The McDonaghs of Billamore

By Stephen MacDonagh

The McDonaghs of Billamore.

This montage was put together by my first cousin Anne Davis (Lambert) who lives in Massachusetts. The centrepiece, taken about 1950, shows my grandfather and grandmother at the gate of the family home in Billamore. Surrounding them are their ten children, including my father, Stephen. Some of the photographs are not of good quality. In addition to my father, older Oughterard residents will remember Delia (Lambert, late of Camp St.), Annie (O’Connor, also of Camp St.), Mick (Carraroe) and possibly Nora (Hemestretch, Hove, Sussex.). All have now passed on. Mary and Pat died young. Mary died in the US in the mid 1930s and her daughter, Mary Browne, came home to be reared with her grandparents. She, too, died in her early teens in 1948. Jim lived in England all his life and was unmarried. Pearse, whose wife was from West Cork, reared a family in Slough, Berks. Margaret (Mag) lived into her 90s and was a frequent visitor to Oughterard from the US. I am hoping that publication of this article will encourage some of the more far-flung family members to contact the site.

My grandfather “married in” to Billamore. His people were originally from Pollough, Rosscahill, although his father, Pat, lived behind the “Kirk”, where the Community Centre is now. Pat had been to America and, according to family legend, had fought in the Civil War. On his return he married Mary Carter who we think was from Collinamuck. My grandfather was a Corrib boatman and featured, along with Jamesie Donnellan in Kingsmill Moore’s book, “A Man May Fish” He was very active in the Corrib conservation and campaigned for fishermen’s and boatmen’s rights. He died in 1955

My grandmother’s father, Stephen Gavin, was originally from Magheramore. He built a house just beyond where Walter DeLacy lives now. My grandmother was reputedly a great beauty in her day and her daughters weren’t behind the door when looks were being given out either. The sons were handsome men too and the whole family had a reputation for being good singers. Sadly, in the writer’s case, both the looks and the singing voice seem to have skipped a generation. My grandmother died in 1952.

This page was added on 18/06/2011.

Comments about this page

  • Is this page still active?
    I am looking for Bridget McDonough,dob1817 married to Patrick Dorsey (Darcey),dob1806.

    By Jane Donovan (29/06/2020)
  • Hi Stephen – Maggie Gavin’s father was Stephen, was her mother Bridget Rutledge? If she was she had a sister Maria who married John Gavin of Billamore.
    My great-uncle married their daughter Mary Gavin.
    She died of flu in Lincoln, England in 1918 but she has descendants who would be your blood relatives with Stephen Gavin being the last common ancestor.

    By James Connolly (14/09/2019)
  • Hi. I think Bridget Gavin McDonagh had a sister Maria Gavin who married John Gavin in 1890. Both their father’s were named Stephen. John’s father was from Billamore and Maria’s from Magheramore.
    The daughter of John and Maria (Mary) married my great-uncle from Longford but she died in 1918 and her daughter Kathleen Casey went to live in Magheramore. Another son and daughter stayed in Longford.
    Kathleen is in the 1926 school photo.
    Some of Mary Gavin’s descendants live in Canada if anyone is interested.

    By James Connolly (13/09/2019)
  • My great grandmothers name was Winifred McDonagh who married Michael Connelly and the immigrated to the US in 1869-ish. I’ve only been able to trace Michael Connelly to Galway, and that’s all I have. Do you think there could be a Winifred McDonagh from the same family, born around 1840s-1850’s? They named one of their children Delia, and their firstborn was Patrick, they also named a child Stephen and a child Anne, so I wonder if there could be a family connection?

    By Donna Connelly (02/06/2017)
  • @Kristine Uniacke. The Delia Lambert you mention would possibly be an aunt of my aunt Delia’s husband, Michael Lambert. Look in the 1901 and 1911 Census on line for the Lambert family of Oldchapel, Oughterard.

    By Stephen MacDonagh (09/04/2015)
  • Hi,

    Please see 1901 Irish census:

    Family recorded at Rushveala (commonly known as Old Chapel) where there is a Michael Lambert, Shoemaker with family members: George, Robert, sons, Delia 21 years, & Kate 19 years daughters.

    Delia is usually a pet name for Bridget.

    Kilcummin parish records: Baptism: March 25th 1879 – Bridget Lambert, Father: Michael, Mother: Ellen Cottingham. Sponsors: George Lambert and Mary Clancy.

    The surname “Cottingham” was fairly common in the Oughterard area in the 1800’s, but now appears extinct there.


    By Rick (31/01/2015)
  • I am researching my maternal great grandmother.  I noticed her name mentioned  (Delia Lambert) in the article, and was wondering if it could be her.  She was born in 1882 in Oughteran.  She left Ireland in 1910 and came to Boston, MA.  I would appreciate ANY information.

    Thank you,


    By Kristine Uniacke (28/01/2015)
  • The names you mention are very familiar to me from my mother who grew up in Camp St.Bridget McDonough was the name of my my great great grandmother.I would be curious about the background !!!!!??? Olive Murphy


    By Olive (Donnellan)Murphy (12/09/2014)
  • Yes, we are related. My father’s mother was Bridget Gavin Keneavy. Her husband Michael Keneavy from Inchaguoill, a boatman married into this family and they lived in Billamore. Long story – my Mom, Elizabeth Stewart was from Mahermore, and lived in the Railroad. I need to get my father’s info on the site, long story but researching my family for 20 years. Met with Dave Collins last May, and uploaded Stewart photos, Maggie Mc Donaugh visited my home in NYC years ago from Seattle. Will be in touch

    By Betty Keneavy - Nipoti (20/11/2013)
  • Check out the Railway Cottage at Maghermore to the right of your listing, and you will see your grandfather’s name on the Census of 1911 at the age of 5 Betty

    By Betty Keneavy-Nipoti (20/11/2013)
  • Enjoyed reading your article on the McDonoughs. My grandmother (Mary Reynolds) grew up on Lough Corrib and we have visited the homestead. We always stay with John and Breege Gavin when we visit Ireland. Also, Julia (Ciss) McDonough is still living and we love to visit with her.

    By Gerre Wagner (14/10/2013)

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