Jim O’Neill (b. 1945)
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Jim O’Neill (b. 1945)


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The O’Neill family arrived at Abbey Grove in 1806. Prior to this the Matthew family had lived there, along with many other families over the generations. The house had been built as a monastery. In this recording Jim O’Neill traces his family ancestors, and the marriages in the family over time. One of his earliest memories is of watching the first tractor he had ever seen come into the farmyard. Another early memory is of being brought by his mother to the railway station in Kilkenny and being amazed at the huge quantity of caged chicks which had been brought for sale. He discusses farm practices nowadays and in former times and local placenames and their meanings. He also details a fascinating tale of Freaney from Inistioge, a noted highwayman in the 1800s who hid his hoard while being pursued, and the subsequent discovery of the hoard. Also recalled was the tradition of burying a farm cart in the farmyard when a particular family emigrated to America in former times. Jim O’Neill’s father was a renowned water diviner who was contracted to the County Council in the 1950s and 1960s to divine watercourses.

Additional information



Audio series:

Kilkenny (Clara parish), third series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

9.06 MB, 13.84 MB, 12.84 MB, 22.89 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



A deeply rooted family

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe