The Irish in America


From Sheepshead to Casper

Unknown town sceneRecently, in an exchange of emails with Danny Tobin about a couple of family gatherings he has planned for this summer (click here to read more about the Tobin and Coughlan family gatherings) I learned of the connection between the Sheepshead Peninsula in West Cork and Casper, Wyoming in the United States.

Danny told me that many of the emigrants from Sheepshead had gone to Casper to, naturally, work on the sheep ranches. He suggested I check out History of Casper’s Irish Colony.

What a fantastic recommendation! The site is actually a complete version of the book Register: The Story of Casper’s Irish Colony, written by Harry Arundel Ward. The site includes the full second edition published in 2003, as well as later corrections and additional information compiled since publication.

Register provides a history of Casper, Wyoming and explores the role of Irish immigrants in the foundation and growth of the town. It also includes vast biographical information on each Irish immigrant who made Casper home and presents it all in an easy to search tables (I just used the “find” function to explore the tables.) The tables include over 500 names, many more than the author, Harry Ward, anticipated:

When I undertook the project, I expected to collect 50 or 60 names at the most.  Had I realized how large the project would be, I may never have started.

It is possible to SEARCH the entire site – click here,  The author provides detailed HOW TO  instructions for navigating the site – click here.

Whenever I read about immigrants who settled the American West – the farmers, the railroad workers, the ranchers, the miners – I marvel at how brave they were. They left their homes for new lives in a place so very different from where they came. In the case of Casper, the Irish who came may have had experience raising sheep, but imagine their thoughts upon first setting foot on a Wyoming ranch. Desolate, dusty, and twenty miles to town.

Click here to read Casper 1887-1987: An Irish Legacy, by Linda L. Doherty.

TheGathering_logo_Blue_RSo, if you are planning a Gathering this year and the old family stories tell you that a relative moved to Wyoming to in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, definitely check out History of Casper’s Irish Colony. The author also includes information on other Irish settlements throughout the Western United States – Nebraska, Montana, and Oregon – click here.

Psst…if you are a native of Casper and claim Irish heritage, drop us a line. Someone may just be looking for you!

Lucille O'Brien and some sheep in Chinook, Montana (closest I could get to Casper!)

Lucille O’Brien and some sheep in Chinook, Montana (closest I could get to Casper!)


Gathering Spotlight II


We are featuring a few more great Gatherings this week. Whether you are a Tobin, a Coughlan, or a football enthusiast, there’s a Gathering just for you! If you need help planning your trip or your time in Ireland once  you get there, we can help. Just visit our Tours page for information.

Tobins of Sheepshead Gathering

Church at Kilcrohane

Church at Kilcrohane

On June 2nd, a gathering of The Tobins of Sheepshead will be held. Everyone with a connection to John Tobin and Mary Spillane, of Caherurlagh, Sheepshead, Kilcrohane, West Cork is invited. John and Mary were married on February 4, 1836. There are a lot of Tobins from Sheepshead, so Danny Tobin (who submitted this listing) would like to give a particular shout-out to the Malllory Tobins.

Several of the Mallory Tobins made the journey to America over the years, and Danny is looking for any of the American branch to get in touch with him. So, if you think you might be descended from the Tobins of Sheepshead, County Cork, let us know you are out there!

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Coughlans of Ballydehob



Calling all descendants of Daniel Coughlan and Bridget Reilly who were married on the February 11, 1870 in Ballydehob North, West Cork! On August 4th is the gathering of the Coughlans of Ballydehob.  There is already a large group of descendants from the East Coast of America planning to attend, and Danny is hoping that some family from the West Coast will make the trip as well.