The Story of Hugh McKenna


Hugh McKenna lived in the Clogher area of County Tyrone, Ireland in the 1800s.  Born around 1813, he married Mary around 1832 and they had at least five children: Ellen (1838), Sarah (1839), John (1840), Thomas (1844) and James (1851).  They also adopted a foundling Mary A. (b. 1847).  They lived through the potato famine and neither died nor emigrated from Ireland.  They did, however move from County Tyrone to Belfast seeking a better life.  James, their youngest son was born in Tyrone in 1851.  By 1852 they lived in Belfast and were documented in the Christ Church census (taken in February 1852) and a Belfast Street Directory living at 6 Albert Street Place.  Hugh was listed as a Millworker and Fireman.   Hugh died 22 April 1880 and is buried in the Belfast City Cemetery.  Mary died 27 December 1898 and is buried in the same cemetery plot with Hugh, their daughter Sarah and two grandchildren.This linked presentation seeks to answer the question, "Where did Hugh McKenna live in County Tyrone?

In 1852, Hugh and his family lived at 6 Albert Street Place. They were listed in the Christ Church, Church of Ireland Census. Also listed in the Census was George McKenna living on Killen Street. By 1860, Hugh and his family had moved to Galway Street, very close to Killen Street. George McKenna is no longer listed. By 1870, you and his family have moved to Boyne Court and Hugh is listed as a "Packer". By 1880, when he dies, he has moved to Malvern Street.

Hugh's Professions -
We know very  little about Hugh McKenna, but from street directories and vital records, we know a little about his work and where he lived.  Prior to coming to Belfast, we believe Hugh was a farmer in County Tyrone, as were his fathers before him.  In the 1852 Street Directory, however, Hugh is living in Belfast at 6 Albert Street Place and is listed as a Fireman.  In the 1852 Christ Church Census, he is also living at 6 Albert Street Place and is listed as a Millworker.  It is likely he worked full time as a millworker and part time as a fireman. 
1868 Street Directory
 In the 1860 Griffiths Valuation Hugh is living on Galway Street and when his adopted daughter Mary dies in 1865 he was still living there.  In the 1868 Street Directory, he was still on Galway Street, but is now listed as a Bottler.  Then in the 1870 Street Directory he had moved to Boyne Square and was listed as a Packer.

It is likely that Hugh’s job in 1868 was at the Belfast and Ulster Brewing Company that was founded in 1868 by Mr. Bernard Hughes.  The brewery was located on the West side of Sandy Row, between Rowland Street and Boyne Square.  This location is less than one half mile south of Galway Street and would explain why Hugh moved from Galway Street to Boyne Square.

The brewery was build on a site that was “formerly the premises of Edward Tucker`s Glue and Starch Works, the location contained ten wells sunk by Tucker, and appeared ideal for its new purpose.”  The buildings were designed by Alexander McAlister, of Chichester Street in Belfast and built using many local suppliers and contractors.

Unfortunately the brewery had a short life, closing down after about ten years in existence, around 1878.  Hugh died in 1880 living at 112 Malvern Street, which was close to where his son James and his wife Catherine lived. 

The Brewery building still stands in Belfast today (2013).



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