• Tommy Hourigan, Raheen, Limerick

Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 14)


Mike and Kitty O'Brien of Lower Grange

Last week's suggested article for reading, The Madden Forge, contained two photographs - Mike O'Brien of Lower Grange appeared in one and his father, Stephen, appeared in the other. This prompted the selection of this week's article, Mike and Kitty O'Brien of Lower Grange, written by their son. Michael (Minie).

Mike and Kitty (both deceased) were well-known and well-liked in the Grange locality and beyond. Minie (Lower Grange) and Pat (Bruff) are their two sons. Mike was renowned for being a great worker, with a passion for farming and horses in particular. He was a great GAA supporter and he played hurling for the Ballybricken Club. Kitty was known for her tremendous flower growing skills, and her blooms frequently adorned the interior of Grange and Ballybricken Churches.

In their later years in life, their grandchildren brought great joy to Kitty and Mike.

The following are extracts from Minie's article:

"If the saying 'he rose at the crack of dawn' could be applied to anyone, it must surely be to Mike who was literally up every morning at that time. There was many a time when the local boys and girls returning from a dance in Bruff, Dromkeen or The Fog in Ballysimon met Mike on his way to the cows on his pony and cart. With the cows milked, and milk delivered to the creamery, Mike would then start the ‘day job’. Meanwhile, Kitty at home cared for us and also for Stephen in his later life. Among many of her chores was the preparation of the milk churns; these had to be scalded with boiling water and washed with soda - no chemicals to worry about in those healthy days."

"Horses were another great interest of Mike’s and when ‘red tape’ dictated that the joy of outdoor milking was to be replaced by clinical milking parlours, Mike sold off his cows and began to breed ponies and horses for show jumping and gymkhana events. He sold these on to others, and they were to bring many a rosette to several of their owners. One could always sense that another great source of pride for Mike was that throughout his adult life he was a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and was conferred with the Golden Pioneer Pin by the Bruff branch of the organisation."

"Mike and Kitty enjoyed their retirement for many years and spent many happy hours in their vegetable and flower gardens. Lilies were their speciality and for many summers they kept the churches in Ballybricken and Grange supplied with these beautiful flowers. At Grange Church, their lilies complemented the beautiful array of flowers so lovingly provided by Moira Dillon all year round."

Mike fell into bad health in the last couple of years of his life and died in 2008. Kitty lived on in the home in Grange, to where she had come to live as a young bride in 1955, until her death in 2012. They are both laid to rest with Mike’s parents, Ann and Stephen and his brother, John, in Grange Churchyard. Rest in Peace, Kitty and Mike.

Minie's article may be read in full HERE.

Next week (week 15) we will suggest another article for reading.

Kind Regards to All.

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