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

10 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

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