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KEENAN FAMILY in Australia


Northern Ireland

Last updated 20 March 2024


                                                                                                                                                      Clady River near Inishrush                Old Keenan home at Glenone                Lower Bann River                  Church of Ireland, Portglenone

  • May Keenan (1924 - 2019).  May used to live just out of Portglenone, at Inishrush, County Derry, Northern Ireland.  Apparently, she was the last of the "Glenone" Keenan's.  See photograph taken in October 2002 by Peter Keenan of Australia. The Inishrush Townland is a short distance north of the Glenone Townland. May Keenan attended church at St Nossonus, Tamlaght O'Crilly Lower, Inishrush (Parish of Tamlaght O'Crilly).  In the churchyard is a plaque recording the buried of Keenans.
  •  Glenone is understood to mean "Meadow of two rivers".  (This information is from  www.greenlough.com) .  The two rivers are the River Bann and the Clady River. However, it is also said that the name Glenone comes from the Irish “Cluain Eoghain”, which means “Owen’s meadow”.

  • (March 2024) My attention has recently been drawn to a couple of videos by Joe Martin of Northern Ireland (who appears to live in the Cullybackey area). Joe does a lot of hiking and has made videos of the countryside, sometimes using a drone.

    • Video 1 - A short video taken using a drone - starting at the River Bann south of the Main Street bridge, crossing the bridge, passing Orchard Way and the Portglenone Marina, then following the river as it passes the mouth of the Clady River, then returning. You can also see the fields and farms of Glenone. Video posted 4/2/2024. Click  HERE TO SEE VIDEO 1  Thanks to the Facebook group “Photo’s of Portglenone” for alerting me to this video.

    •  Video 2 - A longer video - called "Fisherman's Walk" - taken while Joe is hiking beside the Clady River, apparently from Clady to Innishrush. Video posted March 2024. Click HERE TO SEE VIDEO 2.

  • See this lovely promotional video featuring Portglenone and local businesses.   Turn up the sound to get the local accent.



For links to genealogy sites CLICK HERE

The following information about the Portglenone area was found at The IreAtlas Townland Database  at http://www.seanruad.com/

Townland AKA Acres County Barony Civil Parish PLU Province
PORTGLENONE T. xx Londonderry Loughinsholin Tamlaght O'Crilly Magherafelt Ulster
PORTGLENONE T. xx Antrim Lower Toome Ahoghill Ballymena Ulster

Glenone is the place where Henry John Keenan (b.1842) lived before leaving for Australia in 1863-4:

Townland AKA Acres County Barony Civil Parish PLU Province
Glenone 825 Londonderry Loughinsholin Tamlaght O'Crilly Magherafelt Uls

POLLING STATION used by Electors in the GLENONE AND INNISRUSH (or INISHRUSH) area is at St Mary's Primary School, Greenlough,

 220 Moyagall Road, Clady, Portglenone, BT44 8NN

To see list of Streets, click HERE


This is the early home of the Keenans in Glenone, Northern Ireland.  Photo supplied by Anne Waghorn, of Australia, a descendant of those Keenan's who settled in Western Australia in the mid to late 1800s. The home in Glenone has been demolished.


I visited the site in 2018 (in the company of John Kerr of Coleraine, NI, a distant cousin on the Gamble side, and a person who knows the area and the people well). The site is at 59 Clady Road, Glenone, County Derry. The GPS coordinates are 54.873865, -6.495697. (The entrance lane is shared by both 57 and 59 Clady Road.)  John and I had a friendly chat with Mrs Andrews, wife of Robert (Bobby) Andrews, the current occupants. I took several photos of the site. Note: A post to the Facebook site "Photo's of Portglenone" on 24/3/2023 revealed that "Bobby" Andrews recently turned 80.

Before that, on a visit to the area in 2002, I was shown the site by Sheila Johnston (now deceased), a Keenan relative who was then living in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland.   According to Sheila "there is a bungalow there now (Sept 2011) where the old Keenan home was.  I think the man who lives there is a distant relative of Keenans". Sheila has provided me with a map with the site marked on it.  It seems to be located at 50 Clady Road, Glenone, County Derry; well back from the left hand side of the road travelling East towards Portglenone, about half way between Kirea Road and Ballymacombe Road. Subsequent research and visits have established that the address is 59 Clady Road, Glenone.


John Kerr also took me to the farm land where Nancy Jane Gamble (who became Nancy Jane Keenan of Batlow, New South Wales) grew up. His brother Robert Kerr owns it and the property next door.  The formal address is at 12 Currish Lane, Lislea, Portglenone, Ballymena, Londonderry, BT44 8JW. (LPS Property Reference 455397)



Glenone School built 1836 adjacent to the River Bann

The photo above and the text below are from the website of the Parish of Greenlough, Tamlaght O'Crilly.  For more go to www.greenlough.com

The following description is from http://www.portglenonetourism.com/dir/tourism/heritage-trail/11.-glenone-national-school

 "Glenone National School, (Glenone PrimarySchool, also known as Bannside), built in 1836.

Glenone National School. A very grand school for its time, Bannside, was by no means the typical National School. 

Glenone National, (later Public Elementary), School was built in 1836, near Portglenone Bridge, on a site donated by Daniel Daly, a local merchant. A two-storey building, 31ft. by 20 ft., with walls 1ft.10 in. thick, it had a slate umbrella roof and was built of black quarry stone. It had one door, 10 windows and an 8-dayclock on the wall facing the bridge. There were two outdoor toilets and a small shed. Boys were taught in the lower storey and girls in the upper.

The total cost of the erection of the building was £155.75 and of this, the National Board contributed £103.85. The following are named as having given donations;- Rev John Rogers, PP of Tamlght £2; eight local merchants, W.H.Holmes, Daniel Day, John Daly, Sen., John Daly, Jr., Dr Heaney, Pat Mooney, John Hamil and James McEntire, all gave £1 each. The remainder, £36.90, was contributed by, "benevolent persons of all denomination, in sums equal to the circumstance".

Reproduced from "Making sense of it all" By Damien Clarke

The school, then known as Glenone Primary, closed in 1962. The teachers at this time were Mrs Maura Clarke (Principal) and Mrs Margaret Fox. Glenone School was demolished in 1986."



Extract from a "Quiet Places of the Lower Bann Valley" by John HUGHES and Donal BARTON. (circa 1998)



“In Co Derry across from Portglenone is Innisrush, named after an island that used to be in the middle of Green Lough (green lake). There was the residence of Hercules ELLIS, local landowners. It was once quite a thriving village. John CLEMENTS owned a woodworking business. The Green Lough which gave its name to the parish (Greenlough) has now disappeared, having been drained in the process of draining bogs in the late 1800's. However once there was an island in the middle of it and Brian CARRAGH built a castle on it and lived there till he died in 1586. He was the great grandson of Dumnhall Donn, Donnell the Brown, O'NEILL, who founded the sept clan Domhnaill-Duin-Na-Bana. He lived on the Antrim side but seized the O'Cahan clan's lands, which this was. Many tried to capture him but at this time the land was bog, water, and wood.”


Extract produced in an email by Linda Merle n 1998 to Ancestry.com. http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/Scotch-Irish/1998-10/0909120970

The book mentioned above - "Quiet Places of the Lower Bann Valley" - mentions other sites and persons of historical importance, such as Clady, the Clady River and John Keenan, and has a number of photos of the Lower Bann area.  A copy of the book, without the hyperlinks, is also published on this site. To see my PDF copy CLICK HERE.  For my Word copy CLICK HERE.

Voices from Portglenone (County Antrim)

 Recorded 19/1/2005 by the BBC (Ulster). Conversations in Portglenone about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.  Interviewer Conor Garrett.  Interviewees: Vincent McAllister (b.1980), Michael McAllister (b.1945), Claire McCorry (b.1982) and Pearce (b.1989).  Duration of recording: 1hr 3mins 4secs.

LINK to sound recording: http://sounds.bl.uk/Accents-and-dialects/BBC-Voices/021M-C1190X0044XX-1301V0#_

Parish of Greenlough History:


"Although Greenlough parish has only two primary schools at present, in the past it could boast of several. No less than 20 schools are listed by the Commissioners of National Education, Dublin, for the parish of Tamlaght O’Crilly in their Report for the year 1823. The schools listed with their principals were:

Drumoracannon (Drumnacanon) (William Spoole– Protestant)

Hervey Hill (Patrick Quinn– Catholic)

Drumlain (Dominic Heyland & Mrs Heyland– Protestant)

Drumnacanon Catholic School (Daniel O’Connor)

Lisnagrotte (James McLaughlin– Catholic)

Tyanee (John Rea– Catholic)

Innisrush (William Thompson– Protestant)

Kildare Place School at Glenone (James McLester)

Bovedy (James McArthur– Presbn.)

Drumolish (Drumoolish) (James Workman– Protestant)

Drumagarner (James O’Neill)

Lismoyle (Joseph Pollock)

Ballynion (Robert Doriss)

Drumcan (Mary McCotter)

Glenone (John Henry, Catholic) stone and mud

Glenone (James McLester, Protestant) stone & lime, an excellent house

Money Haghan (Mary Ferguson– Protestant)

Innisrush (Miss Ellis– Protestant)

Mayogeny (James Diamond– Catholic)

Leslea (Margaret Dunbar, Presbn.) a poor cabin

Both Catholics and Protestants attended these schools. In 1838 Fr John McLaughlin built the first Greenlough National School on a site opposite the old Parochial House. At the same time a National School was built alongside the River Bann in the Townland of Glenone. This was known as Glenone National School. The old Greenlough National School proved inadequate for the numbers attending and the parish priest converted the old stables at the edge of the graveyard into classrooms. The teacher’s illustrations can still be seen etched on the walls of the old stables. These two schools were later amalgamated in the modern Greenlough Primary School built at Moneystaghan in 1962."

The map and text below are from the website of the Parish of Greenlough, Tamlaght O'Crilly.  For more go to www.greenlough.com


The Townlands in Greenlough

Townlands in our parish:

1. Ballymacpeake- Lower
2. Drumlane
3. Drumnacanon
4. Drumoolish
5. Eden
6. Fallahogy
7. Glenone
8. Innisrush
9. Lislea
10. Moyagoney
11. Moneystaghan- Ellis
12. Moneystaghan- Macpeake
13. Mullaghnamoyagh
14. Tyanee


Click here for link to Tamlaght O'Crilly Upper Church of Ireland 1831 Census

(Added 23/1/2012)

Griffiths Valuation of Ireland 1848-1864  

For an extract of the 63 Keenans in County Derry at the time, showing names, townland and parish,  go to http://www.failteromhat.com/griffiths.php and do a search.  The same type of search can be done for any County.

Henry Keenan of Ballybeg, Ahoghill, County Antrim, may also be an ancestor, as this area is close to Portglenone.

Here's some interesting reading material:

(Added 23/1/2012)  Below are descriptions of Portglenone and Kilrea as they were in the 1840s.  The descriptions are from

Slater's Commercial Directory of Ireland 1846



"Scanned images of Slater's Commercial directory of Ireland 1846.  These are in PDF format so that they can be more easily viewed. Please note these files are large. The average size is 250k. Slaters's directory goes through the towns of Ireland alphabetically. It lists a detailed description of the town or city, post office information and shows the names of nobility and gentry living in or close to the town. The traders of each town are arranged according to their trade."

CHURCH OF IRELAND, PORTGLENONE. Cnr. Townhill and Cullybackey Roads, Portglenone.

A Henry John Keenan and a James Keenan, who died in the 1700's, are buried here.  I have photos of the gravesites, taken while visiting in 2002.

The website of oneirishrover states that the two headstones read:  "Here lieth the body of Henry Keenan who departed this life in March the 15th 1784 aged 70 years. Also Henry John Keenan who departed this life 14 May 1886 aged 8 years". And  "In memory of James Keenan who died 12 June 1906 aged 60 years. Also his son Samuel, wounded in action, died and was buried in France 6th Sept, 1917, aged 30 years. Also his wife Mary Keenan, died 4th April 1934, aged 91 years and his grand daughter Margaret Bell Keenan, ..." (Note - the bottom section/words of this headstone is broken and missing).  This does not accord with what I saw when I visited that church graveyard in 2002. But perhaps a greater part of the headstone has been exposed since then. During 2020 I have corresponded with the author of oneirishrover (William Mulholland), but there is still some confusion and uncertainty.  It is quite possible that the Keenans buried here, in Portglenone, are from another branch of Keenan family:  for example, my research shows that the James Keenan who died in 1906 and had a son Samuel who was killed in France in 1917, was the brother of my Henry John Keenan. [Refer Tree HK1808 and Tree JK 1847.]


The following description is fromhttp://www.portglenonetourism.com/dir/tourism/heritage-trail/6.-church-of-ireland-parish-church :-

"Erected c.I735 by Francis Hutchinson, it became the parish church proper in 1840. Plain of appearance, the church is constructed of fieldstones. A tablet is erected inside the church to the memory of Dr Hutchinson, who is buried in a vault underneath the Sanctuary. Some of the old Communion service ware and a copper collection plate held by the church were gifts from St John O'Neill, who lived briefly in Portglenone Castle. He was an uncle of Lord O'Neill of Shane's Castle."


Available from the Irish Ancestors website