1941 One of The Saddest Episodes in the History of Bantry. Over 200 Men Queue Up to Work in England. Wartime Backdrop in The District.


1941 One of The Saddest Episodes in the History of Bantry. Over 200 Men Queue Up to Work in England. Wartime Backdrop in The District.

The Emergency, War Years

The end of the economic war was welcomed by farmers who now had an outlet for their produce on the British market. After war was declared there was a market for their produce. During World War One there was a huge increase in agricultural prices and consequential prosperity, but this time prices did not increase to the same extent. There was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 1941. The imposition of rationing of tea and other items entailed sacrifices, but not the hardship experienced in the war zone.  There was compulsory tillage, which was a percentage of tilled land and this continued until the end of 1947, much to the annoyance of dairy farmers.  Fertilizer was non-existent and sea sand, seaweed and sea wool was used.  In 1934 the railway to Courtmacsherry was threatened with closure.  It was stated that sea  sand from there landed by boat went to Durrus via Durrus Road Station.

There had been a subsidy in the 1930s from the Cork County Council for sea sand landed by boat or from the sea shore.

In the Bantry Fair of March 1940 the French Army had buyers for horses; they were seeking horses 5-7 years old and 15-16 hands in height.  In July of that year a young Jack Lynch was assisting at a sitting of the Circuit Court and was described as a native of the town, he had cousins in the Bantry area Baregorm.
There were few cars in the Parish at the outbreak of war, the Priest, the Minister, Chrissie O’Sullivan (later Mrs Leahy, they also had a small truck), publican Jim Hurley, Denis John L. O’Sullivan and P.J. Barry, both of whom operated a hackney service. In 1913 Miss Levis, daughter of Dr. Levis was one of the few car owners in Cork City and County. The train took 4 hours to reach Cork, coal was unavailable and the train stopped.

at each station to take on timber and turf. In 1940 road signs were dismantled. There was widespread hunger especially among those who did not own land and have the facility of growing their own food. There are stories of farmers giving flour from their own corn to neighbours in want.

In 1939 a chain of look out posts (LPOs) were built around the Irish coast and the one at Sheeps Head was no 31. There was an existing phone line to the end of the peninsula from British times This was manned by 7 operatives and an NCO.  It supplied information to military Intelligence (G2) who passed it onto the Department of External Affairs and from then to the British Military.  From October 1939 to March 1940 the south west coast was under surveillance by a British vessel masquerading as a trawler ‘Namura’ under the command of Captain Fell. The brief was to locate U-Boat refuelling bases alleged to be in the south west in popular mythology, none were found.

During the Emergency there was a series of directional markings at the end of peninsulas or on islands visible from the air around the coast. This was done at the request of the US as State Papers released in 1994 reveal.  At the end of the Muintervara peninsula there is one marked ‘EIRE’ in white stone. 

The Luftwaffe High Command flew weather reconnaissance aircraft over the area and these were reported on by Sheeps Head LOP, and used the lighthouse at Dursey Island as a navigation buoy. The keepers got used to a Junkers plane that used to fly from Merignac near Bordeaux.  On the 23rd July 1943 the aircraft crashed on the island, killing the crew of 4.  It might be noted that in the National Library’s Photographic Archive there are photographs taken by the Luftwaffe’s aerial photographic wing of military barracks, the airport, railway stations and city centre of Dublin. In the photo of Cork Ford’s factory is prominent.  A German plane was hit by the Royal Navy’s S.S. Major C. and crashed into Cashelane Hill, Dunbeacon on the 5th February 1941, killing 5 of its crew and 1 taken as prisoners of war.  The army retrieved the explosives left behind the crash. Miss May Nugent, Derryfunchion, rendered assistance to the only survivor and was presented with a German Life Saving Medal by the German Minister in Dublin. Miss Teresa (Daisy) O’Mahony from Ahagouna was one of a number to view the wreckage, (she drank poisoned water and died soon after). The mangled wreckage of the plane was on display in the Courtyard of Bantry House.  A German airplane crash-landed on Mount Gabriel on the 3rd. March 1942 killing all the crew, they were interred in the Abbey in Bantry and weren later moved to the German war cemetery at Glencree, Co. Wicklow.

Local memory has it that on a number of occasions British Destroyers moored at Ahakista to get fresh supplies of meat and vegetables.

Gerald McCarthy (1912-1984) of Old Dispensary House son of Dr Michael McCarthy was a young insurance agent and farmer during the War.  During the war years he covered an extensive area from Kilcrohane to Ballydehob and Kealkil by bicycle.  He was an officer in the LDF (Local Defense Forces it was known at the time as the Local Security Force, LSF).  He kept a diary from 1940 to 1984  and he related the drill, night exercises and conferences held during the period. His LDF duties included guarding the German aircraft which crashed in Dunbeacon in 1941. There were major military manoeuvres in Bantry in August 1940 with armoured cars; Bren guns and the entirety of the grounds of Bantry House were taken over by camps for 800 troops of the 4th Battalion.  There was a company of soldiers (2nd Cycling Squadron) billeted in Bantry House. 

On the first Friday of each month being Fair Day, a recruitment officer of the British Army (or possibly the civilian agency for recruitment of civilian employment in munition factories) came to the square

Gerald’s farming activities included a lot of time devoted to the growing of flax, as well as growing vegetables, potatoes and time spent saving turf. The flax was a labour-intensive crop and when pounded and scutched it was sold to buyers from the North of Ireland for £1 a stone.  A mill at Coonagh the remains of which are still visible on the Leap/Rosscarbery road did the preliminary processing. A number of farmers in the area grew flax including Jack Crowley, Ahagouna and Denis John L O’Sullivan of the village, but the main growing area was further east towards Clonakilty.  In 1945 there were 6,186 acres under the crop in West Cork and Drinagh Co-Op facilitated the sketching of flax.

The Government wished Parish Councils to be set up and in Durrus this happened in August 1940 and reports of it in the Southern Star show a concern about possible invasion. The Council was chaired by Father McSweeney and also involved were the Rev. Doherty and a wide selection of the local population

Many natives of the district emigrated to England, a number serving in the British armed forces; others worked in hospitals and factories. The Southern Star at the time in its news from Bantry carried regular reports of ‘Recent Departures’ and also casualties of locals killed on active service or in air raids in England. The scarcity of tea in particular is remembered; the ration was reduced to half an ounce from January 1942, it could be obtained on the black market in Bantry for £1 a lb.  The newspapers of the time also refer to a ‘tobacco and cigarette famine’. The late Bob Spillane, Ballycomane recalls that you were very lucky if you or 5 ‘shirleys’ (cigarettes) from the local shop. Times were hard and many would have had great difficulty but for credit advanced by shopkeepers such as Jackie Cronin and Chrissie O’Sullivan (Mrs. Leahy).  There was extreme hardship in the Kilcrohane district from the 1930s.  Timothy O’Donovan of Gloun who did well in the stock market and later in pubs in New York used to spend a few months back each summer.  Just before he left he would clear the slate in O’Mahonys shop of those without the means  of doing so.

Jacky Cronin used to go to Cork with a truckload of pigs and return with fresh bread.  He was from the Cove, Kealties and was one of the first entrepreneurs in Durrus, he later had two trucks (technically they were in the ownership of his mother Bridget who had a store at the Cove) and built a hardware store and mill opposite Driscoll’s garage.  There are now houses on the site.  He married Anna Barry, daughter of PJ Barry who ran the pub.  His son Kevin started the Durrus Ironworks Company. In this era, Bernie O’Leary showed films in the village hall once or twice a week.   

1824  Evidence of Father Collins, Parish Priest, Skibbereen (Later Dr. Collins, Bishop of Ross) to the Select Committee, House of Commons. London on Dire Condition in Skibbereen.  1822 6,000 paupers in Skibbereen.  1825 Evidence of John O’Driscoll, Barrister,  of Conditions in Dunmanway and Clonakilty.


1824  Evidence of Father Collins, Parish Priest, Skibbereen (Later Dr. Collins, Bishop of Ross) to the Select Committee, House of Commons. London on Dire Condition in Skibbereen.  1822 6,000 paupers in Skibbereen.  1825 Evidence of John O’Driscoll, Barrister,  of Conditions in Dunmanway and Clonakilty.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yrWYKC3a42fImfhKmwMLDxwjxNlzrqL6r5P8hiokp8E/edit

1841, West Cork  density,  comparable to China, Haita, India and Rwanda.

1841, population density.  This map is taken from The Atlas of the Irish Famine, John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy, Cork University Press 2012.  The population density of the populated areas is calculated by excluding mountain, lake and bog.  The result is a density comparable to China, India and Haiti.

Scan 289

..

For other areas scroll around page 220:

http://www.dippam.ac.uk/eppi/documents/21220/page/591138

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 11.19.00

A Forgotten Patriot, James Creed Meredith, 1875–1942, Supreme Court Justice. Bowl Player in Timoleague in His Youth, His Parents Marriage Match Made in West Cork.


A Forgotten Patriot, James Creed Meredith, 1875–1942, Supreme Court Justice. Bowl Player in Timoleague in His Youth, His Parent Marriage Match Made in West Cork.

Slan agus Slainte Pat

.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OgzWpMpW9NXKTcLxfm67iya96rVpXvA7uS04vEuKClQ/edit#

1939 Impressive Funeral of John O’Hea, Kilbrittain, Travelling Representative of West Cork Bottling Company. 1939 Death of William Morris Leap Only One of 11 Children to Remain in Ancestral Home Place, 5 Brothers Doctors. Claim of Ancestry to General Wolfe of The Siege Quebec Probably Wrong.  He is probably from the old Catholic Wolfe family of Limerick, one branch converted because of the Penal Laws.  The West Cork Wolfes Originate in the West Country of England.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aM415Ptyp7zdZn8FiNqM9Z6FZFjNPGYL8cBJgyL-fWI/edit

Funerals Bandon, Bantry, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Schull, Drimoleague, Dunmanway, Areas, 1634-1958

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A8vkAzsRVEhpiP2EOryWiYcEryJw0ic4DmnKe6vZEqI/edit

1939 Compulsory Purchase Order for Labourers Cottages, Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Schull, Skibbereen


1939 Compulsory Purchase Order for Labourers Cottages, Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Schull, Skibbereen

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_ILHSqeHEy4Kq4U_Ts3Dz_1MVIXaFUF-WuEi55rWTwI/edit

Conditions for housing for labourers wee appalling.

Eldon Potter, (1836-1906).  A Sterling Irishman’, Skibbereen Eagle, An Eye on the Tsar.   Sir John Gorst, M.P., Royal  Commissioner on Labour,   Aughadown, 1891

Eldon Potter, (1836-1906). businessman, editor and later owner of the paper commonly called the Skibbereen Eagle.  In 1891 he hosted Sir John Gorst in a historic  fact finding mission to West Cork and reported extensively.  There are harrowing descriptions of distress, absolute poverty and hopefulness.  In a sense for the poorer classes the ripple effect of the Famine lingered well into the 1890s with periodic partial crop failure agricultural depression.  It was not confined to just Catholics there  were many poor Protestants  in the districts west of Skibbereen.

Conversely post famine there was significant consolidation of farms holdings,  the commercial development of the towns.  This is a reflection in the rising number of readers of the Skibbereen Eagle and  the range of advertising of goods and services.

Potter was fiercely independent. Perhaps a legacy of his father being a United irishman.  A Patriot in Jonathan Swift’s description as one who grew 2 blades of grass where 1 grew before.  His enormous funeral is a testament to the respect he commanded from all walks of life regardless of politics or religion.

. https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/39127

From around the 1890s there were moves to provide labourer cottages. The plots seem to be between an acre and a half. These over were generally resisted by the farmers who saw the loss of good land and felt the the compensation offered was never adequate.

The houses but from the 1930s seem to have been fairly robust but with the extensive use of sea sand they were prone to dampness.

The schedules give the land owners

The Clonakilty of 1824. Over 10,000 Employed in the Linen Industry. Clothiers, Flax, Linen, Textiles, Weaving, West Cork


The Clonakilty of 1824. Over 10,000 Employed in the Linen Industry. Clothiers, Flax, Linen, Textiles, Weaving, West Cork

.

Dr. Ellman is the Englishman referred to : 1822 Dr John Richard Elmore Doctor. Military Surgeon served under Wellington. English born. Reinstatement of Deasy supported by Dr John Richard Elmore, Clonakilty. 1822 with Dr. Elmore seeking Chief Secretary; support for harbour works for poor relief at Ring. 1810 renting from Earl of Shannon, r at Cahiers… Callnan family hereditary Physicians to the McCarthy Riabhachs, 1798 in West Cork, Dr. John Richard Elmore owner of largest Linen Mill in Munster in Clonakilty 1820s and Dr. William and Albert Callnan, Clonakilty. CSO/RP/1822/3334. Letter from James Molony, Richard Deasy and John Richard Elmore, charitable committee room, Clonakilty, County Cork, members of the charitable committee of Clonakilty, to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, emphasising the need to improve the harbour at Clonakilty, for the benefit of shipping, commerce and agriculture. Requests funds to assist them in their plans to construct a pier at the entrance to Clonakilty harbour, and a quay at Carrogronemore [Curraghgrane More] point, connected to Clonakilty by a new road, 15 July 1822. Also letter from merchants, traders and other inhabitants of Clonakilty, to Chief Secretary’s Office, Dublin Castle, concerning the problems raised [by Dublin Castle], in respect to the request for funds to construct a quay on Curraghgrane More, the land in question being church property. Signed by 30 individuals [August 1822]. William Callanan’s daughter, Mary Anne, married Dr John Richard Elmore, who took up residence in the Callanan home in Scartagh in 1815. His income from his medical practice was not great. But he set up the largest linen factory in Munster in Clonakilty ‘near Mill Street’ and was one of the most prominent figures in the efforts to promote the economic prosperity of the area. He was one of a small minority of Englishmen who have been sensitive to the needs of Ireland and he courageously defended the good name of his adopted country. His wife died in 1827 and he himself was declared bankrupt in 1828. He then went to London CSO/RP/1822/3097. Chief Secretary’s Office. Letter from Dr John Richard Elmore, Clonakilty, County Cork, to Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary, Dublin Castle, expressing disappointment at news that a local magistrate, Richard Deasy, has been stripped of his commission of the peace. Requests that he be reinstated, emphasising his good conduct and noting that ‘he differs in Faith from me, he is a Catholic but this Society does not contain one man more fit to discharge official duties’. Complains of the conduct of 3 other local magistrates who have retained their commissions

Clothiers, Flax, Linen, Textiles, Weaving, West Cork

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1u0vIz1nxG34pJua7qC7jtTCKWLjwVY81jSl0usPdojk/edit

1937. Danno Does it On Beamish


Danno O’Mahony, World Wrestling Champion from Dreenlomane (Doirín na Lomán: Little Oakwood), Ballydehob, in Skibbereen, West Cork, July 1936

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/35844

Woulfe Family of West Cork , 1720-1998, 10 Generations, Descendant, Danno O’Mahony World Wrestling Champion.

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/28983

Danno Mahony, World Wrestling Champion, July 1936, Triumphal Homecoming to Ballydehob, West Cork with Brother and Sister, Undefeated after 154 Wrestling Matches, 800,000 Spectators, Gates of over $2 million

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/16055

Shebeen Dances. 1936 Solicitor Jasper Wolfe Attacks Pseudo-Virtuous Acts of Parliament. Charge of A Breach of Dance Hall Acts by Denis McCarthy, Bookmaker, Kilcrohane of having a Dance in His House. Dismissed by Justice.


Shebeen Dances. 1936 Solicitor Jasper Wolfe Attacks Pseudo-Virtuous Acts of Parliament. Charge of A Breach of Dance Hall Acts by Denis McCarthy, Bookmaker, Kilcrohane of having a Dance in His House. Dismissed by Justice.

..

.

.

.

.

..

1884, 1917 Jasper Travers Wolfe Solicitor, Crown Solicitor, TD “Norton, Skibbereen, 1st place Law Society Final Exam, Director Skibbereen Eagle member Governing Body, UCC. subscriber Zenith Marine Disaster, Baltimore, 1895. 1895 Funeral and wreath of Bantry Solicitor Daniel O’Donovan aged 26. Native Skibbereen:Returning officer west Cork constituency elcction agent James Gilhooley MP. 1906 consortium Richard Wheeler Doherty, Solicitor, Bandon, John Walsh, businessman, director Allmans Distillery, Bandon, Hugo Flinn, Fish buyer, Cork, Jasper Travers Woulfe, solicitor, Skibbereen, took over Skibbereen Eagle on death of previous owner. Funeral of 1897, Michael O’Driscoll, Castlehaven South buried Baltimore 1909 attending the funeral of Dr. William Jennings, J.P. 1914 RDC electin nominated by Parish Priest Fr..Michael O’Callaghan. 1935 funeral of Dr.Edward Shipsey, Schull. 1937 attending Ned Roycroft, funeral. Roycroft had nominated him and supported him as TD, ” “M Minnie elder d of George George Levis Vickery 2 daughters, grandson wrote biography. 1904 funeral of Daniel O’Donovan, Solicitor and Land Owner, Skibbereen. Funeral attending 1920 June 1920 the Black adn Tans/RIC murderd Connie Crowley a 2 year oldcripple and burned bususness premises, he went to Banatry to try an calm matters Edward Ederton Leigh White, died age 44 Bantry House. Fled to Enhland after IRAthreats April 1922 returned months later. Later received £3,00 from a calim of £7,670 for injuly to is business adn loss of income from the loss of his office for IGC. Letter to Eoin O’Mahony from Jasper Travers Wolfe, solicitor, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, regarding the Dail motion to remove Judge Edward McElligott from office, 1941 May 5. 1932, attending funeral of Michael Harrington, Merchant, Skibbereen ” “Jasper Travers Wolfe was born in 1872, the third of nine children of William John Wolfe, a Methodist shopkeeper and his wife Rachel Wood. He was educated at the Bishop’s School, Skibbereen and passed the Law Society preliminary exam in 1888. Indentured in the practice of Thomas Downes, he obtained first place in his final exams, was awarded a gold medal and the Findlater Scholarship and admitted as a solicitor in 1893. His father died in 1894 after a long illness and Jasper established J. Travers Wolfe & Co. shortly after, quickly establishing himself as an expert in land law. ” 1893, attending funeral of Michael Sheehy, T. C., P.L.G., Skibbereen. 1899, attending funeral of R. H. Townshend, J.P., Myross Wood, Leap. 1915, attending funeral of Patrick J. Hurley, solicitor, Drimoleague. 1939 Funeral of Dr. John G. Cullinane, Clonakilty. 1935 funeral Bantry Charles Swaine, merchant director Biggs and Co. 1938, attending Funeral of Father John Sheehy, (1892-1938), Curate. Courtmacsherry, of the Prominent Skibbereen Family, his Father County Councillor, One Time TD, Mass Celebrated by 100 Priests, Telegrams, Mass Cards.

1936 Cork County Committee for Agriculture Scholarships for Women. ( from West Cork 9 in the First 10 Places.) If you Want a Good Housekeeper go to West Cork (Laughter). It is Hoped that when these Girls Marry They Will Marry in West Cork.


1936 Cork County Committee for Agriculture Scholarships for Women. ( from West Cork 9 in the First 10 Places.) If you Want a Good Housekeeper go to West Cork (Laughter). It is Hoped that when these Girls Marry They Will Marry in West Cork.

..

..

..

..

..

1936 Dunmanway Methodist Centenary Celebrations.  Zachariah Yewdell 1783.  1811 Diaries of Rev. Thomas Waugh.  Gideon Yousley 1837.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HprKL7aIG3SRl6gVOOUsHwFFpCf4uALNVaXXu37Q5ic/edit

1936 Dunmanway Methodist Centenary Celebrations.  Zachariah Yewdell 1783.  1811 Diaries of Rev. Thomas Waugh.  Gideon Yousley 1837.

1936 Dunmanway Methodist Centenary Celebrations.  Zachariah Yewdell 1783.  1811 Diaries of Rev. Thomas Waugh.  Gideon Yousley 1837.

..

Dinnseanchas. The Naming of Houses After the Homeplace, Richard Wright, Clonakilty, ‘Carbery’, Glenageary, Methodist Rev. Earnest Donovan, Foronaught, Myross, Sandycove, Dublin, Richard Townsend ‘Dunbeacon’, Horton Australia. Also include Van Morrison on Belfast. Rooska Australia a Vickery house from Rooska, Bantry

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/38363

Bantry

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/39203

1891 Death James (‘The Governor’) Hutchinson Swanton (1815-1891), Rineen Skibbereen, Carrisbrook House, Dublin (Mentioned in James Joyce Ulysses), Memoir of William Feckman and West Cork Methodist References.

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/37677

1799, Methodist Rev. Averill, Tour, Bandon, Benour, Dunmanway, Glandore, Castletownshend, Skibbereen, Baltimore, Adrallagh, Aughadown, his assistant Preaching in Irish at Ballydehob, Altar, in a Little Cabin, 30 Protestants Piteous, Clothed in Rags, Rooska probably Vickeries, Bantry.

https://wordpress.com/post/durrushistory.com/36202