The Story of the McCoy Family – Christmas 2000
This story was told to Eamonn Madden by Michael Waldron who was a neighbour of the McCoy family
The earliest recollection of the McCoy family is when Hector McCoy came to live in Rock Lodge (formally Finn’s House) at around the time of the famine. Hector who was a Church of England Protestant was a petty sessions clerk. He had been appointed to Athenry Court. In those days the court consisted of a group of Landlords and Gentry who gathered together and made a decision; Guilty or Innocent?
Should you be in trouble with the law and if you knew any of the Gentry you would get off. Hector married and moved from Finn’s to Mulpit House where the O’ Donaghues are now. He had a family including John, Bob, George and Frank and daughters whose names I do not recollect. Frank took over his father’s job as Petty Sessions Clerk in Athenry He immigrated to Australia and used to write to Bob and used always say in the letters that he intended coming home but he never did.
When Hector died John and Bob went into Athenry to buy goods for the wake and when they returned Bob found John’s wife Fanny trying to break the lock on the chest where Hector had put his will. She had got the hammer and other tools from the shed but failed to break the lock. Bob said it was the best lock in the world, as John would have got the lot as he was the eldest.
John and Bob, who lived in Mulpit, did not get on at all. John who was known as “John the Rook” owned the pub where Ray Glynn is now. He sold it to Stephan Jordan for £1000. John the rook married a lady from Ballinasloe by the name of Armstrong; she was a very big woman. He was fond of the drop of whiskey and once he ran away to Galway, his wife called to my father to go into Galway to find him.
My father, Tommy Conneelly and herself, John’s wife headed off and found him and brought him home. Shortly after this the Rook bought a beautiful new trap and he was going down the road one day in great style when he met with Tommy Conneely. Tommy shouted, “We will be travelling in great style the next time we have to bring you home from Galway”. Needless to say, the Rook was not impressed.
The Rook once sold a bull to Matt Daly a Publican in Athenry. He asked my father to bring him into Athenry for him. My father brought in the bull and went into Matt’s for a drink and to collect the money for the bull. Matt tried to stop the money that the Rook owed him for drink but my father was not having any of it and he did not leave the pub until he had all the money for the bull.
John the Rook then went to live in Rockmore House (presently owned by the Healy family) He then sold that to the Ardern family. They had a great racehorse. Ardern moved to Northern Ireland and he put the house up for sale and left instructions that the Rook was not to be let buy it.
The Rook came to see the house and was walking up the steps when he was stopped by a member of the staff and he said “I’ll get this house in spite of you, Ardern and the devil and a worst pill than the three of you could not be found”. He succeeded and bought the property.
John died a very old man and his funeral was on Holy Thursday. His wife cleared everyone out of the house the night of the wake. The cortege passed in by Mulpit and Bob his brother was weeding turnips in the field as the funeral passed. He stood up in the drill looked out and then got down again and carried on with his work. John left Bob around nine hundred pounds, which was a lot of money in those days. He is buried in Ballinasloe.
Bob McCoy went to live in Willmount House, which is presently owned by the Feeney family from Rahoon and used to be owned by Tony Murphy and his family.
Bob had six sons and three daughters. Louise was the eldest and went to live in the North, Teddy married as catholic girl by the name of Eileen Clarke from Chapel Lane and went to live in England. Bob was a very good farmer he had two houses and a pony. He is buried in Athenry.
Written by Eamon Madden
Published here 11 May 2023 and originally published Christmas 2000