Tracing the fascinating history of Mary Margaret (called Molly)

Though we named her for her two grandmothers, Mary Jane and Margaret Joan, our Mary Margaret (called Molly) also shares her name with a fascinating figure in family lore whose heroism some 125 years ago continues to intrigue.

Around 1890, Mary Margaret (called Molly) Mackey gave up her passenger ship ticket to her sister, Bridget Mackey, who used it to flee an arranged marriage.

The ticket allowed Bridget to travel from Gouig, Castleconnell in Limerick, Ireland to Chicago without her parents’ permission.

Years later, in Chicago, Bridget met Hugh Kennedy of Tipperary, Ireland and the two wed. Following the birth of their oldest two children, Bridget suffered a period of depression and her doctor told her she should return to Ireland and reconcile with her father. Bridget Mackey Kennedy took her two children with her to Ireland. After renewing ties with her parents she recovered from her depression and returned to Chicago, where she had four more children, including a namesake daughter, Bridget Kennedy.

The second Bridget Kennedy, who did not care for her first name and legally changed it to Cecilia, wed Raymond Bauer and had two children, including the Outlaw Mary Jane, for whom our daughter originally was named.

Maybe, if you’re following along, you’re wondering what happened to the selfless Molly Mackey, who not only gave up her ticket to America, but also stuck around Gouig, Castleconnell to bear the wrath of her angry father.

So are we.

Tomorrow Mary Margaret (called Molly) Biskupic heads to Ireland with the Appleton North choir. They’ll travel from Chicago to Dublin, just like Bridget Mackey Kennedy did a century ago (albeit by plane instead of boat.) Still…

The choir performs a lunchtime concert at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on June 11; sings at the 11:00 mass at the Abbey Presbyterian Church in Dublin on Sunday June 14; performs a concert at the Kylemore Abbey in Connemara at noon on June 15 and sings with the students at Colaiste Connacht  in Galway on June 16.

Should you be in the area and claim any relation to Mary Margaret (called Molly) Mackey of Gouig, Castleconnell in Limerick, Mary Margaret (called Molly) Biskupic would like to say, “Thanks.”

The old Mackey House
Molly and Bridget Mackey’s childhood home.
The Kennedy family
The Kennedy family. That’s little Bridget, who changed her name to Cecilia, on the far right, and Bridget, who fled the arranged marriage seated two from the left.
Bauer family with Cecilia Kennedy Bauer
The Bauer family dinner table — that’s Cecilia at the head, with her son Raymond. To her left is Bridget Mackey Kennedy and to Bridget’s left is Mary Jane Bauer (Molly’s grandma).
Bread Pudding 014
I like this picture of our Mary Margaret (called Molly) and I wonder how many of her interesting relatives are reflected when she looks in a mirror.

5 thoughts on “Tracing the fascinating history of Mary Margaret (called Molly)

  1. Hi there, my name is Jim Ryan from Melbourne, Australia and after entering ‘Mackey family’ Limerick into google it took me into your post which I read with great interest. My great grandmother was Ellen Mackey you married Martin Ryan (and their best man was a Denis Kennedy) and had six children, two of whom migrated to Melbourne with Ellen after Martin died.
    A little over a year ago I had a DNA test to try and assist in searching me family tree. One of my closest matches (and my closest Mackey match) was with a 95 year old lady named Christina Corboy, nee Carey whose grandmother was a Mackey. I have been in contact with her son, Diarmaid, who said that details of his mother’s grandparents are sketchy, but he believes that his mother’s grandmother was the sister of John ‘Tyler’ Mackey (father of the Hurler, Mick Mackey) who was also the brother of your ancestor, Bridget. As Bridget married Hugh Kennedy and an older sister named Anne (for memory) married a James Carroll, this leaves Mary ‘Molly’ as the only other sister. For the record, there is no evidence that has come to light to confirm that Molly is actually Christina Corboy nee Carey’s grandmother.

    The Mackeys that I seemed to be connected to came from either side of the Limerick/Tipperary border (from the parish of Murroe, Limerick and from Lackamore, Tipperary in the parish of Newport).

    Did the information about the Mackeys that your driver, Tom gave you extended beyond the Hurling feats of the Mackeys?

    Do you happen to know much about Hugh Kennedy’s ancestors, or whereabouts he was from in Tipperary? I am aware of a branch of Kennedys where the name Hugh runs through their line as well as the names John and Denis. Hugh was not a common name in Ireland at this time. They trace back to a well known local figure named ‘Long’ Andrew Kennedy (1736 -1824) who had a large family and inherited a fortune and owned a lot of land in mountains of North Tipperary.

    Mt DNA results also brought up a lot of Kennedy matches, which I have recently establish were descended for a Mackey relative. These Kennedys come from the Tipperary townland named, Gortnaskehy, which is not far from where ‘Long’ Andrew Kennedy came from.


    Jim Ryan.

  2. Just stumbled on this while looking for information about my Kennedy/Mackey connection to hurling. The black and white photo of Hugh and Bridget Kennedy is a picture that I have. My Grandmother Mary Kennedy Grove is pictured in the back in black and white lace collar. The hurling history lives on in my 30-year old son who is playing for the University of Montanas hurling team. He hopes to travel to Chicago for a championship which will be held in May. Thanks for sharing what you know. Every little bit helps. My name is Mary Bingaman. My mother was the second daughter of Mary Kennedy Grove. Several of her sisters traveled to Ireland and met the family that lives on.

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