• Tommy Hourigan, Raheen, Limerick

Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 37)


It's a Long Way from Grange - by Michael Barry

From Grange to New York - an Interview with Joe Hourigan

This week (week 37) we feature two book articles about the experiences of two Grange men working abroad. It is rather a pity that the Grange book contained just a few articles about Grange people who left home to take up employment overseas or to pursue their vocations in life. We published all of the accounts that were available up to the time of the book finalisation in late 2015.

Nowadays, it is not unusual for younger people to travel to distant places in search of employment and in order to experience a variety of diverse cultures throughout the world - many do so and eventually return home to Ireland to settle down - many others establish new homes for the long-term in such other places.

In times long gone, large numbers of people were forced to emigrate from Ireland in pursuit of livelihoods for themselves and their families - returning home on holiday or permanently was not an option for many until much later in life. For example, one Grange man emigrated to New Zealand in the 1960s to take up employment. His outward journey by 'boat' took six weeks! In those times travelling to foreign countries was not easy, and it was a big deal!

We would be delighted to publish stories about life overseas on this website, particularly about people from Grange and the wider Grange locality - about people who emigrated (short-term or long-term) or about their descendants and relatives.

Mike Barry wrote an informative and entertaining article for the Grange book - It's a Long Way from Grange. Living in the Middle East for more than a decade has taught this Grange man a


thing or two, and in his article he colourfully described the various cultures that he encountered. Mike is a much-travelled man in the Middle East and well beyond - he has travelled extensively since he penned his article in 2015. Many people will be aware that Mike shares his travel experiences and life in Qatar through his weekly blog, where he not only describes his experiences but also posts captivating photography. For those who have not yet experienced Mike's Weekly Blog, it is highly recommended. Of course, many of Mike's photographs, taken overseas and more locally in the Grange locality, can be enjoyed on this website - CLICK HERE. It is hoped that Mike will add a lot more imagery to this website in due course.

The following are a couple of extracts from Mike's book article:

When an Arab meets a Westerner for the first time, he or she is often a little guarded. Arabs have an impression that everyone in the West has a Master’s Degree and is a company owner or sophisticated businessman of some sort. But if you happen to mention that you grew up milking cows with your father back in Grange, or castrating young bulls in a Grange cattle-crush, then it really throws them. Especially the bit about the castration! They will immediately drop the guard as many of them are only a generation or two from farming families themselves, and almost all Arabs have a nomadic farming ancestry.

A friend of mine who lives in Saudi Arabia only met his wife twice before they got married. They honeymooned in Europe. On both occasions, Mohammad’s future wife was in full abaya (black dress), hijab (black headscarf) and niqab (face veil with a slit for the eyes). So he never actually saw the face of his wife until their wedding night. In Saudi Arabia, which practices a very strict version of Islam, no social mixing of the sexes is permitted, and even wedding celebrations are divided into two; one party for the females and another for the males, in separate venues of course. So he did not even get to see his wife’s face at the wedding.

The Grange book article - From Grange to New York - was previously published in The Dawn in 1988. The article is based on an interview with Joe Hourigan of Grange, who was working in the

horse-drawn carriage business in New York at the time, principally on the Central Park routes. Subsequently, Joe returned to Ireland, where he and his wife, Mary, set up home in Cappawhite and reared their family. Both Joe and Mary set up businesses in Tipperary Town, principally, which they operated for several years. In more recent years, Joe resumed his love of the horse and carriage business in New York. Mary is a well-known Councillor in Tipperary County Council.

Now that Joe is back in New York, we hope that he will soon provide us with further insights into the horse and carriage business, as a basis for a new article for this website.

The following are a couple of extracts from the book article in which Joe described his experiences:

Among those ferried by Joe are musicians Carlos Santana and the Monkeys as well as fellow Irishman, actor Peter O’Toole. “They are usually very nice but like everyone else, they prefer to get a guided tour instead of having a chat”, he adds, matter-of-factly. Besides being the owner of well-known faces, customers can be memorable for other reasons. “I once had a couple who asked me if they could do anything they wanted in the carriage. I was sure that they wanted to smoke pot! After a while, I turned around and there they were…” recalls Joe, still speechless with disbelief.

The longer run around the park for other customers includes Columbus Circle, the Horseshoe Lake and the Sheep’s Meadow. And although people are usually eager to see the New York City Marathon finish line, as well as scenes used in movies, Joe maintains that the firm favourites are, without a doubt, the Dakota building where John Lennon lived and fell victim to an assassin’s bullet, as well as nearby Strawberry Fields, erected in his memory.

This week's (week 37) book article, It's a Long Way from Grange, may be read in full HERE.

This week's (week 37) book article, From Grange to New York, may be read in full HERE.

Next week (week 38) we will suggest another book article for reading.

Kind Regards to All.

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