Patricia Gossip (1920-2014)
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Patricia Gossip (1920-2014)


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Track 1: Patricia Gossip (née Clarke) came from Ballynakill House in Co. Waterford. Her father was Joseph Henry Clarke who fought in two world wars. During WWI he was involved in coastal patrol, and during WWII, he served in Iceland on the submarine defences with Royal Navy. After the war he was engaged in minesweeping along the coast from Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork, to Dunmore East, Co. Waterford. Between the wars he met his wife, Mary Dobbyn, from Ballynakill. Patricia recalled a time when the only cars in Waterford were owned by Arthur Pitt, the Cohen brothers, Lady Susan Dawney, Mr Hastings Jephson and Sir William Goff, as well as her father. She recalled her childhood at Ballynakill and explained that her father was a keen angler and she and her four sisters would go camping with him. She also recalled raids on the house during the Troubles, but her father used to hide his guns so the raids were unsuccessful. The difficult times during the Economic War were recalled. Her father used to tell her about his wartime experiences, and she remembered a visit to Northern Ireland during WWII, while her father was posted there. Her maternal grandfather, Robert Dobbyn, was a Latin and Greek scholar and a solicitor. Patricia recalled his two wives and his son, Robin Dobbyn, who was in Royal Flying Corps and was killed during WWI. She remembered her own sister, Peggy, who served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during WWII and who died of an illness during that war. Track 2: Ballynakill House by the River Suir was recalled by Patricia, as she remembeered the rumoured passage under the house which was allegedly used by King James after the Battle of the Boyne when he stayed at the house. Some of the interior features such as furniture and portraits were described, as was the Newport family history and their Jones connection. She explained that after the war, her father left for Northern Ireland while his family stayed in Ballynakill. Her late husband, Randal Wilmer Hatfeild Gossip, served as Captain with Montgomery in the desert during WWII. He was born in Australia, went to school in England, learned Spanish in Spain, managed estancias in Argentinia for 18 years, and then came to Ireland. He and Patricia had four children and he died at the young age of 55. His widow explained that he came to Ireland to see his Fitzgerald cousins, whose mother was a Gossip, and that this was how he came to meet her. She mentions the four wives of Gerald Purcell-Fitzgerald of The Island in Waterford. Patricia took over Ballynakill from her mother and she brought up her four children there, and she talked about still missing the place, particularly living by the river. She discussed the large property and how, over time, it was portioned out to family members. Her connection with Sir Robert Goff was mentioned. She recalled her mother’s difficult life struggling to make ends meet, and her own upbringing, education and social life were considered. She said that in earlier days, everyone travelled great distances for parties. She explained her love of gardening and she mentioned Mike Shea, the gardener at Ballynakill, who used to work in the walled garden there. The Ballynakill gate lodge was let out to Thomas Clery, an IRA man, who married an Englishwoman, and Patricia fondly remembered this woman who looked after her children and was a friend to her. The ravaging effects of tuberculosis were discussed, and the work undertaken by women in running a home in those earlier days, with no running water, was recalled. Track 3: Patricia discussed her father’s departure for the war on the Great Western Railway, and she felt that those ex-servicemen were treated badly on their return home. Some were encouraged to join up for employment and some went because they felt it was an adventure. She recalled the fact that her father was targeted by the IRA and she related some anecdotes about the way in which he dealt with this situation. Sergeant Lacey of the Royal Irish Constabulary would visit regularly to discuss the situation relating to the Irregulars, and would sometimes stay on watch at night. Patricia remembered many people who left their houses and went to England during these troubled times, though she explained that Lord Waterford remained. The County Club in Waterford was recalled. Track 4: Patricia and Randal Gossip stayed in Suffolk for seven years after their marriage, and Patricia inherited Ballynakill from her mother. She discussed the fact that it was hard to keep it going, though she continued to farm after her husband’s death. Patricia concluded by talking about her sons and grandsons.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

12.05 MB, 9.36 MB, 9.30 MB, 10.63 MB, 8.33 MB, 6.22 MB

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The Clarke family of Ballynakill, Co. Waterford

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore