Person:Maurice Cleary (1)

Maurice Cleary
b.abt 1812
  • HMaurice Clearyabt 1812 - 1893
  • WAlice Dunneabt 1814 - 1872
m. 29 Nov 1845
  1. Mary Cleary1846 - 1927
  2. Denis Cleary1848 - 1883
  3. Thomas Cleary1850 - 1921
  4. Eliza Cleary1853 - 1928
  5. Bridget Cleary1855 - 1898
  6. Joseph Cleary1857 - 1888
Facts and Events
Name Maurice Cleary
Gender Male
Birth[2] abt 1812
Marriage 29 Nov 1845 Monasterevin, County Kildare, IrelandCatholic Church
to Alice Dunne
Death[2] 4 Nov 1893 Monasterevin, County Kildare, IrelandSkirteen


Maurice Cleary was born about 1812, but has yet to be positively traced prior to his marriage in 1845. Family tradition has it that he was the son of another Maurice Cleary, whose father was a Thomas Cleary who had been involved in the Wolfe Tone rebellion of 1798 at Monasterevin in County Kildare. Apparently Thomas was a blacksmith who had made swords for the rebels and sheltered a local priest, Father Prendergast, who was sympathetic to the rebels. For these acts, Thomas was hanged by the Government forces and his wife and children were made to watch. The truth of this family tradition is hard to prove or disprove given the shortage of contemporary records.

Possible clues from the records as to other members of Maurice's family come from the Maurice's children's godparents, three of whom were called Cleary - Bridget, Margaret and William. Maurice married, had all his children and died at Monasterevin in County Kildare, which (coupled with the family tradition) is highly likely to be where he was from too; the Catholic parish records there only start in 1819, so would not have recorded a birth or baptism in about 1812.


Maurice's first confirmed sighting is on 29th November 1845, when he married Ally Dunne at Monasterevin in County Kildare. They went on to have six children together between 1846 and 1857, all of whom were baptised at Monasterevin. They lived at Skirteen, a townland to the west of the town ,on the opposite side of the River Barrow. Here, Maurice worked as a blacksmith and had his smithy beside a lock linking the River Barrow to the Grand Canal. He rented land either side of the Grand Canal here from the Marquis of Drogheda.

Maurice's wife Ally died on 2nd March 1872, after suffering from chronic stomach disease for several years. She was said to be 57. They had been married for 26 years. Maurice was left with their six children, who then ranged in age from 25 down to 14.

Maurice outlived Ally by over twenty years. He lived to see his daughters Mary and Bridget marry and have children. He also outlived his sons Denis and Joseph, who died in 1883 and 1888. Maurice stayed at Skirteen, living with his daughter Eliza and son Thomas, neither of whom married. Thomas also became a blacksmith and eventually took over Maurice's smithy. Mary and her husband John Reid settled a couple of hundred yards down the road at Coole. Maurice's grandson Michael Reid (Mary's son) later recalled being told stories by Maurice, and remembered aged about six or seven trying to smoke Maurice's pipe and not enjoying the experience.

Maurice died at Skirteen on 4th November 1893, aged 81.

  1.   Primary Valuation of Ireland. (Griffiths Valuation).

    Date: 1852
    Parish: Monasterevin
    Townland: Skirteen
    Plots 5A and 5B
    Occupier: Maurice Cleary
    Immediate Lessor: Marquis of Drogheda
    Descripition: 5A - House, office, and land; 5B - Land
    Area: 5A - 1a, 2r, 21p; 1a, 2r, 22p
    Net Annual Value: £4

  2. 2.0 2.1 Death certificate, in General Register Office of Ireland. Civil Registration.
    1893. DEATHS Registered in the District of Monasterevan in the Union of Athy in the County of Kildare
    No.Date and Place of DeathName and SurnameSexConditionAge last BirthdayRank, Profession, or OccupationCertified Cause of Death, and Duration of IllnessSignature, Qualification, and Residence of InformantWhen RegisteredSignature of Registrar
    261873 Fourth November
    Maurice ClearyMaleWidower81 Years
    BlacksmithOld age & General Debility
    Elizabeth her X mark Cleary
    Daughter of deceased
    Present at death
    Thirteenth November 1893Mary Boland
    Asst Registrar
  3.   Freeman's Journal (Dublin), 6 Nov 1893.

    CLEARY - Nov 4, 1893, at his residence, Monasterevan, Maurice Cleary, aged 81 years. R I P. Funeral this day (Monday)