Thursday, 17 October 2013

No 24 The Square and an extraordinary lady

The following photographs were sent to me by Eitan Elazar and they are from the family album of descendants of Dr. Michael O'Connor of no. 24 The Square, Listowel

Dr. Michael O'Connor and his wife in the garden of No. 24 in 1950

Mrs. O'Connor at her front door

Mrs. O'Connor at home in No. 24 The Square, Listowel

Dr. Michael O'Connor

In the garden at No 24 The Square.

The house with the family Morris Minor in front.


From my friend and collaborator, Vincent Carmody I got this message on the history of the house itself;

"You might let the readers know that Gerard Lynch was the owner of the Castle House after the O'Connors.  The Lynch family then build a house at the rear. Danny Hannon also was given use of the stables and for many years they housed early productions of the infant Lartigue Theatre.  For some time the Lynches had part of the house rented to the V.E.C who used some of the rooms as classrooms due to lack of space at the old Technical school in lower Church Street and prior to the building of the present Community College. After the VEC relocated, the house was turned into a flat complex. These apartments would have been first homes for a good number of Listowel couples in the days before rent subsidies.

The house itself was built by Richard Fitzgerald in the early 1800's. It passed from him through his widow, Elizabeth Agnes FitzGerald (nee Fitzmaurice) to her nephew Dr Ulysses Fitzmaurice in 1855. The Attorney, Francis Creagh, father of Bertha Beatty, became owner after the Fitzmaurices.  


John Stack's picture of the victorious Listowel Emmets youngsters.


Forur Genealogy posted this lovely picture of Liza Mulvihill of Glin. This lady was featured in the last edition of Turtle Bunbury's Vanishing Ireland.

I knew Liza many years ago when she used to cycle to Listowel to collect for the National MS Society. Liza had a lovely niece who had MS. Liza looked after  Mary Anne with the very best of care. Anxious to do something to help find a cure for this awful disease that was devastating her family, she joined the MS Society and became its local liaison person. When the flag day came round, Liza would cycle from her home in Ballyguiltenane  to Listowel with her collecting tin and flags. In the 1970s these"flags" were little paper rectangles which one attached with a straight pin. She usually took up her position in The Square, collected all day, only stopping for lunch and then cycled back home to count the money and send it back to Dublin with the collecting tin.

The MS Society now is a professional organisation with professional staff as well as volunteers on the ground. Back in the early seventies it was run from Dublin on a totally voluntary basis by a group of ladies bountiful. I don't think they ever realised the sacrifice and hardship heroes like Liza endured in order to fill the coffers and fund vital research which has yet to produce the cure we all hoped was around the corner back then.


This following story comes from Donegal this week. Has the country gone stone mad? I ask.

A TEN-year-old boy has been awarded more than €5,000 in court today – for cutting his knee.
The settlement relates to an incident at Ostan Gweedore Hotel three years ago.
Barrister Patricia McLaughlin told Donegal Circuit Civil Court, sitting in Letterkenny today, that the child had arrived at the hotel on July 12, 2009 with his mother and sister.
Whilst the child’s mother was locking the car, her son fell on grass in the grounds of the hotel and cut his knee.
Judge Petria McDonnell was told that the hotel management were not told of the incident at the time.
“The first they knew of it was a letter which arrived a year later,” said Ms McLaughlin.
The hotel, she said, was not accepting liability but was prepared to settle the claim.
It was still not clear, said the barrister, how the cut came about but the boy had to receive eight stitches for a wound to his knee.
“There are no long term effects and the boy in fact wears the scar as a badge of honour I’m told,” said Ms McLaughlin.
She said the hotel had made a low all-in offer to the boy which totalled €6,000 to cover costs and the injury and the boy would receive €5,059.90 as part of the settlement.

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