Select Dempsey Miscellany

Here are some Dempsey stories and accounts over the years:

The O'Dempseys of Clanmalier

The following is the O'Dempsey line, from Dermod O'Dempsey's father who died in 1162 through fourteen generations to the O'Dempseys in the 17th century.

Date of Death
Conbrogha McHugh O'Dempsey
Dermod McConbrogha O'Dempsey
Hugh McDermod O'Dempsey

Fionn McMalachy O'Dempsey
Dermod McFionn O'Dempsey
Fionn McDermod O'Dempsey

Malachy McFionn O'Dempsey
Dermod McMalachy O'Dempsey
Maolmorra McDermod O'Dempsey
Cahir McMaolmorra O'Dempsey
Dermod McCahir O'Dempsey

Hugh McDermod O'Dempsey
Dermod McHugh O'Dempsey
Terence McDermod O'Dempsey

Terence O'Dempsey was made Viscount Clanmalier by James I of England  in 1631.  His grandson Lewis the second Viscount (who died in 1683) and great grandson Maximilian the third Viscount (who died in 1714) took up against the English and their estates were forfeited in 1691. 

The O'Dempseys and Lea Castle

Lea Castle lies on the outskirts of what is now the town of Portarlington, on the banks of the Barrow river between Laois and Offaly.  The castle was originally built by the Normans in 1260, but it changed hands many times during its history.  It was taken by the O'Dempseys in 1284 then surrendered in 1329, burned by the O'Moores in 1346, captured by the O'Dempseys in 1422, and then taken by the Earl of Ormond in 1452.

In 1642 the castle was occupied by the Confederate Catholics, from which they were driven by Lord Lisle.  Eight years later the castle was taken by Cromwell's forces and dismantled.  The last person who took up his abode there was Charles O'Dempsey (Cahir na gCapall), the last descendant of the once powerful Chiefs of Clanmaliere. 

Dempseys of Lea Parish in Laios County

Griffith's Valuation of Ireland was undertaken over the years 1848 to 1864.  It recorded the property owners in each county.  Those in Queen's county (now Laois county) showed sixty three Dempseys.  Ten of them below were from Lea parish.

Andrew Dempsey
John Dempsey
John Dempsey
Cooltedery (Bracklone St)
John Dempsey
Cooltedery (Main St)
John Dempsey Jr
Cooltedery (Main St)
Joseph Dempsey
Margaret Dempsey
Mary Dempsey
Cooltedery (Main St)
Michael Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey

Reader Feedback - William Dempsey in Philadelphia in 1726

In your Select Dempsey Surname Genealogy you say that Barnet Dempsey may have been the earliest Dempsey arrival in America during the 1780ís.   

I have family written history that William Dempsey (my 5th great grandfather), age 4, arrived in Philadelphia in 1726 in the company of his uncle Mark.  His son, John William Dempsey (my 4th great grandfather), fought under Washington in the American Revolution and may have been at Valley Forge.  John married Rachel Solomon (daughter of a Jewish sea merchant) in Philadelphia after the conclusion of the war and around 1790 made residence in Botetourt county, Virginia (now Mingo county, West Virginia).  His father William lived at Fincastle in Botetourt county. 

Mark Dempsey (

James Dempsey and the Early Catholic Church in Australia

In the Catholic archives in Adelaide were found some anonymous scribbled notes which read as follows:

"James Dempsey, a stone mason, sent out for the part he took in the rising of 1798 was a native of Wexford.  A man of genuine piety, he often wept in his captivity, for though his irreproachable character caused him to be allowed to execute his trade and exempted him from being assigned, he felt his deprivation of all religious aid as keenly as the Jews who 'could not sing the songs of the Lord in a strange land, who wept when they remembered Zion.'"

He had been granted his pardon in 1809, the year the only Roman Catholic priest in the New South Wales colony had been expelled.  An unconsumed Host was left behind by the priest and Dempsey kept this at his house on Kent Street and used it as a rallying point for the large Catholic population in Sydney.

When a priest finally arrived in 1820, Dempsey was still filled with zeal and went about the construction of the first Catholic chapel in Australia.  He started work on an undesirable piece of land on the outskirts of the town.  He was to sink his whole fortune into its building and it was to become his life's work.  It pushed him into backruptcy and he travelled the world to raise funds for it.  The chapel was finally completed some years before his death in 1838.


Jack Dempsey the Nonpareil

Jack Dempsey was born in county Kildare in Ireland, but died of TB in America in 1895.  He was just thirty three.

He was a middleweight boxer who became champion of the world.  Some people think that he was the greatest pound for pound boxer in history.   He was a two-handed fighter who could box or punch; his jab was quick and accurate; his right hand punch was stiff; he was game and cool under pressure; and he could fight whatever style was needed to win; in short, a crafty boxer-puncher who was an excellent ring general.

M.J. McMahon wrote a poem to his memory.  Part of the poem read as follows:

"Far out in the wilds of Oregon,
On a lonely mountainside,
Where Columbia's mighty waters
Roll down to the ocean side;
Where the giant fir and cedar
Are imaged in the wave,
O'ergrown with firs and lichens,
I found Jack Dempsey's grave.

O Fame, why sleeps thy favored son
In wilds, in woods, in weeds,
And shall he ever thus sleep on,
Interred his valiant deeds.
Tis strange New York should thus forget
Its 'bravest of the brave'
And by the fields of Oregon,
Unmarked leave Dempsey's grave."

Jack Dempsey's Restaurant

Jack Dempsey's was a New York restaurant located on Broadway between 49th and 50th streets in Manhattan.  Owned by world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, it was considered by many as an American institution.  It originally opened for business in 1935 on Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, directly across from the old Madison Square Garden.  Most nights would find Dempsey's famous proprietor on hand to greet guests, sign autographs, pose for pictures and hold court.

A poster in the restaurant showed Dempsey crouching and bobbing his way to a heavyweight victory over the giant Jess Willard to win the championship of the world on July 14, 1919.

Jack Dempsey's restaurant appeared in the 1972 movie The Godfather.  Michael Corleone stood in front of Jack Dempsey's while waiting to be picked up by Virgil Sollozzo and Capt. McCluskey for their infamous dinner meeting.   The restaurant closed two years later in 1974.

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