A Ballina secondary school teacher, who 20 years ago set himself the seemingly straightforward task of researching his mother’s homeplace of Tooreen, instead spent the intervening two decades uncovering the surprising and fascinating history behind the tiny village of Partry and its people.
Peter Hennelly McLoughlin, originally from Westport, is today launching the painstakingly researched hardback tome, which provides a comprehensive history of the families of the village going all the way back to the 1800s.
The book features an array of curious events from the area’s history from lightning strikes and controversial arranged marriages to poison, fires, and runaway brides, as well as famous names such as soccer legend Steven Staunton and Knock’s beloved Monsignor James Horan.
Mr Hennelly McLoughlin carried out much of his research for Partry People of Co Mayo - Family Histories 1856 and Beyond in the National Archives in Dublin but he also crossed the Atlantic on numerous occasions to trace the history of Partry all over the world.
“I had a fantastic experience studying, exploring, and delving into history while writing this book,” he said.
“The staff at the National Archives in the National Library were so helpful, as were all those in record centres across the United States, and the countless people who have made contact with me through the years.
“The research element of this project has been truly fascinating and as far as possible, I have endeavoured to create a complete history of the families of the area.”
The book draws on rare documents including letters, ship records, marriage certificates, newspaper reports, naturalisation records, as well as census archives and photographs.
Partry People of Co Mayo - Family Histories 1856 and Beyond will be launched as a part of Partry Community Council Heritage Week in the Monsignor Horan Community Centre, Partry, today (Friday ) at 7.30pm.