SINGING mega-star Billie Eilish’s Irish roots can be traced back to West Cork – and more specifically the Clubhouse Bar in Lisbealad near Dunmanway, according to research.
Known for global hits like Bad Guy, When the Party’s Over and the recent Oscar-winning Bond song No Time to Die the singer Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell has always spoken in interviews about her Irish roots but never specific details.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Ian O’Brien from Surrey in England – who is a third cousin to her dad Patrick – said he has been doing research on his ancestors for years, and it was only in recent weeks that he came across the singer’s West Cork connections. ‘Billie’s great grandfather was William H O’Connell from The Clubhouse, Lisbealad and he married Catherine T O’Connell from nearby Edencurra, after they both emigrated to Boston at the turn of the 20th Century,’ he said.
'They were indirectly related to our great grandfather through marriage but more specifically directly related to our great grandmother Catherine O'Connell. She was an aunt of William H O' Connell and a first cousin once removed to Catherine T O'Connell.
The O’Connell family includes Billie, her brother Finneas, and their parents Patrick and Maggie, and when her grandfather James B O’Connell died in 2014, his obituary mentioned that he was the eighth of nine children of William H and Catherine T O’Connell.
Ian said that the Cotter family – who are his cousins and who run the Clubhouse Bar – are descendants of the O’Connells, too, and he may have been the first to identify Billie’s family’s specific connection to Dunmanway. Ian said he has reached out to Billie’s dad with the research, but hasn’t received a reply yet.
And by the way, this reporter is also ‘double related’ to the American singer, and according to Ian, I am a fourth cousin of hers!
The family is hoping that Billie gets to check out her West Cork roots when she visits Ireland as part of her Happier Than Ever world tour in June.