Who were the Currans of Derryfad/Drimnaraw and how are they related to the Colls and Williams?

Mary Coll, 17, Derryfad, RC, was a passenger on the Sandringham which arrived in Sydney N.S.W. on 26/6/1864. Her parents were Dominick and Helen Coll, Derryfad. Her sponsor was Susan Coll. (Source: Rootsweb ~/donegal/sandringham.htm). Does this mean Susan was also in Australia before then? See below for details on Susan

This gives Mary's DOB at c. 1847. These details tally with Mary Curran neé Coll who married Thomas Curran M.P., J.P. This gravestone in Doe Graveyard, Cashel Mór, Creeslough gives some detail:

In memory of
Dominick Coll of Derryfad
who died July 1889 aged 81 years
and his wife Ellen
who died Nov 1891 aged 72 years
Erected by their daughter Mary
wife of Thomas Curran M.P. J.P.

The 1901 Census for Derryfad, Dwelling #2 (Public House) has:

James Coll, Head of Family, RC, Read + Write, 50, Publican, Married, Born Co. Donegal, Speaks Irish & English
Mary Coll, Wife, RC, Read + Write, 25,,Married, Born Co. Donegal, Speaks Irish & English
Ellen Coll, Daughter, RC, , 7 (or 1),, Not married, Born Co. Donegal
(10 entries for unrelated boarders and servants)
Susan Coll, Sister, RC, Read + Write, 52, Domestic Servant, Not married, Born Co. Donegal, Speaks Irish and English

The 1911 Census for Derryfad, Dwelling #9 has:

Susan Coll, Head of Family, RC, Cannot Read, 71, Single, Born Co. Donegal, Speaks Irish & English
Mary Curran, Sister of Susan, RC, Read + Write, 64, 40 years married, 8 Children Born, 6 Still alive, Born Co. Donegal, Speaks Irish & English
Frances Anne Curran, Susan's Niece, RC, Read + Write, 33, Single, Born New South Wales, Speaks English Only

If this is the same Susan then the ages are not consistent. It is not unusual for dates to be +/- a few years in the 1901 and 1911 Census returns but Susan's show a difference of 9 years (1840 from 1911 and 1849 from 1901). However, the Old Age Pension was brought in around 1908 for persons over 70 so it would have been in her interest to add a few years. There is a record of a Susan Coll from Donegal who went to Australia on one of the Donegal Famine Relief ships, The Abyssinian, arriving on 29/05/1862. She is described as being 22 (DOB 1840 agrees with 1911 Census), a Nursemaid, RC and cannot read or write (source: Rootsweb ~/donegal/abyssinian.htm). Other sources need to be checked (Death Register, Baptismal records if any).

Frances Anne Curran's Gravestone at Doe Cemetery: 

In Affectionate Remembrance of
Frances Ann Curran 24/7/1928 aged 55 years
Dominick Augustine Curran died 25/12/1938
Winifred P. Williams died 26/6/1966

Erected by her brothers
James Austin T.A.L
Dominick Augustine C.D.
John Joseph
T. Bartholemew B.L.

Who was Thomas Curran and what became of his family with Mary Coll?

From: Tim Healy's Memoirs:

Letters and Leaders of my Day

T. M. Healy, K. C.
Thornton Butterworth, Ltd. 15 Bedford Street, London, W.C.
Made and printed in Great Britain.
In memory of Maurice
"Drahereen og Machree"

Chapter 29, Newspaper Rivalry (1891-2)
Quoted in: Chapters of Dublin

Dublin, 19th May, 1892.
"The country is doing splendidly. I must fight North Louth. We had a fine display in Kilkenny, and there is no doubt there. I have a bet with Dillon of £10 that the Parnellites will not get eight seats, He said they would win 12, and haply they may win nine. We are pushed for men for Roscommon North, and West Clare, but everywhere else is provided for. If we had money we should be all right. Curran, of Australia, is lending £5,000, but we want £10,000.

Dublin, 28th June, 1892.
"Archbishop Croke is in Queenstown, and I wish you would see William O'Brien and get him to ask His Grace for the £600 or £700 that he has for contests, or in the alternative to join us in signing a guarantee to a bank for £500 apiece ... I am almost in despair. If Dr. Croke's £600 or £700 be given this would be a great help. I shall have a hard fight in Louth, as the Parnellites have united with Callan, and he will poll all the Tories. Dundalk's "anti-Parnellism" was pro-Callanism. My first meeting there is on Sunday. They subscribed £60 in Dundalk to-day for the fight, but if Callan works by rowdyism it will be the nastiest fight in Ireland. There is no prospect in Dublin for T. D. Sullivan. The blackguardism in the Press is bad. I never saw anything worse than the attack on myself on Thursday night. My life would not have been worth a moment's purchase if they could have got a few yards nearer me. The driver of our car was in league with them. One ruffian stopped the horse, but our men struck out, and the car rolled over the fellow. You are having a lively time, too."
Thomas Curran, an hotel-keeper in Sydney (New South Wales), came to our rescue by lending £10,000 without security. Although he was repaid, his generosity deserves remembrance. He was a man by no means sentimentally moulded. When I learnt to know him I thought him of the type least likely to make a sacrifice. We put his son (then a law student in London) up for the City of Kilkenny, and himself for Sligo, and both were elected. I wrote my brother:

Dublin, 29th June, 1892.
"It is essential that we carry young Curran, if only in gratitude to his father, whose first £5,000 reached us to-day. This is an enormous ease to our minds. To-night a cable arrived from Eugene Kelly addressed either to Dr. Croke or Justin McCarthy, promising £5,000 more on Saturday. You might, therefore, call and inform Dr. Croke of this, and say nothing about the proposed guarantee, which will be now unnecessary. We should be glad to accept His Grace's promise of an advance from the local fund he has for the Tipperary contests.

From: Australian Dictionary of Biography
John Redmond
In Sydney, on 4 September at St Mary's, North Sydney, John married Jo(h)anna Mary, half-sister of James and Thomas Dalton. She bore him a son and two daughters and died on 12 December 1889. The wedding eve was enlivened by a fracas at Pfhalert's Hotel when William (John's brother William Hoey Kearney - SD) overheard Thomas Curran, the licensee, tell J. G. O'Connor, in language worse than that of the 'lowest navvy' that John was 'only an adventurer who had come to look for a wife and a fortune'; he challenged Curran, who struck him and ordered the 'scrubbers' out.

Sands Directory for Sydney and New South Wales, Editions of 1883 (p323), 1884 and 1886 list a Thomas Curran as being of Pfhalert's Hotel & Wine and Spirit Merchant, corner of Margaret Street and Wynyard Square, Sydney.

Thomas Curran was a therefore an Hotel Keeper in Australia (probably Pfhalert's Hotel, Wynyard Square, Sydney) and became M.P. for Sligo South from 1892 to 1900. The 1892 Election was held between the 4th and 26th of July 1892. His son, Thomas Bartholomew Curran, became M.P. for Kilkenny City at the same General Election and held that seat until 1895 when he was returned for Donegal North. He held the seat from 15/7/1895 until 8/10/1900.

Donegal North:
Members of Parliament

Election Member Party Note
1885, December 1 James Edward O'Doherty Irish Parliamentary Party Resigned
1890, June 25 James Rochfort Maguire Irish Parliamentary Party split
1890, December1 Irish National League Re-elected for West Clare
1892, July 12 John Mains Irish National Federation
1895, July 15 Thomas Bartholomew Curran Irish National Federation
1900, October 8 William O'Doherty Irish Parliamentary Died 18 May 1905
1905, June 15 John Muldoon Irish Parliamentary
1906, January 16 Philip O'Doherty Irish Parliamentary Party
1918, December 142 Joseph O'Doherty Sinn Féin Did not take his seat at Westminster
1922, October 26 UK constituency abolished


  1. Not an election, but the date of a party change. The Irish Parliamentary Party had been created in 1882, on the initiative of Charles Stewart Parnell's Irish National League. Both the IPP and the INL split into Parnellite and Anti-Parnellite factions, in December 1890. The Parnellites remained members of the Irish National League after the split and the Anti-Parnellites organised the Irish National Federation in March 1891. The two organisations and the United Irish League merged in 1900, to re-create the Irish Parliamentary Party.
  2. Date of polling day. The result was declared on 28 December 1918, to allow time for votes cast by members of the armed forces to be included in the count.

Wikipedia article on Thomas Bartholomew Curran)

Thomas Bartholomew Curran was a candidate for the Progressive Party in the N.S.W. Elections for the Constituency of Paddington in 1904. He was not successful on that occasion. There is no record of him standing again in N.S.W.

Paddington - 1904 (Roll: 8,835)
Won by Liberal Party
Candidate Party Votes Votes %
Curran, Thomas Bartholomew Progressive 1,459 36.16
Oakes, Charles William (Re-elected) Liberal Party 2,576 63.84
Formal Votes 4,035
Informal Votes 43 1.05
Total Votes / Turnout 4,078 46.16

Curran Will Case

Thomas Curran died on 13th August, 1913 and, in his last will dated 30/6/1905, he left most of his eatate to his youngest son George Patrick Curran and his daughter Frances Ann Curren. This will was contested by his sons Thomas Bartholomew and James Austin "alleging, among other things, that the testator was not of sound mind, and that the will was obtained by the undue influence of his wife, Mrs. Mary Curran, now deceased". The latter offered an earlier will of 1902 as an alternative. The case came before the Probate Court in London in the summer of 1915. After several days of testimony the jury upheld the 1905 will. The case was reported in the Irish Times over a number of days. The reports are linked below:


This information will be integrated into the DennisonZone Family Tree in due course

Last Updated 12/03/2008