Friday, February 12, 2010

Profile of Mrs. Margaret Doyle

Photo of Margaret (on right) taken on October 26, 1968 with her sister, Katie O’Byrne, on left and her sister-in-law, Nan McGee, in the centre

This month our team visited one of our well-known ladies in the parish, Mrs. Margaret Doyle (nee McGee) of Ivy House. She was born in Bishophill in 1904 and attended Ballymore National School until she was 14 years of age. Lord Roberts was the teacher at that time, and the earliest priest she can remember was Father McCarthy. The Church floor as she recalls was made up of 2 ft. square slabs. When Canon Curran died, he left a sum of money to the Archbishop of Dublin, and some of this money was returned to the parish for a new floor.

She recalls her father curing pigs in the yard and McGee's bacon was well known. In her day, knitting socks for the British Soldiers was an enforced rule for schoolgirls. She was 12 years old at the time of the 1916 rising, which came in the midst of the 1914 -1918 War. She remembers Redmond's Volunteer's drilling in what we know today as, St. Brigid's Park. With the coming of the "Big 'Flu" in the following years, the death toll was great. Many of her closest friends were victims.

Margaret was one of the youngest to join Cuman Na mBan. Other members who joined with her were Bridie Nugent, Margaret Whelan, Brigid Miley, Elizabeth Doran and Agnes McGrath. She said she would never forget the morning her brother Paddy was arrested by the British Army and taken to Hair Park - the first internment camp on the Curragh – and later transferred to Roath Camp. On visiting various prisoners, smuggling was part of her game; on one occasion, she managed to get in a bottle of Whiskey to Nicholas Toomey of Ballysize!

Food was scarce and she remembers selling eggs for 5/ - a dozen. She married John Doyle in 1930, who was lucky to have a job in Dublin that paid 30/- per week. In 1933, they moved into Ivy House, her present home. Here she farmed for many years with her husband and together they built the first dairy in the area. She sold milk to all the people in the village and many of them also bought a turnip or two for a penny. One of our team can remember getting his can of milk in the mornings over 25 years ago. When milk was plentiful her homemade butter was much in demand.

She remembers the first gardai in Ballymore staying in the old Factory, as the Barracks was damaged as was the Court House (now Greg Byrne's Garage). The streets were in a terrible state and on Fair Days, on the first Tuesday of every month, the people put boxes outside their doors to keep the cattle and dirt away. She remembers Padraig 0'Connaire, the famous poet strolling down Bishophill smoking his pipe. He lived in the back lodge at Russborough. She recalls the second Parochial House, where our new P.P. now resides, being donated by Keoghs of Lugadowden.

Conditions improved all around with the coming of the E.S.B. in 1939. The Poulaphuca scheme then got under way giving more employment to the locals. The pubs never closed while the job lasted. The locals hadn't time to sow their gardens.

When asked for her opinion on her life, and times, she said, "instead of fighting for Ireland people should get out and work for it". To her the biggest disappointment was the closing of the woollen factory in the mid-twenties.

She says that she never travelled herself but her children went everywhere. She said that "young people of today are too well off and don't appreciate anything. Give me a book anytime instead of television. People don't read enough". This woman has worked hard all her life and is still content to do so. She has seen the two sides of life.

(Ballymore Echo August 1977)

Jack and Margaret were big figures in the Ballymore Eustace of my growing up years. Here we all got our milk. Jack died on October 21, 1969 aged 68 while Margaret died on October 22, 1987, aged 83. Their family consisted of one boy and six girls namely the late Jim, Kathleen, Joan, Clare, Gay, Ann and the late Patricia.

Margaret loved and never forgot her grandchildren and always remembered to give them presents on special occasions.

I gather Padraig O'Conaire lived for about six months (about 1921) in Dragoon Hill in John Farrington's house, which was owned by Dinny Farrington when Hollywood published its history in 1990. In response to my recent query regarding Peader Kearney, Clare Doyle told me that Padraig O’Conaire once lived at Bishopland where the late Paddy Monaghan lived.

© Matt Purcell (December 8, 2009)

Matt’s Memories


The Anniversaries for the weekend of September 27 included Maisie Deegan (mother of the Deegans of Oliver Plunkett Road), Paddy Clarke (Foylaree), John O’Brien (Horsepasstown – for many years Jack was one of our Postmen), Mary Murphy (Coughlanstown – Mary was the wife of the late John and lived where Johnny now lives), Tom and Ellen Slattery, Peter Flanagan (Peter was very much involved in our CDA), Daniel Finn and Paddy McGlynn (Month’s Mind).

On the weekend of October 25, the following were remembered: Kathleen Grace (wife of the late Mick of Ballybough); Michael O’Sullivan; Patrick Corrigan; Alice Flood; Mona Nugent (Month’s Mind), Patrick Wolfe (Paddy was in England for a long time, returning home he worked with Kildare County Council and he was our Sacristan); Tom Marshall (like Paddy, Tom was in England for a long time before retiring and returning to Ireland); Madge Bowden and Thomas and Catherine Lawlor.

Ullard Cottages Dog Kennels
Aisling Redmond, daughter of George Redmond, runs a dog kennels just outside Monasterevin. While I knew George for a long time, I only discovered Aisling’s interest in dogs recently.

Who Was He?

For twenty minutes or so he stood around Ballymore Eustace and nobody knew him. That’s not quite correct; Ann Burke (Ann McGuire – to use her married name) recognised him. Claire Doyle also recognised him. Eventually he joined our group consisting of my brother James, Pat and Olive Hilliard, John O’Donnell (Moone) and myself and I called him Jackie. It wasn’t actually Jackie, but his brother, Declan. Declan is the second youngest of the Byrne family and has lived outside Ballymore Eustace for a long time now. He was an excellent musician and a dental technician. Recently, Jackie visited family in America. On a more serious note, Declan had a quadruple bye-pass a few years ago but despite that, he was looking very well but has given up playing music.


Cecil O’Neill works with Martin Kelleher of Kelleher Trees. Cecil was the youngest of the late Arthur O’Neill’s nine children. Because of Martin’s involvement in hurling, I assumed he had Kilkenny roots only to discover he had, in fact, Cork connections.

The People I meet….

Recently I met Mark Doyle for the first time since his wife, Maureen died. I saw a familiar couple at Mass recently but just couldn’t place them. Afterwards the couple came over to me and the lady kindly said her name was Betty and straightaway, I realised I was talking to Betty Nugent and her German husband who were attending the Month’s Mind of Betty’s mother, Mona. Betty had a lovely verse in the November Bugle in memory of Mona.

Harvest Festival

Everyone was loud in their praise of Mary Campbell and her team of helpers for the great job they did to the Catholic Church for the Harvest Festival on October 24 and 25.
On the same weekend, Claire Doyle and her sister Gay, were busy collecting for REHAB at the Church Gate.


In a recent article on The Embankment I referred to Mick McCarthy whom it seems hailed from Listowel as the Radio Programme “Bowman” on Sunday October 4 interviewed Mick’s brother in a dedicated programme to Brian McMahon, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Brian’s birth. (Brian lived to be 89).


Kieran Pyne, Senior Executive Solicitor with South Dublin County Council, received a Presentation on October 8 to mark his retirement, which took place on September 4. Adrian O’Gorman, the Law Agent with South Dublin County Council, received a Presentation on October 28 to mark his retirement.

One To One

Watched the One To One TV Programme on October 19 in which Mary Wilson interviewed the writer, Joseph O’Connor. Joseph is a brother of the singer, Sinead. His best-known work is called “Star of the Sea”, a book I haven’t got around to reading yet.


Al Byrne who was a Broadcaster in Canada died recently and I recall him being interviewed by Marion Finucane a while ago. Al was the eldest brother of Gay who compered the “Late, Late Show” for so long.

Johnny Murray of Wexford and late of Ardenode died on November 12, 2009 aged 87 R.I.P. Johnny was a bookmaker and spent most of his life in Ballymore Eustace. His wife Kitty, his family, grandchildren and relatives survive Johnny. Johnny’s remains are interred in Hollywood Cemetery.

Johnny was a good hardball player and contemporary of Bobby Grattan, late Jim Bolger, late Bill Lawlor, Liam Evans and late Paddy Monaghan. Those I met at Johnny’s funeral included John Lynam who took over from the Murrays at Ardenode and Dinny Toomey and his wife both of who used to help out at the Ardenode.

Ballymore Eustace Market House

When was the Ballymore Eustace Market House demolished and by whom?

Christmas 2009

With Christmas 2009 approaching, I would like to wish all the best for the festive season to our readers and I would like to thank all those who helped me with my articles during the past year.

© Matt Purcell (December 8, 2009)

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