John Murphy or Seán Ó Murchú is a native Irish speaker from the parish of Annaghdown. In Addergoole village where he was raised there were many people who spoke mainly Irish, including his mother and uncle, and his father also learned to speak Irish. The Irish on this recording is the version of the language spoken in this area. John’s writing is in the old Irish script, an Cló Gaelach, and his spelling is the pre-standardised form. The notes were written by John in the late 1970s or early 1980s. This video was recorded on 22 July and 8 August 2022. Included below is an account ‘Séasúir na Nodlag le Linn mo Oige-se’ (the Christmas season in my youth), written by John in the old style Cló Gaelach script.
Between 1720 and 1925, many local loan associations operated throughout Ireland, offering small loans to the ‘industrious poor’, for purposes such as buying grain, farm animals, or machinery. A scheme on the Kirwan estate at Castlehacket operated from the 1830s to the 1850s, which resulted in an excellent set of surviving records. A return of the state of the scheme in December 1853 is particularly interesting. It offers an insight into local conditions before and during the Famine, and records several inhabitants of the townlands of Bunatober, Cahermorris, Cluidrevagh, and Biggera, who died or emigrated during this period, as well as recording the progress of each person who took out a loan.
Delia Green was born Delia Newell at Balrobuck, Corrandulla, in the Parish of Annaghdown, on the 5th of February 1915. She was born at a time of great turmoil both nationally and internationally. The Great War (World War 1) was being fought out in Europe, while at home Ireland was trying to gain freedom from its colonial master Britain.
Delia’s father Tim was a blacksmith and the forge where he worked had been in the family for a number of generations. Her mother Mary was Mary Forde from near the present Corrandulla Barracks on the road into Corrandulla village. Delia was one of seven children. Mark, John, Michael, Delia, Nellie, Sonny and May.
I asked Charlie about his early years and learned that he has no hang-ups about revealing his age.
I was born on the 8th of October 1921 and the name I got in baptism was Charles. I hadn’t a second name, but wasn’t I lucky enough to have one name? The name I took at confirmation was Joseph, because I was confirmed on St. Joseph’s Day. My early life was in Kilgill, that would be about 700/800 yards from where I live now. That is where I was born. I had a brother older than me: John P. He is dead and a brother and sister younger than me.
I came to Gort Roe in 1971, with my wife Margaretta D’Arcy and our four young sons. We had been living on an island in Loch Corrib, but because of the difficulty of getting the boys to school, we decided to move to the mainland during term-time. Margaretta went into Collerans, the estate agent, saying how much she was prepared to pay for a small house outside Galway that would be near a bus stop and near a shop. “Why, we have just the thing!” We could walk right into it that very day. Danny Griffin, shopkeeper in Wood Quay, had bought the house from the Cahills whose farmhouse it had been until they built a new bungalow next door. Mrs Griffin unfortunately had become ill so their dream of retirement into a cottage in the country was dashed.
In Griffith’s Valuation for the townland of Tomnahulla (mid 1850s), Cornelius Lundie is shown as the occupier of 617 acres, 2 roods, and 1 perch. He was born in the Manse, Kelso, Scotland on 29 May 1815, the eldest son of Rev. Robert Lundie (Parish Minister) and Mary Grey. He was educated privately and at the age of 14 years was apprenticed to an engineer. He attended classes in physical and mathematical science at both Glasgow and Edinburgh universities during several winter sessions while working during the summers in the shops of a country millwright at Kelso. In 1832 his father died and he secured employment with Charles Atherton at the works of the Broomielaw Bridge over the river Clyde from the designs of Thomas Telford. In 1836 he took charge of the Clarence Railway, part of the North-Eastern railway system in Durham where he remained for three years. He married Elizabeth Mould from Merrington, Durham on 9 April 1839.
There isn’t any chestnut tree spreading over the ‘smithy’ at the end of our village, as in that poem we learned at school; but ivy, clawing its way over the walls and on to the roof, and a swath of brambles spreading across the two small shuttered windows. And children on their way home from school do not look in at the open door; for not only do they now pass swiftly by in the luxury of bus and car, the sparks do not fly off the anvil anymore, as the forge now lies derelict and obsolete, having long ceased to be of use, the blacksmith’s craft made redundant by the onset of high-powered farming and automation, and no work-horses in need of shoeing…
The 2003 edition of ‘Anach Cuain’ described the 24 July centenary celebrations of the Church of St Brendan by the Lake at Annaghdown. The centrepeice was the visit of Most Rev. Michael Courtney, Titular Archbishop of Eanach Dúin and Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi who made the occasion a glittering event in the history of the Christian community of Annaghdown.
A deep bond instantaneously established itself between Archbishop Courtney and the people of his titular see, such was the personality and the manifest goodness of the man. His striking address will never be forgotten by those who were priveleged to be present to hear it. He himself felt so much at home that he expressed a firm intention to return in July 2004 to meet the people again and to accompany some of them on the annual Cruach Phádraig pilgrimage.
Below is a photo from the Girls’ National School in Corrandulla, taken during about 1926. Sincere thanks to Mary Newell, Tonagarraun, for this photo.
Below are three photos from the Boys’ National School in Corrandulla, taken during the 1930s and 40s. Sincere thanks to John Murphy, Cregduff, for these photos.