Fr Nicholas Flavin, PP of Windgap and Sean Keane, Kilkenny People looking at the baptismal cert of George Clooney's great, great grandfather. Nicholas Clooney. Photo: Pat Moore.
by Sean Keane, Kilkenny People
The official record of the link between Kilkenny and the world’s most handsome man is under lock and key, at an undisclosed location.
There are fears that unscrupulous traders in memorabilia or others will attempt to steal the baptismal record of George Clooney’s direct ancestor, Nicholas Clooney who was born at Knockeen, Windgap in 1829 and went to America shortly after the Famine.
Parish priest of Windgap and Dunnamaggin, Fr Nicholas Flavin has it secured in a secret location and not even the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Seamus Freeman knows where it now lies.
And he has promised to show it to Mr Clooney when he comes to Kilkenny this summer with his new wife Amal.
Last week, history and heritage company, Eneclann, claimed, using newly available court records available on www.findmypast.ie, that George Clooney’s Irish ancestors were forced out of the country and not as was reported last year because of the famine.
Nicholas Clooney (George’s great great grandfather) was one of many cottiers (small land owners) in Windgap during the 1850s who fell foul of “middlemen” who tried to force farmers off the land so they could amalgamate small holdings into bigger farms. This situation often tipped-over into violence. New court records prove that in 1852 Nicholas Clooney was violently assaulted and for months was harassed through the court-system by these middle-men.
“Nicholas Clooney decided shortly after this to leave Ireland and settle in Kentucky,” Fiona Fitzsimons on Eneclann claimed in a Sunday paper. Research showed that Nicholas’ widowed mother (George Clooney’s great great great grandmother) remained behind.