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Sunday 21 September 2014

Bertie's son-in-law goes back to his humble family roots

Published 17/06/2013 | 05:00

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Pictured in Carlow for a talk on the Byrne family’s roots were, from left, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Adam McGarry, Yvonne Byrne, Nicky Byrne with twins Rocco and Jake, Nicky’s wife Georgina, Turtle Bunbury and Lady Kilbracken
Pictured in Carlow for a talk on the Byrne family’s roots were, from left, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Adam McGarry, Yvonne Byrne, Nicky Byrne with twins Rocco and Jake, Nicky’s wife Georgina, Turtle Bunbury and Lady Kilbracken

HE might have become pop royalty, but singer Nicky Byrne's family come from an altogether more humble background.

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The former Westlife star has traced his roots back to labourers, porters and dock workers.

He was guided through his family history by genealogist Nicola Morris, who has worked on the hit TV series 'Who Do You Think You Are?' and 'The Genealogy Roadshow', and historian Turtle Bunbury.

Nicky's father-in-law, Bertie Ahern, was at the History Festival of Ireland in Duckett's Grove, Co Carlow, to hear the details.

"Nicky's great-great-grandfather, Charles Callahan, died in 1908 at the age of the 30," said Ms Morris. "He was a labourer on the docks and was killed when he was hit by a plank.

"The family lived in tenements in Dublin. We were talking about the struggle that his wife, Teresa Swords, would have gone through. Both her parents were deceased and she eventually remarried."

On the Byrne side of the family, Ms Morris said there were more than 10,000 people in Dublin with the family name in the 1911 Census.

However, she managed to trace his history back to a family in Co Laois.

"I think he was delighted – we helped them to fill in some of the blanks in the story," she said.

Irish Independent

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