Shanny family in Limerick

The Shanny name is a peculiar one that was mostly associated with the Park area of Limerick. It is not certain when the name came into Limerick but the family hold a Roman Catholic plot in St.Mary’s Cathedral which would indicate that they were in the city in pre-reformation times. Another clue to the family’s heritage comes from their homes in the Park area of the city and the title of Park Danes, which may hark back to a Norse ancestry. There is an interesting podcast on the Park Danes here.

Many of the men of this family were part of the Abbey Fishermen Guild. While others were Park Farmers (most of the fishermen were also farmers), whose crops would feed many families in Limerick. The Shanny farmers would send their children into the arbitrators in the city to fetch pigs blood which they would use to fertilise their vegetables, giving them their uniquely delicious flavour (This information was given to us by one of those children who would cycle out of the city with his bucket).

Many of the Shanny children attended St. Patrick’s School on the Dublin Road and they are on the registry as the first children enrolled there. They were also in many of the early photographs in both the girls and boys schools.

Finally the name was associated with the famed Pub in on the banks of the Shannon at Plassey whose access was by the river. During the 1860s a fisherman by the name of John Shanny (1821-1877), opened a pub on the banks of the Shannon at Plassey. He had won favour with many local gentry while they were out angling. He purchased an old farmhouse located on the edge of the river at Gurrane, a few hundred yards above Plassey Bridge on the Clare side.  This was the favoured watering hole of gentry and laymen, with fishing poles often propped against the walls and boats secured by the gate. After the death of John in 1877, the pub passed to his wife Catherine and daughters, who all died without children. This pub has been recorded in poems many times over, with the local historian, poet, fisherman Kevin Hannan the most notable author of these.

The case of Infanticide in 1893:

On the 8th August 1893 there occurred the grim discovery of an infant’s body in Augustinian Lane off Roches Street. The discovery was made by 14 year old William O’Neill of King’s Lane, Carey’s Road. The female child was found naked in a pool of blood, ash and also seaweed. The child was that of the Margaret O’Connor, a 20 year old, five foot 1 inch servant of Patrick Shanny, Fishmonger, Roches Street. On the 10th of August, Margaret O’Connor was taken to Dr. Holmes who examined her and after concluding that she had recently given birth to a child.

Patrick Shanny offered the doctor £20 to say that she had not and that all was well. Margaret O’Connor was unaware that she was expecting a child and had given birth in a bucket in her bedroom. The Shannys had another servant, local boy Edward Donegan (16), who was responsible for removing the slop buckets from the house, which he did into Augustinian Lane. He did this on the night of the 8th of August, not realising that the bucket from Margeret’s room contained a child.

Both Parick Shanny (65) and his wife Mary Shanny (61) were arrested along with Margaret O’Connor on the 10th of August. At the trial on the 19th of August Mrs. Shanny was released and Margaret O’Connor was charged with infanticide while Patrick Shanny was charged with conspiracy to conceal the birth of an infant. They were both released on bail.

The court case which  followed was reported in great detail in the Limerick Chronicle .

General Records:


Griffith’s Valuation 1853:

  • Shanny’s & Co., Prior’s-land, St Michael’s Parish, Limerick
  • John Shanny, Prior’s-land, St Michael’s Parish, Limerick
  • Connor Shanny, Englishtown, St Mary’s Parish, Limerick
  • William Shanny, Englishtown, St Mary’s Parish, Limerick
  • James Shanny, Reboge, St Patrick’s Parish, Limerick
  • John Shanny, Irishtown, St John’s Parish, Limerick
  • Patrick Shanny, River Shannon, Stradbally/Castleconnell, Limerick

Trade directories of Limerick:

  • 1856: Edward Shanny (Provisions Dealer), Mungret Street
  • 1870 – 1886: Patrick Shanny (Fishmonger – Game Dealers), 4 Roches Street
  • 1877 – 1880: Patrick Shanny, 19 West Watergate
  • 1879: Patrick Shanny (Fish Dealer), 6 Shannon Street
  • 1891: P. Shanny (Fishmonger), 5 Roches Street
  • 1877: 1880 Mary Shanny (Provisions Dealer), Mary Street
  • 1914: John Shanny & John Shanny Jnr., Park Road
  • 1914: Michael Shanny, Park Road
  • 1914: Patrick (John) Shanny, Park Road

Telephone Directory:

  • 1906 – 1909: Patrick Shanny “Limerick 208” Fish and poultry dealer 4 Roches Street.

The Limerick and Plassey families on the 1901 census:

In 1901 (also in 1911) there were only 38 people with the name Shanny on the census in Ireland, below are links to the families in Limerick and Plassey, Co. Clare. Some of these were fishermen, home-makers, farmers and even servants in other families homes but each individual house where a Shanny lived in 1901 has been added below. Were only two people with the name was living outside these areas at the time. One woman aged 73 in Roscommon and one man aged 20 in Tipperary.

Transported to Australia:

In October 1834, Catherine Shanny or Danaher who had been imprisoned in Limerick City Gaol was transported to Australia.

Passenger Lists to America

  • On the 18th October 1900, James Shanny (27) a labourer of Limerick arrived in New York. He left Ireland via Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork on board the Majestic. He was travelling with his cousin Michael Clancy. They were both travelling to their cousin by the name of Clancy’s house in New York.
  • On the 20th September 1911, Bridget Shanny (19) a servant of Lower Park, Limerick arrived in New York. She left Ireland via Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork on board the Caronia. Her nearest relative was her mother Bridget Shanny in Lower Park. (her sister Mary followed her two years later)
  • On the 25th October 1913, Mary Shanny (18) a servant of Park, Limerick arrived in New York. She left Ireland via Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork on board the Baltic. Her nearest relative was her mother Bridget Shanny in Park.
  • On the 24th October 1924, Bridget Shanny (56), a married, housemaid, a native of Limerick but Australian Citizen, arrived in New York. She left Ireland via Cobh, Co. Cork on board the Adriatic. She had travelled from Sydney, Australia to Ireland before departing for America.

Deaths, Wills and Burial Records:


Buried in St. Mary’s Cathedral graveyard.

It is most likely that there were many others in this grave though as it was a Roman Catholic grave in a Church of Ireland graveyard the names were not always recorded or the church itself was not always informed of a burial.

  • 09 Nov 1792 : Connor Shanny
  • 17 Jan 1814 : Hanora Shanny
  • 29 Sep 1816 : John Shanny
  • 09 Feb 1837 : Catherine Shanny, Widow
  • 09 May 1847 : Hanora Shanny, Widow – Age 72 – Island R.C.
  • 09 May 1858 : Patrick Shanny, Age 55 – New Road Athlunkard – Roman Catholic
  • 03 Mar 1875 : Bridget Shanny, Age 80 – The Canal
  • 31 Mar 1877 : John Shanny, Age 56 – Plassey
  • 23 Apr 1889 : Edmund Shanny, Age 76 – Grane near Plassey
  • 30 Dec 1935 : Catherine Shanny, Age 72 – Lower Grann Plassey (Shanny’s Pub)
  • 13 Oct 1958 : Anne Shanny, Age 98 – Clonlara Co. Clare – Roman Catholic (Shanny’s Pub)

The St. Mary’s Cathedral Shanny Gravestone Reads:

‘Erected by John Shanny in memory of his father Patrick Shanny who died Feb the 9th 1836 aged 72 years. Also his mother Hanora Shanny Alias Hayes who died May the 7th 1847 aged 73 years. Also John Shanny who died March the 30 1877 aged 56 years.’

This headstone is featured in Rediscovering Limerick Episode 6

Shanny Grave St. Mary's Cathedral

Shanny Grave St. Mary’s Cathedral

Last Will and Testimony Records:

Shanny Catherine (80) 10 August Administration of the estate of Catherine Shanny late of Garrava, Clonlara, County Clare. Widow who died 9 June 1905 granted at Limerick to Catherine Anne Shanny Spinster, Effects £37. (1905)

Shanny Mary 15 December, Letters of Administration of the personal estate of Mary Shanny formerly of Shannon Street but late of Roches Street both Limerick who died 23 May 1906 at latter place were granted at Limerick to Parick Shanny, Fish merchant and husband. Effects £146 7s 6d. (1906)

Shanny Patrick 15 December Probate of the Will of Patrick Shanny late of Roches Street Limerick Fish Merchant who died July 1908 granted at Limerick to Thomas Conway Grocer, Effects £70. (1908)

Shanny Bridget 23 February Administration of the estate of Bridget Shanny late of Park Limerick Widow who died 4 February 1914 granted to Bridget McNamara Widow, Effects £107 11s 6d (cancelled 16 April 1914)

Shanny Bridget 4 May Probate of the Will of Bridget Shanny late of Park Limerick Widow who died 4 February 1914 granted to Bridget McNamara Widow, Effects £107 11s 6d (Administration dated 23 February 1914 cancelled) (1914)

Shanny (James) Patrick. 5 November 1937. Administration of the Estate of Patrick Shanny (James) late of Park Limerick, Count Limerick, Fisherman who died 26 January 1912 granted at Limerick to Patrick F. Shanny Fisherman. Effects £10 0s 0d. (1937)

Buried in Mount Saint Lawrence Cementry:

  • 21 August 1904 – James Shanny (16) last residence Lower Park, plot 81 Yb
  • 24 May 1906 – Mary Shanny (74) last residence 4 Roches Street, plot 129 Sc
  • 16 July 1908 – Patrick Shanny (85) last residence Roches Street, plot 129 Sc
  • 24 January 1912 – Patrick Shanny (55) last residence Lower Park, plot 81 Yc
  • 21 May 1932 – Patrick Shanny (65) last residence Park, plot 172 B

Newspaper reports:

On Sunday Morning at the residence of his mother in Athlunkard Street at the early age of 31 years, Rev. John Shanny R.C. Chaplain to the Convent of the Good Shepherd very much regretted (Limerick Chronicle) (January 1861)

16-year-old James Shanny was seen paddling a fishing cot up the canal at half past eight on the 17th of August 1904. He had been on his own so after a couple of hours passed and he did not return home as expected fears for his safety were foremost in his families minds. A search was carried out and the cot was found bottom upwards some distance up the waterway, his body was picked up a few yards from the craft. (Limerick Leader)

The death of Mrs. Shanny, wife of P.Shanny, 4 Roches Stree, which took place a few days ago, has been heard of with deep regret by a very large circle of friends. The funeral took place on Friday forenoon (24 May 1906), the large concourse which attened testified to the high esteem in which the deceased lady was held (Limerick Chronicle)

‘A sad drowning tragedy occurred in the Shannon near Mountshannon, Castleconnell early yesterday morning, resulting in the death of Patrick Shanny, aged about 70 years, of Park, Limerick. It would appear that the deceased, whilst engaged fishing with his son, John, and a third man named Peter McNamara, was seized with cramps and toppled into the river. He was quickly brought ashore by his companions, who applied artificial respiration but without success. The body was later removed to the morgue pending the holding of an inquest.’ (Limerick Leader) & (Limerick Chronicle)

Please leave a comment below of other Shanny’s that should be mentioned, thank you.

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Author: Sharon Slater

Sharon Slater is the owner and operator of the Limerick's Life website. She has been researching and collecting information regarding Limerick history and genealogies since her early teens. She obtained a Masters degree in Local History at the University of Limerick.

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