Séamus Ó Cuireáin (c1863–1933) of Ardsmore, Gortahork, Co Donegal
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According to the information recorded on the Doegen speaker questionnaire in September 1931, Séamus Ó Cuireáin was born at Gortahork, and was aged 68 at the time of recording in 1931. His father was a farmer from Gortahork and his mother came from Inis Bó Finne. In response to questions, he stated that he spent at least the first 20 years of his life at Gortahork. Subsequently he spent 8 and a half years in Australia and 4 years in America, and 8 years going to Scotland, presumably in that order. Since then he had lived in Gortahork. His occupation was given as a farmer. His address in 1931 was An Árdaidh Mhór, Gortahork. Irish was his mother language, and he could also speak English. He had not attended primary school, and could not read or write. Comment was made on his enunciation: "voice weak, not very clear."
Séamus does not seem to have been living at home in the 1901 census; he may be one of the several people of the name, born in Ireland, unmarried, and of around the right age, to be found in the Scottish census of 1901. On 16/02/1904 at Gortahork, James Curran of Gortahork, bachelor, married Isabella Gallagher of Ardsmore, spinster; their fathers, Edward Curran and John Gallagher, were both farmers; the witnesses were Neal McHugh and Sarah Gallagher. In 1911, Séamus was found in Ardsmore: James Curran 46, his wife Isabella 43, and their children Edward 6 and James 1. The couple had been married for 7 years, and 2 of their 3 children were living (the third child was Bella, born 1906, died aged 14 months). The head of the household was Isabella's unmarried brother, Denis Gallagher 45. All the adults spoke Irish and English; neither of the children spoke English.
Séamus' brother, Edward Curran, was present as a head of household in Ardsmore in both 1901 and 1911. In 1901, there was Edward Curran 38, wife Mary 30, children John 8, Patrick 6, Hannah 5, Grace 3, Manus 1. In 1911, there was Edward Curran 50, wife Mary 44, children John 18, Patrick 16, Hannah 14, Manus 11, James 9, Edward 6, Mary 4, Jily 3. Edward and Mary (née Coyle) had been married 19 years by 1911, and all 9 children were living. Grace Curran 13 is living with her widowed grandfather Patrick Coyle 82 at Lower Beltony in 1911.
From genealogical information on the internet, the parents of Séamus and Edward were Edward Curran (whose father was called Seamus) and Sarah Coll. A fuller listing of their family is given as: Mary, Edward, Nellie, Hugh, Patrick, Séamus (b 1867?), Kate, Rose. Séamus, Hugh and possibly Edward were in Australia but returned to Donegal, while Rose remained in Australia.
Séamus Ó Cuireáin died at An Árdaidh Mhór on 26/09/1933, aged 70, survived by his wife. The death was registered by his son, James, also of An Árdaidh Mhór. The gravestone pictured here at Gort a' Choirce is thought to be that of the speaker's son.
Recent references to Séamus Ó Cuireáin include:
Reilig Ghort a' Choirce.
(Photograph © Irish Graveyard Surveyors).
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