Flynns: the next generation
Patrick Flynn of Thomas Street had at least thirteen children, and it is possible to assemble a certain amount of information on most of them. The chart below shows an outline of the information currently collected, but also shows where there are gaps in our knowledge where further work is needed.
The oldest of Patrick Flynn’s daughters was Mary Flynn, baptised at the nearby parish church of St Audoen on 6 August 1815.
On 18 November 1838 Mary married William Donohoe (also O’Donohoe) at St Catherine’s church, on Meath Street near Thomas Street. The O’Donohoe family is important for Dubliners because the elder daughter Maria, as is widely recognised, was a model for Maria, “the lonely spinster in ‘Clay’ who always sees everything as ‘nice’”.1 Peter Costello has more to say about Mary’s husband William O’Donohoe:2
I have not found evidence of O’Donohoe’s apparent suicide, but this is probably simply an oversight on my part. That he was a hotel-keeper is well-documented in the years around his marriage, but it does not seem to have been a profession to which he was particularly suited.
Days before William O’Donohoe’s marriage to Mary Flynn in November 1838, the newspapers carry adverts for his new “hotel and tavern”. His manager, William Hughes, introduces himself to the public:
In 1838 and 1839 William O’Donohoe signs his name to pledges for the “O’Connell tribute”, as a parishioner of St Audoen.3 But by January 1840, he is an “insolvent debtor” and the hotel business has collapsed:
The remarkable story is related in the Freeman’s Journal:4
The details of his marriage settlement with Joyce’s great aunt Mary Flynn are not discussed in the newspaper, though “a Mr Flynn” became a trustee when another trustee declined to act. O’Donohoe had been arrested under a Court of Conscience warrant, but the terms of his confinement expired, and “he was virtually at large at that moment if he wished to avail himself of it”.
O’Donohoe’s original petition is dismissed and we assume he was not in a position to return to hotel management. He is not the O’Donohoe who runs the O’Donohoe Tavern at 76, Middle Abbey-Street from 1851 onwards.
In November 1840 he appears, with this wife Mary (Flynn) and perhaps a sister, on the list of relatives and acquaintances who paid their subscription to the Loyal National Repeal Association through Patrick Flynn of Thomas Street – his brother-in-law:
Around 1841 his daughter Maria (of “Clay”) is born, and some five years later William and Mary have another daughter, Christine Margaret (whose second husband was, curiously, Joyce’s widowed maternal grandfather John Murray). Beyond that, there are several possible sightings of William O’Donohoe in the Dublin records in the following decades, but nothing that can be stated categorically to be him. We do not currently know when Mary O’Donohoe née Flynn died.
Peter Costello describes their daughter Maria’s end:5
The Freeman’s Journal carries her death notice, with a last reference back to her father:
Bridget, Catherine, Judith, and Lucy Flynn
These five children of Patrick Flynn of Thomas Street and his wife Mary Fitzsimons were all born in the early to mid 1820s. We have already met Bridget and (presumably) Catherine in the court case described above, when they were tricked into giving warm clothes to a young Dublin acquaintance. Catherine is the “Kate” of Patrick Flynn’s Repeal subscribers in 1840, though the absence of Bridget and Judith from the list suggests they may not have survived; Lucy does not seem to be mentioned elsewhere, unless she is the Eleanor Lucinda Flynn of the 1840 subscribers. James Joseph is also listed in the Repeal Association notice:
None of the three girls seem to participate in the musical interludes involving the “Misses Flynn” from the mid 1850s onwards.
James Joseph Flynn
James Joseph Flynn is
also listed as a subscriber to the precursor to the Loyal National Repeal
Association, called the Precursor Society:
By the late 1840s he is living in Great
Britain Street (now Parnell Street), again attached to the nationalist cause:
and Thom’s Directory for 1849 (p. 504) places him at No 211 Great Britain Street, as a starch and blue manufacturer.
Sadly this is one of the final references to him in the sources, as he died towards the end of 1852, at the age of 26:
Apart from his first name and the fact that he lived in Great Britain Street, there is nothing beyond his relationship with the Misses Flynn to link James Joseph with the “Rev. James Flynn”, brother of the Eliza and Nannie Flynn (see below), whose fictional death is recorded in 1895 in Joyce’s Dubliners story “The Sisters”.
John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello John
Stanislaus Joyce (1997; 1998 reprint) ch. 14 p. 157.
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