We start then with the Great-grandfather of Nicholas Doyle. As already said, he may have been the 'Doyle' shown living in Laheen South in 1750, or he may have been the son of that man. Sadly that really is all that we can say.

It makes sense then to start with Nicholas Doyle himself. He was born around 1818, and probably in Laheen South. A rule of thumb in genealogy is to allow 3 generations per hundred years. On that basis, Nicholas' father was probably born around 1780, his grandfather was probably born around 1750 and his great-grandfather was probably born around 1720. If these dates are roughly correct, and if we assume the average lifespan of 70 years, then Nicholas' great-grandfather died around 1790, his grandfather died around 1820, and his father died around 1850. Of course it must be remembered that with these are all guesses and there is no evidence whatsoever to support any of these dates.

What is known is that in the Tithe Applotment Books for Mohill Parish, dated 1833 or 1834, five Doyles are listed in Laheen South townland. A sixth Doyle appears on the page showing the townland but it can and will be shown in a later volume that this man, James Doyle, lived in the adjacent townland of Kildoo and so we assume he was not Nicholas' father.

These five Doyles were John, Edward P, John Jun(ior), Edward Sen(ior), and Alexander. There are no land records or church records available that enable us to identify which one, if any, was Nicholas' father. I feel that a father named Alexander is most likely to have had a son named Nicholas, but that is pure fancy.

We are left then with starting properly with Nicholas Doyle. He was, if his stated age of 72 at his death in 1890 is to be believed, born in 1818. In April 1846, as the Famine was starting to take hold in Leitrim, he married Bridget Wynne. A Patrick Doyle was the witness to the marriage, which took place in Mohill Catholic Church. It is likely that Patrick and Nicholas were brothers. Unfortunately, the earliest baptismal records for the parish of Mohill date from 1836 and so are much too late to enable us confirm this. In October 1847, at the height of the Famine, Nicholas' son John was born. The next recorded baptism of a child of the family was that of Ellen in April 1851. That is quite a large gap in Catholic families of the time. One possible explanation is that with the chaos that surrounded the Famine, some baptisms were missed out upon in the parish registers. Another, and more likely one, perhaps, is that Nicholas and Bridget faced a grim test of survival, and simply had too many health related issues to be able to conceive a child in that period.

By 1851, the worst of the Famine's effects were in the past. Many lives had been lost in the Mohill area and many more people had emigrated. The lands of Laheen South had been held by a middleman - John Parr, and later his widow and his representatives - until around 1850 when they went under the direct control of the 3rd Earl of Leitrim. From his rental records we learn that Nicholas was the tenant of a holding of 8 Acres 3 Roods and 31 Perches (Irish Measure), or almost 9 Acres.

Perhaps it was a combination of greater security under Lord Leitrim, combined with the availablility again of regular food, that enabled Nicholas and Bridget have first Ellen in April 1851, and then Mary in January 1854, and finally Edward in January 1858.

In any case, we have evidence of Nicholas and family remaining in Laheen South until September 1866. The later years, however, seem to have been difficult ones for them.

The oral tradition within the Doyle family is that they were evicted from their farm in Laheen South to make way for a Protestant farmer whose daughter Lord Leitrim had 'his eye' on. The only formal records available, however, suggest a much more mundane story.

In the estate rental records of September 1864, Nicholas is shown with arrears of rent of £13/5s. He seems to have rectified this in 1865, but then, in March 1866, the records show that he had arrears of £6/12s and had been served with Notice to Quit. The records of September 1866 show him as having moved to Clooncarne, but this is not consistently shown. What seems certain is that by March 1867, he had moved.

The farm in Clooncarne was smaller than the Laheen holding by about 2 acres but the rent was lower. His holding in Laheen was taken over by a man named French, who may well have been a Protestant but otherwise there is no evidence whatsoever of any sexual motive behind the move.

What seems more likely is that Lord Leitrim and his agents realised that Nicholas was struggling with the amount of rent due from his farm. Remember that by 1864 when he first encountered problems, Nicholas had four children aged between 8 and 17 to feed. My feeling is that Leitrim and his agents recognised that Nicholas, who had proven strong (or fortunate) enough to survive even the Famine, was a diligent and honest tenant who simply could not afford the rent in Laheen but who would be able to afford the lower rent that would be due from him on the Clooncarne lands.

What is at least indisputable is that the family relocated to Clooncarne no later than March 1867, and there they remained.

At this point, as a historian the writer has to choose whether to continue giving a blow by blow account of each event in the lives of the Doyles. But as this is largely a genealogical history, it is inevitable that such a narrative would consist largely of details of when people were born, married and died.

I believe that an account such as that described would be somewhat dull reading. The details mentioned can be seen, for every individual, in the persons' section of this site. . Furthermore, they can be read in a very summarised form, which presents a timeline of events, in the section Timeline of Events.

Instead, then, this section will focus on the events that seem the most interesting or significant.