Select Quinn Miscellany

Here are some Quinn stories and accounts over the years:

The Quinn Septs

The various Quinn septs recorded in Ireland have been:
  • the Dalcassian sept of Thomond - deriving from the Hy Ifearnan clan - were originally of Inchiquin in county Clare and subsequently moved onto Limerick.
  • the O'Quinn sept of Louginsolin claimed descent from Congalagh O'Cuinn who was killed by the English in 1219.  They were to be found in Tyrone.
  • the O'Quinn sept of Clanndeboy also claimed descent from Congalagh O'Cuinn.  They were to be found in the Glens of Antrim.
  • the O'Quinn sept of Magh Itha were first recorded in the early 14th century.  They were based in the barony of Raphoe in Donegal.

The Travails of Mark Quin

Royalist Mark Quin was a member of Dublin City Council in 1655 during Cromwellian times.  He along with others were soon expelled from the council.  But, come the Restoration, and in 1667 "Alderman Quin was sworn at the Exchequer Lord Mayor of Dublin, having been formerly elected according to custom." 

His career came to an end in 1674 when, in a fit of jealousy at the conduct of his wife who it seemed "was loved by lord and lad alike,"  he committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a razor.

The Colorado Adventures of Wyndham Quin, Fourth Earl of Dunraven

Wyndham succeeded his father as Earl of Dunraven in 1871 at the age of thirty.  He had a reputation as a fearless steeplechaser and yachtsman.  He had also been a war correspondent in Abyssinia and during the Franco-Prussian War and he spent a great deal of his leisure time hunting wild game in various parts of the world.

After hearing of the fine hunting in the American West, he decided to pay the region a visit.  He arrived in 1872 and met and befriended Texas Jack Omohundro who acted as a guide for the earl's party on buffalo and elk hunts.

The next year he decided to make the whole of Estes Park, Colorado as a game preserve for the exclusive use of himself and his English friends. By stretching the provisions of the Homestead Act and the rights of presumption, Dunraven claimed 15,000 acres of land in what has been called "one of the most gigantic land steals in the history of Colorado." 

However, the coming of settlers into the area forced him to give up his game preserve idea.  Instead he had built a tourist hotel, The English Hotel and Lodge, which proved to be successful.  But Dunraven soon became disillusioned and he left the area in the late 1880's.  As he said then:

"People came in disputing claims, kicking up rows; exorbitant land taxes got into arrears; and we were in constant litigation.  The show could not be managed from home and we were in constant danger of being frozen out.  So we sold for what we could get and cleared out, and I have never been there since."

Early Quinn Marriages in North Carolina


Loftin Quinn
Mary Canady
David Quinn
Easter Williams
Caleb Quinn
Virginia Johnston
George Quinn
Nancy Stewart
Enoch Quinn
Maryann Dennis
Abner Quinn
Ruth Gould
Loftin Quinn
Olive Hatcher

James Quinn Fleeing The Famine and Paddy the New American

James and Margaret Quinn were from Kilkenny and had married there in 1847.  Later that year, they fled the famine that was decimating Kilkenny during the Great Hunger of 1847 aboard one of the "coffin ships" that was headed for Canada.  Upon arrival in Canada, they were most likely quarantined at Grosse Isle where thousands of sick Irish immigrants were first cleared before being allowed to travel onward.  Over ten thousand Irish never made it off Grosse Isle and are buried there today.

The Quinns were among the lucky ones who survived and moved on.  They arrived in Chicago by early 1848 and took up residence in the Ninth Ward on East Indiana Street.  They had three children there, Mary, Patrick (Paddy), and Katherine. 

Father James died five years later in 1853.  But the family was adapting to their new American surroundings, particularly their son Paddy.  He worked in the McCormick paper plant as a printer and played baseball with many of his co-workers.  Together they formed a team called the Chicago Aetnas which became one of Chicago 's premier amateur baseball teams during the late 1860s.  He was the catcher on the champion 1869 Aetnas.  Paddy went on to play professional baseball on the Chicago White Stockings with Cap Anson and Al Spaulding.  In later life he made a small fortune as a “plunger” (gambler) as the ponies became his passion.

Bishop James Quinn of Brisbane

Irish Catholics were very prominent among Brisbane's early settlers and the Catholic church was involved in many aspects of the city's development.  The church appointed a bishop for Brisbane in 1859.  The first bishop was James Quinn from Dublin, who arrived there in 1861.

It. seems that Bishop Quinn was a doer.  He set about improving the church's finances, he organized the immigration of thousands of his fellow Irishmen into Queensland to help the colony grow.  In fact, such was his zeal in this area that the Government stopped it, fearful of being so overrun by the Irish that the place would need to be known as "Quinn's land," not Queensland.

As Quinn saw it:

"The problem the Church faced, more acutely in the materialistic colonies than in Ireland itself, was how to help the Irish to share the opportunities without losing the Faith.  The Irish had for the first time the opportunity to be socially mobile, upward moving.  He knew the allurement."

As a person, Quinn was something of an enigma.  He was revered yet execrated, admired as an astute leader but reviled as an autocrat.  He was convinced that he was God's instrument and therefore not to be trifled with.  Stories of his feuds with the Sisters of Mercy and fellow priests lay thick on the ground, destroying much of his achievement.  Even so, there was much sadness in Queensland when he died in 1881.

Quinn might have been most pleased with the epitaph given by the Brisbane Courier, frequently his critic.  At the end, the editor suggested that "he was essentially an Irish priest."

Pat Quinn's Ancestry

Pat Quinn's family can be traced to Banbridge in county Down in the early 1800's.  Peter Quinn owned an eight acre parcel of land there on Castlewellan Road.   His son Peter had been born in Banbridge but left home in his twenties to become a merchant seaman, living in Liverpool.  His son Arthur had left Liverpool for Hamilton, Ontario in Canada in 1908.  Pat's father John was born there in 1916. 

Pat himself was the oldest of his five children.  He played professional ice hockey.  After his playing days were over, he became the head coach of the Canadian hockey team.  He took them to gold in the 2002 Winter Olympics and gold in the 2004 World Cup.

The Mighty Quinn

Bob Dylan wrote in his autobiography Chronicles in 2004:

"On the way back to my house I passed the local movie theater where The Mighty Quinn was playing. Years earlier I had written a song called The Mighty Quinn and I wondered what the movie was about. Eventually I sneaked off to see it.  It was a mystery, suspense, Jamaican thriller with Denzel Washington the Mighty Quinn, a detective who solves crimes.  Funny, that's just the way I imagined him when I wrote the song."

Or maybe not.  The Mighty Quinn was said at the time it was written in 1967 to be based on Anthony Quinn's role as an Eskimo in the 1959 film The Savage Innocents.

Niall Quinn's Disco Pants

Niall Quinn has his own song titled Niall Quinn's Disco Pants.  The song was originally created by fans of the Manchester City football team during a night out on a pre-season tour in Italy in 1992. 

Quinn had had a bust-up with City team-mate Steve McMahon and he had taken off his torn and bloodied shirt and was dancing around with Rick Holden wearing just a pair of cut-off jeans.   He was hardly aware that there was a group of hardcore City fans watching and they treated him to "the first performance of the song that will follow me till the end of my career."

The chorus went to the tune of the standard football chant Here We Go:

"Niall Quinn's disco pants are the best,
They go up from his arse to his chest.
They are better than Adam and the Ants,
Niall Quinn's disco pants!"

When Quinn moved to Sunderland, the song was adopted by Sunderland fans.

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