Subject: Fwd: Boris Johnson – Caherlistrane connection via Eva O’Flaherty! (From Mary J Murphy)
“I said I would send along the attached to see if you would like to work it into a diary piece for the IT, perhaps, as it turns out that Eva O’F & Mr Johnson share an O’Gorman ancestor, on Eva’s maternal side, who was born in Bunratty Castle in 1688! With kind regards for the moment, M.
The Caherlistrane-Boris Johnson connection
By Mary J Murphy.
Perhaps no one will be more surprised than Prime Minister-elect Boris Johnson himself to learn that he has a bona fide family connection with Caherlistrane-born ‘Achill’s Eva O’Flaherty (1874-1963)! We know that O’Flaherty was born in Lisdonagh House in Caherlistrane, modelled hats in Paris during the fin de siècle, hobnobbed in the Cafe Royal in London before WWI, ran a millinery emporium in London before co-founding Scoil Acla on Achill in 1910 with Emily Weddall, Darrell Figgis and Co, was a founder member of Cumann n mBan in Dublin in 1914, and ran the fashionable island St Colman’s Knitting Industries in Dooagh for fifty years, but other thrilling family connections also turned up about a decade ago. During the course of research for my biography of Eva O’Flaherty (Knockma Publishing 2012) I made contact with historian and genealogist, Declan Barron, of Newpark House, Ennis, the former home of some of Eva O’Flaherty’s maternal O’Gorman ancestors, and – to cut a very long story short – it transpired that Eva and Boris have a shared genealogy.
Barron informed me that their common ancestor, James O’Gorman, was born in Bunratty Castle, County Clare, in 1688 and subsequently went to live in Limerick in 1724. Boris Johnson, born in New York in 1964 so we are of an age, has a fiendishly complicated family tree but a Canadian-based fellow with an inquiring mind called Richard Carruthers-Zurowski, who was at Oxford with Boris, was inspired in 2012 to examine his family tree after seeing Johnson on the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, and it was Richard who discovered that James O’Gorman, Eva O’Flaherty’s maternal ancestor, was also the seventh great grandparent of Boris Johnson! So as from today, for better or worse, we have genuine Irish links between new Prime Minister Johnson and Lisdonagh House, Caherlistrane, Achill Island, Bunratty Castle, Newpark House, Ennis, Limerick, and the devil and all knows where – so perhaps it is Johnson himself, who seemingly queried why Leo Varadkar wasn’t called a simple Irish name like Murphy, who should in fact be blessed with the surname ‘Murphy’!