For locals and visitors alike you will be familiar with a few Crowley families currently residing on Bere Island. That only touches the surface of the crowleys that lived on Bere Island down through the years. There were many more Crowley families on Bere Island in the 18th and 19th century who have left little to no trace behind. The last few years has led me on a thankless, yet interesting path, trying to identify these Crowleys while trying to trace my own family further into the past.
The families of Nealie and Donie Crowley. Nealie, who passed away in Feb 2012, and Donie would be first cousins. Their Grandfather Daniel was a son of John (Darby) Crowley. He was identified as John Darby Crowley (55) on 1853 land records where Nealie and now Benny’s homes are situated. Where Donie and Martin live (52) was owned by a Cornelius Murphy.
A short walk some 90 metres, across Orpen’s farm, are the Crowleys of Reenagalawn, Ballinakilla where my father Jim’s family hailed. His brother Denis is now the owner of the family farm. The earliest known ancestral habitation of this land traces back to Jeremiah “Darby Ceohane” Crowley (1803-1891) - my Great Great Grandfather. He is noted as the occupier of this parcel of land on the 1852 Griffiths Land Valuation. At that time the only Crowley family in Ballinakilla.
Jeremiah Crowley's (1803-1891) first 2 children were born in Derrycreeveen and subsequent 4 children, of his first marriage, were born in Castletownbere. Going by those two records he moved to castletownbere between August 1834 (John’s baptism) and October 1835 (Michael’s baptism). After his first wife Johanna “Causkey” Harrington died, some time either during or after the birth of their son Daniel in late 1841 (baptised in November), he remarried to a Johanna Quill in November 1843 in Derrimihan, Castletownbere. In 1833 tithe applotments, when children were being baptised in Derrycreeveen there was a Darby “Crowley” and a Darby “Keohane” in Derrycreeveen. The 3 Crowleys Cornelius, Daniel and Darby all paying 3S 2d look like 3 brothers who appear to have 3 equal shares of a farm that was split. The most likely candidate to be my great-great Grandfather, who was referred to by my grandfather as Darby Keohane, was the one paying 1S 7d which was a comparatively small plot of land and would explain why he had to move to Castletownbere.
Riobard O’Dwyer states my ancestor Jeremiah came from Derrycreveen. We do not as yet know for sure Jeremiah’s siblings or parents. It was worth examining other Crowleys in Derrycreeveen and Derrimihan to see if that shed some light. Extensive analysis of all birth and marriage records pre 1860 along with associated witnesses would show some interesting potential connections.
Darby's son Jeremiah (born 1840), from the first marriage, married his 2nd and 3rd cousin Margaret "Roger" O'Sullivan and settled initially in the home place in Reenagalawn. After his half brother Denis (born 1854), my Great grandfather, returned from Argentina a widower with 3 young children, Jeremiah relocated to North Road, Castletownbere, with his family and became a shop keeper. Is it possible his step mother's brother in law, Daniel Murphy, sourced this role for him?
Johanna Quill's sister Julia was married to a Daniel Murphy, a merchant and shopkeeper, who was an ancestor of Dermot Murphy (great-great grandmother) of supervalu castletownbere - through this son Patrick (b. 1834). Julia was also great-grandmother of Ballinakilla schoolmaster Pat Harrington through their daughter Johanna (1854-1931) who married James Power.
In the 1833 tithe applotment the only Crowleys in Ballinakilla were Timothy and James “Ceohane” [Crowley] who shared a plot of land paying 4 shillings 5 pence for the pleasure. If i didn't know any better i would be bold enough to suggest this is the same plot of land and Timothy and James were relatives of our Jeremiah.
Unlike the name Timothy, there are only a few records of James Crowleys at the time in Beara. Some 7 years after tithe applotments a James Crowley married a Mary Murphy from Gour in September 1834 in Castletown with a Jeremiah Crowley as witness. There appeared to be no further trace in Castletown but in Knockeen, Urhan a James Crowley and Mary Murphy had a number of children. There is also no trace of any James Crowley in Urhan in the tithes.Could all three be the same James? It’s a long shot but possible.
The Crowleys that hail from Derrimihan in Castletownbere, oldest known member Tade Crowley (born 1802), that married Mary O'Sullivan, who's present day descendents include Tadhg Crowley Mechanic, Gortagoulane, Rossmacowen and Padraig Crowley former Beara and Castletownbere goalkeeper. Based on death records, Tade who died in 1881 aged 79, would have been born approx 1802. The family story goes when old Timmy Crowley (1886-1960) died that a Crowley from my family was sent for as the fourth Crowley under the coffin as there was "some relation". My assumption is that Tade (1802-1881) was a brother of my Jeremiah 1803-1891). The historically best known Crowley of Tade's family was renowned poet Fr. Denis Oliver Crowley (born 1854) [born the same year as my own great-grandfather Denis Crowley]. He published 2 books in 1889 and 1892 and the person after whom Father Crowley Park San Francisco is named.
Joe Crowley of Connecticut, USA is a son of the late Lawrence Crowley of Connecticut, U.S.A. Lawrence would have been first cousin of Jackie O’Sullivan (Hotel, Bere Island) through the maternal O'Sullivan (Barrule) side but his Crowley line originated in Derrycreveen. Lawrence’s great grandfather was a Patrick Crowley of  Derrycreveen. Patrick got married to a Johanna "Caobach" Harrington in Feb 1843. Patrick resided at the second last house on your right, prior to going to the lighthouse, later known as Joe Murphys, or later again Kelleher’s. Joe Murphy, son of James Murphy and Mary "Barrule" O’Sullivan, Ballinakilla, would have been Patrick’s great grandson through his Grandmother Mary Crowley who married Denis "Barrule" O'Sullivan, Ballinakilla. In the Griffith's Valuation of 1852 this parcel of land was in the name of a Michael Crowley. It is highly likely that Patrick was a son of Michael. Patrick’s death record suggests he died in 1901 aged 80. A Patrick Crowley was born to a Michael and Mary Crowley in 1823 in Derrycreeveen and is likely one and the same. We also see Mick Keohane in the 1833 tithe applotment paying 3S 3d in Derrycreeveen. I expect these are one and the same.
Lawrence Crowley is also a member of Crowley Clan DNA project. His Crowleys and our Crowleys are in the same I-P37 Haplogroup. He is 4 markers different to us.
Note: I have seen that Crowleys in this group that match all markers tend to have a common ancestor within 5 generations.
Another Patrick Crowley  of Derrycreveen married a Bridget O’Sullivan pre 1840. On the Griffith’s land valuation of 1852 a Patrick Crowley was registered as having a house on the property now Rosemary O’Driscoll’s. The other owner of a half share of that land  was Cornelius Crowley, who was married to an Abigail or Gobnait “Fune” O’Sullivan. In a later version of the map (Griffiths Valuation) we can see it divided between “Abigail” and “Bridgid” presumably after both men had died. Cornelius and Abagail’s daughter Bridgid married John “Buee” O’Leary who’s granddaughter was Julie “Jack Patrick” O’Sullivan of Castletownbere.
Joanne Coughlan is a great great granddaughter Patrick Crowley  (who married Bridgid O’Sullivan) through their daughter Mary (1841). Arthur J. Crowley, the famous Los Angeles trial attorney (1925-2010), would also have been a great great grandson through their son Daniel (1848).
Joanne Coughlan would also be directly related to another Crowley family of Derrycreveen at the time - Jeremiah Crowley and Hanora (Nora) McGrath . Their son Sean (1828) married Mary Crowley (1841) daughter of Patrick Crowley . Sean and Mary were 2nd and 3rd cousins (or second cousins once removed). This farm  would have been what is now on John Mullin’s land, sometimes referred to as Coughlan's, and is adjoining Patrick and Bridgid’s land .
The other Crowley land at  was owned by John Timothy Crowley who married Johanna (Seir) O’Sullivan. John Timothy had a number of children in Derrycreeveen then in 1853 we see a probate for John Timothy so he died leaving a window and a number of young children.
John “Seir” O’Sullivan’s farm was owned by a Denis “Rohane” McCarthy. Denis Rohane’s wife was a Catherine Crowley (born about 1800). The marriage record included a Thadeus Crowley [Tade Crowley (1802-1881) Derrimihan?] was a witness who was presumably a father or brother.
Further back family lore states that our Crowleys came from Dunmanway direction. Its said the Jeremiah(1803-1891) (or his father) came as travelling tailor to the area. Other Crowleys in Beara have a similar history. The Crowleys of Direencappaire Ardgroom came from “Dunmanway via Sneem”. The Inchitaskin (Eyeries) Crowleys came there via “Kinsale direction”. My own dabbling in family DNA adds credence to the theory our Crowleys came from Dunmanway area as we have matches with with people within 5 generations with Crowley ancestors hail from a 15 km square are from Mealagh Valley (near bantry) out to Drumaduva near Drimoleague out to Derrynacaheragh townland near Dunmanway.