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Michael Davitt’s Death and Burial

posted Oct 29, 2020, 5:50 AM by Bernard O'Hara


Michael Davitt’s grave in Straide, County Mayo.
Towards the end of March 1906, the great Irish patriot, ‘Father of the Land League’, and social reformer, Michael Davitt, heard about a ‘painless dentist’ in Dublin and had a tooth extracted.  Pleased with the experience, he returned a few days later and had more teeth removed, including the root of one which had been broken during his first imprisonment and had caused him some trouble.  He later developed influenza and septic inflammation of his lower jaw, resulting in a big abscess, with an operation in his home to have it removed. After a month, a second operation became necessary, and he was removed to the Elpis Nursing Home, Lower Mount Street, Dublin, where an affected portion of his jaw-bone was removed on 15 May.  Subsequently, Michael’s condition varied considerably, with regular bulletins  on his condition issued by the hospital.  On 28 May, a terse bulletin from the hospital stated, ‘Mr. Davitt has lost ground during the day and is in a most critical condition.’   On Tuesday 29 May, a hospital bulletin stated: ‘Mr. Davitt has been losing ground, but is free from pain, and is resting quietly.’  The following day’s bulletin was very ominous:  ‘Mr. Davitt has lost ground since yesterday and continues in a most critical condition.’  Michael Davitt became unconscious and died early on Wednesday 30 May 1906, with his eldest son, Michael, and a few other friends at his bedside.  His wife, who was suffering a miscarriage was a patient in an upper room of the same hospital, was unable to be present.  The cause of death was septicaemia.  His death came as a huge shock to his wife, family, friends and indeed everyone who knew or heard of him.
After his death, there was a great desire among Irish nationalists for a public funeral, but his will contained a request for a very simple ceremony, with specific instructions as to where he was to be buried.  It stated:
" Should I die in Ireland, I would like to be buried at Straide, Co. Mayo, without any funeral demonstration.  If I die in America, I must be buried in my mother’s grave at Manayunk, near Philadelphia, and on no account be brought back to Ireland; if in any other country (outside of Great Britain), to be buried in the nearest cemetery to where I may die, with the simplest possible ceremony.  Should I die in Great Britain, I must be buried at Straide, Co. Mayo."
His remains were moved to the Church of the Carmelite Fathers, St. Teresa’s, Clarendon Street, Dublin, on the evening of 31 May without any public notice.  In January 1878, it had been the only Catholic Church in Dublin which did not refuse to accept the remains of his Fenian friend, Charles H. McCarthy, who died suddenly following his release from prison. As Michael Davitt was involved in the funeral arrangements, he never forgot the kindness and help he received from the Carmelite Fathers and could pay them no greater tribute than to request that his own body be brought there. Despite his own request for a private funeral, thousands filed past Davitt’s coffin in Clarendon Street church on the evening of his removal, the following day and on Saturday morning, 2 June.   After Mass, his remains were removed from St. Teresa’s Church to Broadstone station on Saturday morning, 2 June 1906, for a train journey to his native county. People gathered all along the route to pay their own silent tributes as the train passed by.  There was a big crowd awaiting the arrival of the train in Foxford, County Mayo, where a group of local farmers formed a guard of honour around the hearse as it started off for Straide, a short journey from there.  Every horse-and-trap for miles around Foxford was there to carry those who came to pay their respects.  There was a large crowd, including numerous clergy and public representatives, in the cemetery adjoining Straide Friary, where Michael Davitt was laid to rest within a half kilometre of the place where he was born just over sixty years before (his family home was knocked with a battering ram when they were evicted in October 1850. Michael was then four and half years old).  A Celtic Cross was later erected over Michael Davitt’s grave in Straide, with an inscription to his memory in both English and Irish. The nearby Michael Davitt Museum, in the restored church where he was baptised in 1846, was opened in 2000.


An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Michael Davitt’s Wife

posted Sep 30, 2020, 3:10 PM by Bernard O'Hara   [ updated Sep 30, 2020, 3:13 PM ]


Mary Yore, 1861- 1934, wife of Michael Davitt
(Davitt Museum, Strade, County Mayo)
The great Irish patriot Michael Davitt (1846-1906) married an Irish-American, Mary Jane Yore,  in Oakland, California, on  December 30, 1886. In 1880, while on a lecture tour in the United States, Michael Davitt reached Oakland, where he was lavishly entertained at the home of a wealthy Irish-American, Mary Canning.  Mary’s sister, Ellen, had married a man from County Meath, John Yore, before they both emigrated to the United States and settled at St. Joseph, Michigan.  In 1867, Ellen was tragically killed in a accident, when the horse-drawn vehicle in which she was travelling left the road after the horse took fright.  After John Yore married again in 1874, his young daughter, Mary, went to Oakland, where she was reared by her aunt, Mary Canning, in effect as an adopted daughter.  Mary Yore and Michael Davitt first met during his earlier visit in September 1880 and they became great friends.  On the day of his marriage, Michael was then forty years of age and Mary  twenty-six.
After their honeymoon in the United States, Michael and Mary returned to Ireland in February 1887 and were warmly welcomed every place they went. A few friends, chief among them James Rourke, a great friend Michael, presented Mary with a pretty residence at Ballybrack, Dalkey, Co. Dublin, which was called the ‘Land League Cottage’. It was the only public award Michael Davitt ever accepted, but only because James Rourke insisted that it was given to his wife.  The marriage was a very happy one,  and Michael had a place he could call “home”.  Mary and Michael had five children: Kathleen (1888-’95), who died after a short illness, Michael, Eileen, Cahir and Robert. The happiest days of Michael’s life were those spent in Ballybrack with his wife and children.  When Michael died on May 30, 1906, from septicaemia following a dental operation in the Elpis Nursing Home, Lower Mount Street in Dublin, Mary was a patient in the same hospital after suffering a miscarriage.
When Michael Davitt died, he left four young children, aged sixteen, fourteen, twelve and seven that year.  Rearing and educating a young family on her own became a big responsibility for his widow, Mary, but she rose to the challenge: all four were later to distinguish themselves in their chosen careers.  Michael Martin (1890–1928) and Robert (1899–1981) became doctors, Eileen (1892–1974) a teacher, and Cahir (1894–1986) a lawyer and judge, serving as President of the Irish High Court from 1951 to 1966.  When Mary died on November2, 1934, she was buried in South Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, Dublin, with two members of her family who had predeceased her, Kathleen and Michael.
Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Michael Davitt’s Mother

posted Sep 2, 2020, 3:56 PM by Bernard O'Hara


Catherine Davitt, nee Kielty, Michael Davitt’s mother (c1820-1880)
This year (2020) is believed to be the bicentenary of the birth Catherine Kielty, who became the mother of the great Irish patriot and founder of the Land League, Michael Davitt, 1846-1906. While the exact date of her birth has not been established, she is said to have been born in or around 1820 beside the round tower in the parish of Turlough in County Mayo. Around 1840, Catherine married Martin Davitt, a tenant farmer from Straide in County Mayo. Catherine could neither read nor write, which was very common at that time, but she was the dominant partner in the marriage. A fluent Irish speaker, she had a great pride in the language as almost all families in County Mayo were then Irish speaking. Catherine, passionate, proud, and possessed of a great natural intelligence, was a good Christian, with a rich imagination, strong nationalistic views and a good memory, especially of the suffering and poverty she and her family endured. Her stories of these times were very influential on Michael.
Four children were born to Catherine and Martin Davitt in Straide: Mary (1841), Michael (1846), Anne (1848) and Sabina (1850). (A fifth child, a boy, was later born in England but did not survive.) They were christened in the nearby seventeenth-century church in Straide (which was refurbished and opened in 2000 to house the impressive Michael Davitt Museum). The 1840s in Ireland was a difficult period in which to rear a young family. With the frugal subsistence of most families deteriorating each year, it was a major struggle to survive. Despite securing work on a local relief scheme and going to England as a seasonal migratory labourer for the summer of 1849, Martin Davitt was unable to pay off the arrears of rent which had accumulated during the Great Famine, 1845-50. After being served with an ejectment notice in 1849, the Davitt family were evicted, probably in October 1850, as part of the ‘great clearances.’ This involved the landlord’s agents forcing in the door of their home with a battering-ram, putting the family out on the road, and knocking the house, an unforgettable experience for any family. Michael never forgot that scene.
The family went to the local workhouse in Swinford, but when Catherine was told that children over three years of age had to be separated from their mothers, she promptly took her family away after one hour. Sharing the fate of many thousands of Irish dispossessed by the famine, the Davitt family emigrated to Haslingden, a small textile town in Lancashire in England about twenty-seven kilometres north of Manchester. Catherine and Martin reared their family there in difficult circumstances until 1870, when they emigrated with their three daughters to Scranton in Pennsylvania, USA. Life continued to be difficult for them there and after Martin’s death in December 1871 at the age of fifty-seven, Catherine and two of her daughters moved to Manayunk, a suburb of Philadelphia, in search of better opportunities.
Michael Davitt was fortunate to be in the United States, on one of his many visits there, when his mother died at Manayunk on July 18, 1880. Her death caused him great remorse and he reflected on how little he had been able to do for her and all the worry his life had caused her. It was her wish to be buried in Turlough, County Mayo, but Michael and his sisters could not afford the expense involved and, to his grief, she was buried in the grounds of the Church of Saint John the Baptist, 146 Rector Street, Manayunk. A harp and a bunch of shamrock decorate her gravestone to recall her Irish background.

Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Strade Friary in County Mayo

posted Aug 2, 2020, 8:06 AM by Bernard O'Hara


The founder’s tomb in Strade Friary
Situated beside the Michael Davitt Museum in the centre of County Mayo in the west of Ireland, Strade Friary was founded under the patronage of Jordan de Exeter around 1240 for the Franciscans, but it was transferred to the Dominicans in 1252.  It was the first friary established in what became County Mayo by the mendicant orders that came to Ireland from the early thirteenth century onwards. They depended on local patronage for alms to supplement their incomes.  Friaries were established in County Mayo by the four main mendicant orders, Dominicans, Carmelites, Franciscans and Augustinians, with the support of both Anglo-Norman and Irish families.   Their ruined structures are still impressive archaeological monuments on the local landscape.
Only the church structure of Strade Friary survives. Much of the nave and chancel, with six small, narrow, and pointed lancet windows on the north wall, date from the thirteenth century, but the rest of the building is from a fifteenth-century restoration. Its two treasures date from the restoration. The first is an ornamental high altar under the east window, containing elegant decorations,  including  a Pietá (Mary holding the dying Christ)flanked by a kneeling donor on each side. The second is a delightfully sculptured tomb with a canopy of flamboyant Gothic tracery on the north side of the chancel.  There are eight relief figure carvings on the front of the tomb, left to right:  three crowned figures with their gifts representing the Magi; Christ showing The Five Wounds; a layman, possibly the donor of the tomb, holding a shell to his ear; a mitred bishop with a crozier; St Peter carrying a set of keys and St Paul with a sword (he was reputedly beheaded with a sword in Rome).  There are three arches in the south wall, one  with a double piscina used for washing the sacred vessels after Mass, the second with a sedilia used for the celebrants at Mass, and one leading to a vaulted chamber. The tower is gone, but the north side of the chancel arch has a carved representation of a pelican (a symbol of salvation after the sacrifice of Jesus), and an eagle (king of the birds, a symbol of divine inspiration) on the south side. There are five sculptured grave-slabs with crosses on the south wall of the choir. One can only marvel at the skill of the fifteenth-century craftspeople who decorated this tomb and friary.
Anne Deane (1834-1905), President of the Ladies’ Land League, is buried in the chancel of Strade Friary, with a memorial to her in a niche of the founder’s tomb.   After election as President of the Ladies’ Land League on 31 January 1881, she was unable to undertake a big role because of her business commitments.  She became a major benefactor of her cousin, John Dillon (1851-1927), who was an MP for thirty-eight years, first for Tipperary from 1880 and then for East Mayo from 1885 until 1918, serving as leader of the Irish Party from March 1918 until he lost his seat in the December general election of that year.  She was a great friend of Michael Davitt, who attended her funeral in Strade in July 1905, his last visit to his native parish.
Anne Bald, first wife of Scottish-born engineer, surveyor, and cartographer, William Bald, who came to Ireland in 1809 to survey and map Irish bogs, is buried near the south entrance to the friary from the adjoining cemetery.
Michael Davitt (1846-1906), ‘the Father of the Land League’, social reformer, labour leader, Member of Parliament and author, is buried in the adjoining  cemetery at Strade Friary  as  he had requested in his will. A tombstone with a Celtic Cross decorates his grave.  His fascinating life and achievements can be explored in the nearby Michael Davitt Museum


Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

The Céide Fields: One of the Jewels of the West of Ireland

posted May 30, 2020, 7:12 AM by Bernard O'Hara

The Céide Fields, situated west of Ballycastle in north Mayo, is one of the jewels in the West of Ireland. They contain the most extensive Stone Age site and the oldest known field systems in the world. The area is a 1,500 hectare archaeological site of long parallel stone walls divided by other walls into field-systems, together with enclosures and tombs, dating from over 5,500 years ago, which have been preserved beneath blanket bog. The area includes Behy and Glenulra as well as several surrounding townlands extending over many square kilometres.
The blanket bog, which still covers parts of Ireland, developed from the late third millennium BC onwards, eventually covered the field systems and monuments of the early farmers who arrived in Ireland during the period from 4000 to 2400 BC. This pre-bog landscape is being revealed in modern times as the peat is cut away. The significance of this Stone Age agricultural landscape was first identified by a local school teacher, Patrick Caulfield (1903-1988), in the 1930s while cutting turf. He wrote to the Director of the National Museum on 15 December 1934, stating that there were ‘cromlechs, stone circles, old graves, forts and what I think must have been ancient pathways or boundary fences beneath the bog’. Years later, beginning in 1969, Dr Seamas Caulfield, Patrick’s son, and others carried out extensive excavations on this landscape identifying the huge site we know today. While generations of farmers in Europe altered the boundaries of their fields over time, the Céide Fields were not touched since they disappeared under the growing bog a couple of millennia ago. There are a number of places on the local landscape which were free of bog until at least the Bronze Age. The Céide Fields, with a dispersed settlement pattern, provide a valuable insight into this fascinating ancient farming civilisation. The flora of the fields is also of huge interest.
The amazing geology, archaeology, botany and wildlife of this region of North Mayo is interpreted by guides at the multi-award winning Céide Fields Visitors' Centre. Guided tours of a section of the Céide Fields are also provided. The Centre, a part-limestone, part peat-clad pyramid-shaped building, was opened on 28 May 1993. The three-tier building has a glass apex so that visitors can enjoy a view of the Céide Fields, the amazing local cliffs and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are fifty peat-clad external steps on three sides of the building, each step representing a hundred years of the five thousand years since farmers toiled in this area. A trunk of a 5,000 year-old bog pine stands inside the entrance, where there is a reconstruction of the house site from a local excavated court tomb from that era. The ground floor focuses on archaeology and flora, and the mezzanine area above it on geology. The centre, with more than half of it underground so as not to intrude on the landscape, has an auditorium for lectures, an audio-visual presentation, and exhibition displays to aid interpretation. The Céide Fields Visitors' Centre and the surrounding area are special treats for visitors to north Mayo.

Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Coronavirus : Unlocking Restrictions

posted May 5, 2020, 3:49 PM by Bernard O'Hara

By the end of April 2020, the coronavirus was widespread across the world affecting not alone the lives of many but also innumerable livelihoods. Most countries were struggling to control the pandemic while considering how best to end lockdowns and resuscitate their economies. The income support measures put in place to mitigate the economic effects led to huge costs which were not sustainable in the medium to the longer term, as health experts predicted that the virus could continue for some time. The lockdowns resulted in business closures, with swift and deep recessions causing unprecedented levels of unemployment in many countries. In Ireland alone, the economic forecasts were dismal. The 2020 Stability Programme Update forecast that the Irish GDP would fall by 10.5 %, with a peak in unemployment of 22%, and a fiscal deficit of €23billion. Even these figures assumed a gradual recovery in the second half of 2020, followed by big improvement in 2021.
Countries started to devise multi-phased plans to ease restrictions and restore economic activities. These were generally phased re-openings based on various criteria in relation to control of the virus, especially its reproduction rate less than one, as well as hospital and intensive care admissions and discharges. Any easing of restrictions was dependent on ability to control the virus and progress through the different phases as circumstances permitted. The big fear everywhere was another spike in the virus, which would lead to the re-imposition of restrictions. Many countries were following advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO): test, trace, isolate suspected and confirmed cases. Responsibility to staff and customers was foremost in these plans.
Restoring economic activities in a responsible manner became a huge challenge for all countries, as they sought to control the virus while getting their economies back to work. State revenue had plunged in every country and expenditure exploded, with new demands emerging to help almost every organisation for economic damage arising from the pandemic. Some organisations believed that they could gradually recover, but others, especially in some service enterprises, felt that it would be very difficult, and that there would be liquidations and redundancies. Companies had accumulated debts to banks, tax authorities, rent, and other costs, while facing delayed and reduced income streams. They required liquidity and forbearance with payments to survive. The objective became to keep as many businesses as possible in operation and avoid contagion. Unlocking restrictions and moving to a new normal became huge challenges for all countries.

Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

posted Apr 6, 2020, 7:35 AM by Bernard O'Hara

By the start of April 2020, the Coronavirus was accelerating across the world at great human and economic cost.  After being first reported in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei region of China in December 2019, and the first death recorded there in early January 2020, this virulent virus had spread around most of the world within three months.  There were over a million cases and 53,000 fatalities reported around the globe by the start of April, with thousands of cases unrecorded  because of testing being unable to cater for the demand. There were in excess of 35,000 deaths from the virus reported in Europe alone.  An estimated 208,000 were said to have recovered from the disease according to John Hopkins University.  With no immunity in the population, and no treatment for the disease, health systems everywhere were struggling to cope with the pandemic.
People were advised to follow good practices in social distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene. In addition, countries responded with various restrictions: imposing some form of lockdown to control spread of the disease, closing schools and colleges, and asking people not involved in essential services to stay at home. Where possible, people were asked to work from home. This resulted in the closure of many businesses, and others with curtailed activities. Those employed in essential services were asked to continue for the national good. These services involved all categories in healthcare, the food chain, distribution, medical supplies, transport, retail, media, police and army. The economic fallout was swift and deep, with millions becoming unemployed in a short time. Most countries had to introduce various income supports. Many people found themselves unable to meet their mortgages and other payments, forcing them to seek special arrangements.  State revenue dropped, expenditure increased, resulting in a big strain on the public finances in each country. Such interventions on a big scale can make some provision for the short-term without huge damage, but not for long. While the coronavirus could be peaking in Europe, it appears to be starting and increasing in other parts of the globe. No one knows how long the virus will continue, which makes economic planning very difficult.  While some businesses and sectors can quickly recover, others will take time, and some will go burst.  Many practices will change permanently in global trade, remote working, retail shopping, learning, travel and tourism.  It will take time for consumer confidence to return. The short and long-term fallout will result in unemployment and exacerbate income inequality.
The coronavirus has shattered the illusion that humankind has the answers to all epidemics and other occurrences. It has made all recognise that what happens in one part of the world can affect everyone in short time. With international travel, trade, and modern communications, the world is a small place.  The experience will lead to a new focus on health systems in countries, on medical research, and on the common good, with major international collaboration rather than narrow nationalism.  The coronavirus has shocked the modern world by exposing its frailty and the need for fresh thinking to address new challenges.


Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Dr Padraig Carney’s Medals for Mayo

posted Mar 1, 2020, 8:05 AM by Bernard O'Hara   [ updated Mar 1, 2020, 8:11 AM ]


Pádraig Carney photographed having a rest after flying
from New York for the Mayo v Dublin National League
semi-final on 25 April 1954, the day he was immortalised
as ‘The Flying Doctor’. (Irish Press photograph)
The family of the late Dr Pádraig Carney, the former Mayo All-Ireland winning Gaelic footballer known as “The Flying Doctor”, is providing all his medals, some photographs, and other memorabilia for permanent display in County Mayo. The exhibit will showcase his extraordinary career as a Mayo footballer and later as a distinguished doctor specialising in obstetrics and gynecology in the United States. Cormac Carney, Pádraig youngest son, said: “my siblings and I are delighted that our father’s medals and other memorabilia will return home to Mayo for all to see”. Bernard 0’Hara, a good friend for over 40 years, said that he “is delighted with the vision and generosity of the Carney family to keep their father’s medal collection together in his native county. Mayo always had a special place in his heart and he followed the county’s football fortunes with great interest.”
Dr Pádraig Carney, who passed away in San Juan Capistrano, Southern California, in June 2019 at the age of 91, was one of the all time greats in the history of the Gaelic football. He wore the green and red senior jersey of Mayo with distinction from the age of seventeen in 1945 until his emigration at his prime in 1954 at the age of twenty-six. Mayo County Board brought him back from New York for the Mayo v Dublin National League semi-final on 25 April 1954 (he had emigrated in March) and he captained Mayo to a thrilling 0-11 to 0-7 victory over the favourites, Dublin. Micheál Ó Hehir, the wonderful GAA commentator, immortalised Pádraig that day as ‘The Flying Doctor’. He was brought back again for the League final, in which he led Mayo to a decisive victory over Carlow. This was his last competitive game on Irish soil.
Pádraig Carney won every honour in Gaelic football: two All-Ireland back-to-back senior football medals in 1950 and 1951, four Connacht senior medals 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951, two National League medals 1949 and 1954 and one Connacht Minor, 1946. In addition, he won three Sigerson Cup medals (university competition) with University College Dublin in 1946, 1947 and 1949. After playing for the Combined Universities in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951, he was selected for the Rest of Ireland against the Combined Universities in 1952 and 1953. He won a Railway Cup medal (an inter-provincial competition) with Connacht in 1951, as well as two Mayo senior football championship medals with Castlebar Mitchels in 1951 and 1952 (while working in the County Hospital) and a junior championship medal with Charlestown Sarsfields in 1953 (while serving as a doctor in Charlestown). While studying in Detroit in 1956, he played for the Mayo team there and won the US Mid-West championship. Pádraig Carney was nominated to the GAA Hall of Fame in 2001, when a postage stamp was issued in his honour. He was selected at centre-field on the Connacht team of the Century in 2000, and on the Sigerson Cup team of the Century in 2011.
Mayo’s great full-back on the 1950 and 1951 team, Paddy Prendergast, said: “Pádraig Carney was one of those rare, rare footballers who combine great skill and intelligence with raw pace and power. Carney had it all, and we were a lesser team whenever he was not there”.
Seán Flanagan, captain of the Mayo 1950/51 team, in a tribute said:
          “Pádraig Carney was gifted, fearless and at his best majestic. He combined great strength with the most delicate touch and gained more
          possession than any of his contemporaries. Of his greatness there is not and never will be any doubt and he is deservedly a legend!”


Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

Pat Tunney: Irish immigrant who played Rugby for England

posted Jan 30, 2020, 9:41 AM by Bernard O'Hara

Pat Tunney was a member of the England team which played in the first-ever International Rugby League game against an Other Nationalities selection at Central Park, Wigan on April 5, 1904, at the age of 32, a remarkable achievement for a person born in the West of Ireland (see note one).
Pat Tunney was born on February 1, 1872, in Culduff, a sub-division of the townland of Cuildoo, in the parish of Killasser, County Mayo, Ireland, a son of Patrick senior and Margaret, née Higgins. With poverty rife after the Great Irish Famine 1845-1852, the Tunney family emigrated to Durham, in the north-east of England, in 1876, where Patrick had previously worked as a migratory labourer. They settled in the village of Low Burnhall, south of Durham, where Patrick worked as a labourer before becoming a coal miner in the village of Croxdale. Pat junior began his working life as a miner with his father, and the family started to make a comfortable living. They were recorded at Croxdale in the 1881 census.
Pat started playing rugby with a local junior team and earned a place with Durham Football Club in 1892, a club that included players from all social classes. In 1894, Pat transferred to Tudhoe Football Club, where his career blossomed. He played for the Durham county team on five occasions. During his time with Tudhoe, there was growing unrest in rugby circles with demand for payment by some players and those that supported the game’s amateur ethos. The demand for pay was very strong in the north of England, where there were more players from a working class background. In particular, they sought ‘broken time payments’ to cover income lost while playing rugby on Saturdays.
Salford Football Club near Manchester joined the newly formed Northern Rugby Football Union, which allowed ‘broken time payments’, and Pat moved there on October 30, 1897, at the age of 25. There, Pat had a successful career with one of the strongest clubs in the Northern Union. They appeared in the cup final in 1900, losing narrowly to Swinton, and in 1903 lost to Halifax in the decider before a crowd of 32,507 at Headingly in Yorkshire. Pat became one of Salford’s great players and in 1899 was selected on the Lancashire county representative side. He lined up for Lancashire on 18 occasions over a five-year period. Pat enjoyed a long and distinguished career with Salford, where he played as a forward (before specialised roles were introduced), but his greatest achievement was selection for the England team to play in the first-ever International Rugby League match in 1904, when they lost by 3 to 9 points. It was an outstanding achievement for an Irish immigrant with limited occupational opportunities during that era. Pat played 220 games for Salford before retiring in 1905 and returning to Croxdale. During his time at Salford, it is said that he had a trial with Manchester United, an indication of his skills, versatility and fitness. It is also said that his family could have a relationship to Gene Tunney, the former world heavyweight boxing champion from 1926 to 1928, whose father and mother were both born in County Mayo.
Pat Tunney married Annie Conley on August 29, 1906, and they had four children. He returned to the mine and worked there until his retirement in 1936, following the closure of the Tudhoe Colliery. Pat Tunney passed away on November28, 1949, at the age of 77, and is buried at Croxdale in County Durham. His rugby achievements deserve to be remembered on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Note 1:    The English team was: W. B. Little (Halifax), F. Spottiswoode (Oldham), G Dickenson (Warrington), J. Lomas (Salford),
       J. Fish (Warrington),( try), J. Baxter (Rochdale H), J. Morley (Halifax), A. Starks (Hull K. R) captain, P Tunney (Salford),
       J Riley (Halifax), J. W. Bulmer (Halifax), J. Ferguson (Oldham).
Other Nationalities:    D Smith (Salford), T. D. Llewellyn (Leeds), D. Harris (Wigan) (try), D. J. Lewis (Oldham),
       D. Thomas (Salford), (try), E. Davies (Wigan), P. J. Brady (Huddersfield), J. Rhapps (Salford), J. G. Moffatt (Leeds),
       G. Frater (Oldham), captain, D. Tomas (Oldham ),(try), H. Buckler (Salford).
Referee:    J. H. Smith.
  Match played with 12 players on each team.
Note 2: Sincere thanks to John Miles Hamilton, Nottingham, a grandson of Pat Tunney, for providing the above information.
Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

The Windings of the Moy Revisited

posted Dec 1, 2019, 10:17 AM by Bernard O'Hara


Fishing on the River Moy at Foxford, County Mayo
A welcome recent publication in the west of Ireland is The Windings of the Moy Revisited by Pat McCarrick. The river Moy rises in the Ox Mountains in County Sligo and flows in a semi-circular route for about a hundred kilometres before entering the sea at Killala Bay in County Mayo. It is of course Ireland’s premier river for salmon.
In 1923, Rev James Greer (1845-1929), a Church of Ireland clergyman who came from near Inishcrone, in County Sligo, published a widely acclaimed book entitled The Windings of the Moy, with Skreen and Tireragh. That book was re-published in 1986 by the late Gertie McHale (1922-2016), also a native of Inishcrone, who is also widely remembered as the driving force behind the MacFirbis Weekend School of History that continued for 17 years and for organising the O Dubhda/ODowd clan reunions at regular three year intervals.
There are two major differences between Rev Greer’s book and this one. The original one followed the windings of the Moy from the sea to source, whereas this one takes us from source to sea. The second big difference is that Pat McCarrick has included over 150 delightful photographs, whereas the original book contained only a few images. Pat McCarrick, who comes from near the source of the Moy in Cloonacool, County Sligo, is a professional photographer and his stunning images adorn the pages of this book. Pat has retained excerpts from Rev Greer’s engaging original text in the appropriate places.
In the introduction, Pat discusses the source of the Moy, and his local knowledge is most interesting. It is generally accepted that the source of the river Moy is in Knocknashee in Mullinabreena and that is the one given by Rev Greer in the original book. However, Pat tells us that there is another source in the Ox Mountains at Loughill in Cloonacool, which he states is ‘definitely the longest and largest source tributary’. Pat concludes wisely that ‘it is fair to say that the Moy, like all rivers, has more than one source’.
After his interesting introduction, Pat takes us on an evocative journey along this beautiful river from the scenic Ox Mountains to Killala Bay. The route starts with wonderful images of various sites in the Ox mountains around Knocknashee, Cloonacool and Stirabout Bridge, before capturing the Owenaher river, Lough Talt, Glenree, Banada and Aclare in County Sligo before continuing in County Mayo with Cloonacanna, Swinford, Meelick, and Straide, with the grave of Michael Davitt getting special attention. Rev Greer’s text recalls that his own family, like that of Michael Davitt’s in Straide, was evicted. Pat’s photographic journey continues on to Foxford, where there are several great aerial images, as well as the mill and Foxford blankets, before continuing the journey to Ballina. There the cathedral receives special attention, as well as capturing Belleek Castle and the Ice House, before capturing Inishcrone, Rosserk, Moyne , the former Asahi plant, and ending at Killala Bay. It is a delightful journey with Pat’s wonderful photography to enhance the experience.
Pat McCarrick deserves our thanks for undertaking this project and giving us a book to treasure. The Windings of the Moy Revisited is a delightful book, with stunning photographs along the banks of the river Moy from its source to sea, which should interest everyone, especially anyone with knowledge of any part of that region. (www.patmccarrickphotography.com)


Exploring Mayo by Bernard O’Hara is now available Worldwide as an eBook for the amazon Kindle application.
The print version of Bernard O’Hara’s book Exploring Mayo can be obtained by contacting www.mayobooks.ie.
www.mayobooks.ie also sell the print versions of Killasser - Heritage of a Mayo Parish , Anseo and Davitt.
Bernard O'Hara's book entitled Killasser: Heritage of a Mayo Parish is now on sale in the USA and UK as a paperback book at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or Barnes and Noble
It is also available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).
An earlier publication, a concise biography of Michael Davitt, entitled Davitt by Bernard O’Hara published in 2006 by Mayo County Council , is now available as Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League by Bernard O’Hara, which was published in the USA by Tudor Gate Press (www.tudorgatepress.com) and is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It can be obtained as an eBook from the Apple iBookstore (for reading on iPad and iPhone), from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (Kindle & Kindle Fire) and from Barnesandnoble.com (Nook tablet and eReader).

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