233 – Larges in Kilkenny

Patrick Gallagher left Ireland for Pennsylvania around 1850. There he met and married Ellen Large.

Ellen had immigrated too. She and her siblings and mother left Ireland in 1844.

Whereas our Gallaghers hailed from County Donegal, our Large grandparents were from County Kilkenny.

Acknowledgement – Deborah Large Fox

Deborah Large Fox in Ardra, Castlecomer, Ireland – 2008

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge and thank Deborah Large Fox. She’s our benefactor for much of the following research on the Large family in Kilkenny.

She made multiple research trips to Ireland and Kilkenny and spent hours poring over church records and Wandesforde Estate papers.

Compared to the scarcity of Gallagher information, here we have actual citations and context of our Large ancestors’ lives in Kilkenny.

Debbie and I have shared research and interpretation and much enjoyment investigating our Large grandparents.

She’s a descendant of Ellen Large’s brother Richard.

Thomas Large and Bridget Kavanagh

Ellen Large was born on the outskirts of Castlecomer, a town in the north of County Kilkenny. It’s 50 miles southwest of Dublin.

Ellen’s parents are Thomas Large and Bridget Kavanagh.

Bridget Kavanagh

There were numerous Kavanagh families that lived around Castlecomer. It was a common local name. We don’t have any citations that tie Bridget to a specific Kavanagh family.

From her reported age on the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Censuses, we can calculate her birth year as 1792 or 1795.

Thomas Large

Thomas Large’s ancestors weren’t natives of Kilkenny. Perhaps Thomas or his parents had immigrated to Kilkenny from Yorkshire, England in the late 1600s. Or maybe Thomas was in the British Army stationed in Castlecomer around 1800. More about this later.

One Thomas or two?

We have a few citations for Thomas Large. We have baptism citations for four of his seven children. We found a marriage citation for Thomas Large, but married to Jane Jackson instead of Bridget Kavanagh. We found a death record for Thomas Large in 1834 at age 64.

These Thomas Large citations cause confusion.

Case 1: One Thomas Large

If Thomas married Jane Jackson in 1802, he was probably in this 20s and thus born before 1780. Thomas died in 1834 at age 64, so that makes his birth year 1770. Perhaps Bridget Kavanagh was his second marriage, and he was 25 years older than she. Thomas and Bridget had seven children, the last in 1833. That would match his death date of 1834. But it also means Thomas had seven children from age 55 to age 63.

Case 2: Two Thomas Larges, Sr. and Jr.

Perhaps Bridget’s husband Thomas was the child of Thomas Large Sr. and Jane Jackson. That would make his birth year sometime after 1802, the year Thomas Sr and Jane Jackson married. But that would make Thomas Jr. at least seven years younger than Bridget. Thomas Sr. died in 1834, but we don’t know the death year for Thomas Jr. Ellen’s Catholic baptism in 1836 lists Thomas Large, but doesn’t say if he is deceased.


We’ve puzzled over this. I’ve discussed it with Deborah Large Fox, our research benefactor. She’s long grappled with the same issue. We both prefer the “One Thomas” theory, but we’re open to changing our minds.

By the way, the restoration of records in the Beyond 2022 Project didn’t solve this. We hope you can solve this dilemma someday.


Thomas and Bridget Large had seven children.

  • William              b. 1823
  • John              b. 1825
  • Richard           b. 1826
  • Thomas           b. 1827
  • Catherine       b. 1830   twin
  • Margaret        b. 1830   twin
  • Ellen                 b. 1833   our 2nd great-grandmother

Where did they live?

We can see where they lived by inspecting the children’s baptism records. 

  • 10 Sep 1826 Richard   Son of Thomas and Bridget Large Formerly Kavanagh of Gurteen
  • 31 Jan 1830 Margaret   Daughter of Thomas Large and Biddy Kavanagh  Of Moneenroe
  • 31 Jan 1830 Catherine   Daughter of Thomas Large and Biddy Kavanagh  Of Moneenroe
  • 20 Oct 1833 Ellen Daughter of Thomas Large and Bridget Kavanagh Of Ardra,  Labourer

Gurteen, Moneenroe, and Ardra are the names of townlands. They’re just northeast of the town of Castlecomer. Each of these townlands is about one or two square miles. So it’s a rather small area.

Thomas and Bridget Large lived in these townlands northeast of Castlecomer

I don’t know why the family lived in three different places between 1826 and 1833.

You can see in the map detail below that the tenant cottages were scattered along the roads.

Tenant cottages along the roadways

Villages were typically at the road junctions. The village of Gazebo was at the Moneenroe road junction. Other nearby settlements were at Clough, Newtown, and Jarrow. The area was populous, with a much higher population density than we saw in Donegal.


In the next stories, we’ll see why Thomas and Bridget were living northeast of town, and what they were up to.



3 thoughts on “233 – Larges in Kilkenny

  1. deborahlargefox0764 August 10, 2022 / 10:52 am

    Thanks for the credit, much appreciated! Fantastic post. You have such a gift for explaining complicated records and family history so clearly.


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