Roaringwater Journal

Commemorative plaque in SkibbereenCommemorative plaque in Skibbereen

Wandering around Skibbereen, I came across a plaque on a once-imposing pink building – it showed two women, the Clerke sisters, who had grown up in the house. Intrigued, I searched for more information and what I found astonished me.

Agnes, Ellen and Aubrey Clerke, the offspring of John Clerke (who managed the bank located on the ground floor) and Mary Deasy, were all brilliant, scholarly and published writers, each in their own fields. The Clerke (Protestant) and the Deasy (Catholic) families had long and solid histories in West Cork and lived through the awful famine period of Skibbereen during which they were said to be benevolent (see Paddy Leahy’s piece in The Journal of the Skibbereen and District Historical Society, Vol 7, 2011 for more on John and Mary). John had been educated in Trinity and the children grew up in the 1840s and 50s…

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