Pastoral Scene

Stories of our people in the old country.
1790-Present Day

Ballyhest, Co. Waterford
Ireland

Ballyhest, Waterford, Ireland

 

Ballyhest, Mothel, Waterford is the townland in Ireland where Bill’s paternal grandmother, Catherine Connolly (Reilly) was born, in 1874. In Ireland, there are many geographical designations, which can make it hard to know just how to locate a place of origin. A townland is like a neighborhood, or perhaps a hamlet. Ballyhest and its next-door neighbor, Feddens, have been sibling townlands for centuries, floating in and out of one another’s boundaries, natives maintaining fiercely their identity with their birth townland. The beautiful River Suir, just a mile or so to the north, separates them from Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, where we have gathered with cousins who found us through Ancestry.com. The old family church was a few miles to the east of Ballyhest, in Clonea Power…The Church of Ss Brogan and Coan, and the graveyard that straddles the church is bordered by the River Cloddiagh, famous in the old days for its blue pearl oysters.

Following the death of their baby brother, Nicholas, and their mother, Bridget Godfrey Connolly, Catherine's two older brothers followed their father, Nicholas, to Albany, New York when they came of an age to work. James returned to Ireland and provided the cousins we now cherish visiting, but Thomas remained stateside to welcome his sister after the grandmother who had raised them in her humble cottage, died.

In Albany, their father, Nicholas had remarried to Mary (Julia) Powers. Thomas remained living with his stepmother after Nicholas died, until she passed away, but Catherine never lived with her father and his new wife, going into service in other people’s homes until she married William Joseph Reilly, Bill’s grandfather.

 

When Bill’s mother, Helen Zoll Reilly, moved to live with Bill and me after we were married, she brought with her a little black tin box. My sister, Maureen O’Hara, lived with us, too, a good part of those early years. She and I would sit on Helen’s bed and ask her about her life, and she showed us the black tin box, but not what was in it. When she died, I inherited the box. Inside, I found locks of Helen’s and her sister, Bertha’s hair, saved by their mother, Mary Lewis Zoll. There was a prayerbook, inscribed for “Katie" Connolly by “her old teacher” to remind her of the good times they’d had in Clonea. There were two passport pictures for Catherine Connolly, one when she was about twenty, and one when she was in her sixties. The passport gave her place of birth as “Ballyhest.” And that is how we have come to know from where in the world Bill Reilly’s Irish blood flows.

 

Ballyhest, Mothel, Waterford is the townland in Ireland where Bill’s paternal grandmother, Catherine Connolly (Reilly) was born, in 1874. In Ireland, there are many geographical designations, which can make it hard to know just how to locate a place of origin. A townland is like a neighborhood, or perhaps a hamlet. Ballyhest and its next-door neighbor, Feddens, have been sibling townlands for centuries, floating in and out of one another’s boundaries, natives maintaining fiercely their identity with their birth townland. The beautiful River Suir, just a mile or so to the north, separates them from Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, where we have gathered with cousins who found us through Ancestry.com. The old family church was a few miles to the east of Ballyhest, in Clonea Power…The Church of Ss Brogan and Coan, and the graveyard that straddles the church is bordered by the River Cloddiagh, famous in the old days for its blue pearl oysters.

    Following the death of their baby brother, Nicholas, and their mother, Bridget Godfrey Connolly, Catherine's two older brothers followed their father, Nicholas, to Albany, New York when they came of an age to work. James returned to Ireland and provided the cousins we now cherish visiting, but Thomas remained stateside to welcome his sister after the grandmother who had raised them in her humble cottage, died. 

    In Albany, their father, Nicholas had remarried to Mary (Julia) Powers. Thomas remained living with his stepmother after Nicholas died, until she passed away, but Catherine never lived with her father and his new wife, going into service in other people’s homes until she married William Joseph Reilly, Bill’s grandfather.

 

    When Bill’s mother, Helen Zoll Reilly, moved to live with Bill and me after we were married, she brought with her a little black tin box. My sister, Maureen O’Hara, lived with us, too, a good part of those early years. She and I would sit on Helen’s bed and ask her about her life, and she showed us the black tin box, but not what was in it. When she died, I inherited the box. Inside, I found locks of Helen’s and her sister, Bertha’s hair, saved by their mother, Mary Lewis Zoll. There was a prayerbook, inscribed for “Katie" Connolly by “her old teacher” to remind her of the good times they’d had in Clonea. There were two passport pictures for Catherine Connolly, one when she was about twenty, and one when she was in her sixties. The passport gave her place of birth as “Ballyhest.” And that is how we have come to know from where in the world Bill Reilly’s Irish blood flows.