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William Geary (1899-2004) (Part 2)

William Geary (1899-2004) (Part 2)

Bayside, New York, USA

2004

 

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Track 1: William Geary recalls his journey to America on the SS Baltic, arriving in New York on 5 December 1928, and boarding in the Bronx with Mary Ellen Keane who had previously worked for his family. His first job was with the Edison Company, and in 1932 he joined the American Post Office as a collector of bills. Track 2: He recalls a number of people who lived in the Bronx at that time. Track 3: William married Margaret Rooskey, originally from Roscommon. He joined the American Air Force, was assigned to Administration in Nashville and later in Memphis, Tennessee. Track 4: He describes his memories of Cahirciveen in 1919 during the Troubles. He recalls the local weavers, the fishing and the wakes and he also recalls the challenge of learning Morse code in the Wireless School. Track 5: The introduction of formal uniform for the Garda Siochána in the early days is remembered. Track 6: William perused old photographs including one of himself and his family outside their family home, Cloonee Cottage, Ballyagran, taken in 1905. Track 7: He provides a description of his experiences at night school in America, where he studied for four years. Track 8: William Geary discusses the 75 long years he spent attempting to clear his name of the wrongful accusation that led to his dismissal from the Gardaí. He finally received a full pardon in 2002.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 36.89 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Witnesses to Independence
Product ID: CD1916-08
Subject: Emigration to New York in 1928
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length: 40:22


William Geary (1899-2004), part 4

William Geary (1899-2004), part 4

Bayside, New York, USA

2004

 

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In June 2004, I was invited by the Irish American Historical Society in New York to come to the city to address them on my work involving the recording and archiving of local history and folklore. The Society also suggested that I record the memories of William Geary from Ballyagran, Co. Limerick who lived in New York. I was very pleased to be afforded the opportunity to meet this fascinating man, who had lived in three centuries - his young manhood lived in an Ireland in the grip of appalling turmoil. I made my way to Bayside, New York and met William Geary, and his story held such fascination for me, I returned to record him a second time during that week. At that time he was 105 years old, and was to die peacefully less than six months later. William began his life in Ballyagran. He was born in 1899, into a strong farming family. Following schooling locally he travelled to Caherciveen, Co. Kerry in 1918 to train as a wireless operator at the Atlantic Wireless School. Principal Maurice Fitzgerald awarded him a First Class Honour on his graduation. For a year he travelled the world as a ship's wireless operator, and then decided to return home, where he became involved in drilling the local Volunteers in Co. Limerick. In May 1922 he joined the new Garda Siochána and served initially in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He was on duty in Dublin Castle along with many colleagues from Kildare on the day the British flag was lowered and "... the British marched out and we marched in." Later he was on sentry duty by night at the Castle and remembers rifle fire "... all over the city." He was promoted to Acting Inspector and transferred to Clones, Co Monaghan, and later Templemore, Co Tipperary where two Gardaí were dismissed for their failure to arrest an armed IRA man as the standard of discipline within the Garda force was extremely rigid. On 10th June 1926 he was transferred to Kilrush, Co Clare as Superintendent. The IRA was active in the area, being involved in general harassment such as the burning of farmers' hay, though William contended that compensation was sometimes sought from the Government for hay which was otherwise set alight! On 14th June 1928 he was summoned to the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, in uniform, to meet Commissioner Eoin O'Duffy and Chief Superintendent of Detectives David Neligan. He was accused of accepting a £100 bribe from the IRA and was dismissed from the GardaSiochána on 25th June 1928. He was devastated at this turn of events and returned home to Limerick. He made the decision to emigrate to New York, as he now had no prospects in Ireland, so shortly thereafter he booked his passage and sailed to New York, where he boarded for some time with his former nanny from Ballyagran, Miss Mary Ellen Keane. He took various employments over the years and during the Second World War he joined the US Air Force. He married and reared a family, but always endeavoured to clear his name by writing to consecutive Ministers for Justice in Ireland. For all of seventy years he and his friends at home in Ireland never faltered in their efforts to get justice for him, and to have him fully exonerated. Finally, in 2002 John O'Donoghue, Minister for Justice, restored his honour and travelled to New York to meet William Geary personally. After all the long and bitter years of battling for exoneration Mr Geary was elated and relieved and he lived out his final days in peace until his death in late 2004


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 34.08 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Witnesses to Independence
Product ID: CD1916-10
Subject: An early member of the Garda Siochána and his battle for justice
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length:


John Daly (b. 1934), and Kathleen Dennehy, nee Daly (b. 1937)

John Daly (b. 1934), and Kathleen Dennehy, nee Daly (b. 1937)

Kilcummin and Miltown, Co. Kerry

2009

 

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Christopher Daly was a Kerryman born in Kilcummin in 1921. He joined the Turf Development Board in his early days and was to become a famous turf cutter, who was known for his skill and strength. Christopher’s brother John declares that at the height of his powers Christopher could throw up 98 sods of turf a minute during the course of his day’s work. Both of Christopher’s siblings, John and Kathleen, were recorded in the old Daly home in Kilcummin, near Killarney. They explain that Christopher was the oldest of nine children in the family and when John Daly was seven years old, Christopher went to live with his maternal grandparents, the Lawlors in Gueeveguilla. A few years later he bade farewell to his family, and left for the midlands to join the Turf Development Board, and was never to return to his native county. His two siblings recall the day a letter from Christopher arrived at the Daly home in Kilcummin, telling of his decision to marry a lady who was working at Newbridge headquarters, and who was of the Protestant faith. When approval for the marriage was withheld by his parents and grandparents, Christopher married his fiancée, and they left for England, never to return home again.


Number of files: 5
File size(s): 2.44 MB, 7.69 MB, 4.92 MB, 11.87 MB, 4.88 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Bord Na Móna
Product ID: CDBM-26
Subject: The late Christopher Daly
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length:


Paddy O’Meara (b. 1920)

Paddy O’Meara (b. 1920)

Mallow, Co. Cork

 

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Paddy O’Meara and his twin brother Dermot were born in Mallow in 1920 into a family of 10 boys and two girls. Their mother was a member of the Egan family of jewellers in Cork City, and Paddy has clear memories of childhood visits to the jewellery shop in the city, and watching the silversmiths at work on the top floor of the building. His earliest memory relates to the relocation of the entire family from Mallow to Youghal during the Troubles to ensure their safety, due to the fact that his uncle Barry Egan was Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork City during Terence McSwiney’s tenure as Lord Mayor. Paddy discusses the Duhallow Hunt with which he and his family have always been deeply involved. He relates the history of the Hunt which was founded in 1715. He also discusses the class distinction which existed in Mallow, as elsewhere, and which manifested itself in the sports of tennis, rugby and the Hunt in earlier days. Paddy O’Meara is a medical doctor who specialised in otorhinology. He emigrated and worked at Northampton General Hospital for a short period where his medical career began, followed by long years of service in his home county.


Number of files: 3
File size(s): 37.15 MB, 15.93 MB, 14.62 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork county, first series
Product ID: CDCK01-20
Subject: An old Cork family
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length: 74:06


Peggy Reen (née Kerrisk) (part 1)

Peggy Reen (née Kerrisk) (part 1)

Millstreet, Co. Cork

 

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Peggy Reen was recorded at her home in Millstreet, where she recalled days of turmoil and peace, days of sunshine and showers. She began the recording by describing her earliest days growing up in Barraduff near Killarney where she was cared for by her grandparents, as both her parents worked as nurses in the psychiatric hospital in Killarney. Her paternal grandmother (O’Mahony), who was born in 1814 and died aged 104, would sit by the open fire, as she smoked a pipe and related tales of the famine times to her young granddaughter. She heard about the evictions of the 1830s and 1840s and the effects of the Famine on the local people. Peggy was educated in Killarney and at the age of 19 she emigrated to New York for some years. Before she left Killarney, she had made the acquaintance of a young man, Frank Reen, who was serving his apprenticeship in O’Donoghue’s pharmacy. He had taken up employment in Galway on Peggy’s return, and the young couple became engaged. In order to save some money for their future life together, Peggy decided to return to New York to work for a short while and when she returned again, the couple were married and began their lives together in Millstreet, County Cork.


Number of files: 5
File size(s): 20.03 MB, 4.37 MB, 6.33 MB, 14.64 MB, 24.11 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork county, first series
Product ID: CDCK01-27
Subject: The oral tradition
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length: 72:19


Denis Healy, John Lewis and Barry O’Brien

Denis Healy, John Lewis and Barry O’Brien

Ballydehob, Co. Cork

 

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Barry O’Brien’s public house, The Irish Whip in Ballydehob, is the venue for this recording. Johnny Lewis of Ballydehob begins the discussion by outlining his memories of Danno Mahony’s background. Danno Mahony was the world-renowned for his success in the sport of wrestling in the 1930s. Denis Healy of Kilgarvan discusses the tradition of wrestling in the Cork-Kerry border areas, a tradition which included the Casey brothers from Sneem, County Kerry. Danno Mahony joined the Irish Army as a young man, and he achieved honours as a weight-lifter and wrestler – he was named Irish Champion in both sports. At the age of 22 he left for America to further his sporting career. His training methods, his diet and his successes at competition in America are discussed. Barry O’Brien, also of Ballydehob, explains the circumstances of Danno Mahony’s tragic death and is joined by his two friends in discussing the tragedy which ended a life of great sporting achievement.


Number of files: 4
File size(s): 19.76 MB, 7.68 MB, 15.05 MB, 10.62 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork county, first series
Product ID: CDCK01-30
Subject: Memories of a great wrestler
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length: 58:09


Eileen Cronin

Eileen Cronin

January 2003

 

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Eileen has lived for many years in her present home, bought with savings brought home by her father from Oregon, USA. She describes his experiences there as well as memories of her own life.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 48.17 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork county (Duhallow), third series
Product ID: CDCK03-37
Subject: Memories, emigration and early life in Scrahan, Knocknagree, Co. Cork
Recorded by: Maurice O'Keeffe
Length: 53:00


Mary Rohan (part 1)

Mary Rohan (part 1)

 

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The home of Mary Rohan was the venue for the compilation of this wonderful recording. She has an outstanding recall of past events and a great ability to articulate her story, at the grand age of 101. The recording was made in four sections. This first section deals with the circumstances surrounding her father’s emigration to America, where he took up a job as a longshoreman. He emigrated from Bere Island. His name was Michael Martin Sullivan, and Mary discusses how he acquired the surname of Martin. Her mother’s maiden name was Harrington, and she was also from Bere Island. They met and married in Boston, and returned home to Castletownbere, where they reared a family. Mary remembers being brought to Cork city on the train, before 1916, and visiting the wholesalers where they would buy merchandise for their grocery business in Castletownbere. The family made great sacrifices for their three children in order to send them to boarding school. It is remarkable to listen to Mary as she describes her memories of the outbreak of the Great War.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 45.19 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork city, first series
Product ID: CDCKCY01-11
Subject:
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length:


Agnes and Liam McCarthy (part 2)

Agnes and Liam McCarthy (part 2)

 

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Liam McCarthy began this recording by revealing his experiences of working on the building sites in England, and joining the local rugby club in Reading, which engendered in him a hunger the sport. On his return to Cork city, he took up the sport with the Dolphin Rugby Club, and remained with them for 20 years. He speaks about the skills and experience required for a contracting business which he had brought back from England – he was to build up a workforce of 90 men. Agnes McCarthy’s memories of an incredible story from Mitchelstown relating to the Black and Tan era may be heard, and she goes on to talk in more detail about her escape from home to Cork city at the age of 18 years.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 52.28 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork city, first series
Product ID: CDCKCY01-34
Subject:
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length:


May Buckley

May Buckley

 

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May Buckley’s memories reach back to the tragic burning of Cork city during the War of Independence, and she clearly remembers playing in the rubble in Patrick Street. May grew up in Sunday’s Well. Her father served with the British Navy in the First World War on HMS Fox. She remembers her father as a visitor to the house in her early days. Her recall of the Black and Tan campaign is described in a very lively manner. She recalls her time working in a cinema in London, and returning to find a job in O’Flynn’s butcher shop in Oliver Plunkett Street. There was a tradition of masonry in her family, and she explained how the masons wore a symbol of their trade, an embroidered apron depicting a trowel and chisel. Mary has donated a number of items relating to the trade to the Cork Museum. Her grandfather and her uncle both worked on the building of the Cathedral in Cobh. May relates chronologically the events of her life in this wonderful recording.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 54.89 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Cork city, first series
Product ID: CDCKCY01-49
Subject:
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe
Length:


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