Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2003-02 > 1044475527

From: Nancy Mazzeo Reeb <>
Subject: [Irish in Chicago] Western People February 5, 2003
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 2003 15:05:27 -0500

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Kilkelly, Kilmovee, County Mayo, Ireland

Michael Flatley's roots in area

It has been confirmed in recent times that Michael Flatley's roots are
in Kilmovee. When we stated in these notes recently that Kilmovee had a
rich and proud heritage little did we know that famous people's
ancestors were to be found there.
We also have an ancient castle and many church ruins; Urlaur Abbey and
the Knock International Airport, close to the parish. We also have the
home of Pat McNamara, in Urlaur, who wrote the song 'Kilkelly Ireland'.
Heaven knows whom we will next find has their ancestry in the parish or

To get back to Michael Flatley ... the local Parish Priest, Fr. Farrell
Cawley, P.P., has confirmed that Michael Flatley's great-grandparents
were wed in Kilmovee Church on 31st October, 1888. This is confirmed by
the Parish Register of that date which we understand shows that Patrick
Flatley of Sinolane married Mary Regan, also Sinolane, on 31st October,
1888. The South Mayo Family Research Society, based in Ballinrobe, has
confirmed that these people were Michael Flatley's great-grandparents.
Witnesses to the marriage were Thomas and Mary Flatley (Pat's brother
and sister), Michael Flatley's grandfather was Thomas, born in July
1890. In 1922, thirty-two years later, Thomas married Mary Anne Henry,
at Keash Church (Co. Sligo). When Fr. Cawley was C.C. in Keash he
officiated at the funeral of Michael Flatley's uncle Tom, at which the
famous dancer played a lament at the graveside. These are facts of which
the parish is justly proud.

Some details of the dancer himself which may be of interest are that
Michael Flatley was born on 16th July 1958. His father was Michael, his
mother Eilish (nee Ryan) of Carlow, emigrated to USA in 1947. They
settled in Chicago, Illinois, where they established a successful
construction business. Michael's mother Eilish, and his grandmother
(mother's mother) were very good dancers, so it was in his blood so to
speak. Michael, I feel sure, would be very welcome in Kilmovee/Kilkelly
area should he wish to visit the area.

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