Monday, October 29, 2018


Me & Bono in Marlay House
Clck on any image for a larger version

It all started with a tinkle as an email from a Scot named Rankin working in London dropped into my inbox.

"I think we're both related to Bono" says he.

"Jesus", thought I, "what next?".

"Please God not", I thought, the panic rising rising within me.

You know when you wake up from an awful nightmare and haven't quite gathered your faculties sufficiently to determine whether or not it is real and still happening?

The basis for positing this unexpected and unwelcome relationship was thin at best but stranger things have happened. My great grandmother was a Rankin as was Bono's mother.

I tell you, it didn't take long for me to swing into action. Off to the BMD office to trace Bono's maternal ancestry.

Imagine the relief when I found his Rankins were Protestants from Belfast while mine were Catholics from Laois.

The name is of Scottish origin and sure we might just have a common ancestor somewhere along the line to Adam and Eve, but then haven't we all.

Click on the image for a readable version

However, I did come across an interesting snippet along the way. Bono's parents had been twice married (to each other !). First in a Protestant church in Drumcondra and then in a Roman Catholic church in Dolphin's Barn six months later.

A cursory glance at the documentation above suggests some discontent among both families at this mixed marriage. This may be only part of the story as, at the time, the Roman Catholic side would be forbidden by their church to attend the Protestant wedding and the Protestant side may have been kept in ignorance of, or been unwelcome at, the second one.

It is only due to the erroneous civil recording of the second marriage combined with the later digitisaton of the records that this anomaly has come to light.

I do have some connections with Bono, however weak these may be.

John & Tess Burgess

Some of my people lived within two doors of his mother's family off Aughrim Street and there was contact between the two families. Bono's father, Bob Hewson, a Roman Catholic, lived on the same estate. I was told that Bono's mother, Iris, was a looker and that the Catholic boys were told to leave her alone because she was a Protestant. Clearly Bob paid no attention to this piece of sectarian advice.

A second connection is also geographical. Bono, the proud Northsider, eventually succumbed to the charms of the deep Southside and got himself a magnificent mansion in Killiney. This residence is within the catchment area of what was my mother's newspaper shop in Ballybrack, though it would not have been on my paper round. This was before the arrival of the immigrant Bono, nevertheless I am sure there are those who would treasure even such a weak connection to celebrity.

Anyway, as I said at the outset, thankfully Bono is not numbered among my people.


Baelbocht said...

I remember, back in the day when U2 was starting to catch on in England, reading an interview with Bono in the NME (bible of the cool then) He made several references to coming from Ballymun, which was, of course, me eye since he lived on Cedarwood Road and was ridiculed in Dublin for trying to claim an association with under-privilege he wasn't entitled to. But those were the days of punk and he was a cute whore even then.

Póló said...

And where would you leave Killiney?

Ballybrack, now that's a different matter (and world, mostly).