Biographies of Our Forefathers
Thomas "Tommy" Tinneny T12
He frequently brought
wood from Belturbet to build churches in the south of Ireland. His
granddaughter Mary said that he always carved his initials in his
work. At times he would bring his sons James and Francis, who were also good
carpenters, to work with him. Tommy was also known for making fancy swagger
sticks for the British officers stationed at the barracks in Belturbet. He was
paid one guinea for each of the sticks.
Thomas "Tommy" Tinneny was the second son of
Francis Tinneny and Anne Elliot. He was born at Belturbet, County Cavan on
August 31, 1856. He was a carpenter by trade. He married Bridget Gilmartin of
County Mayo who was a year his senior. Tommy and Bridget met in Ballina.
Bridget had a sister who lived in America.
Tommy and Bridget had five children. They
were Ann, Francis, James, Margaret and Elizabeth. Church records relating to
their children's baptisms indicate that they first lived at Barrack Hill and
then at Holborn Hill in Belturbet.
Tommy's granddaughter, Mary Tinneny O'Kane,
remembered her grandfather Tommy well. She described him as being "not tall,
about 5ft. 9in., with blue eyes and a red beard." He used to tell her that the
red hair and carpentry skills, both of which were quite common in the family,
were passed down from their boat building Viking ancestors. She remembered him
telling her that the family name was originally Tynnan or Tinen and that it was
of Viking origin, possibly Danish. She said that he smoked a pipe and had a cat
and a dog named Teddy when she was a child.
Tommy's son James used to say of him that
"you couldn't catch him out in geometry,Ē in other words, you couldn't beat him
when it came to doing geometry. This skill was very helpful in his carpenter
trade. Tommy traveled throughout counties Kerry, Kildare, Carlow and Kilkenny
doing fine carpentry work in churches. He worked on the roof of the Catholic
Cathedral at Ballina.
Mary described in great detail the inside and furnishings of
her grandfather Tommyís
home on Holburn Hill. She said, you entered the house into a sitting room,
which was furnished with a small round wooden table with carved feet that was
made of pine. Accompanying the table were wooden chairs. There was a small
fireplace in the room. The walls were papered with Victorian style wallpaper
and hung with family photographs. Mary remembered a fine large print of good
quality being on the wall. It was artist Ben Nevisís, Highest Mountain in
Scotland. There were also pictures of the head of Christ and Our Lady of
Perpetual Help. She said there was a sideboard in the corner of the room. The
windows had lace curtains and geraniums in planters on the outside.
The home of Tommy and Bridget Tinneny on Holburn Hill, Belturbet.
Next to the sitting room toward the rear of
the house was the kitchen. In that room was the fireplace with its hearth, two
tables and a cabinet with dishes. Meals were cooked at the fireplace with the
pots placed on crooks. Mary vividly recalled that although the pots were over
the fire, turf was fired up on top of the lids of the pots as well in the
cooking process. She said that when she was a child the house had no gas or
Upstairs there was a landing and two
bedrooms. The smaller of the two was painted pale green and had a brass bed
with a pink quilt on it and there were small religious pictures on the walls.
The other bedroom was that of her grandfather
and grandmother. In that room was a fireplace, bed, large pine chest and
wardrobe with a fold down surface that could be used for an alter. There was an
old fashion wash stand with a mirror and jug on it. Mary remembered that there
was a small bed in the corner of the room that she slept on when she was
Tommy was an ardent Sinn Feiner and a De
Valeria man until he learned from the District Inspector that one of the men
within the IRA had turned his nephew, Mick Casey, the son of his sister
Margaret, in to the government for his IRA activity. Mick was arrested and sent
to Belfast where he was confined on a British prison ship.
When Thomas grew older he lost his hearing.
Mary said he was cantankerous at times and this is said to have alienated him
from at least one of his brothers and some of his nephews.
provided the following concerning the last days of her Tinneny grandparents. She
said that both Tommy and Bridget were bedridden near the end and unable to care
for themselves. Since there was no one in the area to care for them they were
taken to the workhouse in Cavan Town. They both died in Cavan Hospital. Bridget
died shortly before Christmas 1938 and Tommy died within a month. Mary said
that her father, their son James, couldnít
care for the couple because his wife had a heart condition and five children to
care for herself. They were buried in Belturbet.
Mary said that when old Tommy died an
insurance man came to her fatherís
house and asked if they were Tinnanys, which tipped them off due to the
pronunciation of the name that he did not know the family. The insurance man
asked for the address of her fatherís
brother Frank. James gave him his brotherís
address in New York because that is where Maryís
Uncle Frank lived. The insurance man then said, no that is not the one. I need
the address for the Frank Tinneny in Roslea for he had an insurance policy on
your father. That Frank Tinneny was actually her fatherís first
cousin Francis Tinneny the son of Tommy's brother Francis
Tinneny, the postman in Roslea, County Fermanagh.
Thomas' descendants include
Tierney, Davis, Pepper, Maloney, Norton, Sansobrino, Masterson,
O'Kane, McArthur, Boyd, Barr, Thames, Dunniece, McNeice, Neison,