French Family Association
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Chart #IREH, ffrenches of Monivea Castle,
Co. Galway, Ireland
Last updated by Mara French on 11/20/08. Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to the bibliography at the end of this chart. An asterisk (*) shows continuation of that line. Send corrections or additions to Mara French. Revised 1989, 2008.
This is a very extensive ffrench family. There is so much information online about them that I plan to include only a small part here. I am mainly trying to research the connection of the French, ffrench, and de Freyne families born in Ireland who immigrated to America. With this particular line, one family immigrated to Australia in the 19th century, and one family immigrated to Canada in the 20th century.
Monivea is a village in County Galway, a dozen miles east of Galway City itself, in the Republic of Ireland. It is small, with a population of fewer than 200 souls, and noteworthy principally for its elegant ruined church and its broad main street, laid out more like an English village green, with the Post Office on one side and the Garda (police) station on the other. At the eastern end of the village is an old stone wall with a broad gateway, through which lead the roads to the local rugby club's pitch, and behind that Monivea Forest. It is really the gateway into local history of Monivea Castle .
Monivea was an O'Kelly castle (John Crosach O’Kelly) of the 15th century, which later became part of the Ffrench mansion. The castle and mausoleum are protected structures. Inhabited until the mid 20th century. This Ffrench family were descendants of the fourteen Tribes of Galway.
Successive generations of the Ffrenches worked hard to reclaim useful land from an estate which was mainly bogland spreading lime and burying sheep's carcasses to encourage the growth of plants, especially trees, which would dry out and stabilise the soil. Oliver Cromwell came and confiscated their lands, but once he was gone, they bought them back again and continued the reclamation process. They were well-respected folk around the county, enough so for Robert Ffrench to have represented Galway in the United Kingdom parliament between 1768 and 1776. Robert d. in 1779 (fifth generation below).