It Took 10 Years To Build Dublin's Custom House At A Cost of £200,000 And in 1921 The I.R.A. Burned the Imposing Building
How did the ancient craftsmen of Ireland build such magnificent buildings such as cathedrals, government buildings and monuments dotted all over Ireland. The construction is only part of any major building project and before any shovels or trowels are seen, the architects as designers and the sculptors as craftsmen, put in a huge amount of hours into pre-planning.
We are referring to TIMES PAST for our Irish Heritage Website and we are also talking about many historic buildings/venues built in 18th century Ireland. It was an era long before Henry Ford invented his Model T Motor car and transport was by horse and cart and long before modern day style scaffolding made reaching great heights an everyday routine.
It is an 18th century neoclassical prominent building which now provides offices for the Department Of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Its location is in the north bank of the famous river Liffey and adjacent to the Talbot Memorial Bridge and Butt Bridge.
In 1707, engineer Thomas Burgh built the original Custom House, but this building had outlived its purpose and was condemned in the late 18th century as unsafe for use.
The cost of a new Custom House did not seem to bother John Beresford who was the instigator behind the project. At that time, Ireland under British rule, had John Beresford as head of finance for Ireland.
Beresford did not get off to the start he envisaged when the original architect he appointed, Thomas Cooley, died unexpectedly. Into the breach Beresford brought James Gandon, a relatively new architect, now tasked with a huge design project and little experience of major projects.
The area selected as the site was marshland and the acquisition of the land proved extremely expensive. Protests at the development were mounted but Beresford took on all comers who were negative towards his grandiose plan and he ploughed on regardless.
1781 marks the commencement of the building work and James Gandon chose some of the very best artists and stone cutters in the land. Any Dublin mason who wanted work need look no further than Beresford and Gandon.
After a mighty ten years of intensive toiling, the new Custom House welcomed its first workers through the doors on 7th November 1791.
Over £200,000 was spent on the structure, a mighty sum in that far off era of Times Past. The completed project rose the profile of James Gandon as an architect to new horizons and he never again had to wait for new commissions.
The Custom House intended use was the collection of custom duties but as the Port Of Dublin rapidly expanded and moved downriver, use of the large building was greatly diminished.
The Local Government Board For Ireland would later take up tenancy but when the Irish War Of Independence erupted in 1921, the Irish Republican Army decided to burn down the place to displace British Rule in Ireland.
Many facets of the imposing building were gutted but the I.R.A. destruction also had a negative effect as historic records were lost and several volunteers were captured as they retreated.
Following the Irish Treaty of 1921, the property was now under the ownership of the new Irish government who set about rebuilding the property.
The Custom House is a huge building to maintain and considerable sums have been spent over many years preserving this monumental Dublin building.
Historic Towns & Villages Category:
Nestled In A Cluster Of Northern Ireland Counties, Armagh Is The
Seat Of The Catholic Church In Ireland
Armagh, the Orchard county of All Ireland, was already one of Ireland’s best known counties and when the late Donegal singer, Bridie Gallagher, recorded “The Boys Of The County Armagh” with her amazing balladeer voice, she took us all on a stroll around the county.
‘Around by the Gap of Mount Norris and home by Blackwater again’ were words in the song that captivated the musical ear of Irish people all around the globe. It’s a lively ballad about one fair county, a county also made famous by St. Patrick who founded a college there that became world famous.
Old authors such as Beade and St. Fiech referred to Armagh as the capital of All Ireland in the early centuries whilst ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid (also known as Voluntii, Ultonians, Ulidians, Ulstermen) before the fourth century AD.
Armagh was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha (or Navan Fort) near the city of Armagh. The site and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha.
When the Treaty Of Ireland was signed by Michael Collins and colleagues in 1921, Armagh, despite its close proximity to county Louth, was deemed to be a part of the new six counties of Ulster.
The county has a strong gaelic tradition and in 21st century Ireland, Armagh is a relatively small county whose borders straddle Tyrone, Down, Louth, Monaghan and Antrim. It is sandwiched in-between its bordering counties in the North East of Ireland.
Our history books state Queen Macha of the Spears or otherwise known as Macha of the Golden Hair, built Armagh. She also built a huge palace at Navan Fort near the city and the ruins are still visible.
Macha is also credited with establishing The Red Branch Knights Of Ulster and they occupied homes next to the palace as living quarters. In close proximity was ‘The House Of The Sorrowful Soldier’ which was a hospital to cater for the medical needs of inhabitants.
Further history reading states that St. Patrick was responsible for obliterating all the Armagh rats and the cathedral city is known to be the enemy of rats. Old tales abound that any rats that invade Armagh meet their sudden death and that is attributed to the power of St. Patrick’s prayers.
Other chapters of Irish history state that the Irish warrior, Brian Boru, had a special place in his heart for Armagh and despite capturing Armagh in a battle royal, in his will he made it known, he wanted to be buried in Armagh and his wish was granted.
Brian Boru lost his life in the Battle Of Clontarf, Dublin, on 23rd April 1014 and his funeral procession over roadways from Clontarf to Armagh City, was one of the largest funerals ever held in Ireland.
The county population takes in approximately 170,000 citizens with the City Of Armagh the capital town, whilst Portadown and Lurgan are also large county towns.St. Patrick made Armagh his clerical seat and this inheritance is held in high values by the Irish Catholic Church who continue to base their Irish Cardinal in Armagh. It is also a majority Catholic stronghold amongst its population taken from a recent census.
As a county stretching across the border lines of the Republic Of Ireland, during the Northern Ireland troubles South Armagh became known in the media as ‘Bandit Country’. Southern regions of the county are majority catholic and its citizens are mainly opposed to British Rule.
Gaelic football is the dominant sport in south Armagh and in some pockets of the south, hurling is taken very seriously. Soccer is very prominent around the county and particularly in the Portadown region.
Another Irish sport with origins in county Cork is Roadbowling and this unique sport is a very important social fabric in south Armagh in many towns and villages. A number of Armagh bowlers have claimed the All Ireland Roadbowling championship and support for the sport is very evident when one crosses over the border and into the town of Keady.
In gaelic football Armagh hold one All Ireland senior football title won in 2002 when they defeated the all conquering Kerry by one point in a thrilling final at Croke Park. However the fortunes of Armagh’s footballers has dimmed in recent years but in a highly competitive arena, the fortunes of many more former All Ireland champions has also dimmed.
Armagh is famous for the amount of orchards in the county and driving through the countryside the orchards represent stunning views for visitors. This is the reason that Armagh is regarded as ‘The Orchard County Of Ireland’.
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 McNicholas, 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 McNicholas 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 enrollment 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.
Passage West, Co. Cork, The Main Shipping Port Of Cork In 18th Century Ireland
Our Town – Our Place
Passage West, Co. Cork (An Pasáiste Thiar) is a port town situated on the west bank of Cork Harbour. It is some 10km from Cork city centre, close to all city services of shopping and amenities.
The town was designated a conservation area in the 2003 Cork County Development Plan. The G.A.A. club has been at the helm of sport in the region for 130 years and that proud tradition has been maintained and expanded in recent years as the club acquired new land to facilitate even greater expansion for the promotion and preservation of gaelic games in the community.
Soccer is also well catered for in the community and the local club have a magnificent complex at Rockeham Park, on the Cork city side of the town. Through the 20th century Passage had a vibrant harrier club also and rowing on the local waterside was a hugely popular sport also.
Passage West today is one of Cork city's principal residential dormitory towns. The town suffered from relatively high unemployment for much of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but recent re-development, along with the sweeping harbour views the area offers, has ensured that the town is now one of Cork's most desirable residential locations.
A substantial amount of new housing development took place in the celtic tiger years - especially on the northern edge of the town.
The towns development from an obscure hamlet to a town may be principally attributed to its deep sea anchorage. The advancement of Cork's commercial trade was an important benefit to Passage in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Owing to the shallowness of the Lee channel above the town right through to upriver Blackrock, vessels over 150 tons were unable to proceed upriver to Cork and were obliged to discharge their cargoes at Passage.
These cargoes were either unloaded on to lighters and brought up the river to Cork, or put ashore and taken to the city in carts or on horseback. The only road to Cork at that time was via Church Hill, through the site of the present Capuchin Monastery at Rochestown and then through what is now the entrance to the farm-yard at Oldcourt, Rochestown and then on to Douglas and Cork.
In 1836 a new quay was built at Passage West Docks where the vessels could berth and land their passengers and freight. It was no uncommon sight to see between 70 and 80 vessels anchored in the local harbour. The eventual dredging of the Lee channel put an end to a great extent to the importance of Passage as a port.
The 19th century ferry between Passage and Carrigaloe also enhanced the trade of the town. Until the opening of the Cork to Cobh Railway, the traffic on this cross river ferry was very substantial.
Between 200 and 300 covered-in-cars (jingles) brought passengers from Cork to Passage by ferry daily. In the first half of the 19th century, Cobh was the principal sea-side resort in Munster and that richly enhanced the Ferry.
During the first twenty days of August 1836 over twenty thousand people crossed over on the ferry and this gave considerable employment. The boats were apparently large flat-bottomed ones worked by a system of cables and pulleys, and capable of taking very heavy cargoes. This ferry dated back to the reign of James 1 or even earlier.
The ferry fares fixed were:
- a person, a cow, a horse, 6 sheep, swine or goats - one penny.
The eventual opening of a railway line to Cobh (then known as Queenstown) caused the demise of the Passage ferry. However in the early 1990’s a car ferry service was opened between nearby Glenbrook and Carrigaloe and still continues in the 21st century.
Also in the 19th century, Passage West became a popular bathing resort for the citizens of Cork and the houses at Glenbrook and Toureen were in great demand during the Summer. According to a census taken in 1831 the population of Passage was 1,457 of whom 1,136 were Catholics.
Passage West boasted two hydropathic establishments in downriver Glenbrook.
The Victoria Baths was opened in 1808 and was very popular for many years. However it closed owing to lack of support soon after the extension of the railway to Monkstown and judging by its ruins it was a fine building. The other Baths was situated almost directly opposite the Victoria baths.
The opening of the Cork to Passage rail-line in June 1850 was very much in the town's favour as many visitors came to Passage to relax by the seaside. The railway was extended to Monkstown in August 1902 and in 1904 it was extended to Crosshaven.
From 1904 onwards Passage was no longer popular as a tourist resort and Crosshaven took over this mantle. Passage railway station finally closed on 12th September 1932 and despite the passing of many decades since closure, local residents maintain it was a shortsighted decision. In 2017 it now takes morning traffic heading out for Cork city from Passage West over one hour to reach their destination and during the lifetime of the railway in the 20th century, the same journey to Cork city took just twenty minutes.
One of the mainstay Passage industries in the 20th century were the local Dockyards. Hennessy's yard was situated in what is now Fr O'Flynn Park and the precise date of its opening is unknown.
This yard had the great distinction of launching in 1815 the "City of Cork" ship which was the first steamship built in Ireland.
The closing date of this dockyard is a matter for conjecture. The other and larger dockyard was the Royal Victoria Dockyard, which was laid down by Messrs. Henry and William Brown in 1832 and cost £150,000 to build and equip. It received its name from Queen Victoria on her first visit to Cork in 1849.
The Hill family of Monkstown later acquired the former The Royal Victoria Dockyard in the early 20th century as a ship breaking industry and this business thrived for several decades until its closure at the turn of the 20th century.
A property development company acquired the former dockyard in the Celtic Tiger era with intentions to construct modern apartments and a seaside hotel but this plan was abandoned when the early 21st century recession set fire to these ambitious plans.
As a harbour and seafaring town the lure of the sea called many Passage persons to a life of travelling the world’s oceans and emigration was always a constant factor for Passage families. The vast majority of residents now work outside the town as industry and commercial trade is in short supply in Passage. When the Celtic Tiger collapsed the curse of emigration again come to the fore and many prominent gaelic players left their native Passage shores to secure a better standard of living.
The club is ever mindful of its role in the community and work is ongoing to promote the club far and wide in its catchment areas.
The arrival of new families in recent years has been warmly welcomed and signs are already surfacing that the great influx of new talent to all the local clubs will enhance prospects to attain silverware.
A visit to Passage West can be a historic journey to bygone eras and very little has changed on the quayside where the ships from far off ports landed their cargoes in the 19th century.
It is a peaceful town and the town centre is still adorned by buildings that go back several hundred years. The friendly natives of Passage West will always spot a stranger in town and to experience life in an old traditional harbour town in Cork, make Passage West your immediate choice of destination.
We wish you a safe journey on your travels to Passage West, Co. Cork.
one Of Ireland's Greatest Ever Inventors
Sir Francis Beaufort Of Navan, Co. Meath
Francis Beaufort was born into a family with a great interest in plotting maps which was his fathers masterpiece with the drawing board. His Irish credentials are largely his native place of birth and as a young boy he drifted between Ireland and Wales until he was aged fourteen.
He left his schooling behind to go on the open high seas but he had a great appetite for advanced learning through self education. His interest in science and mathematics brought him into contact with some leading scientists and mathematicians and it was a bad seafaring experience in 1789 that made the fifteen year old realise that nautical sea plotting charts were sadly absent.
Despite his lack of academic degrees, Francis Beaufort became a ship lieutenant and later rose to the rank of commander. Known as a geneorus man, Francis had a serious injury on board HMS Phaeton and returned to live in Ireland. During this time he became involved with his brother-in-law to establish a semaphore line from Dublin to Galway.
This project took two years and the Navan man did not seek any payment for his services on the project.
In 1810 he was back with the British Navy as a ship captain and this enabled him to carry out some vital research to advance a major invention he was pursing.
Astronomical observations were his main priority and on his sea travels he made numerous soundings and bearings tests to invent a new system for longitude and latitude and evaluating shorelines for ships.
Promoted to command of his own ship with instructions to carry out a hydrographic survey of an estuary in South America, his findings were described as historic and could possibly alter seafaring mechanism for future generations.
Measuring wind force scale was an obsession for Beaufort and determining tide tables for incoming and outgoing times was a scientific exploration that occupied his mathematical mind.
As a seafaring ship officer of the Admiralty, Sir Francis made a great discovery when he invented
the first versions of his Wind Force Scale and also Weather Notation coding. He used these formulas in his journals for the remainder of his life at sea.
Weather forecasting was greatly aided by Beaufort’s inventions and previous methods were greatly complimented with his advance technological theories. In 1829, aged fifty five, he rose in the Admiralty to become British Admiralty Hydrographer of the Navy and he served in that role for twenty five years.
He was almost solely responsible for overseeing the establishment of the finest surveying and charting institution in the world.
Francis Beaufort, born in Navan in 1774, died in 1857 and is a truly remarkable Famous Son Of Ireland.
St. Oliver Plunkett - A Martyr For Ireland & His Faith
Oliver Plunkett, an Irish martyr was executed because of his religious duties to his flock and from his arrest to his execution, his spurious trials made international headlines. His persecutors were intent that there could be only one final decision no matter what defence was offered and the guilty verdict was always a foregone conclusion.
Oliver Plunkett, a native of Oldcastle, Co. Meath, was born on 1st November 1629 to a family who enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle due to their ownership of large land holdings. His early education was mapped out for him by his cousin, Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of St. Mary’s Church, Dublin, and Patrick would always be very influential in Oliver’s choice of career.
The priesthood came knocking on Oliver’s door in 1647, when he was aged just eighteen. He set out for the Irish College in Rome to study his ecclesiastical books and he was a brilliant religious scholar who impressed his superiors greatly.
In 1649, the Cromwell invasion of Ireland forbid catholics to practice their religion and catholic clergy were promptly executed when they carried out their priestly duties.
Ordained in 1654, aged twenty five, Oliver Plunkett was risking his young life by returning to Ireland at that time. At a special Catholic Convention in 1669 he was made Archbishop Of Armagh and returned to Ireland in 1670 to take on his ministry.
On return to Ireland, Oliver found his flock embattled and bewildered and his first mission was to re-establish the catholic church. With some relaxation in the Penal Laws, Oliver built new churches and colleges but the placing into law of the new Test Act once again caused havoc to the catholic church.
All his good work was demolished to the ground and he was forced to go into hiding. A further act (Popish Plot) was instigated and extremists accused him of promoting a French invasion despite his obscurity in hiding.
In 1679 a price was placed on his head for capture and whilst carrying out his duties underground in Dublin, he was betrayed and arrested and later released.
In a Co. Louth church near Drogheda, Oliver spent some time in hiding before once again becoming a prisoner. He was taken to Dundalk for trial and accused of plotting the arrival of 20,000 French soldiers and placing a tax on his ministers to support an Irish rebel army.
The British realised that a conviction in Ireland would be controversial and moved his trial to London. Found not guilty of any illegal act at his first London trial, he was still refused his freedom. A second spurious trial was ordered and a conviction was demanded by the rulers.
On 16 th June 1681, Oliver Plunkett was spuriously found guilty of high treason for promoting the Roman faith.
His condemnation decreed that he would be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, London, England.
Oliver Plunkett paid far beyond the ultimate price for his christian beliefs. The head of Oliver was sent to Germany before resting in Armagh and finally taken to Drogheda’s St. Peter’s Church on 29 th June 1921.
Oliver was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975.
TC Murray - Novelist & Playwright Of Immense Talent In 20th Century
Born in the Muskerry barony of Macroom, Co. Cork, Tom Murray came from an era when storytelling and great folklore stories were prominent in households all over Ireland. Locals gathered at neighbours homes and often exchanged tales as a leisurely activity until after the fall of midnight and young Tom Murray relished such events.
One of a family of eleven children, his parents were from the gaeltacht speaking district of Kilanamartra and spoke Irish. They moved to Macroom to open a shop, flour and meal store and they also owned a town pub.
Tom acquired a deep passion for drama and a great Irish cultural tradition and went into the teaching profession as a young man.
Teaching in Cork schools at Carrignavar, Carrigtwohill and Rathduff and as Principle of the Model School, Inchicore, Dublin, he strived to bring to his pupils his own love of poetry and writing. It was within his own talents as a writer and playwright, that Tom Murray came to national prominence.
In Cork city he co-founded the Cork Little Theatre Company with other authors such as the famed Daniel Corkery and Con O’Leary and the heroic Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence McSweeney, who died on hunger strike at Brixton Prison, England in 1920. The group became known as The Cork Realists.
The new theatre soon blossomed and many who threaded its boards became household names in the 20 th century.
Murray won a bronze medal for Literature at the 1924 Paris Olympics for ‘Birthright’ a play central to hurling.
Amongst the many famous published worksof Tom Murray, the following best sellers contributed
to his eminence as a writer of renown.
‘Autumn Fire’ ;
‘The Briary Gap’ ;
‘Birthright’ ; and
Tom wrote over fourteen plays, novels and poems and many were translated into German, French, Japanese, Welsh and Breton.
As a novelist and playwright, Tom Murray was honoured by the National University Of Ireland with a Doctorate In Literature in 1949.
He was Director Of The Authors Guild Of Ireland and a member of the Irish Academy Of Letters and also President of the Irish Playwrights Association.
He continued writing for many years as an alternative to retirement and he spoke of the great joy he encountered as people of many countries found great wisdom and wit in his books.
Tom Murray died in 1959, aged eighty six years and left a legacy of literature to be appreciated by present and future generations around the universe.
Famous Son Of Ireland: Author/Storyteller Category:
John B. Keane - One Of Ireland's Most Jovial Authors
A great Irish Literary legend of the 20th century. John B.Keane brought immense joy into peoples lives through his unrivalled capacity to embrace humour and Irish traditions into his writing over many decades.
Born in Listowel, Co. Kerry, in 1932, John B was a rare class of writer from the land of saints and scholars and composed millions of words of wit and humour that captured the imagination of his readers in many countries throughout the world.
His love of writing was only matched by his passion for Gaelic football, a sport from which he found great inspiration and ideas for writing. The eccentrics who followed the game put football before all else and unwittingly gave John B immense verse and poetry.
A famous composer of over twenty full length plays, his admirers will identify with many of his illustrious productions. All became best selling novels.
The Field, written by J.B. became an international film, with Richard Harris, playing the lead role. His international acclaim through ‘Sive’ courted many audiences to repeat shows worldwide and truly established the great Kerryman as a literary giant.
Other famous J.B. Productions such as: ‘Big Maggie’ ; ‘The Change in Mame Fadden’; ‘The Buds Of Ballybunion’; ‘Many Young Men Of Twenty’; ‘The Year Of The Hiker’; ‘The Man From Clare’; ‘The Letters Of A Love Hungry Farmer’; and ‘ The Letters Of A Matchmaker’ all became best selling novels.
JB’s storytelling also told real life anecdotes encountered by JB behind the counter of his bar in Listowel.
Many innocent unsuspecting customers explained to John B the ups and downs of their daily life and in doing so created many humorous lines for the author.
His numerous TV appearances were always awaited with great anticipation of great stories told in the manner accustomed only to John B.
He kept his audience spellbound in the psalm of his hand and they listened to him far more attentively than their local cleric preaching from the pulpit. His ability to thrill by the written word was a joy to behold and this famous literary son of Ireland left a rich legacy for many future generations.
Famous Daughter Of Ireland: Author Category:
Lady Augusta Gregory - Privileged Background But Greatly Admired By Irish People
Lady Augusta Gregory had an Anglo-Irish landlord ancestry with a family estate consisting of 6,000 acres of land at Roxborough, Co. Galway. She was accustomed to life among the Galway gentry and when she married Sir William Gregory, a widower some thirty five years her senior, as the wife of a knight, she became entitled to be identified as ‘Lady Gregory’.
Her new husband possessed a huge estate at Coole, Gort, Co. Galway and Lady Gregory’s memory is perpetuated in Gort and also throughout the county of Galway.
Following the death of her husband in 1892 she began to take a greater interest in the land of her birth and read Irish history extensively. She also found a zest for the Irish language and became fluent in her native tongue and also gave Irish lessons to school children in the Gort surrounding areas.
Lady Gregory was now endearing herself to the local population and with great wealth from her inheritances, she had the means to invest great time in literature and the arts.
She was born Isabella Augusta Persse in 1852 and was educated at her home by private tutors. She was greatly influenced by the house nurse, a native Irish speaker who bestowed great stories of local history and legends.
During the Irish Civil War the family holding was destroyed by fire and young Isabelle was well aware of the plight of her neighbours from the many stories she heard from her nurse. The fame of Lady Gregory in modern Ireland can be attributed to her literature works.
Amongst her famous collections can found: ‘Spreading The News’; ‘Kincora’; ‘The Workhouse Ward’; and her gem ‘The Rising Of The Moon’.
These historic plays have been revived many times and were widely acclaimed by many generations of theatre audiences.
Other notable works of Lady Gregory include ‘Poets and Dreamers’; ‘Gods and Fighting Men’; ‘Kiltartan Poetry Book’; ‘Cuchulain of Muirthemne’; ‘A Book of Saints and Wonders’; ‘Kiltartan History Book’; ‘Our Irish Theater’; ‘A Chapter of Autobiography’; ‘Sir Hugh Lane’s Life and Achievement’; (he was a nephew of Lady Gregory).
Her final publication was ‘Lady Gregory’s Journals’ period 1916 - 1930 and published in 1946.
The Galway author had a long and often turbulent association with The Abbey Theatre, Dublin and was very influential in the productions staged at The Abbey. She was also a co-founder of The Irish Litereary Theatre in 1899 that had a short lifespan until 1902 and this was succeeded by the founding of The Irish National Theatre Society.
Most of Ireland’s prominent authors of the period regularly visited her at Coole Park, Gort and some penned great works whilst in residence.
Isabella Augusta Gregory, famous Irish author and playwright, died in 1932 from breast cancer and is buried at Bohermore. Co. Galway.
Famous Daughter Of Ireland: Author Category:
Edna O'Brien - Clare Author Outlawed By Irish Censors
A novelist and short story writer, the famous Clarewoman has been exiled in England for many decades and often became controversial for her outspoken views of religious Ireland in the mid 20th century. She spoke the truth at a time when Ireland hid all negations on clergy and people in high places.
Her outspoken comments became as famous as her writings and because she was Edna O’Brien, the Irish author, she made headline news in many places.
Born at Tuamgraney, Scariff, Co. Clare, Edna was an only child reared in a household with great devotion to prayer and she never forgot the smothering effect such doctrination imposed. A quailified pharmacist at twenty, she married Ernest Gébler, an author, when she was twenty four and the couple headed out for London.
In the field of publishing she became a reader and earned modest sums for her labours. Her first book The Country Girls was published in 1960 and led to two more writings - The Lonely Girl (1962) and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). These controversial publications brought the wrath of the Irish Censor upon Edna and certain Irish people felt she was going outside the accepted moral codes by writing on sexual matters.
Unperturbed the Clare author set about writing a novel based on her Clare childhood and A Pagan Place (1970) really set the tone for the Irish critics. In later years Edna would receive many awards for her works and her great ability over fifty years has altered the tone of Irish fiction for many contemporary writers.
A collection of some of Edna’s titles include:
August Is A Wicked Month
Casualties Of Peace
The Love Object
On The Bone
Scandalous Woman And Other Stories
Johnny I Hardly Knew You
Some Irish Loving
Time And Tide
The High Road
Mrs. Reinhardt And Other Stories
Awards have accumulated to include the Kingsley Amis Award (1962); the Yorkshire Post Book Award; the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award and many more accolades.
Edna O’Brien, fought against adversity and brought everyday subjects into the homes of ordinary people. Her deep knowledge of forbidden subjects and her capacity to communicate on paper, gave her Irish readers an opportunity to speak out against unsavory practices by persons who hid behind their masks.
Nano Nagle - Cork woman Established Ursulines Convents
Nano Nagle, a spiritual missionary hailed from the beautiful Blackwater vales that stream around north Cork right down to the eastern shorelines. Born at Ballygriffin, Killavullen, between Mallow and Fermoy in 1718, Nano’s life began at a time when England ruled Ireland and sought to eradicate the catholic religion in Ireland.
Nano Nagle’s forebearers were prominent land owners but their christian values were not finding favour with the authorities and great swamps of their lands were forcibly hijacked from the family.
Such history was uppermost in young Nano’s mind and later in her adult life she sought to help the suppressed and needy people to survive.
Her parents were Garret and Anna and their first born child was Honora who became better known as Nano in the family realm. The parents had seven children and educating them in the catholic tradition was a difficult task in the political climate imposed by British rule in Ireland.
Hedge schools, classified as illegal, facilitated many children to obtain a basic religious awareness behind closed doors. The penalty for hedge teaching, when discovered, meant great sacrifices for the teachers and the families of the pupils.
Nano’s affluent family was the means to sending her to France to gain a proper schooling. On return to Ireland she settled in Dublin for a short term before returning to her Ballygriffin roots near Mallow.
The Cork missionary soon realised that oppression was rampant and vowed to aim to contribute to improving Irish society.
The Ursuline nuns in France took young Nano into their convent and she began a whole new life of spiritual devotion.The call of her native homeplace finally took her back to Cork city and she walked the cobbled streets rescuing young girls from poverty.This act placed a price on her head but Nano continued relentlessly.
She took refuge in mud cabins to teach over 200 children and then decided to open her first school off Shandon Street, Cork.
In a short period Nano had seven new schools operating for boys and girls and she financed all the projects through her families financial kindness.
Nano’s next assignment was the establishment of the first ever Irish Ursuline convent in 1771.
However Nano was not on common ground with the aspirations of her Ursuline order as it inhibited her determination to work solely for the poorest in society. This matter resulted in the establishment by Nano of a new order for nuns and the Presentatios Sisters were founded in Cork on Christmas Day 1777 at Douglas Street, Cork city.
Nano Nagle’s passport in Irish history clearly identifies this north Cork lady as a Famous Daughter of Ireland. She died in 1784.
Famous Son Of Ireland: Author/Artist Category:
Christy Brown - Against Great Odds Dublin Author Became World Famous
A man of immense determination who fought adversity and became a Famous Son of Ireland, known throughout the world for his literature and paintings.
Christy Brown was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1932 with a condition of Cerebral Palsy and his family of siblings were quite large.
Only a very limited number of people were able to locate the genius hidden talent that lay dormant in his over worked brain. Christy always struggled to express himself and his inability to communicate in ordinary speech, greatly imposed a level of frustration only known to himself and his mother.
The achievements of Christy were recognised by his readers who saw in him an extraordinary talent for literature and not because he was disabled. He wrote in a manner that was letter perfect for all readers, even the casual book reader could not resist taking his writings from the shelf.
As a painter nobody would venture to suggest that Christy Brown also had an instinct to place his artful imagination on paper or canvas but that was the depth of immense talent that he possessed.
Christy astounded the professionals by launching himself as a writer and painter of great intellect.
He was rewarded with great appreciation and his place in history was assured by the film ‘My Left Foot’ that portrayed his life.
His book and autobiography of the same title, was translated into fourteen languages and a prominent newspaper stated the book was ‘The most important Irish novel since Joyces’s 'Ulysses’.
Works by Christy Brown include:
My Left Foot (1954) Down All The Days (1970)
Come Softly To My Wake (1971) Background Music (1973) A Shadow On Summer
Wild Grow The Lilies (1976) Of Snails And Skylarks (1978) A Promising Career
The Collected Poems Of Christy Brown (1991)
Christy’s early life in Dublin’s southside suburb of Kimmage had no easy paths or highways to stardom and the family council home was not user friendly for a budding writer and artist.
When fame came calling at Christy’s door, his life exploded and he had no scarcity of new friends who all wanted to share his new found prosperity.
Christy went into a relationship with his Co. Kerry born minder and nurse and the final outcome was a marriage ceremony in October 1972 at Sutton, Co. Dublin. The couple dismantled Christy’s Dublin roots and moved to a location in north Co. Kerry and would finally move to Somerset, England.
It was here on 7th September 1981 that a Famous Son of Ireland, Christy Brown, died.
His untimely and tragic death at just forty nine years old, was mourned all around the world and especially so due to his suffocation whilst eating a meal.
The Dublin author was brought home to his native city for burial at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
Edel Quinn - Cork Born Missionary Became Legion Of Mary Explorer
An extraordinary famous daughter of Ireland whose life spanned a mere thirty six years. In that short lifetime she is known by Catholics worldwide for her great and historic spirituality in foreign lands.
The Legion of Mary was spread worldwide by the great work of people such as Kanturk, Co. Cork, born Edel Quinn.
Edel had wonderful qualities of beauty and humour and was especially pretty, and had no shortage of male admirers. In the barony of Duhallow in North Co. Cork, many suitors were known to greatly admire Edel, and at twenty she had an opportunity to enter into marriage.
Her hesitation was not greatly understood and Edel did not want to confide or whisper her real cause for this reservation. She was a young and beautiful woman full of gracious living, and also a devout Catholic who took her great religious devotion more seriously than most Irish people.
There was great disappointment when Edel finally acknowledged, that marriage was not in her immediate plans. When she finally conveyed her decision, she knew she was making the right choice for both persons. Her calling was to spread Christian virtues and she felt she could best achieve her objective by joining the Poor Clare Nuns.
When Edel declined a life of marriage and perhaps her own children, Edel’s world fell apart. She was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and she was then unable to join the Poor Clare order. After a brief period of convalescence, Edel decided to emigrate to Wales and later to England and work with the Legion of Mary Society, where she established a counseling service for prostitutes.
Her voluntary work soon attracted many more women prepared to pioneer her charitable work.
Her state of ill health was always a source of concern but despite her disability, Edel went to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, to set up new Legion of Mary missions. Her missionary work became greatly recognised and soon she received international headlines and the society soon spread far and wide in many corners of the world.
Most of this Legion of Mary acclaim was attributed to the Cork missionary. Her disability finally curtailed her mobility and she died at Nairobi, Kenya, on the 12 th May 1944, aged just thirty seven years.
Ireland - the land of saints and scholars, reared many famous daughters, but this Irish missionary is unique in our history.
Edel Quinn established her own rights for inclusion in any roll call of Famous Daughters of Ireland.