The Tinneny Family History Site

Biographies of Our Forefathers

Mary Tinneny

Mary Tinneny was the daughter of Mary Tinneny of Goladuff.  She was born about 1867 and raised on Goladuff.  According to her grand daughter Lucy Murray Sherwood, Mary spent some time in America. Lucy was told that even in her later years Mary had an American accent.

On January 8, 1895, Mary married Patrick Murray of Derrykenny, County Fermanagh.  They were married at Saint Mary's Church in Newtownbutler.  The marriage was performed by the Reverend W. O'Conner and was witnessed by Daniel Fitzpatrick, and Kate Reilly.  Patrick was four years younger than Mary.  He was the son of John Murray of Derrykenny who was a farmer.   

After their marriage Mary and Patrick lived in the home of Patrick's widow mother, Anne Murray, at Derrykenny.  The Census of Ireland for 1901 showed Mary and Patrick along with three of their children living in the home with Patrick’s mother and his 26-year-old brother John.   

Photo:  Partial 1901 Census of Ireland Form showing Mary and Patrick and their children and Patrick’s brother John and his mother living in his mother’s house in Derrykenny, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, Ireland. Provided by R. J. Tinneny. 

At the time of the census, Mary was described as 34 years old and as being able to read and to write.  Her husband Patrick  was listed as 30 years old and as able to read and write.  Patrick's occupation was listed as farmer's son while his brother John's occupation was noted as carpenter.  Three children of Mary and Patrick were also listed in the 1901 census.  They were Maryanne age 5, Bridget age 3 and Kate age 1.  Mary and Patrick also had at four other children after 1901.  They were John, Andrew, Paddy and Margaret.


Mary seated with her son John’s wife Mary Reynolds Murray (L) and her son Patrick’s wife Mary Kathleen “Molly” Reilly (R) at the Murray homeplace Derrykenny.  Courtesy of Lucy (Murray) Sherwood.

Mary's husband Patrick died on May 23, 1926.  He was buried in the Murray plot in the yard of Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Newtownbutler.  Mary’s granddaughter Lucy remembered when her father Patrick brought his mother Mary to live with him and the family.  Mary had to leave the family home at Derrykenny for a time and Patrick went and picked her up in the snow and took her in at his home. 

During that stay Lucy recalled that her grandmother Mary was a big woman with white hair and that she was lovely.  Lucy was 4 or 5 at the time, and recalled how it was winter because there was loads of snow when her granny came to live with them. She recalled how Mary had made ice cream for the children out of the snow.  They collected snow in  'pongers' (tin mugs) and Mary added sugar and milk to it.  In 2002 while recalling the story Lucy said, “and would you believe I can still taste it.”  The only other memory that Lucy had of Mary was standing at the graveside when Mary was buried. 

Dick Fitzpatrick of Wattlebridge told me that old Mary was a singer of sorrowful songs at the local wakes and that on one occasion.  She was singing her songs and the local people had some to drink at the wake and began singing other songs and dancing in the lane outside the house where the body was being waked.  One of the neighbors told Cannon Thomas O’ Doherty at Saint Mary’s (the local Catholic Church in Newtownbutler.  The cannon got a horse and cart and armed with a black thorn cane went out to the house and confronted the merry-makers in the lane and in the house.   Several of the neighbors who were celebrating told Cannon O’ Doherty that the deceased was a good parishioner and was a fun loving man who would have wanted the friends, family and neighbors to celebrate.  The cannon said, “Indeed, I can’t object to that since I knew the man well.  And, if you can’t fight them then join them.”   The Cannon is said to have joined in the merry-making and the wake and was later put into a cart and taken back to Saint Mary’s Rectory. 

Old Mary's daughter in law, Mary Reynolds Murray, the wife of her son John, said that Mary and her got along well.  She said that her mother in law didn't talked about her relatives but she did tell her that she was related to Alice Tinneny (Big Alice of Goladuff).  She also said that old Mary had blue eyes and white curly hair that she always wore pulled up on top of her head.  Family members said that there was a saying about old Mary "If she fancied something you might as well give it to her or it would be broken."  The younger Mary also said that, in addition to raising her own children, her mother in law had also raised Paddy Reilly's son until the father remarried. 

Mary McGuinness McGarvey, the great-granddaughter of "Big John" Tinneny of Goladuff, remembered seeing Mary Tinneny Murray, who lived near her while Mary McGarvey was growing up.  At the time she didn't know that Mary Murray was a Tinneny.  She recalled that Mary was an extremely good-looking woman, that she had tight curls and wore one gold earring.  Of course Mary Murray was an old lady by the time that Mary McGarvey saw her as a child. In 1996 Mary Reynolds Murray spoke affectionately of her mother in law Mary to Susanna Tinneny of Quivvy, Belturbet.  She said her mother in law "was never afraid of anything" and recounted an example of this with the following story.  The elder Mary "had a trunk in front of the fireplace in her bedroom and one day a rat came in and sat on top of the truck.  With out any fear Mary got up went to the truck and caught the rat with her bare hands and disposed of it."  Mary was quiet even in her final years.  Her daughter in law, Mary, remembered how "each Friday, Mary, would tackle the ass and cart and go to town for her pension and bring home much needed shopping until close to the time of her death." 

Some of her son John's children, who lived with her up to the time of her death said that they called Mary "Granny Cricket" because she frequently commented about their being crickets behind the fire in the fireplace.  Thus explaining the crackling noise made by the fire. 

Photo:  Headstone on the graves of Mary & Patrick, their son John and their grandsons Andrew and James in the church yard of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. By R. J. Tinneny.

Although Mary was very active in late 1951 or early 1952 she fell out of bed and broke her hip.  She was hospitalized and subsequently died in the hospital in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh on March 2, 1952.  She was buried with her husband and other family members in the Murray burial plot in the yard of Saint Mary's in Newtownbutler.

Note: Mary's descendants include: Murphy, Nolan, Toland, McCavigan, Reilly, Castellano, Donaghue, Murray, Higgins, Smith, Murray, Buttery, Walton, Brazell, Stead, Englishby, Hudson, Turton, Grey, Reed, Sherwood, and Devlin.


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Updated January 7, 2024
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