Thomas Moran

Number 9

Thomas Moran, Number 9
Thomas Moran pictured at Mulranny with his motor car
Moran's Motors, Mulranny
Thomas Moran, Number 9, Tommy Doherty and Number's wife Maggie Moran

‘Engine, Engine Number 9, pumping water all the time’, may not be the exact lyrics of Roger Miller’s song, but it is recited regularly in our house if Number 9 is mentioned in conversation. Thomas Moran, also known as Number 9, famous for his building of the armoured car ‘Queen of the West’ was a grand-uncle of my fathers. The eldest of 10, he was born in Shraloggy, Newport on 20th November 1872.

The Family

Thomas Moran was the eldest son of Patrick Moran, Shraloggy, and Mary ‘Smith’ Moran, Roskeen. Patrick’s parents were James Moran, Carrowsallagh and Mary (unknown, possibly Hoban). Mary ‘Smith’ Moran came from a family of blacksmiths and her parents were John Moran (possibly of Ballycroy/Bangor) and Mary McLoughlin of Roskeen. Patrick (also known as Pat Jimmy) and Mary married about 1870 in Newport Church, Co. Mayo. They had 9 children in total, the others christened Michael, John, Patrick, Maria, James, Paul, Catherine and Annie. Patrick Moran (brother of Number 9), who had emigrated to Scotland, was father of Anne Doherty, my grandmother.


Reared at Shraloggy in Carrowsallagh, and a pupil of Derrada N.S., Number moved to Claremorris where he worked on the railway lines. From there he went to Glasgow and came in contact with McAlpines, a family of building contractors. Even though blacksmithing was in his blood, it is thought that Number learned his trade here and became experienced in all things steel and metal related.

Following on from his time in Glasgow, Number was sent to work as a mechanical engineer for McAlpines on the Barrow Bridge, linking the counties of Kilkenny and Wexford. It was built between the years of 1902 and 1906 and when opened, was the longest railway bridge in Ireland at 2,131 feet.

It was here in Co. Wexford as a lodger of the Connolly household, that Number met Margaret Connolly, his wife. A member of Cumann na mBan and from Campile, they married on 6th May 1907 in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Ballinamona.

Life in Mulranny

Number returned to Mayo and purchased the premises where Doherty’s shop/bar currently stands from Robert Vesey Stoney on 14th October 1920. Up until that point the premises was rented by the Berry brothers from Stoney for which it was a grain store and stables for Daly’s Hotel next door (now Cowleys).The sum of buildings and land purchased from Stoney (approx. 16 acres) came to £300. Here Number ran a shop, licensed premises and garage, and was the first villager to own a motor car. People came from far and wide to Mulranny to have their cars fixed. An enterprising man, Number cultivated sally rods in the land surrounding the premises which were sold mainly to people from Achill for cleaving.

Number kept bees, a few cattle and tended a vegetable garden, where Sean, my father’s house now stands. He co-owned a boat with James Grehan, Cushlecka, also known locally as the ‘Miner’, Annie Grealis’ father. Number was also a notorious draughts player, attracting other players from long distances to Mulranny to play.

Maggie, his wife, was a keen cook. It is said Number once bought her a cook book and she later became renowned locally for her Christmas pudding. Her nephew, Thomas Doherty, was sent to Mulranny in 1924 after his own mother died young. He was reared in Mulranny by Number and Maggie.

The Civil War

Number became involved in the Civil War, and was an Intelligence Officer for the Republican Army. It was during this time that he became famous for the building of the ‘Queen of the West’ armoured car. A boiler from the Great Southern Hotel in Mulranny was fitted to the body of an ordinary motor car provided with a Crossley lorry engine. The boiler was fitted with double armoured plating, between which was placed a cement body. This was bored so as to allow rifles to go through. Jim Moran, ‘The Newport Volunteer’ and a cousin of Numbers, assisted in the building of the Queen.

The Queen of the West was involved in the capture of Clifden in October 1922 but here she fell into the hands of the Free State troops. Unfortunately, it is not known what became of the famous armoured car.

After the civil war, Number attempted and failed to claim from the Irish state £1,156 in damages caused to his home, shop, garage and licensed premises. The Free State troops arrested him, put a revolver to his staff members face, broke up everything in his premises and fired their rifles through the roof and windows. They knocked walls in the yard, three motor cars and a lorry were smashed, gallons of oil and varnish were spilled and his premises looted.

Number passed away on 9th June 1949 aged 75 years. An obituary printed in the Mayo News in July of that year described Number as ‘a kind, helpful neighbour, a pleasant and clean-spoken companion, and a genuine Irishman who did not stop to count the cost when a blow had to be struck for the freedom of his country’. Number is buried alongside his parents at Burrishoole Abbey, close to the shore, although a headstone has been erected in Mulranny Cemetery in his memory. To this day, Doherty’s in Mulranny still bears the number ‘9’ over its front door.

Comments about this page

    Cracking read. John Moran and Mary McLoughlin of Roskeen were my great great grandparents. Try to work out what Thomas would be to me , gets a bit confusing trying to work it out.

    By Joe Chambers (12/04/2022)
  • Cracking read. John Moran and Mary ‘Smith’ Moran were my great great grandparents.

    By Joe Chambers (12/04/2022)
  • My grandfather was James Patrick Moran and my Great grandfather was also called James Patrick Moran, married to a Lily (lillian)I believe my great grandfather originated from Westmeath. His son James was born about 1901 Alverstoke uk .
    I believe.. related is a Michael Moran aged 25 in 1841 uk census bn Ireland lived in Alverstoke was a soldier in the 66th regiment of foot. Barracks at Torton.

    By Carl Pemberton (15/08/2021)
  • Great bit of history there. I enjoyed reading it

    By Pauline Mulroy (30/10/2020)
  • Hi Sinead
    I just found your article and it’s really interesting as I’m granddaughter of Nora O’Boyle née Morgan. She was sister to Jim Moran the Newport volunteer. I love finding out about my Irish heritage. My mum Kathleen can recount lots about the Moran family and Shraloggy. Thanks again.

    By Josie Annesley (22/01/2020)
  • The Moran Family are still in Shraloggy.  I can supply some info if you send me an email. 

    By Mike Moran (06/12/2015)
  • Hi Paul Moran and Joseph Marden

    Please send me an email to and I will reply to your emails.



    By Sinead (25/10/2015)
  • Hi Sinead,

    What a fascinating and interesting article, I’m so glad I’ve found it. I believe I may too be descended from Patrick Moran. My grandfather was Francis Patrick Moran (born in Newcastle) and his father was Michael Moran, son of Patrick Moran. I’ve always been told that the family was from Shraloggy but details have been hard to come by. I know that my mother and father (Michael and Lynnne) visited a few years back and spoke to some Doherty’s about our family history but unfortunately they didn’t write anything down. If you think there is a connection here and have any more information you could provide to help enlighten us I would be delighted to hear from you.

    Best Wishes,


    By Paul Moran (03/10/2015)
  • Hi Sinead

    I stumbled across your page on No.9 whilst trying to track down a photo of The Queen Of The West. Thomas Moran was my great uncle (his younger sister Annie was my maternal grandmother), and my uncle Dominick O’Grady still lives in Shraloggy. I met your granny Anne Doherty quite a few times on family holidays in Shraloggy back in the 70s – we’d always call in at Mulranny, so my mum Ellen (Eileen) could catch up with Anne. Funnily enough I passed through Mulranny several times only last week! I was staying at Rosturk Woods with my family, together with my youngest brother with his. It’s nice to see my own kids enjoying all the places that I loved as a child: mooching around Westport, Carrackahowley Castle, Keem Bay, Mulranny, etc.

    Do you mind if I crib some of your material for my own version of family tree? It would be great if you could help fill in some of the blanks for me, and I’ll be happy to do the same for you if I can.



    By Joseph Marden (11/08/2015)

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