Skibbereen Historical Journal Vol 17, 2021

Skibbereen Historical Journal Vol 17, 2021, is now available for purchase in shops in Skibbereen and some other outlets in West Cork.

The Journal has fourteen articles covering a diverse range of topics and it maintains the very high standard of the previous sixteen. The Journal is selling for €12.

It can also be purchased online by clicking on this link  https://www.biblio.com/book/skibbereen-district-historical-society-journal-vol/d/1408087414

Skibbereen Historical Journal 2021

Skibbereen Historical Journal Vol 17, 2021, is now available for purchase in shops in Skibbereen and some other outlets in West Cork.

The Journal has fourteen articles covering a diverse range of topics and it maintains the very high standard of the previous sixteen. For that, we must thank our contributors who have written some superb articles.

We are delighted to welcome some new writers this year. Other authors are very well known to you.

Unfortunately, we will not be having a public launch of any kind because of current restrictions. The Journal is selling for €12.

It can also be purchased online by clicking on this link  https://www.biblio.com/book/skibbereen-district-historical-society-journal-vol/d/1408087414

Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, PE

The death took place on 26 August 2020 of Right Reverend Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, PE.

Monsignor O’Brien died peacefully at Marymount University Hospice, Cork, where he had been in care for a number of weeks.

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The late Right Reverend Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, PE.

Leonard O’Brien was born at Curragh, Skibbereen, in March 1938. He attended primary school at the Boys’ School at Market Street and received his secondary education at St Fachtna’s De La Salle, Skibbereen.

Leonard studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he was ordained Sub Deacon on 15 June 1962. He was raised to the priesthood by Most Rev. Dr Lucey, Bishop of Cork and Ross, at Our Lady Crowned Church, Mayfield, Cork, on 8 June 1963.

Following his ordination, Fr Leonard served for one year on temporary mission in the diocese of Savannah, Georgia. He later served for eight years on the South American mission in Peru.

DSC_0146 New Altar
On Saturday 21 May 2005 the new altar was re-dedicated and the redeveloped sanctuary area was blessed following extensive renovations and modifications at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Skibbereen. Monsignor Leonard O’Brien delivered a beautiful homily that evening in which he included a history of the building. Pictured on the altar for the concelebrated Mass were, from left, Rev. Fr Martin O’Driscoll, Rev. Fr Cristoir McDonald, Very Rev. Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, Most Rev. Dr John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross, Very Rev. Fr Jim O’Donovan, and Rev. Fr Kevin O’Regan.

As a priest for the diocese of Cork and Ross, Fr Leonard served as curate in Carrigfada and Clogagh, as chaplain in Clonakilty and Blackrock. He served as Administrator of the Cathedral Parish and as parish priest in Ballincollig, before being appointed parish priest of Clonakilty in June 2003 where he served until his retirement in 2012. Fr Leonard was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese and Papal Prelate with title of Monsignor on the 5 September 2003.

Monsignor O’Brien was a man of exceptional intellect, with a cultured and accomplished mind. In 2009 he wrote a history of the thirty-nine years of the Cork and Ross mission to South America. Children of the Sun: The Cork Mission to South America was published by Veritas. It is a beautiful account of the mission, founded in Cork in the 1960s by Bishop Lucey, and tells the story of the Irish missionaries who dedicated themselves to addressing the needs of the indigenous people in parts of Peru, the Andes, and later Ecuador.

Len O'Brien 2 August 23 2002
Pictured at the launch of And Time Stood Still Vol 1, published by St Fachtna’s De La Salle PPU, on 23 August 2002, were Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, Bernie Daly, cathaoirleach of Skibbereen Town Council, and Liam O’Regan, editor, Southern Star.

Monsignor O’Brien always kept close contacts with his family and many friends in Skibbereen and he was particularly interested in the welfare of his alma mater, St Fachtna’s De La Salle. In 2005 he served as President of St Fachtna’s De La Salle Past Pupils’ Union.

Monsignor O’Brien is survived by his sister Anna (O’Donovan) and brother Gerald, both of Skibbereen, and nieces and nephews Margaret, Michael, Josephine, Brian, Romie and Claire.

Skibbereen & District Historical Society would like to offer its sincerest sympathy to founder member and Society President, Mr. Gerald O’Brien, on the death of his brother, Right Reverend Monsignor Leonard O’Brien, PE.

PPU 2005 DSC_8929
In 2005 Monsignor Leonard O’Brien served as President of the St Fachtna’s De La Salle, Skibbereen, Past Pupils’ Union. At the annual School Awards Night in April that year, Monsignor O’Brien presented Anthony Davis and Niall Cahalane with ‘Distinguished Past Pupils’ awards.

A Skibbereen cameo during the War of Independence

On Friday evening, 17 December 1920, District Inspector Philip O’Sullivan, an RIC man, left his place of work at Dublin Castle. He walked the short distance to Henry Street where he was to meet his fiancée. The couple met at 615pm and had just commenced walking when they were approached by two men and O’Sullivan was shot dead.

Philip O’Sullivan was the only son of Florence O’Sullivan, from Townshend Street, Skibbereen, one of two brothers who founded the Southern Star newspaper in 1889.

The shooting of Philip O’Sullivan, from such a well-known and respected Skibbereen family, was the subject of a bitter debate between members of Skibbereen District Council.

The main protagonists were Patrick Sheehy and James Duggan.

James Duggan was a prominent business man in Skibbereen. He was a pioneer of the Sinn Féin movement in West Cork, a close friend of Michael Collins, and he was a director of the Southern Star company.

Patrick Sheehy was a solicitor and was editor of the rival Skibbereen Eagle for a number of years, and a member of one of the most politically active families in Skibbereen.

This disagreement was notable in that it represented in microcosm the terrible bitterness and rancour that divided communities all over Ireland at that time.

There was also a much broader element to this argument, about the role of the RIC and how it was perceived in the rapidly changing landscape in Ireland.

This article by Philip O’Regan is just one of fifteen articles on a broad and diverse range of topics in the 2020 Skibbereen Historical Journal.

Stories of the Revolution: 1916–1923

The ‘Stories of the Revolution: 1916-1923’ is a project run by Skibbereen Heritage Centre, with the support of Cork County Council, which invites primary school children to collect stories relating to the 1916–1923 period from their own area.

The concept is based on the highly-successful 1937 Schools’ Folklore Commission project which is still being referenced today.

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Terri Kearney, manager of Skibbereen Heritage Centre, who is coordinating the ‘Stories of the Revolution: 1916-1923’ project.

This is a magnificent project which involves fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children recording stories from their own families or their own local areas. Many of these stories come from within their own families. And these stories are not confined to Ireland. The period 1916–1923 was a very volatile time all over Europe and some fantastic stories have been collected from children whose family background are from Poland, German and other countries.

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While many of these stories have been part of family history for a few generations, this may well be the first time that they are written down and so preserved for posterity.

The Stories of the Revolution will form a very valuable archive which will be stored at Cork City and County Archives and Skibbereen Heritage Centre’s website will host a digital archive which will be available on completion of the project.

The project started in Skibbereen in 2016 and has extended over the subsequent years to schools in the Skibbereen, Leap, Union hall, Aughadown, Bandon, Innishannon, Timoleague, Dunmanway, Kilmichael, Clonakilty, Rosscarbery, Union Hall, Ballydehob and Schull areas.

To date, 818 children have participated, and the hope is to expand this project into other areas of West Cork over the coming years.

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Terri Kearney, manager of Skibbereen Heritage Centre, who is co-ordinating this project, has written a beautiful piece for the 2020 Skibbereen Historical Journal, giving a sample of some of the stories collected.

Even from this brief snapshot of the project, we get a great idea of the value of the stories recorded. What makes them very special is that they are written by the children themselves, mostly in their own handwriting and in their own vernacular.

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The Journal is available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To celebrate the 2020 launch, for the months of July and August only, we are reducing postage for online purchases to €2 for sales to Ireland and the UK and €4 for sales to anywhere else in the world. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we are unable to post books to Australia or New Zealand at the moment.

Fascinating insight into Primary Education in early nineteenth century Ireland

Well-known local historian Tony McCarthy has written a particularly interesting article on the state of Primary Education in Ireland in the early nineteenth century for the Skibbereen & District Historical Society Journal, Vol 16, 2020.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries many European countries began to promote the concept of education for the wider population and particularly for the poorer sections of society.

Tony McCarthy PHI_0234

The Irish Education inquiry of 1824 was the most comprehensive report on primary education in Ireland before the establishment of a national school education system in 1831. Bearing mind that the shadow of the Penal Laws was just lifting from the land in the 1820s, this article covers the rise of education from the hedge schools through to a more formal and organised system.

Statistics for literacy in Ireland for the late 1800s and early 1900s are very meagre and education among the lower classes usually took place within the family.

The returns for Aughadown, Castlehaven, Skibbereen and Rath parishes which were published in 1826 are fascinating and the statistics and the break-down between Catholic and Protestant schools is also very illuminating.

For anyone with an interest in the history of literacy or education, Tony’s article will be particularly compelling, but it will engage readers locally and generally. It is just one of fifteen articles with wide and varied appeal in this year’s Skibbereen Journal.

The Journal is available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately we are unable to post Journals to either Australia or New Zealand at the moment. Because of Covid-19 restrictions there are no flights to either country.

The world-famous singer Denis O’Sullivan

After a hugely successful series of concerts in London in 1901, Denis O’Sullivan was described by the Times of London as ‘one of the illustrious singers of the world’.

Denis O’Sullivan was born in San Francisco in 1868, the son of Cornelius O’Sullivan from Castlehaven, near Skibbereen, and Mary Anne, née Sullivan, from Bandon.

Cornelius had emigrated to America just after the Famine and later established the Hibernian Bank in San Francisco and became a very wealthy man.

Denis O'Sullivan Journal Photo
Denis O’Sullivan.

Denis did not follow his father into a business  career , instead he became a world famous opera singer and Irish folk singer.

Like his father, Denis never forgot his native place and in 1901 he visited Skibbereen and gave a recital in the Town Hall, with all proceeds going to the local St Vincent De Paul Society. For five consecutive years Denis performed a concert in the Town Hall in Skibbereen with all the proceeds going to local charity.

Julianna Minihan, a cousin of Denis O’Sullivan, has written an article on the life and achievements of the world-famous singer in the Skibbereen & District Historical Society Journal, Vol 16, 2020.

The Journal is available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To celebrate the 2020 launch, for the months of July and August only, we are reducing postage for online purchases to €2 for sales to Ireland and the UK and €4 for sales to anywhere else in the world. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately, we cannot post Journals to either Australia or New Zealand at the moment. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there are no flight to either country.

Gerald Butler’s unique perspective on the 1979 Fastnet disaster

On 11 August 1979, 303 yachts began the 600-mile Fastnet Race from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to Fastnet Rock. Weather conditions were good when the race began but that changed very quickly when a Force 10 storm swept across the Atlantic and wreaked havoc on participants, spectators, and the rescue services.

The race became a terrifying ordeal and for almost twenty-four hours the fleet was pounded by huge waves whipped up by 60-knot winds.

Fifteen participants lost their lives in what was the worst disaster in the one hundred-year history of ocean yacht racing.

Gerald Butler PHI_0242

Gerald Butler served as a Lighthouse Keeper for twenty-one years. He was on duty on the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in August 1979 when disaster struck the Admiral’s Cup Yacht Race. In the Skibbereen & District Historical Society Journal 2020, Gerald tells the story of that extraordinary night from his unique perspective.

The Journal is available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To celebrate the 2020 launch, for the months of July and August only, we are reducing postage for online purchases to €2 for sales to Ireland and the UK and €4 for sales to anywhere else in the world. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately we cannot post Journals to Australia or New Zealand at the moment. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there are no flights into those two countries.

Skibbereen & District Historical Society Journal 2020

The 2020 Journal has arrived. This year’s journal contains 15 articles and, as always, a wide variety of topics are covered.

Cover scanned by Philip

These includes an article by Michael MacCarthy-Morrogh about his aunt, Kay Summersby, entitled “Kay Summersby – ‘helping Ike win the war’”; an article by Terri Kearney of the Skibbereen Heritage Centre on the Stories of the Revolution project and a first-hand account of the tragic 1979 Fastnet Race by then Lighthouse Keeper, Gerald Butler. Ringforts, the rivalry between two Skibbereen newspaper editors, events from the 1600s and reminiscences from the 1950s are some of the other topics covered. A full list of articles can be seen in our Journal page.

Normally we would hold a launch event for the Journal, but this year due to Covid-19 that is not possible. Instead to mark to publication of the 2020 Journal we are releasing a series of short videos of contributors and well-wishers. Please keep an eye out for these on this site and on our Facebook page.

If you wish to purchase the Journal it will be available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To celebrate the 2020 launch, for the months of July and August only, we are reducing postage for online purchases to €2 for sales to Ireland and the UK and €4 for sales to anywhere else in the world. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately, we cannot post Journals to Australia or New Zealand at the moment. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there are no flights in to either country.

Thank you to all the contributors, without them there would be no Journal. If you would like to contribute an article to a future Journal then please contact us at skibbereenjournal@gmail.com. Thanks also to the Editorial Committee for their work to produce the Journal.

Mary McClarey from Drimoleague to God knows where

LONG ROAD, MANY TURNINGS.
“Every journey has to start somewhere. For now, this one starts here…”

Long Road, Many Turnings is a family saga spanning four generations. It is the book for anyone who ever wanted to trace their ancestry and discover how their family really lived throughout the first half of the 20th Century.

Although a work of fiction, Celtic author Mary has retold her own family story, achieving a mixture of drama, humour and historical events. Exploring scandal, heartbreak and danger through interrelated characters-including Roisin and Deirdre in 1907- to Ellen and Agnes in 1951.

Starting with two chapters focussed on the Drimoleague area of West Cork the reader experiences life across Ireland, both north and south, London and Wales. Chapters include the second world war, with storylines focussing on two different aspects – childhood evacuation to Wales and lorry driving for the Americans in Northern Ireland. These illustrate war’s unexpected impact on everyday life.

There are also chapters depicting the post and the inter-war years, times which had their own challenges. Each character’s story intriguingly slips into the background of the next thus readers are constantly provided with fresh themes and new characters. The writing is entertaining, touching on gender and cultural misunderstandings alongside a fast-moving storyline. It is accessible, friendly and down-to-earth.

Having published extensively during her nursing career and being a regular contributor to a range of professional journals, MARY MCCLAREY is now turning her hand to fiction. Long Road, Many Turnings is influenced by her experiences, both professionally as a nurse and midwife and personally as part of an Irish-Welsh family.

First published 28th September 2016
ISBN 9781785893339
BIC subject category: FT – Sagas
Paperback 216×138 mm 272pp Portrait
Second edition now available in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Road-Many-Turnings-McClarey/dp/1651828318/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=mary+mcclarey&qid=1589193719&s=books&sr=1-2

Mary has published a second novel along the theme of family saga. ‘Time for a change’, set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, is also available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback version. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Change-Nursing-Northern-conflict-ebook/dp/B07DNF8BVR

The Author with West Cork roots: –
Mary’s earliest memories are of her grandmother, Kitty Cahalane, who grew up on a farm at Drinagh, just outside Drimoleague. Many times, she listened to her granny’s stories about running home from school barefoot, to a lighted candle in her mother’s window. The words Dunmanway, Bantry and Skibbereen peppered her grandmother’s reminiscences and to Mary they evoked a sense of heritage and mystery. When she visited Drimoleague with her parents and siblings as a teenager she immediately felt a strong connection with the area and as an adult she brought her mother back to visit. Mary now returns annually and delights in exploring the local area and meeting up with her cousins who live in Drimoleague.

The Fish Publishing Company which runs the Bantry Literary Festival awarded Mary Second Prize in their Flash Fiction category in 2020. She is currently writing her third fictional novel, set in 1900, whose central character is loosely based on another Drimoleague member of her grandmother’s family.