School Folklore Project 1937-8, Durrus, Co. Cork, Schools Church of Ireland, Catholic.,+Co.+Cork/@51.6213795,-9.53497,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x48459fce5a16b103:0x95e1055fb310a27b,+Co.+Cork/@51.6217107,-9.521993,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48459fe7ccd270df:0x231e3744ac95441a

Part of the collection has now gone online the rest in phases will happen. The collection is the most extensive in the world. In the 1960s it was housed in poor quality accommodation. It was at risk of loss due to fire or other hazards. Dr. Ken Whittaker was instrumental in having the collection relocated to UCD, another debt we collectively owe him.

The collection from St. James in particular are fascinating. The principal Liám Blennerhassett, from Tralee was a gifted teacher with a great interest in the project. Only a proportion of that collected was used. The main collector Sarah Dukelow is alive and well and still very interested in all matters historical (December 2014).

Gortnagrough Folklore Project, Ballydehob:
Held in UCD some digitalized more to come:

From the children accounts in the folklore project 1937-8, Durrus schools (St. James, Carrigbui, Dunbeacon, Kilcrohane schools, Rosnacaheragh)

School Folklore Collection Durrus 1937


Charles Dennis, died 1961 aged 82 years

Oh! Durrus, you were often fleeced,

In the good old days gone by

And only for Mr. MacManaway

You should lie down and die

He’s out to help industry

Give every man fair play,

His enterprising capitalist

Will surely win the day

(He can use a pick and shovel

As any man desired,

To hear him preach on Sunday

You think he was inspired)

His latest stunt is to build a road

Through the fair valley of Coomkeen

It starts at Crocawadra

An ends in Gearameen

(Tis a very hilly country

Often fed a horny ram

Where myself and Mick the postman

Often ate our badger ham)

We’ll make of him a Bishop

And that without a doubt,

And he’ll remove the Border,

Between North and South.

There are two versions of this poem from Carrigboy and St James’s school and they have been unified here. More of his works are in the Paddy O’Keeffe papers.


T.J. McManaway (Johnny), BA Trinity 1909, MA 1918, served in WW1, Legion of Honour, 1931-1938, his previous parish was Eyrecourt, Galway.  Instrumental in establishing the Creamery in Durrus, 1934, later Kilcrohane.  He is commemorated in a poem by Charlie Dennis for his work in getting the road from Coomkeen to the North side started. There was surprise when he canvassed the new Fianna Fail government to promote this road.  When it was build it enabled farmers on the north side to come to Durrus creamery.  He had the National School built, the first new Church of Ireland School at the time since the foundation of the Free State.  Theologically he was against ‘mixed marriages’ and preached to this effect. He worked to improve agriculture active in the Show Committee which revived the Agricultural Show and is credited with introducing Golden Wonder potatoes to the district  which were called at the time ‘McManaways’  Made a Canon in 1943.  He was heavily involved in 1940 in establishing the creamery in Dunmanway.

Charles Daly, known as Carolas Mor, Kilcrohane.

Jerry Day, hedge school master, Ardahill, Kilcrohane, songs, ‘Blairs Cove and O’Donovan’s Cove’.

Cronin ex-National Teacher, Ahakista, dismissed for fenian Activities

Batt the Fiddler

1880s born Gloundala, Dunmanway an old lame man who played the concertina, wrote a satire on Fr. Kearney, the curate in Kilcrohane later Parish Priest of Durrus.  Fr. Kearney (from Manch by the River Bandon) was very anti-dancing Batt played the concertina at cross roads and Fr. Kearney condemned Batt from the altar.

And like wise Father Kearney

I don’t want to praise you failte

For I played in Muintir Baire

Before you knew your creed.

Another version is given in ‘Under the Shadow of Seefin’

‘Well as for Fr. Kearney, I don’t wish him good or harmy,

I was playing in Muintir Varra before he knew the creed,

Tis well I know his father, he lived by the Bandon water

And his second eldest daughter ran away with Luther’s breed’

Youthful Mary Minihan, Coomkeen, poetry Jim Driscoll, Dunbeacon, poetry

Story-tellers, Mr. E. Driscoll and Mr. T. Burke of Dreenlomane

Rev Michael Kearney P.P. 1835-1897, attended Diocesan College Cork and Maynooth from a substantial farming family in Manch, Dunmanway, Durrus 9 Feb.1886-1897 built new church Kilcrohane 1895. The Skibbereen Eagle reported in September 1865 on his move as a curate from Kilcrohane to Inchigeela that his move was universally regretted by all denominations. He preached in Irish. He bought or rented Durrus Court from Lord Bandon.   He features in some of the Ballydehob Presentments for road building at Rossmore with Thomas Shannon in May 1896 and appeared before the Bantry Poor Law Guardians appealing for relief for a blind evicted tenant in Kilcrohane. He is reputed to have been a major purchaser of land on his own account and there are a number of properties in Rossmore and Brahalish listed in the 1901 Census as being owned by William Kearney, Manch, his brother.   One of these are lands (25 acres held yearly from the Bandon Estate) at Rossmore which he acquired by mortgage from Mary Evans of £88 5s in 1887.  She acquired the interest from her late husband William and paid off another mortgage in favour of George Rawlings, shopkeeper, Bantry and it is possible that Fr. Kearney advanced the money for this.

William Kearney also owned Cummer farm which was put up for auction in 1898 and consisted of 250 acres with 80 good acres and yielding 31/2 tons of hay to the acre.  He acquired Durrus Court and various lands from the Earl of Bandon in 1894 by way of lease for 99 years from 29th Sept 1894 at a rent of £25 he died on the 2nd July 1897 and let his interest to his successor Parish Priest of Durrus Daniel Foley he in turn assigned his interest to his successor Timothy O’Leary.  On his death the Bantry Poor Law Guardians adjourned for a week

In a court case in Bantry June 1908 arising from the burning of hay ricks belonging to his brother William, who gave evidence that he had acquired two farms (one at Gearameen one at Rossmore, the lands on which the hay ricks were had been acquired from Mr Moss and were near the village) from his brother Michael in his will.  One at Gerahameen his brother had acquired from the Evans family and he had made provision for Evan’s daughter in his will, however when William Kearney tried to sell that farm the child’s grandfather O’Connell turned up and said he had no right to sell and there were no bids, the implication was the grandfather considered that Father Kearney’s acquisition may have been improper.

He appears in the folklore of Coomhola as collecting money for church building.  He died in the Mercy Hospital in Cork and the funeral leaving Bantry was described as one of the largest seen in years with a cortège over a mile and a half to Kilcrohane and 159 vehicles.  The contents of his house in Durrus Court were auctioned off the following month.  

Local Heroes (as recorded by the children), some of the athletes mentioned appear in newspaper accounts of meetings in Durrus in the early 1890s

Brothers Thomas and Robert Shannon, Brahalish, threw 7lb weight 80 feet

Denis Sullivan, Durrus, straightened the half hundredweight in one hand, to lift a half tierce above his head and walk up and down the street with it

Thomas Hurley, Durrus, lifted with one hand a chair holding a man weighing 14 stone

Big Will Sullivan (unbeaten in his time threw the 7lb weight 85 feet)

Humphrey Lynch, Aghoheen, jumper reputed to be able to clear 10 feet.

Denis Lynch of Gouladoo (his throw of the half hundredweight for 25 feet was unequalled) weight throwers and bowlers

Peter Cary reputed to have walked from Bantry to Kealties with 140 lb. meal on his back

Rev. Levis, Rector of Durrus, ran 30 miles in the Cork Cross Country

Ned Atteridge and Bill Sullivan for running Whelly, Coomkeen., ran down a fresh hare

Denis Sullivan, Gearameen, caught three wild goats in one day

Thomas Dukelow, Gearameen, ran a fox down Skuce (lived mid 19th.century)

Frank Allen, Mick Kennedy, Thomas Dukelow, swam 2 miles

A man called Ferguson used to leap the pound wall on a hunter in the late 19th. Century (Probably Thomas Ferguson, Clashadoo, farm goes on marriage to Skuse, Dukelow purchase to Mike Hegarty, John McCarthy, pound for distraining animals for non payment of rent))

Dan Donovan a dwarf won a ‘bet’ between Three Castle Head and Sheep’s Head in the hop, skip and jump and the high jump.

Daniel Coughlan never beaten in the mile run except by a black horny goat

Daniel O’Mahony, of Dreenlomane weight thrower and jumper in both the long and high jump, won prizes in Cork and elsewhere.  His landlord boasted of his strength.  Danno O’Mahony was from this family Keohane from Caheragh famous weight thrower

Mowers were Ned Roycroft of Cove the most he mowed was 1.5 acres in one day.  Mr T. Burke and Mr. E. Driscoll could mow 2 aces in one day, Tim Sullivan mow an acre a day.

A speedy walker was Lawrence Griffin, he lived in ‘sGeash an Oir’ (Skeanore)  in Ballydehob. Prizes of a half sack of flour were offered for speedy walkers.

Mr. M. Mahony a great dancer from Rathravane,  was taught by an old dancing master in Ballydehob. He won medals at Feiseanna his favourite steps were Irish reels, hornpipes and jigs.  Others dancers were Michael Kelleher and John Goggin (little John) both of Glaun.

Timothy O’Driscoll from Dunmanus able to take a bag of flour for a long distance.



George T. Levis, 1902-1924, a native of Union Hall, BA Trinity 1892, ordained 1893, he married Sarah May Connolly daughter of Rev Quarry Connolly in Macroom in September 1902.  He was an athlete and cross country running champion, and brother of the GP Dr Levis.  He died in 1945 in retirement in Coachford..  His father was a popular landlord and one brother, F J was a solicitor in Cork and Thomas an auctioneer in Bandon.  Retired as Canon Levis.  1902. May 28. GEORGE THOMAS LEVIS, R. Durrus and Kilcrohane, per mortem Pratt. Instituted, loth June, by the Lord Bishop, in Durrus Church. George Thomas Levis, b. at Myross Cottage, Union Hall, Co. Cork, 17th May, 1866, fifth son of George S. Levis, of Kilbrogan Place, Bandon, by his wife, Martha, dau. of the late John Wood, of Famivane House, Bandon, and grandson of the late Samuel Levis of Glenview House, Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Educated privately. Entered T.C.D. 1889, B.A., June, 1892 j Div. Test., June, 1893. Ordained Deacon, December, 1892, and Priest, December, 1893, both at Cork. Curate of Macroom, 1892 to 1902. He married, on 3rd September, 1902, Sara May, younger dau. of the Rev. John Quarry Conolly, M.A., Rector of Macroom.

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