The Ashes of Kinard

From Murreigh came the founder of the Ashe family of Kinard, which is some three miles to the east of Dingle town. He was Seamus Aghas (James Ashe), who came to Kinard and married Mary, daughter of big John Griffin. Big John Griffin had the standing of a local chieftain. A man of substance, he owned all the townland of Kinard and part of the neighbouring townland of Tobar. He had another business besides which was profitable, although not without its hazards. He was a smuggler. On the coast of Kerry this occupation was not unusual, and because of its defiance of an unloved government it had an honourable status. Those engaged in it called it "free trade." False chimneys, built craftily into gable ends, became secret caches of wines, brandies and silks from Europe. Revenue men, or sea-fencers as they were called, were nobody's friends. Well-to-do men smuggled, like Robert Hickson, last man to hold the official post of Sovereign of Dingle. It is more than probable that some at least of the local magistrates and officials closed their eyes to the business. They, being human, were no enemies to good rum and brandy nor to a well-flavoured tobacco, tax free. Wares like these were brought ashore at the cove of Tra Bheag by Big John's boats which went out the bay to meet the ships from Spain and France. Big John Griffin, so described on his headstone, lies in Kinard cemetery.

Five sons and five daughters were born to James Ashe and Mary Griffin. The sons succeeded to Big John Griffin's patrimony and settled in Kinard and the neighbouring parish of Minard. The eldest son, John, married Hanora Connor from the Bridge, Lispole. She was the daughter of a local distiller, quite a personality, who had concocted a tasty brew which the drinkers of the place called "Toddy." John Ashe and Hanora Connor had three sons and three daughters. The sons, Jim, Matthew and John, all settled in Kinard townland. John (Jack) married twice, firstly Siobhan Kavanagh from Rinn Bhui, Lispole and secondly a Miss Herlihy. He had one son and one daughter from the first marriage. The son, Gregory, succeeded to his father's place in Kinard townland. He married Ellen Hanafin, daughter of Patrick Hanafin of the neighbouring townland of Tobar. Gregory Ashe and Ellen Hanafin had ten children, one of whom was Thomas Ashe, destined to become Commandant of the Fifth Battalion, Dublin Brigade, victor at Ashbourne in 1916, harbinger of a resurgent Ireland and finally the victim of ill-treatment in Mountjoy Jail which resulted in his death in September 1917.

previousPrevious - Ashe Family of Kinard, Co. Kerry
Next - Gregory Ashe: Family Patriarchnext