Three siblings marry three siblings in unusual triple wedding in west Clare

In 1882, three Roche siblings married three Greene siblings in an unusual triple wedding at Cross in west Clare.
In early 1882, three Roche siblings married three Greene siblings in an unusual triple wedding at the church of Cross, near the village of Carrigaholt in west Clare (pic: made with AI).

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The remarkable story of a Co. Clare wedding that saw a trio of Roche siblings tie the knot with a trio of Greene siblings.

On 14 January 1882, three Roche siblings married three Greene siblings at the Roman Catholic church of Cross, a short distance west of the village of Carrigaholt in west Clare. The Roche brothers Thomas and John (both farmers) and their sister Hanora married respectively the Greene sisters Bridget and Johanna and their brother Michael, also a farmer. And the connections don’t end there: the families were both natives of the Loop Head peninsula, the Greenes from Kilbaha and the Roches from the nearby townland of Kilcloher.

Triple marriage cert Roche and Greene 1882
Marriage records of Roche and Greene siblings, 1882 (credit: © irishgenealogy.ie).

This unusual triple wedding ceremony was presided over by Fr John Vaughan, parish priest. All those wed that day were in their 20s except for Bridget who was aged 40, some 17 years older than her new husband Thomas. She was also a widow, having previously married Michael Keane, a farmer, in 1867, with whom she had a son Thomas in January 1879.

Marriage cert Keane Green 1867
Record of marriage of Michael Keane and Bridget Green in January 1867 (credit: © irishgenealogy.ie).

What happened to the Roche and Greene families?

We pick up Thomas and Bridget Roche again in the 1901 and 1911 censuses which indicate that they remained farming the land in Kilcloher, with Bridget listed as a housekeeper. Together they had five children: Philip, John, Mary, Martin and Johanna (all alive in 1911), while Bridget’s son, Thomas, from her first marriage lived with the family until at least 1901.

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The couple also had a grandchild staying with them in 1911: May Collins, who was the daughter of Mary Roche and her husband John Collins, a farmer from Tullig on the Loop Head peninsula.

The census returns indicate that the building occupied by the Roche family was deemed a 2nd-class house and was probably thatched. They must have kept a range of animals as they had several outhouses and farm buildings including a stable, cow house, piggery and a barn. Bridget predeceased her husband Thomas who died in February 1944 aged about 85.

1901 census return for Thomas and Bridget Roche
1901 census return for the Roche family in house 16, Kilclogher, Rahona, Clare (credit: © National Archives of Ireland).

The other couples proved more elusive. By 1901, Mrs Hanora (Norah) Greene was also living in Kilcloher townland but there was no sign of her husband Michael. Along with her elderly parents, Martin and Margaret Roche, her brothers Phillip and Richard, and the latter’s son, also named Richard, Norah lived in a 2nd-class house, probably thatched; the property also included some farm buildings.

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The census returns reveal that both this household and the Roche household featured above could speak English and Irish, and most members of both households could read and write.

1901-Census-Martin-and-Margaret-Roche
1901 census return for the Roche family in house 9, Kilclogher, Rahona, Clare (credit: © National Archives of Ireland).

By 1911, Norah was no longer living in her family homestead in Kilcloher. We were unable to track down her husband Michael Greene or indeed the third married couple John and Johanna Roche, but we did not conduct an exhaustive search beyond this region of Clare. However, since first publishing this article it has come to our attention that genealogist Paddy Waldron tracked the latter couple down in Danbury, Connecticut. It seems that Norah and Michael Greene also migrated to Connecticut, along with many other Loop Head natives who had to leave their homes, possibly out of necessity or in search of greater opportunities.

Given the times, it is fortunate that the parents of both sets of siblings lived into their old age. Aged approximately 72, Margaret Greene was the youngest and died in April 1901. The other three died in their 80s: Darby Greene, a farmer, in 1897; Margaret Roche, a housekeeper, in January 1904 and 12 months later her farmer husband Martin passed away.

Loop Head
Loop Head peninsula, Co. Clare (credit: © Suzanne Mischyshyn, via Geograph.ie, CC BY-SA 2.0).

If you are descended from the Roches or Greenes/Greens from Loop Head or if you live in this area, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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6 Responses

  1. Darby Greene was my great-grandfather. His son Jeremiah was my grandfather and his daughter Johanna was my mother. I have very little information on three generations back.

  2. My gg grandfather, John Greene shows up in New Haven, CT in 1862 marrying Mary Maley. They both were from Clare. John, have you submitted your DNA to GEDmatch? If so, could we compare?
    My GEDmatch ID is: M632230.

    I also have a tree on Ancestry.
    Melody Masi

  3. My name is Martin Roche live in Chicago now. My parents grew up in that house died 2 years ago. Patrick and mary. Martin Roche my father’s brother is still alive and lives there. Mae Collins moved to America and her family are in Green Bay Wisconsin. She married joe Leyden. I don’t think any greens are alive today. Lot history there I never knew

    1. My Greatgrandparents were from the Carrigaholt area, James Roche and Anna Magner. Their daughter Hannah Roche married my Grandfather Thomas Rowan and they are listed in the 1901 census as living with my Grandparents in Rahona, Clare.

  4. I am a native of kilclogher South,immigrated from there in 1994,now an American Citizen.There was a convent on our land back in the last century, but I do not have much information on it.

  5. My father was William Matthew Greene born 1910 in Cork but we are unable to find any birth records or family connections, however he lived in Mulinavat Co Kilkenny with his uncle or guardian Joseph Roche and his wife Anastasia Roche.
    Is this just a coincidence or is there a connection ?
    Seán Greene

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