More about the family of Joseph William Arthur and what became of them.


1890 outside Deerpark on the occasion of the death of Joseph William Arthur
Outside Deerpark 1898

Taken at the funeral of Kate Cooney’s funeral in 1901. Kate was the wife of Joseph William Arthur.


Joseph William Arthur’s children were:

Minnie Arthur

Minnie Arthur



Madeline Arthur

I do not have a photo of Madeline.


John J Arthur

1890 photo John is front row second on right, in the 1898 photo he is back row second from left and in 1901 photo he is front row second from left .



Frank Arthur in Kentish town.


Francis Arthur

 In the 1890 photo he is he is on the far right of the back row, in the 1898 photo he is third from left on the back row and he is back row far right in the 1901 photo. The photo above is one of him on his own.



Catherine Arthur 

 She is in the middle of the back row in the 1890 photo, in the 1898 photo she is on the far left of the back row and in the 1901 photo she is on the far right end of the front row. The photo above is of Catherine in later life.


Margaret Arthur

 No known photograph.  


Joseph Arthur

Joseph was born on 17th. May 1872. In the 1890 photo he is second from left of the back row, in the 1898 photo he is second from left of the back row and in the 1901 photo he is third from left on the back row. Joseph had nine children William, Mary, Charles, Augustine, Joseph, John, Frank, Aquin Margaret and Gabriel. Of these  at the time of writing Gabriel is the only one still alive and he worked as a music teacher thereby carrying on a long tradition of members of the Arthur family being musically talented. Mary or Catherine Mary also known as Aquin had one child Anne Marie who lives in London and works as a practice nurse. Aquin (Anne Marie’s mother) was also a nurse and served in the British army during World War II. Gabriel also had one daughter Fiona who lives in Lewis Sussex and works as an archivist. John had two daughters Danielle who used to work at Heathrow airport in charge of the information desk at terminal 4 and Michelle who is an actress and lives in Los Angles; she regularly turns up in American made T.V. dramas and movies. The only member of Joseph’s family left in Co. Clare is Miriam Augustine's daughter where she lives with her mother in Lisdoonvarna. Frank joined the priesthood where he served as a chaplain in the U.S. army and later as a parish priest in Fishguard and Caerleon in Wales. He retired to Lisdoonvarna in the 90’s and he used to stand in for priests who were on holiday until he died in 2010.

William Arthur workroom duty Artane school.

William Arthur

William was born in Ennistymon on September 24th. 1860 and he was the eldest child of his family. At the age of six he went to school and his first master was Br. Vincent Culkin after Br. Vincent he was taught by Br. Raymond Ring. By the time he was 16 years old he had developed all the characteristics of a carefree, self-willed, hot-tempered youth.

 He was to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a professional photographer. It should be remembered that at that time taking and developing photos was something only a small number of professional photographers could do. So the young William was able to earn a very good income for such a young man, as everyone wanted to have his or her photo taken. However this surfeit of money led him to have a gay and spendthrift life when he was not working. His parents were not happy with the way he was leading his life and so his father arranged that he should go to his uncle who was a well to do man in New York. William was delighted at the prospect of going to the United States because there he would be out of the reach of parental observation and virtually on his own. When William reached Ellis Island in New York he was met by his uncle and cousins who were able to speed his exit from Ellis Island compared to most of the others who had been on the ship. They took him to their home and the following week he was working in the studio of Messrs. Anderson Bros. Photographic Artists Broadway. Here he learned all the latest photographic techniques and was earning plenty of money. New York for a carefree young man in his early twenties was from every point of view full of pitfalls. But after a few years William tired of city life and missed his old friends at home so he booked his passage home. Apart from some money all William seems to have brought home from New York was a pronounced Yankee accent.

After a few months at home he left Ennistymon for other parts of Ireland and then used to return after long intervals to visit his family. This went on for some years and all the time large sums of money were earned and spent as fast as they were earned on dress, socials, dances and every worldly entertainment that came his way. By now he was 28 years old. In mid-summer 1888 a telegram was handed in to William’s father’s house in Ennistymon saying that William was seriously ill and could someone come and see him. One of his brothers went and found him in a critical semi-conscious state. A doctor said his condition was very serious and was due either to drugs or to some potion into which they had been introduced. That night he was heard to shout out “I want that grace! I want that grace!” and by dawn he was exhausted and fell asleep. He was taken to hospital the next day and a few days later he was well enough to travel home. His mother slowly nursed him back to health. He was advised that that he should go away to complete his recovery, he chose Cobh and after a few months his health was completely restored. I should be noted that it was at this time that William begun to return to the church.

He returned to photography only now he put aside most of the money he earned which after a few months he sent to the parish priest of Ennistymon to purchase a silver lamp which is now in the parish church of Cloona a few miles east of Ennistymon. William was now a daily attendee at mass etc. After about a year William decided that he wished to become a Christian Brother so he returned to Ennistymon and went to Br. Gall Stephens who was not yet convinced of his vocation and told him to go away and talk to his parents, which he did. His mother was delighted but his father wanted him to forget the idea but he was determined and so his father relented. At the end of July 1889 he went to St. Joseph’s, Marino where he came under the wing of Br. Raymond Ring his old teacher. Br. Evangelist McKeown taught him how to cook, to lay a table, to bake bread, to shine brasses and to do all that is down in the twentieth chapter of the constitutions.

He was sent to Westland Row to complete his training under Br. Paul Moran who had for many years been a valet to a gentleman in Co. Kildare. Then he went to Richmond Street where he was both cook and nurse to all the brothers there. Br. Canice as he was now known made his first profession on Christmas Day 1890 and his final profession on the same day 1896. In 1902 he was transferred to Mount Sion in Waterford where he no longer had to cook as they employed a cook however he was in charge of everything connected with the kitchen, refectory and grounds. He was next posted to Sexton Street and Enniscorthy then he went to Salthill Industrial School, Galway and after that he was transferred to Glin Co. Limerick in 1910 to manage the farm attached to St. Josephs School there where they shared the campus with the Sisters of Mercy. The girls did the cooking and Canice suspected that the sisters were giving the lion’s share of the food to the girls. He spoke to Sister Catherine who expressed surprise that anyone would think that she would treat the boys differently to the girls. So Canice asked Sr. Catherine if she had heard what to Bishop in the Church on the day of the Confirmation. Sister Catherine asked what he had said and Canice replied that he said that “the girls at this school are like turkeys fattened for Christmas and the boys are like greyhounds, they are so thin and miserable looking”. The sister laughed and after that there was no need for further complaints. Next he returned to Salthill to take charge of the workshops as he had made a very favorable impression during his first session there and he was there for the epidemic of 1918 swept through the school fortunately he was one of the 25% who did not get ill.

His next move was to Carriglea in Co. Dublin. However he was only there six weeks when the brother in charge of the juvenile workroom in Artane died. Br Otteran Ryan who was superior in Artane did not know Canice but his sub-superior Br. Cyprian Carroll did and it was through his recommendation that Canice was posted to Artane. He was to remain in Artane for the next twenty years. When the boys were not working Canice was well known for entertaining them with his many magic tricks he also taught the boys how to dance and knit. Canice remained in charge of the workroom for 24 years with one very short interlude when he worked in the kitchen. At the beginning of 1941 he fell and broke his arm, which as he was now over 80 years of age was slow to mend. A short while later a doctor after examining him noticed that his hearing was failing. Towards the end of 1941 he was transferred to St. Patrick’s Baldoyle from Artane and it was here that he died on the 25th. Of April 1942.

 In the 1890 photo William is on the left of the front row, he is not in the 1898 photo and in the 1901 photo he is front row far left.



Br.Charles Firmin Arthur. 


Charles Arthur 

Charles was born on 20th. January 1883 and died 25th. September 1969. He was one of four children of Joseph and Kate who became either Christian Brothers or Nuns. Charles started school in the Christian Brothers Ennistymon in September 1887 where he was only an average student and he left school in the spring of 1900. After leaving school he entered Baldoyle on 5 May 1900. On 1st. November 1900 Charles was accepted as a novice and adopted the name Br. Firmin.  A few weeks after the completion of his novitiate Br. Firmin was posted to Derry where he spent five happy years. After Derry Firmin was posted to Carrick on Suir and New Ross within the space of one year. After which he went to Artane where he spent three years where he worked from dawn to dusk working with the boys as well as teaching them and on Sundays taking them for long walks. From Artane he went to Clonmel for one year and from there to Glin where he spent three years doing much the same kind of work he had done in Artane. From Glin he went to Westport for one year. These constant changes were not a reflection on Firmin’s abilities but were rather the norm at the time it was only later that brothers were changed less frequently.

In 1916 Firmin returned to Artane. There were about 800 boys in Artane at this time and there were 20 Brothers and a number of lay teachers to take care of all these boys. Firmin on this occasion was given charge of the world famous Artane Boys Band with a bandmaster to help him. During the 1920’s he often walked around Croke Park with the boys. Firmin spent a total of thirty seven years in Christian Brothers Residential Schools, Firmin preferred to call them residential Colleges. During these 37 years he spent two periods in Artane, Glin and Tralee as well as one in Galway, Letterfrack and Carriglea. It should be noted that at this time the authorities were paying the brothers in Artane only 7 shillings per week per boy to maintain the boys in the school. It seems likely that roughly the same amount for each boy in all the other schools. It should be noted that Firmin abhorred violence as was clear from his attitude to the Great War 1914-1918, The War Of Independence, The Civil War and The Second World War 1939-1945. which contrasted with the attitudes of many of the other brothers. 

In 1930 Firmin was transferred to St. Joseph’s Tralee for a short time and after that to Galway where he spent five happy years as it reminded him of his home in Clare. Subsequently he taught in Carriglea, Co. Dublin and Letterfrack Co. Galway. In January 1939 he was transferred to Saint Edward’s College, Liverpool, this was his first time out of Ireland and he remained there until August 1944. He was there when the Germans were bombing Liverpool and he must have been terrified. In August 1944 he was sent to Brentwood and here he was even more exposed to the flying bombs that the Germans were now using. They were always passing over and from time to time one exploded near the school.  In 1949 Firmin requested that he return to the Irish Province. This request was granted and he returned to St. Joseph’s Tralee where he spent two years and he was then transferred to Saint Joseph’s Industrial School Glin where he spent tem years. It is worth noting at this time that along with music the main subjects that Firmin taught were woodwork and drawing. After he finished teaching class he continued to provide supervision during the long periods of supervision. 

Firmin loved to read particularly the newspapers and it was he who kept all the other brothers informed about the outside world. He was also known to have very strong opinions on how the Industrial Schools were run (he was inclined to exaggerate the value and importance of these institutions). Firmin wrote in the Brothers Educational Records that neither the Government nor the Brothers did all they could to run these schools efficiently. He loved to walk and he walked three to three and a half miles a day using a pedometer to measure how far he had traveled. Another love of his was photography, which he must have inherited from his father who as we know was a professional photographer. In those days most photographs were black and white so Firmin was known to add color to his photographs although not always successfully. 

He was transferred to St. Theresa’s in Limerick from Glin in the early 1960’s when he retired from active work. He liked St. Theresa’s as there were a good number of interesting walks that could be taken from there and when out walking he wore gloves and carried an umbrella on his left arm and a pedometer on his right leg. Happily he enjoyed good health, had a zest for his meals and rarely visited a doctor. In 1965 he told another brother that he had diabetes and as far as anyone knows this was the only time he ever mentioned that he had it. Finally at about 6.45 a.m. on the 29th. Of March 1969 Firmin died having been ill for three days. His nephew Fr. Frank Arthur celebrated his Requiem mass and after the mass the funeral took place to St. Lawrence Cemetery where the prayers at the graveside were cited by Fr. Frank Arthur.


  He is only in the 1898 photo and he is on the far right of the back row.


DeerPark House 2006
Deerpark House 2006

This photo of Deerpark was taken in 1954 when the house was still occupied by members of the Arthur family.

Deerpark House



Deerpark was the country house of the Arthur family and was known as the cottage.It is thought that Patrick Arthur of Ennistymon built it around 1811 and members of the Arthur family continuously occupied it  until the last member of the Arthur family to live there went into a nursing home in 2003. When Bridie who was the last member of the family to live there died she left it to her niece who lived in England. This niece then sold it out of the family to the owner of a local supermarket for it is rumored the sum of €500,000. Sad to say the house now  is in a sad state of neglect and disrepair.
Hill House Ennistymon.

Above is what is now called the Hill house in Ennistymon but 200 years ago this is the house where Patrick Arthur of Ennistymon lived when he was in Ennistymon the right you can see the annex that was built for Fr. Francis Arthur to stay in when he came to visit his relations in Ennistymon. Fr. Francis was a brother of William Arthur the father of Joseph William Arthur who lived in Deerpark. Both William and Fr. Francis were sons of Patrick Arthur of Ennistymon and indeed the house now called the Hill house is still occupied by descendants of Patrick Arthur through a daughter of William.

This site and all the information contained in it is © 2017. If anyone wishes to use any of the information except that which is already the public domain you must obtain the permission of the author be by contacting me at mick@thearthurfamilyoflimerickandclare.com