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We are always amazed and delighted to see the
interest in our village from people outside Portlaw, the power of the internet!
I would like to express
my gratitude to Rev. Power for his work in
To the students at Portlaw school:
I just wanted to say hello. I am an insurance agent living in Boston Mass., and have been visiting your website periodically over the past year or so. It's so impressive I had to write and tell how much I enjoy it.
My father Bill Mullen died last March 26, at age 81. His family came originally from the Portlaw area, and my brothers and sisters and I took a trip back with him in the summer of 97, and stopped at Portlaw itself.
My father's father was born John Mullins in Lahardaun in 1888 (he used to tell tall stories, so his mother used to joke that he was born "the year of the Big Wind", which I guess is actually true).
John's parents were Thomas Mullins, originally of Ballycahane, and Johanna Foley, who came from Newtown, Kilmacthomas. We don't know much about their life in Ireland, but we know Tom Mullins used to talk about his two collies, Noble and Trainer, that they had at home. He used to work on the railroad, and hurt his leg, so that he always had a limp afterward.
Tom Mullins' mother was a Mary Morrissy, who must have died before the family came overseas. Tom has a sister Margaret had another brother Patrick, who I don't know anything about. He may be the one that Tom used to joke about being sent to Australia--sometimes he said it was for sheep-steaking, but sometimes he'd say his brother was a rebel.
Tom was very anti-English himself--"there was never a good one born," he said, and later in life he had a running feud with his English-born neighbor across the street.
Generally though, he was very well liked in town. He spent his evenings on his front porch, smoking his pipe, and people used to used to call him the "Mayor of Concord Street," where he lived in Framingham.
The only other fragment we have of their life in Portlaw is a lullaby Johanna used to sing her children and grandchildren--it went "Clonna cleena clooshkee, clitheree-onna voornee...."
Does that sound like anything you have ever heard? Maybe your grandparents would know it.
Anyway, in 1889, Tom Mullins went to Concord Mass, and worked at a harness factory. (I'm sure you know of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and of Thoreau, Emerson and Louisa May Alcott). In 1891, Johanna brought their little son John over, as well as Tom's father John and his sister, Margaret. Margaret married Tom's friend John O'Grady, who also came from Waterford.
Life in Concord wasn't easy, even though it had a liberal reputation. In the early days, no public hall or church would let Catholics hold a Mass, so they had to use an Irish farmer's barn--the farmer's family still has the table they used as an altar . The priest came by train from another town, and had to be escorted by young Irishmen for fear he would get beaten up on the way from the station! Tom Mullins always had to step off the wooden sidewalks of Concord to let a Protestant pass--or else the "Yankee" as they were known to the Irish, would go to Tom's employer and have him fired for being insolent.
John went to school in West Concord, where future president John Kennedy's mother Rose lived, and she used to over the Mullins' house after school to play, and eat bread and jam in their kitchen.
After a few years the Mullins family moved a couple of towns over to Framingham, where there was a big Irish Catholic population. Where they lived in Framingham, Portlaw names like Comerford, Ahearn, Hennebry, Kirwan, Nolan, Motherway, Cummins and O'Shea were common. No Powers, though, that I remember.
I hope to get over to Waterford again soon. The first time I went in 1987, I was able to talk to Davy Foran, who is listed in your graveyard transcription. He was nice enough to give me a booklet of the history of Portlaw--I think it had just been done then.
I never found anybody that was related to us, although I know there is a Mullins Crossing. Do any of you know how that got named ?
I'd be happy to hear from you if you have a chance, and I hope you're all doing well. Keep up the good work on your site, you've got a lot of fans over here. My brother is priest with a parish near me, and he shows the kids there your stuff! Hope I haven't bored you, you certainly don't bore me!
Thanks, Chris Mullen
What an absolutely wonderful Web Site. My husband passed the details to me and it has been so interesting browsing through the pages.. I have barely touched the surface and really must get on with some work.
I was delighted with the Graveyard Pages - we found my husbands Grandparents Alfred and Mary Clarke; and were intrigued to find they used an e in Clark(e), together with Harry, George and Alfie my husband's uncles. Kevin's parents, Patrick Clark and Helen Clark (nee Murphy) are also in the church yard but I guess that part has not been collated. As I have been assiduously collecting data for my side of the family tree, I can now get going with the Clarks.
My husband Kevin was a pupil at Portlaw school in the 40's and I have not told him but here is a class photo to add to your collection. They look to be a real bunch of rogues!. Kevin is sitting on the floor and has a stripy pullover. I imagine that the current pupils will have a good giggle about the short trousers and boots.
Visited this site beacuse I wanted to "see" where my mother's people came from. This, perhaps is the only way I will get to visit.My great-grandfather, and his wife are buried here in Fall River, Massachusettswhereas their son, my grandfather is interned in a town Waterford, Connecticut. Thanks for the tour. Gwen Donald
Portlaw National School,
Edel Tobin here. Some of the
teachers there will probably remember me and my sister Hilary!
been working in London for the past 4 years for a website company called
Simplytrading Ltd. We build
websites for small companies and encourage them to trade on-line.
I found a link to your site on the Munster express website, so I immediately clicked on it and Iím glad I did.
have been showing everyone here in my office and all agree that itís a
really, really good website. Easily navigated and well mapped out. Itís
brilliant to see the school looking so well.
even found a picture of my cousins Claire and Grace Nolan!
done to all and I will definitely be keeping an eye on the site for all the