By Paul Craven
Honora Nagle was born at Ballygriffin, near Mallow, County Cork, in 1718.
Her exact date of birth does not appear to be known precisely, but, one enterprising researcher gives the 9th of April, 1718, as her date of birth.
She was the eldest of five daughters and two sons born to her parents. Her father was Garret Nagle, son of the MP for Mallow. Another relation on her father’s side was the Irish Attorney-General (to the Catholic King, James II). Her mother’s maiden name was Ann Mathew, one of whose relations was Father Theobald Mathew, the temperance crusader.
These occurred during the War between the Protestant King, William of Orange, and the Catholic King, James II.
Unfortunately, the Nagles’ support for the Catholic King, James II, cost them dearly – mainly through the loss of their extensive landholdings.
Their situation was aggravated by the notorious Penal Laws which victimised Catholics in every aspect of their lives. However, one of Honora’s uncles converted to Protestantism, and, in this way, managed to hold on to some land for the Catholic Nagles.
This enabled young Honora (or “Nano”, as she was affectionately known by her family) to have a relatively privileged upbringing.