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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).

Brexit dissension set to continue

posted Nov 4, 2019, 11:45 AM by Bernard O'Hara

The dissension arising from the 23 June 2016 referendum, when the people of the United Kingdom (UK) voted by a majority of 51.9 % to leave the European Union (EU), shows no sign of abating. The decision has caused political turmoil since, fracturing political parties, damaging organisations, dividing families, and leading to considerable personal abuse. The fallout has led to the early retirements of two Prime Ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May. We now have a general election, which is unlikely to resolve the dissension and unite the country.
Formal notification of withdrawal from the EU was given in March 2017, starting a two year process that was to have concluded by 29 March 2019. To the surprise of many, especially having regard to the small margin in favour of leaving, the UK opted for a hard Brexit. A withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU was finalised in November 2018, but the UK parliament voted against it three times. The new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, stated on numerous occasions that the UK was leaving the EU with or without an agreement on 31 October 2019. He negotiated a revised withdrawal agreement, dropping the December 2017 Irish backdrop, which was intended as a guarantee that the final agreement would impose no customs border on the island of Ireland and contain no significant regulatory differences between North and South. Under the new agreement between the UK and the EU 27, Northern Ireland, while legally within the UK customs union, will retain most of the benefits of the EU customs union and the single market provided it is approved by a majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Parliament was unable to pass the necessary legislation to meet 31 October deadline, and it has now been extended for the third time, with the current one scheduled for, or before, 31 January 2020.The slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ gives the impression that Brexit is achieved once the withdrawal agreement is approved by the House of Commons. This is an illusion, as it is only the start of a new phase of what will be difficult negotiations during the no-change transition period, which may have to be extended.
The origin of all the dissension took place when the June 2016 referendum was announced with no proper document published explaining clearly all the issues involved. This was aggravated by a lot of misinformation, the introduction of many extraneous issues, and simplistic messages like ‘taking back control’. In the process, unrealistic expectations were fostered, which could never be attained. The UK has stated that it wants to leave the EU Single Market and the Customs Union, control immigration, as well as end the jurisdiction of the European Court. They also want full free trade with the EU, while not been bound by the rules and regulations of membership. It is slowly being realised that all these objectives are not attainable, hence the confusion and dissension. It is a fallacy to suggest that gains from new trade deals will more than offset the losses arising from free access to EU markets. New trade deals will lead to a divergence from EU rules and regulations, which will make a favourable agreement more difficult. The closer the UK keeps to EU regulations the easier it will be to negotiate a mutually advantageous deal. The Financial Times specified that leaving the EU involves the UK having to negotiate 759 international agreements with 168 countries, as well as disentangling a huge amount of legislation. This will not be an easy process. If and when the House of Commons approves the withdrawal agreement, Brexit will be far from done, with many difficult days and big decisions ahead.
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).

Richard King: an Acclaimed Irish Artist

posted Oct 3, 2019, 7:32 AM by Bernard O'Hara

Richard King was an acclaimed Irish stained glass artist, illustrator and stamp designer. He was born on July 7, 1907, in Castlebar , County Mayo, where his father, John, was a constable with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). After his father retired in 1920, the family moved to Westport until 1927 and then to Dublin. Richard was educated at the De La Salle School, Castlebar, Palmfield Primary School in Carracastle, County Mayo (where his father was stationed for three years as an RIC sergeant), and then at the Christian Brothers School in Westport. After moving to Dublin in 1926, Richard became a student at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. In 1928 he joined the renowned stained glass artist Harry Clarke at his studios in Dublin, specialising in Liturgical art. After Harry Clarke’s death in January 1931, Richard King became the chief designer in the studios, and overall manager from 1935 to 1940. There, he completed windows for St Mel’s Cathedral in and St Peter and Paul Church in Athlone.
After receiving some personal commissions, Richard King resigned from the Clarke Studios in 1940 and became self-employed, with his own studio in Dalkey, County Dublin. During the Second World War, when it was difficult to import stained glass, Richard became an illustrator, especially with The Capuchin Annual and The Father Mathew Record, from 1940 to 1972, as well as designing Irish postage stamps. He designed a total of twelve stamps, including one to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1934, the Constitution and St Patrick in 1937, the Four Masters 1944, Thomas Davis 1945, as well as Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell in 1946. He painted over sixty stained glass windows for various churches throughout Ireland, as well as places in Britain, Canada, USA and Australia. They include windows for St Jude’s Shrine, Feversham, in Kent, England and the Kevin Memorial Window for University College, Earlsford Terrace, Dublin. There are stained glass windows by Richard King in his native county, in Swinford and Westport. Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Swinford has two beautiful stained glass windows by him, a four-light one of The Assumption of Our Lady, flanked by St John the Evangelist and St Patrick, with the Holy Trinity on the rose window behind the altar (1952), and the Old and New Testament (1964, as well as Stations of the Cross by him (1953). His last stained glass the year before he died was I am the Resurrection and the Life (1973) in the north wall of the sanctuary in St Patrick’s Church, Newport,County Mayo. (Harry Clarke’s last window, The Last Judgement, is the exquisite east window in the same church.) Richard King died in Dublin on March 17, 1974.
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).

Ballycroy National Park

posted Sep 3, 2019, 9:10 AM by Bernard O'Hara


Ballycroy National Park Visitors’ Centre (NPWS)
Ballycroy National Park in north-west County Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way is one of Ireland’s six national parks. Established in 1998, it contains a vast area of blanket bog, with walks and trails, as well as amazing flora and fauna. Ballycroy Visitors’ Centre established in 2009, which contains an interactive interpretative exhibition of the local landscape, habitats, and species to be found in the park and an information desk, is located just off the N59 at the village of Ballycroy, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. A two- kilometre walking route has been designed beside the centre to provide a quick taste of Ballycroy National Park.
Ballycroy National Park comprises over 11,000 hectares of blanket bog and mountainous terrain in a vast pristine landscape. The park is enclosed, with the Nephin Beg range of mountains on the east and south, including the peaks of Claggan Mountain, 365m, Cushcamcarragh, 714m, Bengorm, 582m, Glennamong, 628m, Nephin Beg, 627m, Corslieve, 541m, and SlieveCarr, 721m (the highest peak), running south to north. Scardaun Loughs can be seen between Nephin Beg and Slieve Carr, while the Owenduff and Tarsaghaunmore Rivers run through the park. The park includes Owenduff Bog, one of the last intact active bog systems in the west of Europe, as well as other important habitats and species. The 25-kilometre Bangor to Newport Walking Trail goes through the park. Ballycroy National Park is part of the Owenduff/Nephin Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. These designations are established to protect rare habitats and species under the European Community Habitats and Birds Directives. The park is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
(www. ballycroynationalpark.ie)
In a new initiative announced in March 2013, Coillte (custodians of 7% of Irish land) and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are co-operating to create ‘Wild Nephin’, a unique landscape of forest, mountain, bog, river and lakes in the Nephin Beg range of mountain terrain. The proposal involves Coillte taking 4,400 hectares out of their forest stock and improving its habitat and landscape quality over several years as well as linking it up with the adjoining Ballycroy National Park. The proposed Nephin Park will provide visitors with a real wilderness experience, a unique environment not alone in Ireland but in Europe.
Ballycroy is the location of Ireland’s first Dark Sky Park, ‘showcasing some of the darkest and most pristine skies in the world’ according to its promotional material. The Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association granted ‘Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park’ status to Ballycroy National Park and the Wild Nephin Wilderness in May 2016 – to be jointly known as ‘Mayo Dark Sky Park’. A Gold classification is a wonderful recognition for the region’s pristine nightscapes, enhancing its existing protected landscapes and wilderness regions. Viewing sites for visiting astronomers have been designated and graded by ease of access and facilities available. Signature viewing sites include the Claggan Mountain Boardwalk, Letterkeen Bothy and Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre, all of which have excellent interpretive and parking facilities. Here, a person can enjoy a diverse range of nocturnal wildlife as well as the wonders of the universe, where on a clear night over 3,000 stars can be seen. Mayo County Council has committed to ‘dark sky friendly’ lighting in the area and is working with the Friends of Mayo Dark Skies group to further reduce light pollution where possible.
(www.mayodarkskypark.ie)

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).

Shane Lowry

posted Aug 3, 2019, 7:49 AM by Bernard O'Hara

The Irish love their sporting heroes, and the most recent to enter their pantheon of greats was golfer Shane Lowry (32) following his stunning victory in the British Open on Sunday July 21, 2019, at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, 68 years after it was first staged there. It was a magnificent overall performance, 15 under par, six shots clear of his nearest rival, a record of 63 on the Saturday for the new course layout, and his 54-hole total of 197 the lowest in the 148-year history of the British Open. Apart from the prize money and new sponsorship, the win gives him exemption into future British Opens, as well as a five year exemption into the other three majors: the US Masters, US Open and US GPA. He became the fifth Irish winner of the coveted Claret Jug, after Fred Daly (1947), Pádraig Harrington (2007 and 2008), Rory McIlroy (2014), and Darren Clarke (2011). After winning several local competitions, 2009, Shane caused a sensation in 2009 when he won the Irish Open as an amateur at Baltry, County Louth, after which he became a professional golfer. Following a top-ten finish in the British Open in 2014, he missed the cut in each of the following four years, which caused him to wonder if he was going to be successful in the competitive professional game. That is what makes his 2019 victory so sweet.
A native of Clara, County Offaly, Shane Lowry started playing pitch and putt at a young age before taking up golf. His local club was Esker Hills, two kilometres off the Clara to Tullamore road. Ester Hills Golf Club was designed by the late Christy O’Connor Junior and opened in 1996. Located in a beautiful landscape of plateau, valleys, natural lakes, and sand-based greens, no two holes are the same. It provides a challenging test even for experienced golfers. With just over 200 members, it is a huge achievement for the club to have produced a Major winner. Shane took the week after his victory off to celebrate with his family, friends, and indeed the entire country, which included a huge welcome in Croke Park, Ireland biggest sports stadium.
Sporting success is not new for the Lowry family. Shane’s father, Brendan, and two of his uncles, Seán and Mick, were members of the Offaly senior football team that won the All-Ireland football final in 1982, when they stopped a great Kerry team achieving history by winning five titles in a row. Seán Lowry was a member of the Offaly team that won the county’s first All-Ireland title in 1971, and which retained it in 1972. While working in County Mayo, Seán won a Connacht senior championship with the county in 1985. Like his sporting family, Shane is a very modest person. Many now believe that Shane Lowry’s golfing career is on an upward trajectory.

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).

Pádraig Carney: One of the Greats of Gaelic Football

posted Jul 9, 2019, 8:15 AM by Bernard O'Hara


Séamus Murray , chairperson of the
Mayo Association Galway,
making a presentation to Dr Pádraig Carney
at a function in Westport in May 2004
to honour the golden jubilee
Dr Pádraig Carney, ‘The Flying Doctor’ who passed away in San Juan Capistrano, Southern California, on 8 June 2019 at the age of 91, was perhaps County Mayo’s best ever Gaelic footballer and one of the all time greats in the history of the game in Ireland. He wore the green and red senior jersey of his native county 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 radio commentator, immortalised Pádraig that day as ‘The Flying Doctor’. He was brought back again for the League final, which Mayo won.
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 (for Irish Universities) medals with University College Dublin in 1946, 1947 and 1949 and was captain in 1948. 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 (for Irish provinces) medal with Connacht in 1951, as well as two Mayo senior football championship medals with Castlebar Mitchels in 1951 and 1952 (while working as a doctor in the County Hospital) and a junior championship medal with Charlestown Sarsfields in 1953 (while serving as a doctor in Charlestown). Pádraig Carney was nominated to the Gaelic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2001, when a postage stamp (30p/38c) was issued in his honour on 5 September that year. Seán Flanagan, captain of the Mayo 1950/51 team, in a tribute in 1979 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!”
After emigrating to the USA in 1954, he did postgraduate training at St Claire’s Hospital in New York. Pádraig and his family moved to Detroit, where he undertook four further years of study and training from 1956 to 1959, qualifying as a gynaecologist and obstetrician. After moving to Long Beach, California, he developed a very successful private practice there and quickly established a national reputation in his field. His passing has been widely mourned on both sides of the Atlantic.


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: A Early Pioneer of Women’s Suffrage and Equal Rights

posted Jun 6, 2019, 12:47 PM by Bernard O'Hara


The Michael Davitt sculpture in front of the
Davitt Museum, Straide, County Mayo, Ireland.
When Ireland celebrated the centenary of women’s suffrage in 2018, one early pioneer was overlooked. Michael Davitt, 1846-1906 ‘The Father of the Land League, was the first Irish public figure to promote equality for women in society. He also became the first Irish leader to promote the leadership of women in political life through the Ladies’ Land League.
During the land war of 1879-82 in Ireland, it became obvious that the arrest of the Land League leaders was only a matter of time, and Michael Davitt was determined that their work should be continued in their absence. He asked the Land League executive to authorise the formation of a provisional committee of ladies to carry on the work. The proposal was vehemently opposed, but Davitt persevered and secured their passive assent. Prior to that, numerous women were involved with the Land League, but not in a leadership role. On January31, 1881, Anna Parnell (a sister of Charles Stewart Parnell, the Land League President) presided at a meeting in 39 Upper Sackville Street( now O’Connell Street), Dublin, at which the Ladies’ Land League was formally established. It organised about 400 branches around the country and became the first political association to be led by Irish women. Thus, Michael Davitt became the first Irish leader to encourage Irish women to participate and take a leadership role in political affairs. The Ladies’ Land League built up a very efficient organisation within a few months and became quite radical in its approach. This was illustrated early in 1882 when the imprisoned Land League leaders ordered the ladies to call off the then “no rent campaign”(which ordered the tenant farmers to pay no rent) and they refused, as well as taking a more aggressive stand at evictions. When Archbishop McCabe of Dublin denounced the Ladies’ Land League, on the grounds that it was not appropriate for women, his intervention was greeted with contempt and it was also criticised by Archbishop Croke of Cashel. The Ladies’ Land League was suppressed on December 16, 1881, and some members were imprisoned for their activities.
In his book, Leaves from a Prison Diary (1885), Davitt deplored the limited educational opportunities then provided for girls and strongly recommended that the system at all levels should provide equal opportunities for both genders. He strongly supported equal political rights for women, including the right to vote and stand for election. Unlike many of his contemporaries, including Charles Stewart Parnell, he did not believe that the proper place for women was in the home, or that their only other work should be benevolent activities, and in this, as in so many aspects of his life, he was way in advance of his time. His pioneering role for equality deserves to be remembered.

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 Museum, Straide, County Mayo, Ireland

posted May 1, 2019, 1:05 PM by Bernard O'Hara

Bernard O’Hara will give a lecture on ‘The Life of Michael Davitt’ to the Mayo Association, Dublin, in the Iveagh Hotel, Dublin, on Tuesday May 28, 2019. It is open to the public.
The Michael Davitt Museum at Straide, off the N58 from the N5 motorway at Bellavary, in County Mayo, is an attraction well worth a visit in the West of Ireland (michaeldavittmuseum.ie. The museum was opened in October 2000 to honour and remember its native son, ‘the father of the Land League’ and one of Ireland’s greatest patriots. It is now located in the specially-restored seventeenth-century church where he was christened in 1846. The restoration work was carried out by the Michael Davitt Association, an organisation founded by the local Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) in November 1972 under the leadership of Nancy Smyth to remember his achievements. The original museum collection, housed in a room in the local community centre, was opened on 23 May 1984 by Nobel and Lenin Peace Prize winner, Seán McBride.
Michael Davitt (1846-1906) was the founder, chief organiser and inspiring genius of the Land League, the biggest mass movement in modern Irish history. It created the conditions that led to land ownership transferring from the powerful landlord ascendancy class to occupying tenant-farmers by constitutional means, bringing about huge social changes in Ireland. Davitt’s sympathy and concern ranged from Irish tenant-farmers to agricultural labourers, the plight of the British and Irish working-classes, prison reform, social reform, the Boers in South Africa, to the Jews in Russia. A radical Liberal, he was a champion of the marginalised, oppressed and exploited world-wide. He sought an independent, democratic, egalitarian Irish Republic, but accepted that Home Rule was the only realistic political possibility from the middle of the 1880s. He was also a founding patron in 1884 of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), a nationalist Member of Parliament, a supporter of the labour movement who played a role in the establishment of the Irish Trade Union Congress in 1894 and in the formation of the British Labour Party in 1906. During an extraordinary life, Michael Davitt was a respected campaigning journalist and the author of six books and numerous articles to various publications in Ireland and other countries. Davitt supported land nationalisation as the solution to the Irish land agitation, but that had no public support. Davitt became a public intellectual with many interests, especially the development of education for the empowerment of individuals, families, society and the economy, with equal opportunities for both genders in an inter-denominational system. After his death on 30 May 1906 from septicaemia following a minor dental operation, he was buried ‘without any funeral demonstration’ (as he had requested in his will) in the cemetery beside the friary in his native Straide, County Mayo.
The museum has a short audio-visual presentation on Davitt’s life and contains an extensive collection of letters to and from him, portraits, documents, prison records, photographs, post cards, and personal items relating to him, many of which were kindly donated by his family. There are also copies of the books written by him and about him, land acts, as well as many banners, posters, decorated membership cards, mementoes from places he visited, a big collection of press cuttings including obituaries, and other memorabilia dealing with him and the Land League. It contains the fireplace from Land League Cottage, Ballybrack, County Dublin, where Davitt and his wife, Mary Jane, lived following their marriage in December 1886 to 1895. The Michael Davitt Museum is a must visit place for anyone interested in Irish history.
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).

Jackie Clarke Library, Ballina, Ireland

posted Apr 3, 2019, 4:41 PM by Bernard O'Hara

The Jackie Clarke Library in Ballina, County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, is one of the big attractions of the region. It was opened to the public on 15 June 2013, and contains an amazing accumulation of more than 100,000 items relating to Irish history over four centuries, especially the struggle for Irish freedom. It was assembled over a lifetime by one person, Ballina businessman and politician, Jackie Clarke (1927-2000), and gifted in perpetuity to Mayo County Council and the Irish State by his widow, Anne, in 2005. After his early education in Ballina and later in Blackrock College in Dublin, he established a very successful fish-processing business in his native town. Jackie Clarke served as a councillor on Ballina Town Council from 1957 to 1974 and held the office of cathaoirleach (chairperson) in 1960 and 1968. His passion became attending antiquarian and second-hand book sales in Ireland and abroad, purchasing Irish historical books, maps and documents. The collection is housed in the former Provincial Bank on Pearse Street. Now a listed building, it was designed by Thomas Newenham Deane in the 1880s, and acquired by Mayo County Council. It was completely renovated and refurbished to store and exhibit the Jackie Clarke Library.
The Jackie Clarke Library contains several unique, rare, and important items. It has an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation, a rare 1917 Proclamation issued by Cumann na mBan to remember the first anniversary of the Rising, and the largest collection of material relating to the 1916 Easter Rising stored outside Dublin, including manuscripts, photographs and personal items relating to all the leaders. It also includes the French revolutionary tricolour taken from Theobald Wolfe Tone’s hat by his captors at Lough Swilly, County Donegal, on 16 September 1798, as well as letters from Michael Collins, Douglas Hyde, Michael Davitt and O’Donovan Rossa. It also contains rare books, numerous maps, posters, political cartoons, legal documents, pamphlets, reports, letters, minute books, articles, hand-bills, and several photographs, as well as a big collection of newspapers. The collection contains an autograph book signed by members of the First Dáil in 1919 and the signatories of the Treaty in 1921. It also contains Jackie Clarke’s own scrapbooks and his press cuttings for over fifty years. The collection has been classified by theme, and interpreted in various ways to facilitate dissemination, including display cases, digital technology, and numerous wall panels. Only a fraction of the collection is on display, but there is a searchable user-friendly inventory available for visitors and researchers. Overall, it is the most important private collection of Irish historical material in public hands. This free library is open to the public.(www.clarkecollection.ie)
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).

Jack Feeney- Irish-American

posted Mar 6, 2019, 4:33 PM by Bernard O'Hara

The leading Irish-American tenor of his era, John (Jack) Feeney (1903-1967), was born in Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland, on 9 August 1903 (a plaque marks the house on Main Street), the fourth of seven children born to Patrick and Mary. Patrick Feeney, a native from County Leitrim, arrived in Swinford to work for the Kelly family. After marrying their daughter, Mary, in 1892, she inherited the house on Main Street which became their home and the premises for their grocery business. Jack attended the local primary school ran by the Marist Brothers until the age of sixteen.
Like many young men and women of his generation, Jack then emigrated to England, where he joined ‘McAlpine’s Fusiliers’, working on roads and buildings, including the erection of Wembley Stadium. He was transferred by the company to Dublin, which enabled him to visit Mayo regularly, when he met his future wife, Maura Ruddy (1904-1990) from Ballina. However, he did not see his future in construction, and set sail in June 1928 for the USA. His dream was to receive tuition there for his promising tenor voice and become a professional singer, but his arrival on the eve of ‘the Great Depression’ made life difficult for many years. With his singing talent, he earned a living performing at weddings, socials, and various other functions, before carving out a very successful professional career for himself. He became very popular with the Irish in New York. In 1932, he married Maura, who had followed him to New York. By the 1940s, he was the leading Irish-American tenor of his generation. He recorded fifty 78 rpm records, performed in concerts and films, and became a popular radio presenter in New York.
His biggest hits were When it’s moonlight in Mayo and Galway Bay. An accomplished performer, he entertained full houses regularly in Carnegie Hall in New York with classical recitals, as well as in other leading venues around the United States. He had the honour of singing the Irish and American national anthems prior to the 1947 Kerry and Cavan All-Ireland final, played in the Polo Grounds in New York and broadcast live to Ireland. On visits to Ireland, Jack Feeney sang in the Dublin Theatre Royal, the Olympia, the Cork Opera House, Swinford, Ballina and other venues. He and his wife returned to Ballina in 1964, when she inherited the family business, Hugh Ruddy and Co., mineral water manufacturers. After a slight accident and suffering a heart attack, he died at Lough Talt, near Tobercurry, County Sligo, on 22 December 1967. To mark the centenary of his birth in 2003, a re-mastered selection of John Feeney’s recordings on CDs and a booklet on his life were launched by Harry Bradshaw of RTÉ. Jack Feeney is regarded by many as second only to the great John McCormack (1884-1945) as a tenor.
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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