Brian Dennehy on the Late Late

2010-01-07 Brian Dennehy on the Late Late

Brian Dennehy’s appearance on the Late Late on Friday evening is available on RTE’s website until January 28th. He refers to Millstreet where his grandfather came from twice in the interview and also to Noel C Duggan.

The interview lasts for the first 21 minutes of the programme. Watch the interview here.

Since the video will only be available for the next few weeks, here’s a transcript of the dialogue referring to Millstreet, which contains an interesting story and some more trivia that is worth recording for the longer term:

(4:40 mins into the programme)
Tubridy: And you had plenty of connections with the place down there.
Dennehy: Well as it turns out, Noel C Duggan who is a wonderful guy from Millstreet which is where my grandfather was from, did a whole bunch of research and called us one day to let us know that my great-grandmother (my grandfathers mother) was from Kilmackowen which is about 2 miles from Ardgroom, and somehow we had found this place which was about 2 miles or so where she lived in the 1850s.

(12:27 mins into the programme)

Tubridy: Was it your grandfather who left Ireland, Brian
Dennehy: Yeah, my grandfather was Denis Dennehy from Millstreet
Tubridy: did he train for the priesthood, was it..
Dennehy: no that was my father. My grandgather was a bit like the Bull McCabe. He was not necessarily interested in the intellectual life. He worked in a factory in Bridgeport for his whole life, and he came at a very young age, he and all of his brothers and sisters came, and never went back! so he would write to his mother and talk to her on the telephone, but he would not go back cos he was very bitter about being forced to leave. But he was happy in Bridegeport but he could not understand why my father wanted to be educated, so my father did a really interesting thing Ed Dennehy: he told everyone that he wanted to become a priest, and in those days which would have been  the late 20s, when you said that, you were plucked out of school and sent to college and seminary which he did do and he was so smart he wound up at the American University of Louvain in Belgium studing with Cardinal Mercier, until the time came when he had to go and lay down on the altar and he said “I’ve changed my mind … I don’t have a vocation at all”, and within two years I was on the scene. But he was an amazing guy and a real genuine intellectual, and my grandfather was the exact opposite, but he was one of those people when you’re an American Irishmen, you look back at those that took that great leap out in the 19th century as he did when he was very young … can you imagine leaving your home, your mother and father at age 15 or 16 and just throwing the dice. Extraordinary people, we got some good ones and fortunately he was one of them …


Another article from the same time:

“Dennehy says he could not be more excited to return to Ireland, a place he called home for about ten years. His Irish roots extend to the West and Southwest of Ireland on both sides of his family – on his father’s side, his grandfather was born in Millstreet, County Cork, and his grandmother was born in Kilmacalogue in West Cork. He knows that they “were born back in the 1850s or 1860s, and were essentially farm workers, and my grandfather emigrated I’m guessing sometime around 1900 – 1904, 1905, he was very young. All of his brothers and sisters eventually came to America and they were all factory workers – they worked for a major factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Jenkin’s Valve, which is no longer there.
On Dennehy’s mother’s side were the Mannions. His grandmother emigrated from Waterford and became a domestic in the United States, a few generations earlier than his father’s people. Most of his relatives settled in Bridgeport and Danbury.”

— from Brian Dennehy’s Journey into Eugene O’Neill, Irish America 2010


We get a lot of queries about the Dennehy’s of Church Street, so writing them down here so I don’t have to look them up again. (mdc. Nov 2018)

Edmond / Edward Dennehy was born about 1847
Julia Carroll was born about 1849.

Marriage of EDWARDUS (EDWARD) DENEHY of MILLSTREET and JUDE (Julia?) CARROL of MILLSTREET on 15 May 1866. Son of Denis Denehy. Daughter of Denial Carroll.

Baptism of ELLENA (ELLEN) DENNIHY of MILLSTREET on 22 July 1866
Baptism of JULIA DENEHY of WORKHOUSE on 13 March 1869
Baptism of DYONISUS (DENIS) DENAHY of MILLSTREET on 13 April 1871
Baptism of DANIEL DANNEHY of WORKHOUSE on 24 November 1872 –
Jeremiah Dennehy ??? (? Mentioned by Denis)
Baptism of BRIGITA (BRIDGET) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 23 February 1876
Baptism of EDMUNDUS (EDMUND) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 10 October 1878

Death of JULIA DENAHY in 1879, aged 30, wife of a baker, of TB

Marriage of EDMOND DENEHY of Millstreet and HANORA LEARY of Keale on 2nd April 1880 at Derrinagree Church. Son of Denis Dennehy a labourer, a widower aged 50, a tradesman(?). Daughter of Patrick Leary a labourer, aged 19. [parish record]

Baptism of MARIA (MARY) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 9 January 1881 at Upper Green’s Lane [birth]
Baptism of PATRITIUS (PATRICK) DENAHY of MILLSTREET on 1 November 1882
Baptism of CATHARINA (CATHERINE) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 7 September 1884 at Green’s Lane [birth]
Baptism of JOANNES (JOHN) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 4 September 1886
Baptism of DIONYSIUS (DENIS) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 13 October 1888 at Green’s Lane [birth]
Baptism of NANO (HONORA) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 4 October 1890 at Church Street [birth]
Baptism of JEREMIAS (JEREMIAH) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 16 January 1893 at Church Street [birth]
Baptism of MARGUERTIA MARIA (MARGARET MARY) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 5 December 1894 at Church Street [birth register lists her as Mary Margaret]

Death of EDMOND DENNEHY on December 8th 1897, aged 50

1901 census: Residents of a house 28 in Church Street (Drishane, Cork)

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Dennehy Nora 42 Female Head of Family Roman Catholic
Dennehy Denis 11 Male Son Roman Catholic
Dennehy Jeremiah 8 Male Son Roman Catholic
Dennehy Bridget [*1] 6 Female Daughter
(?step granddaughter?)
Roman Catholic
Dennehy Margaret 5 Female Daughter Roman Catholic
Dennehy Edmund 3 Female Son Roman Catholic
Leary Kate 70 Female Visitor Roman Catholic

[*1] Baptism of BRIGITTE (BRIDGET) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 29 December 1893 in the Union Workhouse [birth].Mother Bridget is likely the daughter of Edmund’s first wife, born 1876.

1911 census: Residents of a house 19 in Church Street (Drishane, Cork):

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Dennehy Honoria 52 Female Head of Family Roman Catholic
Dennehy John 25 Male Son Roman Catholic
Brown Johannah 80 Female Boarder Roman Catholic
Mc Carthy Julia 84 Female Boarder Roman Catholic


Where the children went to:

Denis (1871): must have died before the other Denis was born in 1888

Daniel (1872): Married Ellen Crowley of Mill Lane and lived with her family there, having 9+ children [more]

Patrick (1882) aged 19, emigrated in 1902 going to his uncle Patrick O’Leary at 2 Pembroke Rd, Bridgeport, Conn.. [Ellis Island]

Catherine (5 Sept 1884 – 12 Dec 1962) emigrated to the US, Married Timothy Casey of Newmarket about 1909, and they lived in New Rochelle. 7 children between 1912 & 1920. [a]

Denis (1888) aged 18, emigrated in 1906 on the Umbria from Queenstown to his brother Patrick at 672 Pembroke St, Bridgeport, Conn., [Ellis Island]

Jeremiah (1893): fought with the British in WWI (did he go to america later?)

Edmund fought in the Gurkas for the British enlisted in Detroit in 1918 and saw action in St. Meihel-Argonnes. In the 1920 census of the US, there is an Edward Dennehy staying with Denis in Bridgeport. Brother?

John stayed at home (see 1911 census), but travelled in 1920, giving his brother’s Edward’s address as 148 5th Street, Bridgeport [Ellis Island]

Born July 9, 1938, in Bridgeport, CT; son of Ed (a wire service correspondent) and Hannah.


The family were initially at Upper Green’s Lane, which is just off the Main Street in Millstreet, under the archway below Reen’s Pharmacy. [GMaps]

The Dennehy’s house was at #11 Church Street, across from the Munster Fire & Safety shop:

24 thoughts on “Brian Dennehy on the Late Late”

  1. Hi,
    My Great Grandfather Edward lived in Church Street according to the birth certificate of my Grandfather Jeremiah born 16th Jan, 1893. I would be very interested to know what relationship he was to Denis if any or on any of Edwards antecedents. Tracing my family history is very difficult because of the destruction of census records so any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Many Regards,
    Mike Dennehy

    1. Hi Mike,
      Your grandfather was a brother to Denis. Denis was born 12 Oct 1888. So you and Brian are 2nd cousins. Most of the family emigrated to Bridgeport. Where did your Jeremiah go to? You can contact me for further details <email>

  2. Mike,
    The folks at asked that I get in touch with you. We share the same Great-grandfather. Jeremiah was my grandfather, Edward Joseph Dennehy’s, brother. Brian Dennehy’s granddfather, Denis, was also a brother of theirs. My understanding is that Jeremiah moved to England and his son, Edward (assuming your father) became an officer in the Gurkas. He contacted my Dad when he (my Dad) was in the Pacific during WWII.
    Now I may have all this wrong but feel free to enlighten me as best you can. I will attempt to answer any questions you might have. Currently I am looking to see if I can get my grandfather’s birth certificate and then my grandmother’s as well. Then I can apply for an Irish passport. That’s my current goal.
    I can be reached via this email, <email>

    David J. Dennehy
    9212 Coachman Dr.
    Venice FL. 34293-8836

    Mobile: (203) 260-9683
    Home: (941) 375-8880

  3. Thanks for the help everyone. I never knew about Jeremiah’s brothers so it is a great insight. It looks like there were sisters also. I must say I am rather proud of being one of Brian Dennehy’s cousins if I am reading this right. Always proud of my roots in Millstreet.

  4. Michael,
    What is your father’s name? Was he the officer in the Gurkas? If I recall correctly my Dad said he was a major.
    David J. Dennehy (Dave)

  5. Hello Dave,
    My Name is Sue, My mother Margaret was Jeremiah’s Daughter, apparently she was named after a sister of Jeremiah and as I have just found out Edward and Dennis. My Mum passed away a couple of years ago but I know she has photographs at the family home of family that settled in New Jersey. I have spoken with Mike earlier and he updated me about the Brian Dennehy connection, actually when my Mum was alive she often said she wondered if there was a family connection !, she would have been thrilled to know that he was a cousin. I remember my Grandfather and although I was very young when he died remember him fondly. If you would like any photographs of Jeremiah I can email them over , Best regards, Sue

  6. Sue,
    You are related to Brian via the same way I am. Our grandfathers were brothers. And now I’ve met yet another cousin! I would ask both of you and MIke to friend me via Facebook if you are members yourselves.

    1. Hi Dave ,
      I have tried to locate you on facebook but am unable to, would you be able to request me as there are only a few entries for Sue Hadlum,

  7. Mary,
    Bless you for showing us all this information. The information for the Irish side of my family which was empty is filling up rapidly.

  8. Hello genealogists at Millstreet, a few months ago a very helpful lady called Mary Hackett contacted me with some printed information regarding the Dennehy family tree . It was from the census national archives. In generation 2 it mentions my late mother Margaret and that she had two children Sue ( me ) and Rex( that was her brother )my mother had another daughter Liz.
    As this is an error can it be changed ?. Regards,
    Sue . PS I notice from the interview with Brian Dennehy that he is not aware that he has English cousins ! , would you be able to enlighten him

  9. My Grandmother was Hannah Dennehy McCarthy who came through Ellis Island under her sisters’ name Norah Dennehy in 1904 or so . Hannah died in 1976 and I believe was an aunt to actor Brian Dennehy. Hannah was born in Mill Street, Rock Chapel, County Cork, Ireland and lived in Lawrence, MA until her death. I also believe she was the daughter of Denis Dennehy.

    1. I wonder Neil if you have to correct Dennehy family. (there were a lot of Dennehys in Millstreet at the time)

      Ellis Island records say: Nora Dennehy, at Ellis Island 1904, aged 20 going to her cousin Mrs Jeremiah O’Sullivan, 43 Jackson St. Lawrence, Massachusetts

      Of Brian Dennehy’s ancestors from Millstreet, Nono (Hanoria) would have been 14 in 1904. I have no record of there being a Hannah (Johanna) in the family. However their father was Edmond … but their grandfather was Denis.
      I’m not sure where the Rockchapel bit comes in because that’s 20+ miles away.

      Do you have any further information to help figure it out?

      1. Michael, strike the rock chapel bit, its her and she probably came in as Nora. ultimately
        76 Osgood St., Lawrence, MA , where she died. its her, i lived with her for almost 24 years, I held her hand at the Bon Secour Hospital on the day she died 1975 at the age of
        96 I believe. Its her, let others fill in the blanks, she left a tribe of McCarthys, Caseys, and she was a true SAINT and one of the best things ever in my life. She was widowed rather young from Timothy McCarthy i can’t say when, but he left my mother three brothers and two other daughters that died young, one daughter of Dover NH and one of the (spanish flu of 1918) I ramble but this is Hannah (Norah), My Idol. My mother a accomplished pianist in her own right knew of cousin Brian in NY … RIP, Brian.

      2. Michael,
        its her, Hannah Dennehy came over here under her sister.s name, the rock chapel part is my error, Disregard that: Brian Dennehys’ grandfather is My grandmothers brother , My grandmother died in Lawrence, MA in 1976 at we believe 96 or 98 years. she must be the Dennehy from the ellis island record or whatever that went to Lawrence MA from what i see above she must actually be the Honora Dennehy on the listing.However, its her:She was and is a saint and my idol. She loved me and i lived with her except for the Army til the 1970s when i moved. from my mothers (her daughter) house. Guaranteed she is the missing link let the rest of the herd be assured she was brian’s grampy’s sister., Brian’s great-aunt: RIP Brian, you’ll immediately know her when you see her-The kindest one!

    2. My grandmother Hannah Dennehy McCarthy formerly of Millstreet, Cork is one of the missing links: she came under her sister (Juliah)s name when Juliah stayed and married in Ireland. I know it sounds strange, but its her. I know because all her relatives seemed to be scattered around NY,and my mother told me about Brian long ago: at least his being an actor and all: strange , my mother was an exceptional award winning pianist (Marguerite, born 1915, died 2011. Grandmother, Brian’s aunt, my prize (she was wonderful-her favorite song was Sean O’Farrell and the rising of -which i loved as well . believe me except, for the U.
      S. Army stint., I was her room mate and continued on until i was twenty six years old and with her hours before she passed in 1975 at the age of we think 96 because of ancient records variants i guess. Terrible, losing Brian, wish he met his aunt Hannah, his grandfather’s sister i guess.

  10. My great great grandfather was Daniel Dennehy from Meenskeha Millstreet. He was born in 1833. His parents were Francis Dennehy (Denahy) and Julia Murphy. He had a brother Denis. I’m trying to find out if his brother Denis is the Denis Denahy shown on this page as being the father of Edward Denahy (b 1847). That would mean Denis was possibly born in the 1820s, making him the same generation as my GGgrandfather. How many Denis Dennehys could there have been in a little town in the early 19th century? There also seems to be a family connection between my Dennehys and the O’Learys (Leary). I’m keen to solve this mystery but unfortunately the baptismal records seem to start a generation too late.

    1. > How many Denis Dennehys could there have been in a little town in the early 19th century?

      Lots. It was a very common name here. As a sample in the five year period from 1864-1869, there were 5 Denis Dennehys born in Millstreet. That’s one a year, which reduced the linklyhoood significantly.

      1. He would have been born in the 1820s though. Are all the Millstreet Denis Denney’s from the same extended family? That’s what I’m trying to determine, or were there lots of Dennehy families who weren’t related to each other?

  11. My great aunt Margaret Murphy married Daniel Dennehy in 1888,I believe they would have lived extremely close to Brian’s family (if not neighbours), but I can’t find any proof they are the same family, as you can see below it says originally my gr aunts husband was Laccodota.

    29 May 1888 • Millstreet, Cork, Ireland
    Parents Jeremiah Dennehy and Mary Murphy, Margaret s parents William Murphy and Mary Quill. His homeland Lakdota hers knocknakilla Millstreet7 entry 9. Id. Ky-rc-ma 71540. Witnesses Peter Moynihan and Norah Shea. Daniels address Laccodota.

    Daniel Dennehy

    Basically when you get back that far you are running out of records to prove generations before.

    1. Hi Mary Irish,
      I’ve been trying to track my mother’s Dennehy family for the last year or two. All of her known family were born in Bantry in West Cork but any dna matches were pointing towards to a strong Killarney- Millstreet connection. I think from your description that your Jeremiah Dennehy also has a son Cornelius in 1853 who would have been the one to move to Bantry and was my mother’s grandfather. Have any of your family a dna test done etc?
      Justin Cremin

  12. I did manage to find earlier in a roundabout way through Griffith’s valuation. Francis Dennehy was shown, still at Meenskeha townland, as being 89 in 1864 which would mean he was born in 1775. He must have survived there all through the famine. Talk about hardy.
    Perhaps Brian Dennehy will do ‘Who do you think you are?’ one day and they will research the Dennehys of Millstreet. That might solve some mysteries 🙂

  13. My Grandfather, John Dennehy, was born in Millstreet, County Cork June 24th 1859 and came to the U.S May 10th 1880. His fathers name was Conner Dennehy of Millstreet and his mothers name was Ellen Riordan. My grandmother was Katherine Riordan who was born September 21st 1861. Her father was Eugene Riordan and her mother’s maiden name was Mary Moriarty.
    My grandfather followed my grandmother to Girard, KS (USA) where they were married November 19th, 1882. They had several children; Cornelius, Eugene, Daniel, Ellen, Joseph, John, Katherine, Anthony and Bart.
    They eventually settled in Henryetta, OK.
    John and Alice Dennehy, my parents, had six children; Patricia, Joan, John III, James, Mary and me, Peter, the youngest.

  14. I too have Denis Dennehy from Millstreet. He probably was born before 1840. He married Julia Murphy and their first child I know of was Timothy born 1858. I have not found their marriage record. My G Grandmother Honora (Nora) Dennehy born 1861. Her baptism record said the residence was Cockhill. She also came to Lawrence, MA so I wonder if there is a connection to Neil Casey’s Hannah. As far as I know all of my G Grandmother’s siblings settled in Massachusetts mostly Lawrence. There are just too many Denis Dennehys from Millstreet that it makes it hard to trace back.

  15. Hannah McCarthy came over on her sister’s name(i don’t know how that happened but she did) her sister stayed In Ireland to marry her boyfriend and did not emigrate. Maybe some light will shine from this fact. I could throw a baseball to Mrs O’sulliuvan’s house in question .. the lady of Abbott St, Lawrence, MA and i probably have thrown a baseball over there. Mrs O’Sullivan would be the sponsor i suppose. At any rate thanks for your input. I believe, there are O’Learys and Lynches involved in my grandmother’s tribe as well as O’Connors and God only knows who else, but we trudge on. Thanks for all the input and the Best of health to all in these hazardous times.

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