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Bertie Ahern (b. 1951)

Bertie Ahern (b. 1951)

Drumcondra, Dublin

2013

 

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Bertie Ahern initially outlines his family background. Both his parents were natives of Cork and his father, Con Ahern from Belgooly near Kinsale, was a member of the Third Cork Brigade of the IRA and later of the First Cork Brigade. He had acted as a dispatch man locally in 1916, and was to become involved in the War of Independence and the Civil War. As a result, he was interned in Cork Prison and in Tintown in the Curragh. He and his family attended all the 1916 commemorative events 1966 which are well remembered by his son, and he was a great supporter of the National Graves Association. He died in 1990 and is buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. He did not accept the military pension, his son explains, though he did use the military references he received from his superiors to help to secure employment later on. His wife, Julia Hourihan, from Castledonovan near Bantry in West Cork, passed many stories about the Black and Tans in West Cork to her children who grew up in a republican household in Drumcondra. Bertie Ahern recalls the friendship between his father and Cork republican Tom Barry and the extended Price family who lived near the Ahern home in Drumcondra. He discusses the actions of the men and women of 1916 and describes how he would wish the Rising to be commemorated into the future. Also discussed is the decision by Éamon de Valera to not accompany the Irish delegation to the negotiations in London prior to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. When Bertie Ahern became Taoiseach in 1997, the ceasefire in Northern Ireland had broken down. Negotiations began with the Northern Ireland parties in September 1997 and continued until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. He speaks in great detail about his involvement in the peace negotiations and discusses the real risks at that time, none more so than the poll conducted by the Belfast Post shortly before the signing of the Agreement which indicated that just 5% of the population felt that the Agreement would be signed. Failure stared all parties in the face over those arduous days. Bertie Ahern worked with a small, tight delegation in London initially which included Dermot Gallagher from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tim Dalton from the Department of Justice. He explains that he was the only politician present. Later in Belfast he was accompanied by David Andrews, the Attorney General David Byrne, and Liz O’Donnell and he kept in touch with a small group of civil servants and with his cabinet colleagues back in Dublin. They fought for two issues, he explains, which were the dropping of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution and the putting in place the basis of consent. Secondly, from time to time under the Agreement, border polls or plebiscites would be conducted so that people would have an opportunity to vote. During much of the negotiations, Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair worked head-to-head with Sinn Féin members which included Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and with Unionist Party members including David Trimble and John Taylor. His backroom team included Attorney General David Byrne, Tim Dalton, Dermot Gallagher and Paddy Teahan, Martin Mansergh, Rory Brady SC, Rory Montgomery and Michael Collins, among others. Bertie Ahern describes the weeks prior to the referendum on the Agreement in May 1998 when he had to work to persuade the people, who were very knowledgeable, to agree to the terms which would bring to an end thirty years of sectarian conflict. He recalls his trips around the country over three weeks to “sell the Agreement” and the huge attendance and the celebrities at those meetings. During a tense period of negotiations on the Sunday of Holy Week in 1998, Bertie Ahern’s mother became unwell and she passed away the following day. He recalls the fact that due to circumstances surrounding the negotiations, he was unable to participate fully in the obsequies with his family as he would have wished. He explains that he was instrumental in changing the title of the Agreement to the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ rather than the ‘Belfast Agreement’ which had originally been mooted. He discusses the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 after which, as he says, the Boundary Commission agreement was not honoured, and the Good Friday Agreement. He explains that his father was of the opinion that the earlier Treaty was a huge mistake and was fully prepared to fight on. The two issues which took up most of Bertie Ahern’s time as Taoiseach were the Good Friday Agreement and his chairmanship of the Committee of Infrastructure, which held weekly meetings at this time. He discusses his predecessors as Taoisigh and their legacies, and his early days at Leader of the Opposition when he worked so hard to become familiar with the Northern Ireland political party members. He has great admiration for former Taoiseach Seán Lemass whose work for the Irish economy is recalled and described. He discusses the concept of a thirty-two county Ireland and explains how he feels that this could be achieved.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 46.9 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-01
Subject: The Good Friday Agreement
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 51:00


Eva Ashe (b. 1926)

Eva Ashe (b. 1926)

Ballsbridge, Dublin

2013

 

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Eva Ashe initially recalls her late husband, Peter Ashe, who was a relative of the patriot Tomas Ashe from Minard in West Kerry. Her father, Michael Walsh, from Rathkeale, Co. Limerick, left home at an early age to work as an apprentice to the drapery trade in London. He returned to Dublin in the early 1900s as an agent for a London company and in the 1930s he established a hosiery manufacturing business on the top floor of Dunlop House in Abbey Street. Eva recalls and details the operation of this business. The business relocated and a new company, Camron Hosiery, was established in Harcourt Street, the directors of which included Michael Walsh, Michael Collins, Michael Egan and Joe Conroy. In the 1950, the business again moved to Cork Street, and located in the old Donnelly sausage factory, becoming known as Macey’s. Eva recalls the fashions in the 1940s and 1950s, and she discusses the demise of the company after Ireland’s entry into the Common Market. Eva was a student of the Dominican Sisters at a boarding school in Co. Wicklow and she remembers these days fondly. She contracted tuberculosis as a young adult and she describes her medical treatment at that time.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 73.7 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-02
Subject: Dublin drapery business in the early 1900s
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 80:35


John Anthony (Jack) Brabazon, 15th Earl of Meath (b.1941), Part 1

John Anthony (Jack) Brabazon, 15th Earl of Meath (b.1941), Part 1

Kilruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow

2016

 

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This recording was compiled in the Library Study at Kilruddery House where all the family papers are held. The history of the Brabazon family is discussed while these documents are perused. Jack Brabazon speaks initially about the gardens at Kilruddery which had remained unchanged in design since the time of the 4th Earl ,and were then embellished by the 6th Earl. The house itself was extensively renovated by Jack’s father, Anthony Windham Brabazon, and he feels that his father saved Kilruddery by utilising his engineering skills over the eleven years of renovation. The family moved to Templecarrig in Greystones while these renovations were being undertaken, and returned to Kilruddery House in 1961. Jack’s grandparents, Reginald LeNormand Brabazon, 13th Earl of Meath, and his wife, Aileen Wyndham-Quin, are recalled. Reginald Brabazon commanded the Irish Guards during WWI and on 15th September 1914 he was wounded and invalided out. Following his convalescence, he returned to the Front and was gassed in 1918 while commanding the 4th Guards Brigade. After the war, he and his wife worked tirelessly to house destitute war veterans in Ireland, and were involved in the establishment of The Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Trust, now known as the SSAFA charity. Jack’s father, Anthony Brabazon, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1930 and led his men with distinction during the years of WWII. He was wounded at Monte Camino in December 1943 and he arrived back in Ireland in 1946. He inherited the title in 1949. He was faced with the responsibility of running the large estates which resulted in difficult decisions having to be made with regard to the large workforce. Anthony Brabazon died in 1996. A painting of two Brabazon brothers, dating from 1710, which hangs in Kilruddery House is discussed, and Jack relates a most interesting family story relating to Tara Hill.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 31.7 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-03
Subject: Kilruddery House and the Earls of Meath
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 34:41


John Anthony (Jack) Brabazon, 15th Earl of Meath (b.1941), Part 2

John Anthony (Jack) Brabazon, 15th Earl of Meath (b.1941), Part 2

Kilruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow

2016

 

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The Brabazon family papers at Kilruddery House were meticulously archived during the lifetime of Major Anthony Brabazon. He had a very progressive attitude to running the estates and he attended agricultural college as a mature student. While examining old photographs of Adare Manor in Co. Limerick, Jack recalls fond memories of his visits to this fine estate in the 1960s, which had been home to his grandmother, Aileen Wyndham-Quin, daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunraven. (The Irish Life and Lore Adare Manor Oral History Collection compiled in 2016 may be seen at http://goo.gl/RoqrZG.) Jack inherited the title on the death of his father in 1996. He describes his earlier education, his army life, his involvement in forestry and his time working on other estates including the Carton Estate in Co. Kildare. He provides his views on the Land Commission and its impact on Irish life and landscape. He discusses the fact that Kilruddery is open to the public since his father’s time when he instigated this as a means of sourcing an additional income stream. To conclude, Irish politics during his father’s time, the Home Rule question, the British Empire and the 1916 to 1923 revolutionary period are discussed. His father’s views on these subjects are also described. The Brabazon family archive is also further explored.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 39.9 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-04
Subject: Kilruddery House and the Earls of Meath
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 43:37


George Briscoe (b. 1921)

George Briscoe (b. 1921)

Navan, Co. Meath

2013

 

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Ballinter House was owned by the Preston family in earlier days, and John Joseph Preston left the property to Gussie Briscoe, the grandfather of George Briscoe. Gussie’s son and George’s father, Cecil Briscoe, spent a period working in Cheshire, and following the death of his brother he returned to Ballinter House. During WWI, he was stationed in Belfast where he was involved in the care of horses, and after the war he leased the property in Ballinter and moved to Tralee where he met his future wife, Phyllis Stawell Heard, the daughter of George Bennet Heard from Coolmaine Castle near Bandon. (The Stawell Heard family history may be accessed through the Irish Life and Lore Great Houses of Ireland at www.irishlifeandlore.com/search-result.php?s=Stawell). George Bennet Heard was an officer in the RIC and was stationed in Tralee, and many stories about his tenure in the Co. Kerry town are recounted by his grandson. When Gussie Briscoe inherited Ballinter, the estate extended to 6,000 acres, and included the heritage site at Tara Hill. Fascinating details are recounted about archaeological digs at Tara during the 19th century, stories about which have been handed down through family lore. Cecil Briscoe moved back into Ballinter House in the 1930s following the restoration of the property, and George explains that his father’s skills in engineering were put to good use. He instigated a water supply system to the house and a generator to provide lighting. The extent of the lands had decreased to 800 acres by this time and the demesne was very well cared for. Salmon fishing on the River Boyne, which ran through the estate, was excellent. George discusses his education, and recalls some great days hunting with his father with the Tara Harriers. He succeeded his father as Master of Foxhounds in 1932. He recalls taking over Ballinter and supplying Merville Dairies in Finglas with milk produced on the estate. (The story of Merville Dairies may be accessed through Irish Life and Lore Horseracing Ireland Collection – Recording of Roy Craigie, CD 33 (www.irishlifeandlore.com/search-result.php?s=craigie). The Ballinter estate was sold in 1954 and George Briscoe took over the management of the Bective estate for U.S. industrialist Charlie Bird.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 69.2 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-05
Subject: Ballinter House, Co. Meath
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 75:00


Heather Callaghan (b. 1943)

Heather Callaghan (b. 1943)

Grange, Co. Cork

2013

 

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Rathealy House in Glanworth near Fermoy was the home place of the Callaghan family. Heather Callaghan’s father was a prosperous farmer, and the family always kept horses. She recalled that during her early days, well known trainer Nat Galway-Greer would come to the Callaghan home to buy foals from her father. Heather recalls an interesting fact which involved the making of the British film “The Blue Max” in 1966. Filming took place at Rathealy and included footage of the viaduct which ran through the Callaghan property. She began to compete in show jumping at quite a young age and she won the Pony Championship at the Spring Show at the RDS. She also won the first Guinness Novice Show jumping Championship on Doneraile, owned by Joe McGrath. She recalls her relocation to work in stable yards in England for Barry Hills and David Brew, for whom she worked as secretary for a period. Later she returned to Ireland to work at Paddy Slater’s yard. She took on secretarial duties and she was also involved in training and racing for the yard. At this time, she won four major races. She was one of the first pioneering women to race professionally, with Rosemary Ferris and Jackie Ward who were at the top of their game, she says. The first race she won as a professional jockey was at Tralee Races in 1960. She later competed in Navan and elsewhere and in a ladies’ international race in Punchestown in 1973 when she rode Clare Delight. She recalls her point-to-point racing days, and explains that she was the winner on nine occasions. She describes the courses in those days, which included dangerous banks and bush fences, and her great point-to-point horse called Sandy Saddler. She worked for some time at Joe McGrath’s stables where she was involved in the international transport of show jumpers, and she recalls the journeys, the accommodation, the jockeys including Seamus Hayes, Tommy Brennan, Tommy Wade and Diana Connolly-Carew. This was a wonderful period for Irish show jumping she explains. While examining old photograph albums and press cuttings, which were donated to the RDS archives in 2015, she names the great owners, trainers and jockeys she worked with down through the years. Heather Callaghan retired from racing in 1976.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 57.7 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-06
Subject: A Corkwoman’s passion for horses
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 63:00


Fr John Chisholm (b. 1922)

Fr John Chisholm (b. 1922)

Clontarf, Dublin

2012

 

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John Chisholm was reared in Clontarf in Dublin and was educated at Scoil Mhuire in Griffith Avenue and later at O’Connell Schools. He joined the Holy Ghost Fathers in 194 and after his ordination he taught theology and philosophy at Kimmage College from 1950. He was appointed to UCD in 1966 where he remained until his retirement in 1988. During his time at Kimmage College he met Cork men Liam Deasy from Bandon and Fr. Tim Lyons, a Salesian priest. The men shared an interest in having the eye witness accounts of the West Cork Brigade IRA written for posterity, and it was decided that John Chisholm would write a book on the subject. John discusses writing the first chapter, and in 1969, travelling to West Cork where he stayed with the nephew of Liam Deasy, also named Liam Deasy, in Bandon. Working from a list compiled by Liam Deasy Snr he recorded the memories of many of the survivors of the West Cork Brigade, including those of Jack O’Sullivan, Ned Young and Paddy O’Brien. He recounts the stories told to him about the events of the Kilmichael Ambush on 20th November 1920. He examines and discusses the conflicting accounts given to him and those outlined in Tom Barry’s book “Guerilla Days in Ireland”. He recalls his meetings with the survivors of the Brigade and gives his impressions of their characters and demeanour. He explains his reasons for not proceeding to record the stories of the people involved in the Civil War in West Cork in later years. The timing of the release of Liam Deasy’s book “Towards Ireland Free” in 1973 which almost coincided with the outbreak of the recent Troubles in the North of Ireland, is discussed, as are the reasons for his decision to publish no further material on the contentious subject. To conclude, he explains that he has passed the recorded material he compiled with the survivors of the West Cork Brigade to the Deasy family.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 73.8 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-07
Subject: The Struggle for Independence in West Cork
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 62:00


Ann Dalby (b. 1931) Part 1

Ann Dalby (b. 1931) Part 1

Rathmines, Dublin

2016

 

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Ann Dalby is the eldest of the three children of the Bluett family. She was born at 92, St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, the home of her grandfather, R.R. Cherry who was one of the last Lord Chief Justices of Ireland under British rule. Her father, Rev. Sterling Bluett, ministered in several Dublin parishes, including Harold’s Cross, Deansgrange, Finglas and Rathmichael. Her mother, Maud Cherry, worked as a teacher at Alexandra College and was Vice Warden at Trinity Hall. In later life she studied law at King’s Inns and qualified as a barrister. Ann recalls her mother working on her book Scenes from Irish History during her childhood, and she discusses her memories of her five Cherry aunts who lived with her family at 92, St. Stephen’s Green. Stories told to her about the Green are recalled, such as its use as a place to exercise horses and the charge of 2d for the use of the chairs. One was allowed to sit on the benches free of charge. Ann’s mother, Maud Cherry, and her younger sister Kitty had planned to sail to China to undertake missionary work, but these plans were changed when Sterling Bluett proposed to Maud. Sterling and his brother Douglas joined the British army and fought during WWI and Ann describes the duties they undertook at this time. Ann recalls her paternal aunt, Noel Bluett, who trained as a physiotherapist and worked from her home in Taney House in Dundrum. She was among those who later established the Children’s Sunshine Home in Stillorgan where she treated children suffering from rickets and other illnesses. The Cherry family summer residence at Killincarrick House in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, to where her maternal aunts relocated during the 1916 Rising, is described. During their stay, to everybody’s amazement, a small aeroplane landed on the grounds of the house. Another family story relates to the visit of King George V to Dublin in 1911 when her grandmother was presented to the king at Dublin Castle. The poverty which prevailed among a section of the population in Dublin is illustrated by an anecdote recounted by Ann. When her grandmother was travelling up the hill to functions in Dublin Castle and when occasionally the horses slipped on the cobbles and the carriage stopped, poor women would put their hands through the windows to feel the material of her dress.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 45.9 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-08
Subject: Privileged early life in Dublin
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 50:00


Ann Dalby (b. 1931) Part 2

Ann Dalby (b. 1931) Part 2

Rathmines, Dublin

2016

 

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Ann Dalby, granddaughter of R.R. Cherry, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was a bell ringer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Ann was recently invited to the Cathedral to view the dedications to her grandfather. The invitation was issued by Very Rev. Dr. William Morton and Mr. Andrew Smith, Education Officer at the Cathedral. During this recording which was compiled during the visit, Dr. Morton initially indicates the plaque in the Baptistry marking the occasion of the marriage of Ann’s grandparents, R.R. Cherry and Mary Cooper. Ann speaks about her grandfather’s background in Waterford and his studies in law in Dublin. He was accompanied from Waterford by his cousin, John Henry Bernard, who was to become Provost of Trinity College in later years. While moving into the tower and up the steep stone spiral steps to the belfry, Andrew Smith gives a brief account of the history of campanology at St. Patrick’s Cathedral over the centuries. He indicates and contextualises the wooden plaques dedicated to R.R. Cherry, and Ann’s son, Julian Dalby, reads from one of the plaques. Ann reads the dedication inscribed on another plaque: ‘In memory of the Right Honourable R.R. Cherry, Lord Chief Justice and President of St. Patrick’s Society of Chain Ringers 1923’. Ann relates a family story about her grandfather, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease (or creeping paralysis as it was then known). He had a helper to carry him on his back up the steep steps to the belfry in the Cathedral to perform his bell-ringing duties. Moving upwards to the clock room, Andrew describes the workings and mechanics of the clocks, and finally, as the magnificent views of Dublin appear as we reach the top of the tower, he indicates the locations of many churches and other buildings in the city spread out below.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 46.9 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-09
Subject: A visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 51:00


George Dennison (b. 1925)

George Dennison (b. 1925)

Kells, Co. Meath (Sponsored by the Dennison family)

2012

 

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George Dennison spent his early years in Carrigart in Co. Donegal, and he joined the Garda Siochána in 1945. He begins the recording by listing the locations at which he served over the years, and he recalls his early days on duty. He sets out the great differences which exist today in comparison to the duties undertaken by members of the Garda Siochána in earlier days. He describes in detail his tenure in some of the eighteen stations at which he was based, which included Castlebar, Claremorris, Cork city, Navan, Kells, and Ballymote where he was superintendent. He speaks about his responsibilities during the Northern Ireland troubles, from 1969 until his retirement in 1988. The regular conferences which were held between the stations on the issues of security and strategy are recalled. The District Court sessions and the judges who presided are mentioned, and he recites a humorous self-authored piece on his service to the nation.


Number of files: 1
File size(s): 68.2 MB
Bitrate: 128 kbps
Download time limit: 48 hours

Audio series: Heritage Collection 2016
Product ID: CDHC1601-10
Subject: Recollections of a member of the Garda Siochána
Recorded by: Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore
Length: 74:00


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