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
Baptism of PATRITIUS (PATRICK) DENAHY of MILLSTREET on 1 November 1882
Baptism of CATHARINA (CATHERINE) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 7 September 1884
Baptism of JOANNES (JOHN) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 4 September 1886
Baptism of DIONYSIUS (DENIS) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 13 October 1888
Baptism of NANO (HONORA) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 4 October 1890
Baptism of JEREMIAS (JEREMIAH) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 16 January 1893
Baptism of MARGUERTIA MARIA (MARGARET MARY) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 5 December 1894
Baptism of EDMUNDUS (EDMUND) FRANCISCUS (FRANCIS) DENNEHY of MILLSTREET on 24 October 1896
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|
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|
|Mc Carthy||Julia||84||Female||Boarder||Roman Catholic|
Patrick, aged 19, emigrated in 1902 going to his uncle Patrick O’Leary at 2 Pembroke Rd, Bridgeport, Conn.. [Ellis Island]
Denis, aged 18, emigrated in 1906 on the Umbria from Queenstown to his brother Patrick at 672 Pembroke St, Bridgeport, Conn., [Ellis Island]
Jeremiah fought with the British in WWI (did he go to america later?)
Edmund fought in the Gurkas for the british. 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]