Elizabeth (Lizzie) O’Dea (b. 1941)
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Elizabeth (Lizzie) O’Dea (b. 1941)


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Lizzie O’Dea worked for fifty years in the Medical Pharmacy in Adare village, having previously worked in the village pharmacy run by Kitty Madden. She recalls her family background, explaining that her father, Jack O’Dea, worked as a ganger with Limerick Co. Council and her mother, Margaret O’Brien, worked as a milkmaid for the local farmers in Ardagh near Newcastlewest and later at Cussens farm in Kilfinny. After their marriage, the couple were offered a cottage and an acre of land in Kilfinny by the Limerick Co. Council. Nearby was located Sir Thomas and Lady May Ainsworth’s stud farm at Ballinakill where Anzio, the winner of two Gold Cups, was trained. As a child, Lizzie would stroke the horse’s head as she passed by the field where he grazed. In her youth, she cycled five miles daily to the Mercy Sisters’ school in Adare, and she recalls her time as a student there. She played on the very successful camogie team at the CBS playing pitch, and she also played badminton in the village hall. She recalls the many great competitions and the talented players over the years. After her schooling, she began work in the local chemist shop, and she recalls how the business was run in those days, explaining that medicines were dispensed for animals as well as for humans. The pharmacy was often visited by people who were in need of a friendly ear prior to a visit to Dr Costello (who was affectionately known as “Yes-Yes”). Lizzie’s memories of her work in the pharmacy include details about herbal medicines and the introduction of legal contraception in the Irish Republic in 1980. In earlier days, the excursion by train to Foynes was an eagerly anticipated outing, and the platform dancing at Mount-Earl Cross was heartily enjoyed by everybody. At those dances, Lizzie remembers all the bicycles lined up on the ditch, the great sets danced and the wonderful musicians. Included in their talented number was Paddy O’Shea. There always existed a great sense of place in the village of Adare, she says. People dressed well and were interested in “keeping up appearances”, being inspired by the Dunravens. The local dressmakers, sisters Biddy Mullane and Annie McNally, were kept busy and were very popular with the local people, including the Wyndham-Quin family. The local branch of the Irish Countrywomens’ Association had some wonderful teachers of crafts and skills which were to stand the members in good stead. A fine craft practised in the village was that of shoemaking. It was at the shoemaker’s premises that people would gather, and several marriages were later to come about as a result.
Lizzie remembers the time when Thady Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl and Lady Dunraven moved from Adare Manor to Kilcurly House on the Dunraven Estate, and the invitation she received to attend the party which marked the end of a long and historic era.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Adare Manor and Village Oral History Collection


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

53.3 MB

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Product ID:



Long service at the local pharmacy

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore