Sister Marie Justine

On the 8th day of November of the same year Sister Madeleine

solemnly received the veil of Profession from Mgr. Enard in the presence of the undersigned Sisters:

[Signatures here]

Other children contd..

Ann Frances Mary Magdalen (baptised 1 October 1876; godparent Ellen Lynch), this child is not known to the present family, and may have died young;

John Joseph (baptised 31 October 1877; was also sponsored by Ellen Lynch, alone) married and had two daughters. He was a dental mechanic in Philadelphia, and died there;

Cecilia Mary (baptised 2 July 1879; godparents were Rev James Smith and Margaret O'Reilly) the name Cecilia was used again for a daughter born in 1887, which usually indicates the loss of the first child so named;

Mary Anne (baptised 10 March 1882; again sponsored by Ellen Lynch), married a Mr Broderick, and had two sons and one daughter, and lived all her life in the USA;

Robert Francis Cecilus (baptised 24 December 1884; godparents were Richard Xavier O'Reilly and Margaret Mary Jo O'Reilly, presumably the older brother and sister) this name was also used for another child, suggesting that he did not survive ;

Ann Cecilia Mary (baptised on 3 July 1887; godparents were John J O'Reilly and Margaret O'Reilly), married Philip Lee on 11 January 1914, and almost immediately fell out with his brother, James, who had been managing the bakery side of the business. They lived at Stradone Street, Ballyjamesduff, until she was widowed on 1st January 1931. She was forced to vacate their pub and shop, and later moved to Dublin where she bought a house in Donnycarney in 1936, not far from her brother-in-law James, with whom there was little contact. She lived there with her son Philip, who died before her, and her daughter Philomena, until her own death in 1978. She had been born into a family of the landlord class, with servants, and status, and she never really adjusted to the fact that their era was passing. There was also an age difference between Cecilia and Philip of 14 years; Cecilia never knew her father, who died when she was two years old, and she may have needed someone older, while Philip had to pretend to be younger than his years, and gave the difference as eleven years. Once, when she was in a shop in Dublin, in her 80's, she recognised the proprietor as the son of an insurgent who had fought the British in the War of Independence in the 1920's. There had been an attack on the RIC barracks in Ballyjamesduff, and the British had raked all the windows in the buildings opposite with gunfire, one of which was the pub, smashing bottles and everything else in the process. She called this unfortunate man all the names she could think of, for having had a father whose patriotism caused her such loss; and finally,

Robert Francis (baptised 27 July 1889; godparents M J O'Reilly and Anne Duffy), married Kathleen (Catriona) Morris from Kells on 10th February 1920. He suffered a permanent injury to his leg as a child, but could nevertheless outwalk most people. He had a distinctive habit of whistling 'the Bard of Armagh'. At his funeral, he was described as intelligent and educated, and was regarded as a great asset to the community, where his abilities were at the disposal of those who needed them. Catriona taught Irish at Kilinkere, and used the Irish version of her name. She cycled to and from there to where they lived at Cornahilt, which was at the top of a steep hill. He died on 8th November 1965, and she died on 28 December 1975.