Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 49)
The Grange book article, Ó hÓgáin, was written by Hazel Ní Ógáin Sweeney. The article was introduced by the Book Committee.
The Ó hÓgáin family of Grange lived on the Galloway Estate, in the house subsequently to become the home of Michael Lombard and his family. Davy Hogan and his family lived there when he was employed as a groom. Davy was a horseman of some renown. A number of Davy’s and Mary’s (nee Tyrell) children were born in Grange and attended Grange National School.
In pursuit of employment, Davy was forced to relocate to Bruff, where his son, Dáithí, was born in 1949.
The Ó hÓgáin family members are truly gifted, intellectually and academically. They are known throughout Ireland and internationally for their learning and the imparting of knowledge to others, variously through teaching, lecturing and formal writing on a range of subject matters. Their great-granduncle was the celebrated historian of Ossory, Canon William Carrigan. A shared passion is their love of all things Irish: language, dance, folklore, storytelling, history, places, events and archaeology, to name some.
The children of Davy and Mary are as follows:
Perhaps, the most widely known of the siblings is Dáithí. Dáithí, Emeritus Professor UCD, who passed away in 2011 after an illness was an exceptional academic. He had an enormous capacity for research, learning, teaching and formal writing. He was a poet in both Irish and English. He passed on knowledge at every opportunity to his university students and others over decades. Dáithí’s reputation and fame spread wide and far, but this did not, in any way, alter the essence of the man - always willing to share, explore, assist and advise, without any pretentious behaviour, in fact quite the opposite. Dáithí wrote seven collections of poetry, six in Irish and one in English. He also wrote three collections of short stories as well as a series of books on Irish surnames. He wrote many other books as well.
Hazel Ní Ógáin Sweeney worked in the civil service in her earlier career and subsequently qualified as a school teacher, a profession practised until her retirement. She worked as a teacher of Irish in the Technical Institute, Ringsend, Dublin. Hazel lived in Grange until she was six and a half years old when the family relocated to Bruff. Her memories of those Grange years were written for the book and her story, beautifully told, humorous at times, was reproduced in her article.
An Dochtúir Éamonn Ó hÓgáin, Hazel’s brother, wrote the Réamhrá/Foreword (Irish and English versions) to the Grange book. Grange people are both grateful and privileged that he took on the task enthusiastically and expertly. The Réamhrá/Foreword is both incisive and enjoyable to read. Written by a literary author of standing, the Réamhrá/Foreword enhanced the book significantly. Éamonn is a renowned scholar of the Irish Language. Éamonn delivered a memorable address as Gaeilge to a large gathering at the event adjacent to Grange Church in April 2016 to mark the formal opening of the 1916 Easter Rising Remembrance Garden by the then Minister for Finance, Mr Michael Noonan. Éamonn's address may be read HERE in both Irish and English. Éamonn worked as director and editor in the Royal Irish Academy in Dawson Street, Dublin.
Ann worked in the Civil Service but had to resign when she got married as was the rule then. Jim worked as a teacher of Irish and English in St Paul’s Secondary School for boys in Raheny, Dublin. Therese went to live in Canada and taught for some years there. Joe taught mathematics at the Technical Institute, Ringsend, Dublin, and is a part-time lecturer of mathematics at Trinity College, Dublin.
Hazel's book article also includes text from an article that she wrote in 1975 - The Archaeological Importance of Lough Gur - it contains most interesting information.
The following are extracts from Hazel's recollections of life in Grange:
I loved living in Grange. I lived there for the first six and a half years of my life, and when I look back on that time, I realise that it was an idyllic place in which to start one’s life. Even the name Grange has a lovely musical ring to it especially in the Irish version of it “An Ghráinseach”. I began my life in Grange because my father, Davy Hogan, got a job as a groom in Galloway’s. Both my parents, Davy and Mary, were from Kilkenny and Grange was not too unlike the area in Kilkenny from which they came. A house came with the job, and so I lived with my parents and brothers and sisters in a small house [subsequently the Lombard family home] on Galloway’s land and not too far away from their big house [presently the home of the O'Sullivan family]. There was a hill at the back of our house on which tall trees and bluebells and primroses grew. I cannot ever remember being in the precincts of the big house, I don’t think I even knew what the front of it looked like. Years later I went with my husband to show him where I had lived as a child, and it was only then that I really saw the main house.
Life was different then and children and adults mixed very naturally and so we as children were very friendly with the people who worked at Galloway’s. My earliest memory is, when I was about three years old, wandering into the cow-house, which was a little bit down from our house. Chris Madden, who worked at Galloway’s, used to milk the cows in the evening, and I remember being there with him and watching him milking. Of course, I used to love when he would squirt the milk at me from the cow’s teat.
I also remember around that time that Mr Shanahan (Jack), who was a building contractor from Bruff, was doing some work on the big house. Johnny Brien from Ballingirlough was working with him, and I and my siblings, Nap [Éamonn] and Ann, used to sit with him and Johnny while they were having their lunch. Johnny used to want me to say the ‘S’ word, and he used to say to me “Say s..t Hazel and I’ll give you a spoon of sugar”. He got a kick out of me, as a child, saying it, (innocent days!).
My father and mother had many good friends in Grange, and there were always people in our house in the evenings. Danny and Bridget Dwyer were very close friends and Danny, who was a great storyteller, was a regular visitor in the evening. He is my brother Jim’s Godfather and both Danny and Bridget continued to visit us when we moved to Bruff. Maggie Donovan and her sister, Janie, were also good friends of my mother, and they often helped out when there was a new baby in the house, Maggie is Jim’s Godmother. Jack Harty was another caller as was Pat Daly from the Lake, who is my sister Therese’s Godfather. My father and he had a great interest in greyhounds. Jamesie Flavin was another ‘greyhound’ man and he very often came, not only to discuss greyhounds with my father but also to supply the entertainment for the evening as he was a good fiddle player. Johnny Ryan, who used to help my father with the horses at that time, dropped in occasionally.
My education began in Grange National School when I was five years old. The three teachers in the school were Mr Lynch, who was the headmaster, Mrs Power and Mrs O’Donnell. Mrs Power was my teacher. I remember that Lucy Brien and Mary Riordan, both from Holycross, were in my class as was Jim Donoghue and the Master’s son Colm Lynch. I was a ciotóg, but I must have been changed as I now write with my right hand and do everything else with my left. I do not remember being made to change.
Nap and I used to walk to school through the graveyard, then we would pass McInerney’s house and then on through Upper Grange to the top of the hill where we turned left to get to the school which was a little further down. There was a sort of avenue leading down from our house to the little door which opened into the graveyard.
My happy life in Grange ended when I was almost seven years old. My father no longer had work in Galloway’s and so had to look for work elsewhere. We had to leave our little house which was surrounded by the hedge that my brother Nap had set when he was six years old and which had lovely nasturtiums growing in the garden. It is many years ago since I left that house but whenever I see nasturtiums and get their smell I am transported back to my happy childhood while living in Grange.
The following has been extracted from Hazel's account of The Archaeological Importance of Lough Gur [written in 1975].
About three miles north-east of Bruff, lies the well-known lake of Lough Gur. Lough Gur, being a very beautiful place, is a source of great pleasure for the people of the surrounding area. The nearest seaside resort is about fifty miles away. So, on a hot summer’s day, the shore of Lough Gur is packed with people who have all come to cool themselves in the soft waters of the lake. The scenic beauty of the place and the calm which it exudes gives one a great feeling of peace and tranquillity.
However, another aspect of the Lough Gur area which tends to be forgotten and perhaps about which not very much is known [has become well known over the decades, nationally and internationally], is how interesting a place it is in the sphere of archaeology. Not alone is it interesting but is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. Excavations were carried out in this area in the 1950s, as many of the local people will remember, and the findings from those excavations were to result in Lough Gur being one of the foremost sites in the country. It was found that this area has been inhabited from about 3000 BC [4000 BC] up to the present day. Evidence of remains from all the Ages have been found, i.e., the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Middle Ages. We will speak here about a few of the finds from the different Ages.
In the New Year (week 50) we will suggest another book article for reading.
Kind Regards to All.
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