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Kelly’s 12 Christmas Days – No 1, Galway 1870

December 12, 2016

Thomas Bernard Kelly’s first Christmas as a nine-month old baby was spent at the family home above the tea merchants at 2 High Street, Galway.

It would have been crowded as the large family gathered for Christmas lunch after returning from Mass at the Pro-Cathedral where his parents had been married in 1844. Baby Thomas was the youngest of ten children at that stage although his 42-year old mother, Bridget, was almost eight months pregnant: John Philip was born the following February but died less than a year later. This wasn’t the only child she lost in infancy so by 1870 there would have been eight children living in the tiny rooms above the shop: another, Catherine, had joined the Sisters of Mercy and left for life in a convent in Paris a few years before.

This was the last Christmas such a large gathering of the Kelly family took place at 2 High Street. The following year, his 21 year old sister Margaret – who must have taken much of the burden off her pregnant mother that Christmas Day – and 17 year old brother Michael left to join his mother’s Considine relatives in Bendigo, Australia.

They would never see their baby brother again, although through letters and the newspapers they followed his adventures from Down Under.

The picture shows 2 High Street as it is today.

The Kelly story is told in Fighting for the Empire

Follow his remarkable life through 12 Christmas Days.

Next: No 2 – Queen’s College, Galway 1890


From → Publishing

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