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Willie 'Boy' Murphy, Born In India, Acclaimed International Olympian Boxer For Ireland With Parental Cork Connections
With a name such as “Willie ‘Boy’ Murphy” you would be tempted to align that person to the county of Cork as the persons birthplace. You would not be wholly incorrect as Willie Boy had a rich vein of Cork blood in his heritage. He was born in India to a couple from Rathcooney (just outside the boundary lines of city and county on Cork’s north east territory) and Cork people will claim Willie as one of their very own.
Willie Boy had an extraordinary life, a life that the sport of boxing enriched, but only because the Indian native was a really exceptional talent. His Cork parents came home to their native shore from India and settled in a council estate at Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Cork, on Cork’s northside district.
A man of many travels during his boxing career, Willie did ring battles in many countries including Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Italy, France, England, Wales and Scotland.
As an accomplished boxer he managed to become Egypt’s Middleweight Champion at the age of seventeen, a remarkable achievement.
Representing Ireland at the 1924 Paris Olympics, he fought Poland’s Jerzy Nowak in the opening bout and beat him to qualify for the next round, which he lost to Canadian, Leslie Black.
This was Ireland’s inaugural introduction to the Olympic Games following the Treaty of 1922. Willie Boy was serving at that time in the Irish Army and in that role he was a renowned boxing coach.
He also qualified for the Amsterdam 1928 Olympics but success eluded him after much controversy in the manner of his elimination. He beat the reigning Spanish Light Heavyweight champion in the opening bout, but once again Olympic judges came in for great criticism.
In the follow up bout he was paired with the German champion. Willie landed his opponent on the canvas twice, with counts of eight and then seven necessary in the third round.
Whilst it is was claimed the German fought back gallantly, Willie Boy was touted by all at ringside as the clear victor. However the judges begged to differ and in a hugely controversial decision, they voted against him.
In 1932 the Dublin Tailteann Games, (rivaling the Olympic games) was a huge sporting event and this was a major success story for Willie Boy. He became a champion middleweight at the games when he flattened the New Zealand champion in the final.
From 1924 to 1932 the famed boxer claimed most titles available to him in Ireland and a stand out title, was his winning of the Senior Middleweight Irish Championship in 1924. He subsequently moved up to Light Heavyweight and won further national honours in 1925; 1926; 1931 and 1932.
In a star spangled career Willie Boy Murphy was never knocked out or even received a black eye, a remarkable record.
Outside of boxing he entered the ranks of An Garda Síochána and finished his career in Waterford city where he died on Sunday 25th November 1979. His removal to Waterford’s Church Of The Holy Family spelt out just how popular the Waterford based garda had become in the local community. As the cortege whined its way to the church, Willie Boy’s send off was one of the largest ever seen in Waterford.
On the following day the morners trekked to Cork’s Rathcooney Cemetry to bury an Indian/Corkman who is incorporated as a Famous Ancestral Sporting Son Of Ireland in our Irish Heritage Website at All Ireland Hall Of Fame.
Derry JF Doody
Situated In The Middle Of West Cork, Doheny's G.A.A. Club, Dunmanway, Commemorates A Tipperary Fenian
Dohenys G.A.A. Club based in the heartland of West Cork is named after a 19th century Fethard, Co. Tipperary gentleman with very little native connection to the town. Michael Doheny was an Irish Fenian on the run, accompanied by another famous Fenian, Kilkenny man James Stephens.
Doheny had an acquaintance who lived in Dunmanway around 1847 and the Tipperary man was looking for a place to hide for himself and Stephens to plot an escape to France. The two men had walked from Mount Mellary, near Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, over mountains and pathways, before landing in Dunmanway after a 150 mile trek. Michael Doheny was then 42 years old.
On arrival in Dunmanway the friend was not at home but luck was on both men’s side. They met the friend’s daughter and she recognised Michael Doheny from a previous meeting several years before this encounter. She took both men into her home, fed them and they got some rest to sleep the toils of their awesome journey to Dunmanway.
Both Doheny and Stephens stayed around the locality for a few weeks moving from one safe house to another. Finally word was on the street that the R.I.C. had become aware, that two strangers from out of town were in their midst. Doheny and Stephens decided it was time to move on again but where could they go unannounced.
Out on the western countryside of Dunmanway where they were in hiding, it was decided to check out the Killarney scenery and again it was by hob nail boots that both men made for over mountains and bumpy roads, until they finally reached Killarney after travelling via Gougane Barra.
At the tail end of their Killarney visit, both men decided to get back to Dunmanway once more and finally arrange their exit from Ireland. This time they resided in the Coolmountain area, about six miles from the town. Again the friends daughter was instrumental in setting up their base and also their eventual escape.
With the assistance of several West Cork Fenians, male and female, a plan was hatched to get both men to Cork City. James Stephens was first to escape, followed some weeks later by Michael Doheny, who left Cork port on a ship bound for Bristol, England.
From Bristol Doheny made his way to Paris and there he joined up with James Stephens before plotting their onward journey to New York.
Some time later Doheny’s wife and children also made their way from their Cashel home to Paris.In mid November 1848 the Dohenys sailed from Le Havre, France, and after a very stormy crossing, they reached New York on 23rd January 1849.
In New York Michael Doheny wasted no time in resuming his nationalist ideals, took up work as a Lawyer and was also involved in the setting up of several Irish American groups to assist the Irish struggle for independence.
In April 1862 tragedy struck for the Doheny family. Michael Doheny, man of many endless travels, died suddenly from a fever and was buried at Calvary Cemetry, New York.
Michael Cusack didn’t set up the Gaelic Athletic Association until 1884 and it is notable that when the people of Dunmanway decided to set up their own G.A.A. Club in 1886, they chose the name of a Tipperary man, Michael Doheny, whose only connection with the town was as profiled herein.
Dunmanway, the home of the Dohenys G.A.A. Club, is situated 38 miles west of Cork city, where the land becomes rugged and mountains dominate the skyline. It is here that the club was founded away back in 1886 when the G.A.A was in its infancy.
The first chairman of the club was a local national school teacher, John McCarthy, while the first secretary was Richard Hayes. The club attended the first meeting of the Cork County Board and became the first affiliated club in West Cork.
The official name adopted by the club was the Michael Doheny Football Club.
In 1897 the club established a very solid foundation when it won the Cork senior football championship by defeating Wolf Tones of Kanturk in the final. The team, captained by Danny Rick O' Donovan of the Shamrock Bar, won its way through Munster but was defeated by Kickhams of Dublin in the All-Ireland final at Jones’ Road, a game played in February 1899.
Although defeated, this team established a tradition, which has stood well to the club over the years and guaranteed its survival during difficult times in the upcoming years.
In its 131 years history the club has played a significant role in the affairs of the G.A.A. both in West Cork and the County. Although no further senior title has been won, the club has won county intermediate football titles in 1972 and 1995 and county junior football titles in 1935, 1966 and 1993.
Its under-age teams have won county titles in U16 football in 1999, Under 18 hurling in 2003, and U14 hurling in 2001 U13 and U15 football titles in 2011. Many West Cork titles at all levels, in both football and hurling, have also been achieved.
In 2017 the club's top football team is competing at senior level and the club reached the semi-final of the 2005 county championship where they were defeated by Muskerry.
They reached the county final in 2006 and were defeated by Nemo Rangers. The junior ‘B’ hurlers were county and Munster champions in 2006.
Over the years the club has provided a number of players to the Cork senior football team. Most notable of these were Liam Grainger and John Dullea in the 1930's, Jim and Eamonn Young in the 1940's, Denis Bernard in the 1950's, Johnny Carroll and John Crowley in the 1960's, Seamus O' Sullivan and Colman O‘Rourke in the 1970's, and Mark Farr and Micheal O'Donovan in more recent times. In 2000 John Collins and Paul Deane were on the Cork minor football team,which won the All-Ireland.
The club's under-age teams play under the name of Sam Maguires. In the west Cork division of Carbery, the club have been particularly successful with many West Cork titles being won in both football and hurling over the last two decades.
Three county titles have also been won. The club's base is in the Sam Maguire Park, which was acquired from the Sam Maguire Park Memorial Committee in the mid 1950's when it was no more than a farmer's field.
Today it is comprised of two playing pitches, four dressing rooms, a car park, a pavilion, a ball alley and public toilets. Such development over the space of 30 years could not have been possible without the generous financial support of the people of Dunmanway parish and surrounding areas.
This vibrant western club has come a long way in the past 131 years. It is a tribute to the many people who were willing to take up the mantle of responsibility as officers, committee, team mentors and players.
The founding fathers of 1886 would have been proud of the way their ideals have been preserved and promoted.
Derry JF Doody
The Task Is Immmense. The Job Is Extremely Rewarding But Not in Monetary Terms. No Politican Would Apply.
Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin, Headed Up By Corkman, Brother Kevin Crowley, O.F.M. Provides Courtesy, Dignity And Food To Thousands Of Dublin Citizens Every Year.
The early 21st century Irish Celtic Tiger caused great misery and pain to countless Irish families and picking up the fall out pieces was left to a few minority groups and leading the way for people needing a helping hand with the basics of life, is the renowned Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin.
Brother Kevin Crowley, O.F.M. a West Cork born Capuchin stands daily where only the brave would enter and he speaks a language that is extremly foreign to the vast majority of Irish politicians and senators.
He tells the truth. The truth as it should be told.
He doesn’t court microphones or cameras but through his immense charity work, newspeople chase him down for interviews.
However the stern reality is that the Capuchin Day Centre, at 29, Bow Street, Dublin, is far from a ONE MAN SHOW.
A quick glance at the cooking agenda every day, the huge organisation of acquiring the food, preparing and cooking for approximately 800 people on a daily basis (Sunday excluded) requires a mammoth team effort.
Leading the team is Brother Kevin Crowley, who has lived his life in the service of the Capuchin Order and is renowned for his daily dedication to the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin city for people in need since 1969.
At www.ScoreboardMemories.com we are very mindful that Brother Crowley is not overly interested in Hall Of Fame Galleries but for current and future generations of Irish people, the exceptional work ordained by the Capuchin Friar and his team at the Capuchin Day Centre, is worthy of promotion and preservation.
The category of our Irish Heritage Website applicable to the Capuchin Day Centre is “Champion Community Volunteers” @ All Ireland Hall Of Fame @ www.scoreboardmemories.com
Our profile of the Capuchin Day Centre and their incorporation as “Champion Community Volunteers Of Ireland” in our Irish Heritage Website, is recognition and appreciation of the services provided at the centre since 1969.
Through our national and international Irish Heritage Website, directed to Irish people; our Irish exiles and people of Irish ancestry, we bring to our browsers and readers, a true lifetime story of immense daily dedication, carried out to help people who appreciate help when their lives are not as fluent in prosperity as they would wish.
Dublin is Ireland’s largest city and it is also the city with the largest number of social problems. Homelessness in 21st century Dublin took on a whole new meaning as a consequence of outrageous mismanagement of Irish government affairs at the turn of the 20th century.
Not a single politician or senior executive civil servant became homeless.
It was the troops in the trenches that bore the blunt of cut backs and the misery inflicted resulted in hundreds of Dublin residents seeking assistance at the Capuchin Day Centre.
Food is the lifeline. Without food people will die of starvation as they did in the two great famines of Ireland.
The 1845 Famine is historically documented in our history books and the song “I bade farewell to dear old Skibbereen” echoes the awful tragedy of that period of Irish life.
The 21st century famine is really only experienced by people at the coalface who offer food, advice and welfare, to people coming through their doors.
At the Capuchin Day Centre, Brother Kevin and his troopers witnessed hundreds of new arrivals in search of daily survival and the waiters/waitresses who served dinners on plates every day, were not welcoming new waiters from the government canteens or bars to help out.
There is no room for greedy people at the Day Centre and Ireland’s political corridors is overflowing with greedy people, people who live in big houses and enjoy huge benefits sitting on tribunals and earning lavish expenses to beef up handsome political salaries.
The need for the Capuchin Day Centre will not dissipate at the dawn of a new and bright Irish Celtic Tiger. In the current climate that has existed for almost a decade, thousands of Irish men, women and children took the emigrant planes to far away places and for those stuck in their homeland, many Dublin residents owe a great gratitude to the Capuchin Day Centre. They also owe a deep gratitude to the many volunteers who threw out lifelines all over Ireland.
Capuchin Day Centre: Facts & Figures
Founder: Brother Kevin Crowley
Located at: 29, Bow Street, Dublin 1
In 1974, Kevin started a day shelter for people in need in Bow Street, central Dublin. Since then, thousands of people have been nourished, doctored and cared for by the dedicated staff and volunteers.
The Service: These are quotes from interviews.
On any given day, except Sunday, the place is buzzing with people having breakfast or lunch, socialising, or having their physical or emotional needs met. On Wednesdays, food parcels are handed out - no questions asked.
On a recent summer's morning, men and women collected blue plastic bags containing tea, milk, bread, butter, cheese slices, tins of beans and desserts called 'Pots of Joy'.
It was very much a case of "there, but for the grace of God, go I.
We facilitate men and women of all ages, nationalities and religions, some well-dressed and nicely spoken. Many were keeping their head down - wanting to remain in their own private world for whatever reason.
It can't be easy being homeless, hungry or unemployed.
Brother Kevin said - they come here from all walks of life.
"We have ex-doctors, ex-solicitors, ex-accountants,".
The biggest problem now is the number of people left stranded by the 21st century recession.
"These are the 'New Poor',".
"They have already lost their jobs and are on the verge of losing their homes.
Four years ago, we gave out 400 food parcels a week - now it's about 1,700.
The Irish recession has caused all these problems, and what is heartbreaking is seeing so many young families queuing for food parcels. Some of these families are being put up in hotel rooms.
They cannot afford hotel food and there is no chance of living a normal family life.
Following the banking collapse in 2008, numbers attending the centre almost doubled. In 2015 alone, 8,000 children attended the service for meals.
Six days a week, the head chef and our team feed around 600 people twice a day. Once a week, they get a full-Irish for breakfast, while a lunch would offer shepherd's pie, vegetables, fruit and a coffee or tea.
Donations are the financial heart beat. In fundraising there are no middle agents employed on commissions, simply because the principle is, that all monies donated go directly to the source for which they are intended.
The annual associated costs to run such a major charity are well in excess of two million euro and in a recent newspaper interview, it was revealed the government contribute €450,000.
The catastrophic recent Irish recession heaped great misery on Irish people but not on the salaries and perks of government people. Whilst decent and honourable Irish families were evicted from their homes, there was no evictions for government TD’s and Ministers.
Huge redundancy perks were put on a plate but not on the plates of charities who feed daily the needy and poor of Ireland.
Using the words needy and poor should be avoided if at all possible. This is a social classification in the same manner applied to people of senior citizen status.
People who find it necessary to avail of the daily hospitality of Brother Crowley and his team are assured of respect and admiration when they enter the Capuchin Day Centre.
Classifications are not tolerated. And while the physical needs of the city's poor are met, it happens in an atmosphere of utmost dignity and respect; No person who walks through the doors of the centre is judged, No matter what their circumstances.
As we enter another summer season of 2017, the weather and the nightly temperature may be more kind than the winter season just passed. People will still be sleeping on Irish streets, in doorways and on footpaths around Dublin and other major Irish cities and demand for the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, becomes endless.
There is little immediate prospect for homeless people simply because people in good employment cannot afford to get into the first stages of home ownership.
The Irish government have again permitted house builders, auctioneers, landlords and financial institutions, to repeat the financial mayhem that visited the Celtic Tiger.
Ireland is once again leading down a huge path of insolvency in the housing market. Young people, decent people, need a new and vibrant Ireland without ‘Johnny Promises’ politicians waffling about our re-invention, courtesy of their prudent watch over us.
Doing your work without financial rewards and daily perks brings volunteers such as Brother Kevin Crowley to the heart of everyday issues that destroy human dignity.
On behalf of Irish people all around the globe, this is an acknowledgement and “Thank You” to Brother Kevin Crowley, a native Corkonian, who has made Dublin his home and founded the Capuchin Day Centre on behalf of the people of Ireland.
If you are Irish or of Irish ancestry or of any other nationality, and living anywhere around the globe, maybe you might consider sparing a copper or two as a donation.
Just post to the Capuchin Day Centre, 29, Bow Street, Dublin, Ireland.
Derry JF Doody
Barry Fitzgerald, Irish Actor, Made The "Quite Man" A Very Proud Man
Most of the legends of the Big Screen seem to have one major stand out film that occupies a special place for film fans and for Irish fans of the legendary, Barry Fitzgerald, that special film is the ‘Quiet Man’.
As 'Michaeleen Óge Flynn', Barry Fitzgerald the Irish actor, portrayed the role of a ‘Matchmaker’ in the Cong, Co. Mayo, produced famous film and his comical antics captivated audiences around the globe. But there was much more to Barry Fitzgerald than his role in the ‘Quiet Man’ film.
Born on the 10th March 1888 as William Joseph Shields at Walworth Road, Portobello, on Dublin’s Southside district, Barry became one of Ireland’s greatest ever 20th century exports to to the American film industry.
The Dublin born actor served his theatre apprenticeship as an actor at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre following a brief spell combining his day job in the Irish Civil Service with his acting ambitions.
His curtain up debut in acting came in 1915, aged 27, when in a production of ‘The Critic’ by Richard Sheridan, he was allocated a one line speaking role.
Following his cameo role at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, soon after he was confronted with a career choice. Will it be acting or the Civil Service?
Choosing an actor career he began a lifetime journey in the extremely competitive film industry and went on to become one of Ireland’s greatest ever male film actors. His association with so many international successful films over a long and distinguished film career endeared the Famous Son Of Ireland to many Hall of Fame academies.
Barry Fitzgerald's lifetime story as a Famous Son Of Ireland is now recorded in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.
Barry was associated with ‘Juno And the Paycock’ written by the renowned Irish playwright, Seán O’Casey and he also featured in the launch of ‘The Silver Tassie’.
In 1936 a momentous career decision took the blossoming Irish actor to Hollywood and to an unknown destination for his ambitions as an international actor.
Again the O’Casey connection came to the forefront and proved to be a vital component. John Ford, film director, was working on O’Casey’s world renowned play ‘The Plough And The Stars’ and Barry Fitzgerald landed the part of ‘Fluther Good’.
The 1940’s decade cemented his blossoming Hollywood career and films such as ‘The Long Voyage Home’ (1940); ‘How Green was My Valley’ (1941); ‘Then There was None’ (1945); ‘Two Years Before The Mast’ (1946); ‘The Naked City’ (1948); and the ‘Story Of Sea Biscuit’ (1949) made the now 61 year old Dubliner a prominent Hollywood star.
Also in 1944 the Irish actor of Church Of Ireland persuasion, was cast as an contrary old dithering parish priest in the film ‘Going My Way’ and as Fr. Fitzgibbon he earned rave and unique reviews for his performance as the cleric. ‘Going My Way’ remains as one of the greatest legacies of all his many films.
The ‘Quiet Man’ was filmed around the beautiful lush countryside of Cong in 1952 and starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara and as the matchmaker supreme, Barry Fitzgerald the Irish actor, became an iconic Irish actor who would go down in Irish film history as one of the greatest and most loveable Irish rogues.
Like all famous actors the curtain finally falls and with Barry Fitzgerald that accolade occurred following his famous role as a poacher in an Irish film. It was shot in 1959 when the famous Dubliner was aged seventy one.
Off the screen Barry Fitzgerald’s impression was very much a man of easy going nature and despite his great wealth accrued from his successful acting career, he lived in modest terms compared to his fellow acting comrades and his leisure pastimes in retirement were mainly devoted to golf and motor cycles.
Barry Fitzgerald, born on 10th March 1888 died on the 14th January 1961 and as a Famous Son Of Ireland, we are proud to incorporate his iconic name in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery for current and future generations of Irish people at home, Irish people in exile and people of Irish ancestry.
Derry JF Doody
Jimmy O’Dea Reached In To Homes All Over Ireland And Became A Famous Irish Entertainer
When we consider contenders for incorporation in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame – Irish Heritage category – we search for personalities who in their own lifetime became household names all over the island of Ireland.
Jimmy O’Dea was an Irish entertainer, actor, singer and comedian and Irish people would ensure their battery radio was fully charged when Jimmy was on Radio Eireann in the first half of the 20th century.
The Dublin born icon was born at Lower Bridge Street, which straddles the southside inner city, on the 26th April 1899.
The family heritage had allegiance to the Noreside city of Kilkenny on both of his parents lineage but Jimmy O’Dea truly made his name as a famous Dubliner. Like many couples in the Ireland of the 19th century, marriage partners often had a considerable age difference on the occasion of a marriage.
This age difference was almost the exclusive property of the male person who had no qualms taking the hand of a much younger bride. The age difference in Jimmy’s parents was eighteen years in favour of Jimmy senior.
From the famed primary school academy of O’Connell School in Richmond Street, Dublin, Jimmy advanced to Blackrock and Belvedere Colleges respectively. Equipped with a sound level of education the budding entertainer emigrated to Edinburgh, Scotland, and qualified as an optician in 1920 and soon after returned to Dublin where he set up his own opticians business.
Ireland was now in a major political state of chaos from 1916 up to the Irish Civil War of the early 1920’s and Dublin, with Michael Collins at the helm, was the nerve centre of most of the turmoil.
As the political turmoil extended through the Civil War, Jimmy O’Dea began dabbling in amateur drama productions and then made a conscious decision to engage his sister in his opticians business. He finally handed over the business reins to his sibling in 1927.
From 1927 onwards theatre became Jimmy O’Dea’s full time occupation and just a mere twelve months following his major career decision, he rose to international fame with his appearances in “How Are We” and “Sinbad The Sailor”.
Also in 1927 he went on his maiden British tour but despite reaching out to a wider audience, doubts began to emerge if he had made a wise career choice.
While walking on a Dublin street Jimmy met well known Dublin man, Harry O’Donovan, an entrepreneur and fellow actor in the entertainment business. Over a chat and a few beers, the budding duo decided on a partnership, an association that had a slow beginning in 1928.
Their first production was “Here We Are” at the Queen’s Theatre, Dublin, and this proved a smash hit at the box office. Two shows annually followed up their maiden venture and for two decades the Olympia and Gaiety Theatres hosted numerous successful productions.
When Irish senior citizens speak of Biddy Mulligan, they still fondly remember Jimmy O’Dea as the rogue street vendor and dressed up in women’s attire. The song “Biddy Mulligan The Pride Of The Coombe” became a huge hit when recorded by Jimmy. The song was penned in 1930 by Séamus Kavanagh.
Many actors and actresses shared many stages with Jimmy O’Dea and Maureen Potter was a stand out partner who touched the lives of thousands of Irish people. Actors such as Cecil Sheridan, Danny Cummins, Noel Purcell, David Kelly and Cyril Cusack, all shared centre stage with the famous Dublin actor.
In film circles “The Rising Of the Moon” in 1957 and “Darby O’Gill And The Little People” in 1959, new horizons opened for Jimmy with cinema fans. His RTE radio fans especially looked forward to his musings over the annual Christmas festive period and when RTE Television made its way into Irish homes in the early 1960’s with the ever popular “O’Deas Your Man” in 1964, Jimmy O’Dea had reached the pinnacle of his professional acting career.
On the 7th January 1965, 65 years old Jimmy went to his eternal reward and was laid to rest at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, with an oration by the Taoiseach of Ireland, Mr. Seán Lemass at the graveside.
Jimmy O’Dea’s married life to film impresario, Ursula Doyle, commenced in 1959 when he was a mere 60 years old and terminated on his untimely death.
The famous Dubliner belongs to a generation of Irish people who grew up to adult life before televisions became part and parcel of every Irish home and the legacy he left as an exceptional entertainer in comedy and music. is now preserved for current and future generations of Irish people in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.
Profile by Editor
Derry JF Doody
@ All Ireland Hall Of Fame Gallery.
Founded in 1888 To Establish A Better Way Of Life
For Irish Emigrants In Glasgow's East End
Glasgow Celtic are acclaimed as Ireland’s best supported soccer team by fans all over the 32 counties of Ireland and by Irish exiles all over the world. British football clubs have major fan clubs in Ireland but only Glasgow Celtic can claim total unrivaled allegiance with Irish sports fans.
From the North West barony of Ballymote, Co. Sligo, Brother Walfrid entered religious life in the Marist order as a young novice and football issues were not on his mind at that particular time.
After the Great Irish Famine of 1845 thousands of people from the North West region of Ireland, especially Donegal and Sligo, emigrated to nearby Scotland and many thousands settled in the East End of Glasgow . Starvation and mortality was rampant in all the East End Irish neighbourhoods of Glasgow. Escaping from poverty was the privilege of very few.
Brother Walfrid, born in 1840, and still in his teens, heard harsh stories from his parents and neighbours of pitiful poverty amongst their own people who had fled to Glasgow to escape the Irish Famine but now their fate was no better in Glasgow. The young man pondered endlessly how he might serve his own people in Glasgow as he saw at first hand the deprevation.
He made a decision early in his life that he could aid his fellow Irishmen in Glasgow slums by serving in the Marist religious community. Later as the leader of the Marist Teaching Institute in Glasgow, he went amongst the Irish emigrants in the East End and endeared himself to the souls and minds of all Irish catholics.
Constantly raising funds to run soup kitchens to feed the starving, he realised much more was needed. In 1887 the Sligoman became aware that another Irish cleric, Canon Edward Hannon, had founded Hibernian Football club in Edinburgh in 1875, with a major Irish catholic influence.
He instigated swift action to set up a similar club in the East End of Glasgow to steer the youth of Irish emigrants to a life of vision and purpose. A meeting was announced for the 6th November 1887 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall, East End, Glasgow, and a packed arena sanctioned the Irish clerics football concept.
By unified consent the new Glasgow football club was baptised as ‘CELTIC’. The new club was instantly and passionately adopted by thousands of Irish emigrants and their families living in the East End slums. The colours first worn were white shirts with green collars and the club adopted a red Celtic cross cum badge on the front.
The first ever match was a ‘Friendly’ against Rangers and a 5 - 2 victory planted historic seeds for all future Irish generations of Celtic fans. As Celtic blossomed on and off the field, football fans all over Ireland saw the famed green and white hooped shirts later emerge as an integral part of Irish sporting life. A great and historic bond of unity and solidarity between Celtic and Ireland was a natural progression.
In the 21st century Irish fans continue to embrace a unification unmatched by any other soccer club who play their sporting games in a foreign country.
From Melbourne to New York and Donegal to Kerry, Celtic enjoy universal support amongst the Irish by their heritage foundation and the inspiration of a famous Irishman from Ballymote, Co. Sligo.
By Derry JF Doody
Ireland's 'Messenger Boys'Commemorated
Worldwide In Song and Verse By Kerryman Christie
The Kingdom of Kerry and the town of Tralee was the native birthplace of an Irishman who emigrated to London to search for a livelihood in 1960.
His educational toolbox on leaving Tralee was extremely sparse simply because he left primary school before the advent of his 12th birthday and went out to work as a ‘Messenger Boy’ in his local town.
This was a popular choice of work in the 1950’s for young boys who opted out of school with little knowledge of their ABC’s.
Every town in Ireland had their fair quota of ‘Messenger Boys’ who delivered groceries in all weathers on messenger bicycles with a large basket positioned in front of the handlebars.
Christie probably didn’t realise at that time that he possessed a unique musical genius.
The music in Tralee of the 1950’s was primarily Irish ballads and he took his first musical steps at just six years old when a local man made Christie a dummy guitar out of a tea chest.
The road to stardom was about to begin and Christie, with his musical air, began strumming his new 'instrument' and producing his own sound to the amazement of his family and friends.
Living an impoverished life in Tralee and staring in to a life of long and great toil, he decided to seek his fortune and a new life in London when aged just fifteen.
That journey was complicated as Christie was unable to read or write due a severe dyslexia impairment. His dyslexia condition did not impair his ability to compose songs and lyrics and during his early years in London he began working on building sites as a labourer and later would become an accomplished painter and decorator.
It was this type of work that later in his life began to torment Christie and would result in his early death at just sixty two years old. Working on sites with much asbestos content was not seen as a major problem in the 20th century but in modern years scientific research proved that asbestos was a very dangerous building component.
As the years progressed for Christie in London he brought his musical talents to pubs all over England at week-ends and earned a token amount for his gigs. These were tough and insecure times for Christie and his young family but his trademark was his unique and melodious voice and his ability to compose music and songs whilst working at his trade or taking a stroll around his neighbourhood.
Famous songs of Christie include ‘Roll Back The Years’; Don’t Forget Your Shovel’ a song famously recorded by Christy Moore; ‘All The Lies That You Told Me’ a song that made Frances Black one of Ireland’s most renowned female singers; ‘ I Am A Star’ and many more famous compositions.
A song composed by Christie that took him back to his Tralee roots ‘Messenger Boy’ became his own national anthem and endeared him to legions of fans around the globe.
His first venture into a recording studio was in 1972 when he recorded his first album ‘The Green Album’ whilst still working at his day job. The new release made little impact and Christie would spend another twenty years toiling with his paint brushes to support his family.
In 1992 Christie was persuaded to go back to the recording studio and this time he did so with great confidence when some influential people in the music business recognised he had a really special talent.
‘The Rehearsel’ album was the catalyst that jettisoned the Tralee artist to national and international stardom and he claimed a triple platinum award for this release.
He followed up with two more albums, ‘A Year In The Life’ and ‘Box’ and both became huge hits.
His new found popularity and status made a huge impression on music lovers worldwide and the Tralee born singer, who was still unable to read or write, discovered that despite this impediment, he was appearing on major television shows and in major concert halls to huge acclaim.
At the pinnacle of his career the dormant cancer began to surface from asbestos inhalation and now Christie had a new and life threatening challenge. Despite his terminal illness the popular Irish singer continued with his work as an international singer and songwriter but alas in a London hospice on the 11th December 2007, Christie Hennessy succumbed to the cancer.
Gone was an Irishman who left a huge message for people with learning difficulties throughout the world.
Don’t allow your deficiency to hinder your mind and soul – keep right on to the end of the road and that is precisely what the Famous Son of Tralee did right through to his own end.
Christie is Ireland’s most famous ‘Messenger Boy’ and that long lost service work by Irish boys will never be forgotten in the annals of Irish history and Christie Hennessy’s song ensured the rightful remembrance of this noble service.
Christie Hennessy born 1945 - died 2007
A monument in Tralee to the famous Kerryman is a proud testament to the musical genius of Christie Hennessy.
By Derry JF Doody
Torpedoed At Sea And Unable To Swim. Co. Mayo Nurse Working On A Hospital Ship Defied Death
Story Of War Hero, Sr. Lily McNicholas Of Kiltimagh, An Inspiration To All Irish People
In our considerations for incorporation of outstanding Irish people over several centuries, World Wars1 and 2 were responsible for the deaths of a huge army of Irish people. This collection of Irish people were not fighting for Ireland’s liberty from the British Empire in that period of the 20th century. They were soldiers in foreign armies and most times conscription was not their No.1 choice.
When soldiers go to war, only the lucky survivors make it back home. Soldiers who fall in the battle fields or out on the high seas, need exceptional and urgent medical care and that is where the nursing profession excel.
From Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland, Sr. Lily McNicholas, gained international acclaim for her outstanding bravery in rescuing colleagues when her ship, MV Amsterdam, a hospital ship, was returning to England with several military casualties and they were torpedoed off the Normandy Coast on 7th August 1944.
The Irish nurse, along with her colleagues assisted the wounded to lifeboats on the high seas. She gave up a place in a water ambulance to escort her patients to the deck from her ward. When Lily escaped the capsized ship, she escaped through a small hatch with her lifejacket around her. As thirty five years old Lily plunged into the freezing ocean waters, she became gravely ill but the assistance and assurances of her officer colleagues comforted her.
The Co. Mayo woman was not a swimmer but she risked her own life to save her colleagues on board their ship and when she regained her composure floating on the water in her lifejacket, she immediately began rendering assistance to her colleagues fighting for their own lives and Lily displayed total disregard for her own personal safety.
The casualties were severe. Fifty five patients, ten medical staff, thirty crew members plus eleven prisoners of war. They all perished in this sea tragedy. The total lives lost amounted to one hundred and six.
Eventually Sister Mc Nicholas, along with other survivors were picked up by an American cutter (a small craft capable of high speeds), she continued to care for all the injured, despite the fact Lily herself was pulled from the floating ocean and struggling to stay alive.
In the ocean tragedy Lily McNicholas, also lost her dearest nursing friend, a Scottish woman, who sank without trace and this caused immense grief to the brave Mayo nurse. The war newspapers carried pages of newsprint on the ocean tragedy and Lily McNicholas was heaped with praise for her heroism.
She was recognised for her efforts by Buckingham Palace but Sister McNicholas did not attend her Investiture at the Palace. Instead Lily decided to travel up to Scotland to meet the parents of her friend. That act signified the great humanity of Sr. Lily McNicholas from Ireland.
Lily Mc Nicholas was born on 16th October 1909 in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, one of ten children. Her parents were Thomas and Bridget McNicholas and the family operated a Bakery, established in 1860, by her grandparents. Lily attended the St. Louis school in Kiltimagh town.
Like many more young Co. Mayo women in the Ireland of the first half of the 20th century, Lily decided to emigrate from her native land in the 1930’s with a nursing career in England foremost in her mind.
After working for several years in a nursing apprenticeship, she qualified as a nurse and on the outbreak of World War2 with Adolf Hitler’s Germany, Lily enlisted in the war effort by becoming a reserve within Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.
Sister McNicholas, following her harrowing war experiences at sea underwent a period of convalescence in England and then continued with her nursing career in postings to London, Bombay and Egypt.
In 1947 Lily moved to Chicago to work in a hospital and later became a company nurse attached to the U.S. International Harvester company of Chicago, who specialised in the manufacture of agricultural machinery, construction equipment, trucks, and household and commercial products.
Sister Mc Nicholas retired from nursing in 1976 and died at a residential nursing home - Oak Lawn - in Chicago aged eighty seven on 5th March 1998.
Her funeral mass was held at the Catholic Church on 4240 West 98th St. Oak Lawn, Chicago.
She was survived by her sisters Kathleen Madigan, Chicago and Sr. Mochua of St. Louis Convent, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo.
Sister Lily Mc Nicholas’s family donated historic memorabilia, including the life jacket she wore in the 1944 sea tragedy, to the Kiltimagh Railway Museum during 1989.
As a Famous Daughter Of Ireland and Co. Mayo, the enrolment and incorporation of Kiltimagh's Sr. Lily McNicholas, in our Irish Heritage collection at All Ireland Hall Of Fame @ www.scoreboardmemories.com will ensure the preservation and promotion of the outstanding heroism of Sr. Lily McNicholas around the international globe.
Stardom And Fame For Famous Musical Son Of Waterford
Easy Going On Stage; Easy Listening, Radio & TV Listeners & Viewers Just Loved Irishman, Val Doonican
There are nice Irish singers and great Irish singers and whilst we enjoy listening to both types, there’s always a special one who really stands out.
One of Ireland’s greatest ever singers was also a great entertainer and that special mix cannot be applied to all great singers.
Val Doonican, born in Waterford City on 3rd February 1927 is indeed a Famous Son Of Ireland and he was also a singer that every home in Ireland throughout the 1960’s;70’s; and 80’s could identify with. Val was the youngest of eight children born to John and Agnes (nee Kavanagh) and the Wateford family were musically inclined.
Young Val played in his school band from the age of six and in 1941, when he was just fourteen, his father died. This necessitated leaving school and acquiring a job. He secured work fabricating steel and making orange and grapefruit boxes and his weekly wage helped his mum to maintain the household.
It was in Wexford he began pioneering his music with his friend, Bruce Clarke, and they had their first professional engagement as a duo in 1947. Courtown Harbor, Co. Wexford, was an Irish seaside port and it was here in the summer that Val got the music bug and gigging into his daily worklife.
He progressed to feature on Irish radio, sometimes with Clarke, and appeared in Waterford's first-ever television broadcast. At that time he was playing the drums and singing in an English band on a tour around Ireland.
His Irish personality on his own BBC TV shows made listening and watching him a delightful pleasure but most importantly his English audiences also wanted more and more of Val Doonican.
Sitting in his rocking chair and singing many melodies of Irish songs was a brave act to perform for any artist on an English stage and not too many Irish singers could get away with such a diary of Irish songs.
Val died on 1st July 2015 at age eighty eight and as a crooner, composer and traditional pop singer, unlike many famous singers, Val Doonican knew his music intimately, but this wasn’t known to many. His warm and very relaxed style endeared him to all age spectrums.
Val’s popular successes, especially in the United Kingdom, where he had five successive Top 10 albums in the 1960s, as well as several U.K. hit Singles that included "If the Whole World Stopped Lovin”; “Walk Tall”; and “Elusive Butterfly" to mention just a few.
The Val Doonican Show, which featured his singing and incorporating a variety of special guests, had a long and successful run on BBC Television from 1965 to 1986 and Val won the Variety Club Of Great Britain BBC-TV Personality of the Year award three times.
Whilst many dates in Val’s life were very special, the year 1951 took him across the Irish sea and never again to come back home to his native Waterford to live out his life. He toured around England with the Four Ramblers initially and also appeared on BBC Radio Shows.
English based U.S.A. Air Force bases were places where many budding artists took their first musical steps and Val was a popular act with the American troops. When international artist, Anthony Newley, toured England, Val’s Four Ramblers were the support act and the boys also had a dancer, Lynette Rae, as part of their act.
Val and Lynette became an item and married in 1962. On the advice of Anthony Newley, who recognised his unique talent and voice, he quit the group to set up a solo career. Radio Shows took him to a much greater audience. He was later allocated his own Radio Show and also performed as a solo artist in concerts and cabaret.
A huge opportunity opened up when Val Parnell, an impresario, booked him to appear on BBC TV Show “Sunday Night At The London Palladium”.
The show had a multi million viewership and Val hit the jackpot big time as the producers offered him his own TV Show.
At their peak Val’s shows attracted audiences of over 19/20 million viewers. The shows featured his relaxed crooner style, sitting in a rocking chair, often sporting popular Irish style cardigans/jumpers.
The BBC were so overwhelmed with Val’s public appeal, they decided to publish a book “Val Doonican Tells The Adventures Of O’Rafferty”. This was 1969.
Val Doonican and Lynette Rae had two daughters, Sarah and Fiona. Life for the Waterford entertainer/singer reached a summit and he announced his retirement in 1990 but legendary international performers never retire and in 2009 Val was still on stage.
Leisure for Val as a keen golfer was an escape from the limelight and as a talented watercolour painter, this was another escape from his music. He was also known to cook up a nice dish to further endorse his all round talents.
In June 2011, the Mayoral office of Waterford decided to grant their Famous Son “The Freedom Of Waterford City” and this honour really signified that the Val Doonican legacy would live on forever in Waterford City.
Val Doonican died at a nursing home in Buckinghamshire on the evening of 1st July 2015, aged eighty eight. His death was unexpected, as he hadn’t been ill. He just passed away peacefully and quietly on English soil at a nursing home in Buckinghanshire.
Gone was an Irishman who loved his native soil so dearly. He sang about Ireland all around the globe and now our Irish Heritage website @ www.scorboardmemories.com welcomes the incorporation of Val Doonican into our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Gallery as a Famous Musical Son Of Ireland.
Happy reading to all our browsers around the world.
Derry JF Doody
Australian (Tipperary) Family Devastated By Sudden Death Of Their Famous Champion Boxer Son
James Leslie Darcy's Boxing Career Over At Just Twenty One In Tragic Circumstances
With a surname like Darcy and a mother whose maiden name was O’Rourke, and Co. Tipperary connections dating to the 19th century, there is always a possibility that the subject person may be Irish or of Irish ancestry.
When I strolled across the name “Leslie Darcy” famous boxer, I decided to research further and my inquisitive mind landed me with a true story about an ancestral Irishman of Australian birth.
The story was also a tragic tale of how a young man, who was just twenty one years of age, was swept out of this planet like a thief in the still of night with a minor illness that seldom inflicts major health issues.
Throughout Australia Leslie Darcy is recorded in many Hall Of Fame Galleries as one of the countries greatest ever middleweight boxers and he also held the Australian Heavyweight title, and he uniquely held both titles at the same time.
James Leslie Darcy was born on 31st October 1895 at Woodville, New South Wales, Australia and died on 24th May 1917 at Memphis, United States Of America.
Death was recorded as a result of a tooth abcess which developed into septicaemia and spread to his tonsils causing immense breathing problems.
Leslie Darcy was just twenty one years of age at the time of his untimely and unfortunate death. In a powerful acknowledgement of his status, when his embalmed remains came home to Australia in 1917, an estimated five hundred thousand Aussie citizens gathered to pay their respects to the famous boxer. For a man of just twenty one years of age, this signified his glorious sporting reputation in his native land.
Leslie Darcy won his first sixteen fights before challenging the veteran Bob Whitelaw for the Australian welterweight title. Darcy lost the twenty-round decision but, in a rematch, knocked Whitelaw out in five rounds.
Darcy graduated from regional bouts to fighting in Sydney Stadium in Rushcutters Bay and promoters began to import talent to challenge him. He lost his first two fights in Sydney, one by decision and one by foul, to America's Fritz Holland.
The next year Darcy faced another American, Jeff Smith, in what was considered a contest for the Australian world middleweight title. When Darcy complained of a low blow at the end of the fifth round, the referee believed that Darcy did not want to continue and awarded the decision to Smith.
Later in a greatly anticipated rematch, Darcy was awarded the victory when Smith punched him in the groin. As Australian world middleweight champion, Darcy defeated such top-flight visiting Americans as Eddie McGoorty, Billy Murray, Jimmy Clabbie, George Chip, George ‘KO’ Brown and Buck Crouse, as well as knocking out Smith and Holland in rematches.
Darcy's opponents are said to have admired his courage, stamina, and punching power. In 1916, Darcy knocked Harold Hardwick out to capture the Australian heavyweight title. Darcy's opponents are reputed to have admired his courage, stamina and extraordinary punching power.
By 1916 Leslie Darcy, with Tipperary heritage, was widely regarded as Australia’s best known sportsman. In a glittering career the Australian boxer contested fifty six professional bouts but similar to many more top ranking boxers, his career was gravely blighted by events outside the ring.
The ancestral Irishman got himself into huge controversy by deliberately avoiding Australian conscription during World War1 and as condemnation of his avoidance of conscription began to soar, he left for America where he believed his real fortune could be achieved and importantly leave the conscription issue to one side.
Unfortunately for Darcy, American boxing promoters, one by one, became aware of the conscription issue in Australia and walked away from promoting his fights. American State Governers also came down heavily on the conscription issue and refused him licenses to box in their state. Also he found it difficult to get any American professional boxers to agree to any fights until the conscription issue was resolved.
Darcy's American exploits were seen by him as a means of financially setting up his Australian family for the rest of their lives but alas it was not to be. In a peace offering settlement he took the option of taking out U.S. citizenship in 1917 to continue his professional boxing career and he also announced he would enlist in the U.S. Signal Corps.
He requested the military commanders that he be granted leave to fulfill boxing matches lined up for him in June and July 1917 and this concession was granted.
With his call up temporarily on hold he set about a strenuous training regime but in the build up to his training, he suddenly collapsed at his camp and was removed to hospital. The medical diagnosis was that the infection from the abcessed tooth spread to his tonsils and developed poisoning causing pneumonia which resulted in his death on 24th May 1917.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Leslie Darcy was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1993, the World Boxing Hall Of Fame in October 1998, and the Australian National Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2003.
In 2001, an opera "The Flight of Les Darcy", with libretto by Robert Jarman, premiered at the "10 Days on the Island" festival in Hobart, Australia. The character of Darcy had no singing role but is portrayed by a dancer, and draws on the story that he played the violin to prepare himself for fights.
Les Darcy was also inducted in 2003 into the Australian National Boxing Hall Of Fame Old Timers category and he was the first boxer to be elevated to Legend status in 2009.
In April 2017 when the Leslie Darcy unique story landed on my desk, we were searching for nominations for our new website category of Famous Ancestral Sons/Daughters Of Ireland.
James Leslie Darcy, Famous Ancestral Son Of Co. Tipperary, is now incorporated in our Irish Heritage All Ireland Hall Of Fame @ www.scoreboardmemories.com
Compiled by Editor