I have been getting details of my part of the McGreal family for a short time. From a visit to my Uncle and Aunt last year I have a considerable amount of information about the McGreals who settled in the Ballaghadareen area of Co Roscommon, Eire.
I start with a Dominic McGreal who went to Whitestown, nr Ballaghadareen in about 1860, and married a Corrigan. It is believed that he used to travel for his father who lived in the Westport, Co Mayo, selling meat, eggs etc., the family being Farmers and Butchers. He liked the area of North West Roscommon, found the property and started farming there. Whilst the house was sold some time ago, both he, and my Grandfather were farmers. My uncle has carried on the tradition, and the farm is at Feigh, Loughglynn. Nr Castlerea, Co Roscommon. Whilst this is the postal address, Feigh is equidistant from Castlerea, and Ballaghadareen.
The name McGreal is still common in Westport; There is a Butchers in the High Street, and a further premises with the McGreal name on the sign board. The latter was closed when we visited, and what tade is carried on we could not determine.
It would seem therefore that the traditional occupations of the family, that I have been told of ie. Butchers and Farmers are continuing in Eire.
The three locations are interesting in a Geographical context. The three larger towns of Dromahair, Westport and Castlerea from triangle. Here I have assumed that your spelling of Drumahaire is the present Dromahair. In straight lines: Dronahair - Ballaghadereen is 26 miles; Ballaghadareen - Westport 40 Miles; Westport - Dromahair 60 miles. On horse a maximum of 2 days journey for the latter, and a days travel for the first two.
On the assumption that the information that I have been given in that the Roscommon branch of the family came from Westport in about 1860 is correct, and I suspect that it is, this leaves the question of a link between your research, and the Westport branch. There must be one!
The answer is probably a search through the Parish Records in Roscommon to get Dominic McGreals Date of Birth. With this go to Westport and try to trace his family from there.
As an aside for you there is only one case of emigration to America that I have come across on our side of the Family, and this is shrouded in mystery! Dominic McGreal had 4 Children: Pat, John, Mary, and Michael. I know a lot about Pat and indeed met one of his Daughters, Bridie Flynn who lives in Carrick on Shannon. Michael was my Grandfather, whose farm my Uncle Pat now works. I can trace little about Mary but she married a Rogers and I am waiting to see if my relations in Eire can find out any more. The remaining child John went to America just before the 1st World War. Bridie has a photograph of him, and I am told he was about 18. He did send some letters, but they ceased and there is a suspicion that he changed his name to avoid conscription when America entered the War.
On a visit to the War Cemetries in Flanders my son found a grave of a John McGreal, killed on the Somme, but enquiries from the War Graves Commission revealed that he was born in England so it was not him. There were other McGreals killed in both Wars, but as yet I have not researched their backgrounds any further.
Michael J McGreal
Last updated June 9, 1997
Return to the beginning