There is a legend among the O'Dea families in the Townland of Miltown in the ancient Parish of Aglishcormick, County Limerick, that the O'Deas originated in County Clare, that four brothers were evicted from their land, and that they were traveling to Queenstown (Cobh) in County Cork to emmigrate. When they reached County Limerick, two brothers decided to settle in Aglishcormick. The other two emigrated, were never heard from again, and are known as the "lost O'Deas." Although there is no documentation to support this legend, it is not an unlikely story, and it provides a convenient place to start a history of the O'Deas in Aglishcormick and the various Day Families that emigrated.
Catherine Sampson O'Dea (left front) and her daughter Catherine O'Dea in front of the O'Dea Homestead North of Kilteely
With that in mind, pour a cup of tea and take some time to wander about meeting some of our oldest ancestors and some of their decendants who immigrated to places like Australia, New York, Boston, Illinois and Iowa.
The picture in the banner of this page was taken in the 1950's and shows one of the last remaining buildings from the time of the great famine. It belonged to Robert (son of John and Mary Apjohn O'Dea) and Catherine Collin O'Dea and may have been build in Miltown soon after their marriage in 1829.
Thomas Dineley or Dingley (c. 1640-1695) visted Ireland 1680-1681 during which time he kept accounts of the geography, antiquities, inscriptions, peoples and customs of the regions he visited, and made numerous pen-and-ink drawings including this one of a ruined monastery in Milltown.
Milltown Abbey c. 1680
Having examined the parish of Agliscormick for the Ordnance Survey c. 1854, a Mr. O'Keeffe noted that "A spot of untilled ground surrounded by cultivated fields in the townland of Milltown (Hib. Baile Mhuilinn) on the north side of the road from Kilteely to Limerick, is pointed out by the people as the site of an old Abbey." No conclusive traces were visible at the time of O'Keeffe's investigation c. 1840.
The stones from this abbey were probably scavanged by the O'Dea families in Milltown and used to build many of the dwellings and buildings that appeared in the House Books of 1836. It is probably that Darby O'Dea, son of Thomas, was born on this site and that his sister, Margaret, and her husband, Thomas Bartley (a blacksmith) lived next door. Both familes emigrated during the Great Famine in the late 1840's.
At one time, an ancient stone sepulchral cross existed in Milltown at a road junction known locally today as Guerin’s Cross in the townland of Ballyphilip (perhaps similar to the one in the inset). It was annotated Crossalaghta on the 1840 Griffith's Valuation map and was depicted as a semicircular-shaped area on the NW side of the road. In 1840, the Ordnance Survey recorded the following details; "Cros a' Leachta, the cross-roads of the sepulchral monument. It takes its name from some large stones there, called in Irish as 'Leacht,' signifying 'a sepulchral monument'" (OSNB Aglishcormick Parish, 82). There is no evidence of when the cross disappeared, but a number of entries in the baptism records for the parish church in Kilteely refer to "Lought" as where the parents lived.
The Cross of Lought
There exists the ruin of a holy well on the road from Kilteely to Miltown. "Kilteely, tld. Ballyvouden, sheet 33, 068:559. 'St. Patrick's Well' (not in Gothic) on revised 6-inch survey. A good spring, surrounded by a wall, with a cattle drinking trough. No evidence of devotion." ("The Holy Wells of Ireland," Caoimhin O Danachair, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland, Vol. LXXXV, 1955)
The Well of St. Patrick