Roche of Limerick

Extract from Burke’s History of Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Vol 1

Published in London   MDCCCXXXIII (1833) {pp 669 – 671}

The family of Roche or Limerick has branched from that of Castletown-Roche, in the county of Cork. John Roche, of Castletown-Roche, descended from the Viscounts Fermoy, was a member of the Catholic Parliament or Council held at Kilkenny during the civil wars, and his name appears as such to the declaration of the Irish Roman Catholics in 1641.

His eldest son, Robert Roche, espoused Juliana 0’Moore, daughter of Alexander O’Moore, of Ballina, in the county of Kildare, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Stephen Roche, known by the designation of Dov, or Black, from his complexion,  whose estate, already injured by composition in the time of Cromwell, was entirely forfeited under William III.

Compelled in consequence to leave the county of Cork, he retired to Kilrush, in Clare, and afterwards took up his abode at Pallas, in the county of Limerick, in the vicinity of his brother-in-law, William Apjohn, esq.  He married Anastasia, elder daughter and co-heir of Thomas Lysaght, esq. (the other co-heir, Catherine, was the wife of Mr. Apjohn) and was succeeded by his son.

John Roche, esq. b. in 1688, who wedded Anne, youngest daughter of Philip Stacpole, esq. of Mountcashell (the fee of which estate is now in Thomas Roche, esq.) Kilneen, and Kilcoman, in the county of Clare, (by his wife, Christian, daughter of John Creagh, of Ballyvolane, in the same shire, colonel in the Irish army, anno 1642), and had, with other issue,

  1. Philip, m. Margaret, daughter of John Kelly, esq. of Limerick, and had issue
  2. John, who m. Miss Harold, cousin of General Harold, of the Saxon service, and had a daughter, Mary-Anne, who wedded John Meade, esq. of Limerick, and was mother of Captain Roche Meade, of the 21st regiment, deputy-adjutant-general.
  3. STEPHEN, b. 5th December, 1724 his heir.
    1. John, who m. Miss Whyte, dau. of Charles Whyte, esq. of Leix lip, and had a son,
        1. PHILIP, m. to the Hon. Anna Maria Plunket, daughter of Randall, thirteenth Lord Dunsany, and by her (who wedded, secondly, Captain Ryder Burton, R.N.) had one son, John, and two daughters; the younger of whom, Anna-Maria, m. in 1830, Thomas, present Lord Louth
        2. Charles, who m. his cousin, Miss Whyte, and has issue.
          • Ellen, m. to Peter Daly, esq. of Cloncagh, in the county of Galway.
          • Mary, m. to George Ryan, esq. of Inch, in the county of Tipperary.
          • Margaret, m. to Standish Barry, esq. of Lemlara, in the county of Cork, and is mother of Garret Standish Barry, esq. now M.P. for that shire
  4. Jane, m. to John Sheehy, esq. of Cork, and had a daughter, m. to Bryan Keating, esq. by whom she was mother of General Keating.
  5. Christiana, m. to James Lombard, esq. of the county of Cork, and had several daughters; of whom the youngest m. Daniel O’Connell, esq. of Ivragh, in the county of Kerry, and was mother of Charles O’Connell, esq. now M.P. for that shire. The eldest m. Daniel Cronin, esq. of the Park, in the county of Kerry.

The eldest son, STEPHEN ROCHE, esq. b. 5th December, 1724, succeeded his father in 1760. He m. first, Margaret, daughter of Richard Meade, esq. and had issue,

  1. JOHN, his successor.
  2. Richard, in holy orders, who cl. in 1805.
  3. George, successor to his brother, John.
  4. Anne, m. to Peter Long, esq. of Waterford, and had, with other children, a daughter, Margaret Long, who wedded first, James O’Brien, esq. of Limerick, and secondly Cornelius O’Brien, esq. M.P. for Clare; by the former of whom she had three sons,
  • John O’Brien, esq. of Elmville, in the county of Clare. who espoused Ellen, daughter of Jeremiah Murphy. esq. of Hyde Park, in Corkshire, and niece of the Right Rev. Doctor Murphy .
  • Peter O’Brien, esq. of Limerick, who m. Miss Shiel, sister of Richard L. Shiel, esq. M.P. for the county of Tipperary.
  • James O’Brien, esq. barrister-at-law.


5.Mary , m. to Peter Grehan,(b 1749) esq. of Dublin, and had issue,

  1. Thady Grehan, married and has issue.
  2. Stephen Grehan, who m. Miss Ryan, of Inch. and has issue.
  3. Margaret, (widow of John Joyce. esq.) a nun at Galway.
  4. Anne Grehan, m. to Thomas Segrave, esq. of the family of Cabra, and had, with other issue, two daughters,
  • Mary Segrave,m. to Nicholas Whyte, esq. late high sheriff of Downshire.
  • Anne-Frances Segrave, m. in 1826, to the Hon. William Browne, brother of the Earl of Kenmare.
  1. Mary Grehan, m. to Hubert Dolphin, esq. of the county of Galway, and has issue.
  2. Helen Grehan, m. to Alexander Sherlock, esq. of Killespie, in the county of Waterford, and has issue.
  3. Lucy Grehan, m. to Christopher Gallwey, esq. of Killarney, and has issue.

Stephen Roche espoused secondly, Sarah, daughter and co-heiress of John O’Bryen. esq. of Moyvanine and Clounties, both in the county of Limerick, chief of the O’Bryens, of Arran, lineal descendants of Brien Borroimhe, and had issue,

  1. STEPHEN, of Killarney, now in possession of the ancient estates of Moyvanine and Clounties, m. Maria, daughter of John Moylan, esq. of Cork, and has issue,
  1. STEPHEN, m. Eleanor, eldest daughter and co-heiress of the late Thomas Reddington  esq. of Rye Hill, in the county of Galway.
  2. John.
  3. Mary, a nun
  4. Sarah, m. to John Howley  esq. assistant barrister for the King’s County
  5. Anne – unmarried
  6. Helena – unmarried
  7. Harriet, m. to Daniel Cronin, esq, late high sheriff for Kerry.
  1. Thomas, of Limerick, m. Hellen, daughter of John Ankettle, esq. and has issue,
  1. 1 Stephen, who married Catherine, daughter, and co-heiress of— Knight, esq. by Miss Lacy, his wife, cousin of the celebrated Marshal Count Lacy, the favourite and friend of the Emperor JOSEPH II. who died in his arms (1792).
  2. 2 John, unmarried.
  3. 3 William, a solicitor in Dublin, married Eliza, another daughter and co heir of— Knight, esq.
  4. 4 Helen, m. to D. R. Kane, esq. barrister-at-law, commissioner of bankruptcy, in Ireland.
  5. 5 Sarah unmarried.
  1. James, of Cork, m. Anne, daughter of John Moylan, esq. (sister of his brother’s wife, both nearly allied to the late Right Rev. Doctor Moylan, of Cork) by whom (now deceased) he has two daughters, Marianne and Sarah.
  1. WILLIAM, M.P. for his native city of Limerick, and its first catholic representative, since the repeal of the penal laws. Mr. Roche was an eminent banker, and his free and entirely unsought for election is the strongest attestation of homage that his fellow citizens could have paid to public virtue, and private worth. He resides in Limerick, and his gardens there, unique in design and construction, have long attracted the attention of travellers. (See Fitzgerald’s History of Limerick.) } unmarried. 
  1. Sarah, m. to Francis French, esq . of Portcarran, in the county of Galway, who (I. a. p.
  1. Hellen, m. to the late Denis O’ Meagher, esq. of Kilmoyler, in the county of Tipperary, and left at her decease,
  1. Stephen O’Meagher, esq. the present chief of that ancient family.
  2. William O’Meagher, student-at law.
  3. Sarah O’Meagher.
  4. Maria O’Meagher.

VII. Anastasia, relict of Edward 0’ Meagher, esq. of Marl Hill, in the county of Tipperary.

Stephen Roche (his second wife having died on the 8th November, 1786,) married thirdly, Mary-Anne, daughter and co-heir of Richard Ankettle, his wife, Mary Bourchier, of the family of the Bourchiers, Lords Berners; but by this lady, who died in December, 1821, he had no children. He died. 12th February, 1804, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

John Roche, esq. one of the most eminent merchants in Dublin, who married Mary, daughter of Thady Grehan, esq. of that city but dying without issue in September, 1825, was succeeded by his brother, the present George Roche, esq. of Granagh Castle, in the county of Kilkenny, now the Chief of his house.

Arms –Gules, three roaches naiant in pale.

Crest —A rock ppr. thereon a fish eagle with its wings displayed, arg. membered, or. in the claw a roach.

Motto —Mon Dieu est ma roche.

Estates~—In the counties of Kilkenny, Limerick, and Clare.

Seat—Granagh Castle, Kilkennyshire. 

‘ In the year 1724-, this Doctor Ankettle was a student of medicine at Paris, when John Fitzgibbon, father of the Lord Chancellor Fitzgibbon, Earl of Clare, visited that capital to pursue a course, not of divinity, as Sir Jonah Harrington states, but of medicine. Young Fitzgibbon immediately sought his townsman, who was allowed a day to show Paris to his friend, and both traversed the city accordingly in all directions. At length they stopped at a late hour to visit the cathedral of Notre Dame, in the immediate vicinity of their college; and exhausted with fatigue, fell so soundly asleep on the benches of the choir, as to escape the sexton’s closing the church at night, It was past midnight when the youths awoke, and finding themselves thus immured, touched in their groping about the bell-rope, and soon made the great chimes resound to the no small amazement of the worthy sexton; and alarm of the good citizens of Paris. They were, of course, quietly liberated . John Fitzgibbon subsequently relinquished his medical studies, and was called to the Irish bar in 1732, when he successfully laid the foundation of his prosperous house.

GENERAL VALLANCEY, in his Collectanea. vol. i. page 569, makes specific mention of this John O’Bryen, whom he describes as the representative of the princely branch of the O’Bryens. of Arran, and gives a transcript of a certificate from the mayor and bailiffs of the town of Galway, attesting the loyalty of Morrogh O’Bryen, (the sixth progenitor of the said John) chief of the Mc’Tiges, of Arran,temporal lords of the isles of Arran, time out of man’s memory, (the original of this document is in the possession of James Roche, esq. of Cork; special allusion is made to it in O’Brien’s Irish Dictionary , and likewise in Ferrar‘s History of Limerick, where the family of Roche is also referred to. The certificate bears date, 30th March, 1588, and is addressed to Queen Elizabeth. Lady Morgan founds her story of ” ‘The O’BRIENs and the O’FLAHERTYS,” on some circumstances recited in this document relative  to the dissensions of these powerful septa.

Of the same stock as the noble house of Clan willism. This Margaret was great-grand-niece of General Purcell, who was executed by order of Ireton, after the capitulation of Limerick in 1651.

One thought on “Roche of Limerick

  1. my grandfather was william leigh roche of limerick and came to america in the 1800s. I am looking for anyone who can give me any information about him or the family. I think his mother’s name was johanna.

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