Effin During the 1840’s and Famine Times


I  came across this very interesting piece last week written by Desmond Norton who go access to various papers from the Steward and Kincaid Collection while doing some research on Effin, called; 

Distress and Benevolence on Gertrude Fitzgerald’s Limerick Estate in the 1840s, WP02/14, April 2002 – A Record of Mount Blakney Estate and Tenants during Famine Times (Norton, 2006).

This paper is well worth reading and gives a fascinating insight into social and economic conditions in Effin particularly around Mount Blakney/Thomastown area in the 1840s and during the Famine times.

Read Norton’s Paper: HERE https://researchrepository.ucd.ie/bitstream/10197/1287/1/WP02.14.pdf

It contains extracts of letters written by tenants and land agents of Gertrude Blakney Fitzgerald who was the landlord in Mount Blakeney at the time. Gertrude Blakney had no children and the estate was left to her niece Anne Steward and her husband Thomas Stewart in 1855. Steward and Kincad were a land agency firm and agents for Mount Blakeny Estate.

The letters originally came from the archives of a firm of Dublin solicitors, Stewart and Kincaid, who acted as landlords’ agents on a large scale. The letters are from landlords’ agents and sublandlords nationwide, concerning the collection of rent.  

On 27 September 1844 Murnane informed SK that;

“the potatoes are very bad with most of the tenants”.

The Keeffes were not the only tenants who petitioned Mrs Fitzgerald in October 1844. On 30 October she wrote to Kincaid:

I enclose a Letter which I received … from Maurice Foley …. I hope you will excuse my troubling you with it, as I am persuaded you will both act impartially, and allow the Tenants any reasonable indulgence you may think them entitled to. Since I wrote the above I received the accompanying Petition from John and James Keefe … which I leave to your better judgement”.

It would be interesting to see what happened the families that emigrated and are there any descendants still in the parish today.

These letters were put up for sale with Adams Auction House in the 2010 but fortunately were withdrawn as there was some question as to their ownership. Thankfully they were not sold off but remain as a special collection.  I am  trying to locate their current whereabouts and where they are stored as they may contain more important information about Effin during that time.

Norton’s Stewart and Kincaid, Irish Land Agents in the 1840s” also includes some some further information and insight in his other article.

Effin Hurling Team – Songs

Effin has always had great pride in its hurling teams and often songs where written about their feats on the playing pitch. One of the first songs is about the 1937 South Winning Team right up to the last winning team in 2011.

1937 South Winning Team

(Composed by Dan O’Brien, Ballymack and remembered by Bertie O’Brien, Tobernea)

You may boast about your hurling teams,
Kilkenny, Cork & Clare
But wind your way to Effin
Better hurlers you’ll find there,
You will see young John Fitzgibbon a fine athletic youth
With Paddy Ryan & Johnny & Tommy Francis Bluett.

You’ll see Gilbert, Hayes & earthy,
on them, you may depend,
No flying ball will pass them
For their gap, they will defend
You’ll see Gallant Michael Carroll
With Fitz from Maiden Hall,
And Willy Jack Fitzgerald to forward out the ball,

They crossed hurleys with the Stakers
and played with fourteen men,
In the fair field of Kilmallock
and sight gloriously did win.
They were drawn against Kilmallock
Old Friendships to renew
And they played against that sturdy team
In the place, they call Glenroe

They marched into the hurling field
and stood there in a line
And there they waited for orders
From their captain Paddy Ryan
The cheers rang out and echoes far
and pierced the blue hill thro;
We got a great reception
That day in famed Glenroe


The next song I’ve come accross is this one written about the Minor Hurlers from 1959 by unknown author.

minor team 1959

The Effin Minor Hurlers 1959

(Composer Unknown)

The South Championship of Limerick, the Minor Hurling Grade,
When Effin beat the Croom boys as the evening sun did fade.
We have Christy Conway in the gap, as good as can be seen,
With Carroll John outside him, a giant of seventeen.

Continue reading “Effin Hurling Team – Songs”

Songs about Effin


Many places have had songs and poetry written about them, many are exiles who have left their native home and the various townlands and places of interest. there has been a lot of Poetry written by Poets from Effin,  Brother Stephen Russell, Thomas Power, Rambling Tady or Tom Hannon.  I will deal with the poetry in another article.

I have been looking for some songs about Effin,  during my research I have come accross a few which you can read about below.

The most popular song below which is still sung about at some sessions is called Old Effin Far Away.


(not sure who wrote this song,  Brother Stephen Russell or Thomas Power)

Sung to the Air of Golden Jubilee)

Oh I’m sitting and I’m dreaming in this mighty London town
I’m murdered by the traffic as it passes up and down
But o’er all a tiny echo deeps calling night and day
It’s the lifting breeze in the waving trees in old Effin far Away


Its there folks are kindly it’s there’s a welcome grand
From the neighbours all both big and small
In that green and happy land
There’s a seat by every fireside there’s flowing mugs of Tay
And a Cead Mile Failte in old Effin far Away

I can see again Ardpatrick it’s hillside fresh and green
And the ruined chapel where St Patrick once had been
And sure his prayers were answered on that dim and distant day
It’s given us a Bishop now old Effin far away.

Repeat chorus

Oh God be with you Thomastown where once I saw the light
In that old thatched homestead one snowy Christmas night
And the Castle of Mount Blakeney relic of splendid days
When lords and ladies dallied in old Effin far away

Repeat chorus

Empurpled Ballyhoura lords out o’er Ballymac
There I cut the turf when times were though I’ve still got an aching back
And in Killquane there sleeps a man whose heart was light and gay,
God rest you rambling Thady in old Effin far away

Repeat chorus

May your parish guild with grace be filled so prayed your late PP
May all your teams be good and clean from strife may you be free
May your two priests by grace increase be your anchor and your stay
Be true to God and your native sod in old Effin far away.

An Effin Man

by late Garry McMahon

(Garry McMahon (1937–2008) was an Irish sportsperson. He played Gaelic football with his local club Listowel Emmets and was a member of the Kerry senior inter-county team from the 1958 until 1962. McMahon holds the record for scoring the fastest goal ever in an All-Ireland final.[1]) He was also a practising solicitor in Newcastlewest, but he wrote many songs and ballads and one was called An Effin Man,

“It’s a wonderful place as I’m sure you will find , And if you can’t see that you’re just Effin blind”
Click on link below to hear recording of it.


Songs for the Effin Hurling Teams

Then there have been various songs written about the hurling teams in the parish

Mary Rea of Jamestown has written many the rousing songs about our various teams to rouse them into battle

Continue reading “Songs about Effin”