Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,
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He sp bapt of his 1st cousin
Mary Ann Hickie's
He wrote on 7 Apr 1858 from Ballylongford to his brother Michael Joseph [P102/26]. "Business is very dull at present in Ballylongford".
He took over family business in Ballylongford c.1860, in the old Rahilly house, Ballylongford.
"Richard Rahilly" (note not Mrs. Rahilly) is listed in Ballylongford in 1861 as baker, draper, fish curer and merchant, grocer and one of the principal farmers ["Memory Lane", The Shannonside Journal, 1994, p.121].
He may have had a previous marriage with a child born 1862.
He sp the bapt of his 1st cousin Edward McEllistrem 1863.
His mother and brother died 1866. He wrote some family dates in [P102/29].
He is described as "merchant", living Ballylongford at marriage.
mar 1868 to Ellen Mangan
[bapt 24 Nov 1835].
"Richard Rahilly, Ballylongford" is listed under "Bakers" and "Grocers" and "Drapers" in [Slater's directory, 1870].
He sp bapt of David Joseph Hickie January 1872.
He sp bapt of his wife's niece Catherine Mangan Feb 1872.
The Rahilly business:
Richard built up his parents' business, expanded into many fields.
He was a grocer, spirit dealer, shopkeeper, baker, miller, fish curer, draper, general merchant, farmer, landowner, importer, inventor, post office and shipping agent. He became the wealthiest man in the area.
These were prosperous times for Ballylongford at the mouth of the Shannon. Royal Navy craft were frequent visitors to Ballylongford Bay. The port served much of the outlying area, even Limerick. (The town is much reduced in importance today.)
Richard was apparently not a publican.
He sold wine and spirits but apparently did not run a public house.
Richard was wealthy enough by 1874 to build a fine new 3 storey Rahilly house, Ballylongford, beside the old Rahilly house, at corner of main crossroads, the only 3 storey house in Ballylongford.
Richard was a mainstream constitutional nationalist when younger.
(He does not seem nationalist later in life.)
He attended Daniel O'Connell centenary celebrations in Dublin in Aug 1875 [Bourke, 1967].
In Sept 1875 he took part in an enthusiastic Home Rule meeting in Ballylongford which was addressed by Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, Home Rule MP for Co.Kerry.
licence to carry arms,
He is listed as "grocer" at Margaret's death 1877 [GROI].
The Land League was founded 1879. When a branch was founded at Ballylongford, Richard Rahilly was at the meeting.
[Bassett's, 1880-81] lists him as shipping agent, grocer, spirit dealer, baker, draper, hardware dealer, "iron, coal and timber yard" and "artificial manure and seed merchant", also listed under "hotel keepers and posting establishments", but not yet postmaster. (His 1st cousin Mark McEllistrem is postmaster.)
Apparently became postmaster for Ballylongford in 1880-81. Note that the sensitive job of postmaster would have to be approved by Dublin Castle, would only go to those considered loyal.
[Slater's, 1881] lists him as the postmaster for Ballylongford, and also lists him under "bakers" and "grocers and spirit dealers" and "linen and woollen drapers".
[Letter by Eliza Patt, 1881] says: "you never saw such a deserted place now as Ballylongford. It's Richard Rahilly that holds the Post Office there now ... He is the only person that is doing any business in Ballylongford now".
He was very progressive, inventive.
He wanted a machine to record sales in the shop. No such device on the market, so he proceeded to invent one of his own. It was said to be the first cash register seen in Munster. One story [O'Rahilly, 1991] is that an English salesman saw this, and his company started to design one of their own. Rahilly considered taking legal action, but was advised not to in the end. Another version of story [Bourke, 1967] is that Richard was inventing cash register, got into trouble with someone else's patent, which stopped him. See history of cash registers.
It was also said that the Rahillys were the first people in Ireland with a domestic fridge. He brought it from America. See history of fridges. He wanted to install an ice plant - could have shipped salmon by rail to Dublin, fresh for the London market - but his wife wouldn't support the plan. Years later The O'Rahilly said if they had put in the plant, he might never have left Ballylongford.
His wife Ellen put down almost every idea he came up with. She was against everything. Family story that she stopped him patenting something, and he always held that against her.
Aodogán in [O'Rahilly, 1991, p.16] says he asked Alfred about her. Alfred said he could sum her up in one word: "She was a bitch." Alfred said Richard was terrified of her, used take refuge with their family.
Richard was involved in setting up of the co-operative creamery in Listowel.
[Gaughan, 1974] and [Gaughan, 2004] show that after many amalgamations Listowel co-op became Listowel Dairy Company, then Kerry Co-op, now Kerry Group (which owns Dennys).
Invoice letterhead of 1885 describes him as "R. Rahilly, Insurance, Steamship, Flour and Commission Agent".
Entry for Ballylongford in [Guy's, 1886] lists him as Postmaster, baker, draper, emigration agent, fish curer and merchant, grocer and one of the principal farmers.
On 22 June 1886, he wrote to his son Michael (age 11) regretting his own recent behaviour: "I gave you so frequently .. bad example in many ways. .. I allude to my having" [cut off edge, must be "drunk more"] "than I ought on our trip to Queenstown, but which I trust that you will never again see from your father". He urges Michael to "avoid the possibility of such a sad thing occurring to you by .. joining the League of the Cross and becoming for all your life a total abstainer" [P102/34].
Justice of the Peace,
Poor Law Guardian:
Richard was a loyal British subject. He was a Justice of the Peace in Co.Kerry.
Appointed JP on 19 Dec 1890 [P102/35].
[Thom's] lists him as JP from 1892 edn.
He is listed as a JP when he signs a group letter in the Irish Times, February 12, 1891, from many JPs and notable figures of Co.Kerry, urging John Adye Curran, County Court Judge of Kerry, not to leave the county, and praising his work in reducing crime.
He was JP until his death 1896.
In a letter of 17 May 1891 [P102/44(14)] he refers to his brother-in-law Patrick Fitzgerald's support for Parnell: "Patt of course with his accustomed aberration of intellect is a rabid Parnellite".
Though an anti-Parnellite, he rescued a Parnellite candidate from a mob at a meeting in Astee, nr Ballylongford, in July 1892 [Bourke, 1967]. This would be in general election, 1892, the first since Parnell's downfall and the split.
It is thought that his younger brother's brilliant children were helped through school and college by their rich uncle in Ballylongford.
He owned boats, sailed the Shannon and Atlantic coast. He went to race meetings, trips to England. Had summer vacations, mainly in Co.Clare.
Unlike the Humphrys, the Rahillys and Mangans were very much interested in this world - comfort, beauty, gardens etc.
[Guy's, 1893] lists him as JP, emigration agent, grocer, baker, draper, farmer, and agent for Bannatyne's flour and meal stores.
Richard's last will dated 14 Mar 1893, with codicil apparently on the day he died, 24 Mar 1896.
Richard dies in 1896:
Richard attended meeting of Board of Guardians in Listowel on Thur 19 Mar 1896 [The Kerry Evening Post, Sat 21 Mar 1896].
Though [P106/318(5)] says it was Thur 12 Mar.
He cycled home to Ballylongford in torrential rain and wind for 9 miles. Got pneumonia.
He died at his house, Ballylongford, Tue morning 24 Mar 1896, age 56 yrs [The Kerry Evening Post, Sat 28 Mar 1896].
Newspaper death notice in [P106/318(7)] and obituary in [P106/318(4)].
He was bur Lislaughtin Abbey near Ballylongford.
Newspaper funeral list in [P106/318(5)].
Mass card in [P102/38] and [P106/37].
Estate valued for probate at £24,945 [NAI]. This is about £10m in today's money.
He left his entire estate to Ellen. Estate granted to her 3rd Sept 1897 [NAI]. (todo) See papers in [P106/204].
Probate granted at Limerick to his widow, of effects in England valued at £621, sealed at London 23rd February 1898 [National Probate Calendar, England].
Their son Michael Joseph took over business in Ballylongford. But he was anxious to marry and leave, and he sold it off 1898.
Ellen leaves Ballylongford:
Ellen left Ballylongford 1898, and moved closer to her dau Nell (in Limerick city) by purchasing a grand country house, Quinsborough House, Co.Clare. Quinsborough was purchased by [Deed, Nov 1898]. Conveyance of house and lands to her dau Anno for £3000 (about £1m in today's money).
Ellen and her dau Anno lived Quinsborough. Ellen always wanted to be gentry, never liked being shopkeeper's wife, no matter how wealthy. (Even though Mangans only small farmers, they looked down on shopkeepers.)
After Richard's death, Ellen continued supporting the education of T.F.'s brilliant children.
Nell and her family moved in with them at Quinsborough when Nell's husband Dr. David took ill, apparently moved in 1900. (Though Nell and David left their children there and went travelling.)
See entry at Quinsborough in [Census, 31 Mar 1901]. Ellen described as "Farmer". Grandchildren Dick and Sighle are at Quinsborough, with grandmother and Anno, without their parents, who are travelling in Egypt. They have 3 servants living with them - a nurse, a female general servant and a coachman.
Quinsborough is described as having 13 rooms. 12 windows in front of house. It has 11 out-buildings - consisting of 2 stables, 1 coach house, 1 harness room, 1 cow house, 1 calf house, 1 piggery, 1 fowl house, 1 turf house, 1 shed and 1 store.
Ellen dies in 1903:
Ellen attended Dr.David's funeral May 1903.
Her will dated 16 June 1903.
She died at Quinsborough, Dec 1903, age 68 yrs.
She died 11 Dec 1903 [grave], [NAI], or 4 Dec 1903 [mass card], [GROI].
Mass card in [P102/42] and [P106/38].
She was bur Lislaughtin Abbey near Ballylongford.
Dick (age 7) and Sighle (age 4) were left alone in Quinsborough while everyone went to the funeral. Sighle told me she remembered they had a tremendous day sliding down the stairs on a tray. Their stern grandmother would have been horrified to know how they spent her funeral day.
Admin of estate granted to Nell, 13 Apr 1904, estate only £1,109. Richard's estate had been spent, and dispersed to the children.
Richard and Ellen had issue:
Baptism of Nell Rahilly, 28 Apr 1871 [Ballylongford parish records].
This is thought to be Richard Rahilly's name carved (presumably when he was young) on a theatre seat in Dublin.
Blathnaid O'Rahilly acquired this (sometime after 1951) when she was walking past a theatre being renovated in Dublin, either the Olympia Theatre or the Gaiety Theatre. Some of the workmen called to her and asked her wasn't she connected to the O'Rahillys. When she said yes, they gave her the carved seat.
See larger and full size.
See also The O'Rahilly carving his name (apparently following his father).
Richard Rahilly listed among "grocers and spirit dealers" at Ballylongford in [Slater's directory, 1870].
The letterhead of a letter from Richard Rahilly (died Mar 1896) to Dr. David Humphreys, 25 Jan 1896.
See full size. From [P106/346].
The name "Michael Joseph Rahilly" on the letterhead is a mystery. Richard's father Michael Joseph died back in 1849. It could hardly refer to him.
Richard's son Michael Joseph, "The O'Rahilly" had left university after illness. It seems he was home in Ballylongford, working in the family business, with his name on at least one run of letterheads.