The Parr Family, Athenry and Rostrevor, County Down – 2002

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The Parr brothers John Joe, Raymond, ……….., Dominic and Martin

Parr is a relatively rare name in Co. Galway.

In response to a query on his family history, John Joe Parr from Kilbroney, Rostrevor, Co. Down (brother of Dominic Parr and uncle of the legendary Colin Parr) wrote the following letter from Kilbroney.

“I am Dominic Parr’s brother, John Joe. My mother was Mary Henehan, Tubberoe, Athenry. The Henehans go back into Eagles, Shaughnessys and Walshes. A sister of my grandfather, John Henehan, married into the Poniards.

They say this is the Spanish word for dagger. My mother died at forty after having five boys between 1931 and 1938. My brother Dominic went to his Henehan Grandparents in Athenry as a result.

The Parrs are more or less indigenous to Rostrevor, Co. Down and a population of them are there now. We cannot go back much further than 1820 for our roots when three brothers were supposed to come over from Wales or Lancashire to slate the houses in an emerging Rostrevor. They inter-married here and remained.

An old tradition among the Parrs is that they came here on white horses (the waves). All Parrs are fond of music.

There are colourful meanings for the name Parr but the best would be the most mundane one, son of Har/Harry/Phar. The Parrs never appeared in Roman Catholic clerical records. No one has ever heard of a Father Parr, well not yet anyway. There are plenty of the Parrs in the Protestant clergy but the Parrs around here are all Roman Catholics.

Notable Parrs

Thomas Parr lived for 152 years (1483-1635), the oldest man ever in the British Isles. He was born in Shropshire and is buried with Kings and Queens in Westminster Abbey. He died of rich food at the palace where the King had him interviewed on history. Married at 80 years, second marriage at I22.

Catherine Parr was the only wife to survive Henry V111 – her motto “To be useful in all I do”.

Also, John Joe Parr — author of this note.

The Motto on the Parr Coat of Arms: “Love with Loyalty”

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About this record

Written by John Joe Parr

Published here 05 Aug 2023 and originally published Winter 2002

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