After years of research Dr. Noel Buckley has traced legendary singer and actor Bing Crosby’s lineage back to his great-great-grandfather’s home in West Cork.
Dr. Noel Buckley is a historical archivist living in Cork City and his finding began to emerge after the 110th anniversary of Crosby’s death. Buckley, who is a big fan of Crosby, explained, “All that is left now is a ruined ivy-clad wall.. the gable end of the family home,” and went on to point out that, “if proper interpretive signs were installed, or if a plaque was erected, it could become a massive attraction in the area.”
The site could bring in money to the city but would need approval from the family that now owns the land. Buckley told the Irish Examiner “The site of the ancestral home is located overlooking the Atlantic. To tour around the area within a quarter mile of the site gives wonderful views of Carbery’s 100 isles. And with 90m Americans of Irish descent in the US and Canada, the site, if developed with the consent of the landowners, could become a huge attraction for them.”
Dr. Noel Buckley believes he’s identified Dennis Harrigan, a farmer and carpenter living in the Schull Parish in 1831, as American star Bing Crosby’s great-great-grandfather.
He explained that, “About two years ago, I heard that Bing came from a particular town land outside Schull. I heard it again a year ago and made enquiries down there but nobody had heard anything about Bing’s connection.”
Buckley went on to say, “Then one day, I arrived in Schull, and enquired about this particular townland and was told it was a few miles outside the village. I called to a house and made enquiries there. They knew nothing but suggested I should call to another house nearby.”
Buckley then found his break after contacting the suggested house.
“I called to the lady there and told her about my quest. She produced two books which she allowed me take away, and I spent about two weeks researching them. It was following this that I managed to track down the family which now owns the land.”
Buckley’s findings suggest that Bing’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Dennis Harrigan, left Schull with his wife, Catherine, and 10 children and relocated in Canada in 1831. Once in New Brunswick, Catherine gave birth to Bing’s Maternal great-grandfather, Dennis Jr., on September 6th, 1832. Dennis Jr.’s daughter and Bing’s grandmother, Kate, had a love for music. She passed down that love to her first daughter Catherine, who was born February 7th, 1873 . And finally, Catherine gave birth to Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby on May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, Washington.
Bing Crosby went on to become one of the most influential performers of the 20th century. Crosby’s bass-baritone voice landed him in the Grammy Hall of Fame and he was even nominated for multiple Academy Awards and won one for his performance in the film ‘Going my Way.’