From Ballyhoura to Ottawa - Commemorating the Legacy of the Peter Robinson Settlers, 200 years on!


Two hundred years ago this week, two ships sailed from Cobh taking over 500 people from the province of Munster to a new life in Ottawa, Canada. The ships, the Hebe and the Stakesby, left Cobh on the 8th of July 1823 tracing the names on the passenger lists will reveal and unfold families, connections, and ties on both sides of the Atlantic.

Peter Robinson Settlers1823a

In the early 1820s, Ireland, particularly Munster, was in turmoil. North Cork, Limerick, South Tipperary, and West Waterford were effectively the Wild West in terms of agrarian unrest and violence. Murders, house burnings, and physical and sexual assaults were recorded throughout the province in lockstep, with the poorer Catholic population increasing in size. The state reacted to this unrest through arrests, public whippings, public executions, and transportation.

It is little wonder, given this backdrop, that some families availed of the opportunity arranged by a number of prominent landlords to move overseas to new farms in Ottawa. The Ottawa plantation was conceived and arranged by Peter Robinson, born and bred in Canada, with a career ranging from fur trading to politics. It cannot go unremarked upon that these poor Irish families, who were two hundred years on from the Munster Plantation, were now forming part of a new plantation, annexing First Nations lands into this new world of 70-acre landholdings. Loss of territory for one people becoming an escape from poverty for another.


Families were not forced to leave, but applied to take part in this assisted emigration. However, increasing poverty, reducing circumstances and the backdrop of severe unrest surely played a part in their decision to bid farewell to their beloved homeland and embark on this epic journey, albeit incentivised by the promise of a new life in a distant land.

The two ships with their cargo of families took two months to get from Cobh to Canada and across the next two months, as we remember those who left, we will explore some of the stories relating to those families and individuals. Both ships were about ten years old when the Munster families boarded in Cobh, and both measured about 40 m long and 10 m wide. We can only imagine the experiences of those aboard, as just under 300 passengers and a full crew of sailors shared that space, enduring storms and braving the unpredictable sea. We must hope that during those two months, and through the trials and tribulations of the voyage, they formed bonds of solidarity, finding solace in one another's company.

Surnames of the Hebe ship passengers July 1823

The Hebe carried families from the Ballyhoura region, families like the Sullivan’s from Doneraile, the Callaghan’s from Churchtown and the Armstrong’s from Kilfinane as well as Buckleys, Barrys and Sheehans amongst others. Interestingly, also aboard were the Teskeys, part of a community of Palatine refugees who had arrived in Ireland just over a hundred years previously and were now setting sail for Canada. There was a strong north Cork contingent aboard the Hebe, with Churchtown, Doneraile, Charleville and Buttevant represented, as well as Clogheen in Tipperary. It follows that the Landlords actively involved in arranging this assisted emigration held prominent estates in those places. Aboard the Stakesby was another strong list of families bearing Munster surnames including Ryan, Keiffe, Green, Phelan, and O’Brien. Hailing from parishes in Mallow, Newmarket, Fermoy, Sixmilebridge and Rathkeale, this passenger list represented a wider range of counties than those on the Hebe. Like the Hebe, in addition to the Munster families, the Stakesby also carried Palatine families with the surname Young (originally Jung when they arrived over from south Germany). The full passenger list of those from the Ballyhoura Region and surrounding areas aboard the Hebe is at the end of this article.

Surnames of the Stakesby ship passengers July 1823

The descendants of the families aboard these two ships are now spread across the globe. Many are still living and farming on the original farms they built on the former first nations lands. Others moved elsewhere in North America, across Canada and into the US. Their descendants have become regular visitors to Ireland and now as the first sailings of 1823 are being remembered the main sailings of 1825 are in our sights.

Ballyhoura Development CLG are liaising with descendants and community groups in Ontario to design grassroots commemorations in order to pay homage to the families from the Ballyhoura area who embarked on this intrepid journey into the unknown. Their courage and resilience inspire us, reminding us of the transformative power of seeking a new beginning.

Ballyorgan Map

Over the next two months, coinciding with the journey of these families from the Ballyhoura region to the New World, we will explore and tell some of their stories of the country they left and the land they moved to. We know that these are stories embedded in our communities, and that the ancestors of those who left are still resident here. If you have ancestors who were on board these ships, stories of those who left, those left behind, or of recent connections with family in the new world, we would love to hear them and, with your permission, to share them.

If you wish to share any stories, or to take part in the commemoration of the Peter Robinson Settlers, please email Amanda Slattery at [email protected].


James Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult John Barry Buttevant, Cork-adult John Berkley Croom, Limerick-adult
Richard Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult Margaret Barry Buttevant, Cork-adult (wife) John Conner Croom, Limerick-adult (left at Prescott)
William Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult Thomas Barry Buttevant, Cork-adult Garret Dulmage Croom, Limerick-adult
Mary Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult Margaret Barry Buttevant, Cork-adult Sarah Dulmage Croom, Limerick-adult
Helen Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult John Barry Buttevant, Cork-adult Richard Dulmage Croom, Limerick-adult
William Barry Churchtown, Cork-adult Helen Barry Buttevant, Cork-child Margaret Dulmage Croom, Limerick-child
Patrick Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult Jeremiah Cronin Buttevant, Cork-adult Laurence Dulmage Croom, Limerick-child
Bridget Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult (wife) Michael Donovan Buttevant, Cork-adult (Left at Lachine) John Evans Croom, Limerick-adult
James Buckley Churchtown, Cork-child Bridget Donovan Buttevant, Cork-adult (left at Lachine) John McKan Croom, Limerick-adult
Daniel Buckley Churchtown, Cork-child Christopher Kelly Buttevant, Cork-adult Patrick Lynch Croom, Limerick-adult
John Buckley Churchtown, Cork-child James Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-adult William Ryan Croom, Limerick-adult
Timothy Buckley Churchtown, Cork-child Mary Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-adult
Daniel Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult John Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-adult
Mary Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult (wife) James Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-child
James Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult Patrick Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-child
Helen Buckley Churchtown, Cork-adult (sister) Margaret Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-child
Timothy Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Mary Sheehan Buttevant, Cork-child
Margaret Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Denis Swiney Buttevant, Cork -adult
Joanna Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Mary Swiney Buttevant, Cork-adult
Katherine Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Margaret Swiney Buttevant, Cork-adult
Dennis Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Kitty Swiney Buttevant, Cork-adult
Judah Callaghan Churchtown, Cork-adult Joanna Swiney Buttevant, Cork-adult
John Doherty Churchtown, Cork-adult Patrick Swiney Buttevant, Cork-child
Judi Doherty Churchtown, Cork-wife Cornelius Swiney Buttevant, Cork-child
Patrick Doherty Churchtown, Cork-child John Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Edward Doherty Churchtown, Cork-child Anne Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Daniel Doherty Churchtown, Cork-child Joseph Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Denis Murphy Churchtown, Cork-adult Robert Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Margaret Murphy Churchtown, Cork-adult John Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Patrick Murphy Churchtown, Cork-adult Matthew Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Bartholomew Murphy Churchtown, Cork-adult Eliza Teskey Buttevant, Cork-adult
Joanna Murphy Churchtown, Cork-adult Edward Teskey Buttevant, Cork-child
Margaret Murphy Churchtown, Cork-child Albert Teskey Buttevant, Cork-child
Luke Teskey Buttevant, Cork -child
Thomas Teskey Buttevant, Cork-child
Daniel Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Cornelius Buckley Newmarket, Cork-adult Timothy Buckley Charleville, Cork-adult
Honora Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Katherine Buckley Newmarket, Cork-adult (wife) Mary Buckley Charleville, Cork-adult
Bridget Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Cornelius Buckley Newmarket, Cork-child Margaret Buckley Charleville, Cork-child
Julia Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult James Buckley Newmarket, Cork-child David Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Thomas Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Patrick Dahill Newmarket, Cork-adult Mary Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Mary Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Richard Forrest Newmarket, Cork-adult Katherine Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Joanna Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Nel Forrest Newmarket, Cork-adult Nelly Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
John Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-child Kate Forrest Newmarket, Cork 24 years old Edmond Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Michael McGoran Liscarrol, Cork-adult Timothy Forrest Newmarket, Cork- 21 years old John Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Katherine Bresnihan Liscarrol, Cork-child James Forrest Newmarket, Cork- 19 years old Joanna Dowlin Charleville, Cork-adult
Jeffrey Donoghue Liscarrol, Richard Forrest Newmarket, Cork-17 years old Nora Dowlin Charleville, Cork-child
Mary Donoghue Liscarrol, Cork-adult Cornelius Forrest Newmarket, Cork -15 years old Anne Dowlin Charleville, Cork-child
Katherine Donoghue Liscarrol, Cork-child Joanna Forrest Newmarket, Cork - 10 years old Margaret Fitzgerald Charleville, Cork-adult (left elsewhere, gone)
Joseph Donoghue Liscarrol, Cork-child Timothy Rahilly Newmarket, Cork-adult Michael Foley Charleville, Cork-adult
Peggy Leary Liscarrol, Cork-adult Mary Rahilly Newmarket, Cork- adult (wife) Daniel Gold Charleville, Cork-adult
Timothy Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-adult Jeremiah Rahilly Newmarket, Cork -child Timothy Mann Charleville, Cork- adult
Mary Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-adult (wife) Patrick Rahilly Newmarket, Cork -child Joanna Mann Charleville, Cork- wife
Joanna Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-child David Ward Newmarket, Cork-adult James Mann Charleville, Cork - child
Maurice Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-child Ally Ward Newmarket, Cork-adult (wife) Bridget Mann Charleville, Cork - child
Honora Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-child Nora Ward Newmarket, Cork-child Martin Mann Charleville, Cork -child
Cornelius Sheehan Liscarrol, Cork-child Bess Ward Newmarket, Cork-child Morris O'Shea Charleville, Cork-adult
John McCarty Killfinane, Limerick-adult Timothy Coghlin Doneraile, Cork-adult Michael Cronin Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Nelly McCarty Killfinane, Limerick-adult Mary Coghlin Doneraile, Cork-adult Mary Cronin Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Francis Jessop Killfinane, Limerick- adult James Ray Doneraile, Cork-adult Denis Cronin Mitchelstown, Cork-adult (alias Jessy Riley stopped at Prescott )
Frances Armstrong child Mary Ray Doneraile, Cork-adult John Finn Ballygiblin, Cork-adult
Jane Armstrong child Margaret Ray Doneraile, Cork-child William Hickey Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Margaret Armstrong Cornelius Roche Doneraile, Cork-adult Jeremiah O'Keeffe Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Robert Armstrong Bridget Roche Doneraile, Cork-adult (wife) Jeremiah Mullins Ballygiblin, Cork-adult
Sophia Armstrong child John Roche Doneraile, Cork-child Joanna Mullins Ballygiblin, Cork-adult
Rebecca Armstrong child Denis Roche Doneraile, Cork-child Patrick Ryan Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Thomas Armstrong child John O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork- adult James Scanlin Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Mary O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork- adult Helen Scanlin Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Bes O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork-adult James Scanlin Mitchelstown, Cork-child
John O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork- adult Bridget Scanlin Mitchelstown, Cork-child
Mary O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork-child Robert Smithwick Mitchelstown, Cork-adult
Margaret O'Sullivan Doneraile county Cork-child
James Toughal Doneraile, Cork-adult
Ellen Toughal Doneraile, Cork-adult
Betty Toughal Doneraile, Cork-adult

Graveyards of the Ballyhoura Peter Robinson Assisted Emigration Project

In December 2014, Ballyhoura Development CLG received funding aimed to support Irish communities overseas and foster stronger connections between these communities and Ireland. As a result, Ballyhoura Development CLG embarked on a research project in collaboration with historian Dr. Paul MacCotter. The project focused on investigating the genealogical data sets of families involved in the Assisted Emigration program.

This page explores the graveyards associated with the Ballyhoura Peter Robinson Assisted Emigration Project: