Knockarasser's Sean Ó Conghaile/John Conneely
Mo Scéal Féin/My life Story
John Conneely 30/08/2017
My name is John Conneely, I was born in the village of Knockarasser/Cnoc ar Easair) Moycullen to parents Peter and Julia Conneely (nee McDonagh).
My father was a big man and stood 6ft. 4in. tall. He played football on the Moycullen team. He played the accordion, Uilleann pipes and loved to sing. He was a fluent Irish speaker and had a huge interest in reading, geography, and politics. When he was 21 years old he immigrated to Boston, Ma. on April 8th. 1914. His two paternal uncles, Pat and James lived there. He later travelled to Chicago and worked for the American Express Company, driving Clydesdale horses. After his father William became ill he returned home on the Cunard Line and became friends with Mr. Cunard who offered him a job but he declined.
On February 27th. 1929 he married his neighbour, Julia McDonagh. His brother Seamus was best man and Maggie McDonagh was the bridesmaid. Coincidentally his brothers Pat and Mick got married the same year. He demolished the old house and built the new one on the old foundation. The house was a standard two story and was built with the assistance of Martin Dan and Watt Geraghty, Andy and Watt McDonagh and Martin Feeney. Uncle Seamus helped with the carpentry work that is still good up to the present day. He was very much involved in community affairs. Very few people owned cars in the 1920’s. The mode of transportation was the horse and cart. He would ride a saddled horse, drive a pony, and trap to Mass and to social events.
In the 1940’s the Galway County Council wanted to black top, or tar, the gravel roads. He was very much opposed to this as he felt horses would not have a good enough grip on the road and would slip and fall as the icy Winter roads would be treacherous. He held meetings with the neighbours who agreed with him. He then represented the neighbours with Fintan Coogan, TD and members of the Galway County Council. They accepted his position and agreed not to black top or tar the roads at that time. However, as time went by all the roads in the area have since been tarred.
He became ill in 1944, gained a lot of weight and developed high blood pressure and was hospitalized a few times. Medicine was not advanced enough in those days to care for his condition so he died at the very young age of 56 in 1949 surrounded by our mother and close friends. He is buried in the Moycullen Churchyard.
I was only 14 years old when my father died in 1949. R.I.P. I do have very fond memories of him up to the time that he left us. My mother became a young widow at 43 years of age. She carried an enormous responsibility; seven children to raise and a farm to run. She worked both inside and outside the house. She baked many loaves of bread every day. She made butter twice a week and sold the surplus at the Galway market on Saturdays. Mom would do her weekly grocery shopping at her aunts, Mrs. Folan’s, family grocery shop in Henry Street. Mrs Folan would always serve tea and biscuits to Mom and to whoever might be with her in town. Mom also knitted socks for all of us.
A few years after my father’s death, Moms Widows Pension was discontinued. The Pension Officer explained that she exceeded the limit of the means test. (Too many live stock on our farm). She solicited help from Uncle Pat in Dublin who was able to restore her Widows Pension. Mom spent her last months in the excellent care of my sister Bridgie in Finisglen. We are forever grateful for the very excellent care she received from Bridgie before she left us. She would so much look forward to and enjoy visits from the Priest in Moycullen that visited her on a regular basis as it gave her a lot of spiritual comfort in the last days of her life. Our Mom died at the good old age of 87 in 1993. R.I.P.
Just like my Dad I do have very fond memories of her for many years before I left home and on many of my return trips home over the years.
After my Dad died our uncle Watt helped a lot on our farm and we are all forever grateful for all he did for us in those years when we needed help. The neighbours too were very helpful to us also. There is one verse from the song:
” A Mother’s Love Is A Blessing” that greatly describes our Mother:
A Mother’s Love’s a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she’s living
You’ll miss her when she’s gone
Love her as in childhood
Though feeble, old, and grey
For you’ll never miss a mother’s love
Till she’s buried beneath the clay
This verse should apply to all Irish mothers.
There were five brothers on my father’s side of the family: Uncle Pat, Seamus (Dublin), Mick and Willie (Chicago). There were two aunts on my father’s side of the family: Aunt Mary Walsh (Moycullen) and Julia McCarty (Chicago). Our Mother’s maiden name was McDonagh and she came from the same village (Knockarasser) as my father. There were five brothers on my mother’s side of the family: Uncle Ned, Pat (Chicago), Johnny, Andy (Moycullen) and Watt (Killannin). There were two aunts on my mother’s side of the family: Aunt Mary Flaherty (Moycullen) and Maggie Patton (Chicago).
There were four girls in our family: Bridgie Faherty R.I.P. (Moycullen) Mary Geraghty (Lucan, Co Dublin) Julia Kellett R.I.P. (London) and Margaret Plunkett (Chicago). There were three brothers in our family: Willie R.I.P. (Moycullen) Jimmie R.I.P. (London and Moycullen) and myself.
There was a Remembrance Ceremony held at the Árus Uilinn in Moycullen on March 27th. 2016 in memory of the men and women from Moycullen area who were involved in, or were victims of Ireland’s struggle for Independence from 1916- 1923. My father, uncles Pat and Mick are on that list with many others.
Life on the Farm
We lived on a farm in Knockarasser. We reared livestock: cows, cattle, sheep, pigs, hens, ducks, and geese. (No turkeys). We had a brown Connemara pony in my early years and later Willie had a horse. We ploughed the land, sowed our own potato’s, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, oats and harvested the hay and corn in the fall of the year. In the fall of the year there was always a lot of excitement when the Threshing Machine came to the village to trash the oats, as all the neighbours would all help and go from house to house until the whole village was complete. The song: “The Old Threshing Mill” does a very good job in explaining the custom on how the farmers got together for the threshing of the corn in the fall of the year. One Summer when our kids were small we visited an American Amish farm in Indiana and the Amish people ploughed and sowed their land as same as we did in Moycullen.
We cut our own turf for the fire and sold some in lorries to families in Galway City and to families beyond the town of Galway. As I had very tender eyes the turf dust used to always bother my eyes a lot. Also in the fall of the year the midges were always a big problem and sometimes inside the house also. We sold the cattle and sheep at the Spiddal and Galway fairs. In later years Willie and Jimmie would transport and sell the cattle at the Athenry mart as this was a much better way rather than having the cattle messing up the streets in Spiddal and Galway. (Little did I know that the girl that I would marry came from Athenry). The pigs we sold at the Moycullen fair. Willie was a very good judge of livestock as he could judge the weight of animals to within a few stone. Jimmie was a good judge of horses at the racetrack but I am sure he lost as much as he won over the years on betting in them. One time I took the pony to the blacksmith in Furbo for shoes, on the way home I rode her very hard and when I got home to our house I discovered she had lost one shoe. I went back to the blacksmith the same day and told him what had happened. To his credit he put on the new shoe at no charge and told me to take it easy going home which I did.
In the early days, there was no electricity in our area (like in many other rural areas of the country) so we used paraffin oil for light in the house. The electricity (ESB) came to our area towards the end of 1950. After Mass in Furbo one Sunday in the early 1950’s, a political candidate from Clifden named Mannion made a promise that if he would be elected (TD) he would see that every house in Connemara would be connected to the ESB. I think as time went by his promise became a reality. In today’s age, the politicians should make a promise and see that Broadband (Internet) be made available to every house in the West of Ireland and in all rural areas of the country.
I attended Loughwell National School. “Loughwell – The Wood of The Elm Trees”: The school was built in 1872 and was replaced by the new school in 1958. During the second World War, the limestone marker was blanked out on the front wall of the school so that if the German soldiers came to the area they would not know where they were. My guess is that this was also done in other parts of the country. The school is about a one mile walk from our house. My teachers were: Sean Donnellan, and Mrs McSweeney and Miss Green. There were two classrooms in the school, one for beginners and one towards the end of your school term. The Irish language was mostly spoken in school. At home, we spoke both Irish and English. The students that that were fluent in Irish would get two (2) pounds per child of Irish money as a form of a government grant. In later years that grant was increased to five (5) pounds. That money was greatly appreciated at the time. Both my parents also went to Loughwell school as this was the original school built in the area.
During the second World War years, up to 1945, Mrs McSweeney would give us the Irish Daily Paper that covered the news on the war to take home to my father to read. After my father had read the paper he would pass it on to Matt Higgins in the village. One time someone asked Matt what news was in the paper and his reply was: “There is a bloody war and an awful killing”. My uncle Willie served with the US army in the second World War in Europe. He came to Ireland on a holiday in 1945 the year the war ended. He stayed at our house for a few days and visited the Loughwell school the day he left to return to Dublin and Germany.
Knockarasser Family History
There were 10 houses in Knockarasser including our house in my time: Martin and Delia Sullivan, Johnny, and Bina McDonagh, Martin (Mossy) McDonagh, Willie and Kitty McDonagh, Matt and Brigid Higgins, Martin, and Peg Geraghty, Watt and Brigid Geraghty, Tom and Julia Connor, John, and Mag Coomer (Mulkerrins).
Over the years the following new houses have been built: Walter and Susan McDonagh, Jackie and Ann McDonagh, Martin McDonagh, Eamon McDonagh, Rosaleen McDonagh, Mary Ann Geraghty, Peter, Patrick, and Joe Geraghty. Another house was also built by Gerald McDonagh on the site of the old McDonagh (Ned) house where our mother was born. Another house was also built by one of the Connor family.
The 2017 Census Records shows a total of 18 households and 46 residents in the village of Knockarasser. Many people have left the village of Knockarasser over the years and it is nice to see that some families have built nice new houses and have stayed in the village.
When I was in London, I got this little momentum of Home that I have at our house that reads: However far we wander, wherever we may roam, our thoughts will still be turning to those we love at Home. Martin Dan Geraghty was the first man in the village to get a car, it was an English Morris. Later, Martin and Dan got a new Bedford truck that they used for haulage in the area. My brother Willie got a Ford 14.9 car that was a big thrill for all of us to ride in at the time. For older cars, spare parts could only be obtained from junked vehicles in those days. (Not like in South America as I will explain later where there are factories in Argentina that manufacture spare parts for older cars).
Moycullen was our parish to go to church but I used to go to Spiddal and Furbo on Sundays and church holidays. The Mass in Spiddal was, and still is, said in Irish as Spiddal is in the Gaeltacht area of Connemara.
Way of life
I bought the first radio for our house while I worked in Galway in 1954. The radio ran on a lead acid battery (same as car batteries) as there was no electricity in the area at that time. The battery had to be charged on a regular basis as it did not hold the charge very long. Later, dry batteries were used that were more practical and easier to handle. Televisions came to most houses in the village when electricity (ESB) became available. There was (and maybe still is) a TV licence fee for any household that have a TV in their house).
On Sundays and holidays the younger crowd from the village (and sometimes Mossy would join us) would hang out on the Tower for fun. The Sears Tower in Chicago was built back in the seventies as the world’s tallest building then. I wonder if the Sears Tower stole the rights to the name of the Tower in Knockarasser.
The game of cards, mostly 25’s was played at Sullivan’s house during the Winter nights. Martin Sullivan was a very strict player when we played and was very good at keeping the count for all players, I think he would have made a very good accountant. The older crowd of lads would hang out on late evenings and at night time at Mossy’s house. One of Mossy’s favourite poems was: “The Shower Of Old Hags That Fell Next Week”. He had many more poems also but they got lost in history as we did not have the hind sight then to record them and I am sorry to say that they are lost for ever. A lot of devilment used to go on at his house but it was all clean fun. We all missed Mossy when he died in 1963.
The stations would be held in every house by rotation in Knockarasser, Knock and Knockalough. The house that held the stations would go to a lot of trouble to have their house nicely decorated and sometimes newly painted for the occasion. In those days, it appears that there was no fast-drying paint available as many people ended up with fresh paint on their clothes from the freshly painted woodwork as the paint had not fully dried. After Confession and Communion, the Priest would be served breakfast first with a nice mixed grill (bacon, sausage, black pudding etc.) and then the others later. The big treat that we all looked forward to being the Chocolate Cake made by Peg (Dan) Geraghty. I think that Peg must have had the recipe for the Chocolate Cake because it always tasted so good. Sometimes a little bit of the Hard Stuff (Mountain Dew) if available would be served to the older generation that was well appreciated on cold Winter mornings. Having the Stations in the houses was a very nice custom in those days as everyone looked forward to the occasion.
Bishop Michael Browne consecrated the new Moycullen Church on the 8th December 1953, on the first day of the Marian Year. I attended the opening ceremony that Sunday by Bishop Brown from Galway. This was one day that I look back on as being very important to the people of Moycullen that attended the opening ceremony event. Since I left home I was only broke once, that was when I was in Dublin. I took a fancy to, and bought, a pair of self-supporting brown slacks in mid-week and had to wait until Friday before I got paid. Looking back now, that was a good experience for me to go through as I realize how people in poverty must feel.
Post Primary School
Spiddal was and still is our district for the Doctor and the Guards (Garda), why this is that way I do not know. After finishing at Loughwell school I went to the Spiddal Technical School for four (4) years . My mode of transportation was on my bicycle, the distance was about five miles. There were two (2) Teachers, Saoirse O’ Conrail, a very fluent Irish speaker and Donal Dempsey from Cork. My favourite subject was the woodwork class that I think I was good at. Over the years here in Chicago I still do some woodwork projects around the House. The Tech. classes were made up of both boys and girls (CO-ED) and everyone got along very well.
I was captain of the Spiddal Tech. school football team while I was there. We played some games in Carraroe and one game in Ballinasloe. The Ballinasloe Tech. had a very good football team and they beat us by ten (10) goals that day. Michael Hehir from Knock was the only Spiddal/Moycullen supporter at the game that day as he worked in Ballinasloe at that time. I was full back on the team when I played but however I would have preferred to have played in the forward line as there is much less pressure playing up front. After the Ballinasloe Game (Loss) I was picked to play on the County Galway Technical Schools football team but I was unable to play as I got sick at the time. The Galway team went on to win the All-Ireland that year so I missed my first All-Ireland medal. During my Spiddal Tech. school years I played on the Spiddal Minor football team. We won a few games and lost some. Back in those days if your team lost in the championship, your team was out for playing any more games that year as there was no leagues at that time. Spiddal had a good junior football team during those years also. Martin Thornton (the Irish heavyweight boxer) played on the Spiddal team at the centre field position. In my last year at the Tech. I took an exam for a carpenter’s apprentice job that I got and worked for six (6) months at the Larry O’Toole’s joiner shop in Henry Street in Galway. My mode of transportation once again was on my bicycle, the distance from home to Galway City was about 8 miles. The front doors on the O’Gorman’s book shop in Shop Street in Galway is made from Teak Wood (this wood is used in ships as it does not rot). The lower panels of both doors are carved in a book form. The last time I checked these doors are still there after all these years. I always had a great love (Grá) for Spiddal as my Grandmother Mary McDonagh, maiden name Thornton came from Spiddal. During my last year at the Spiddal Tech. I got a six (6) week Gaeltacht scholarship to the Rosmuck Tech. that I enjoyed very much. The students came from all over the County Galway and once again we all got along very well. The Rosmuck Tech. was very close to Padraic Pearse’s Cottage. All the classes were held in Irish so I had no problem in that line. While in Rosmuck I met Martin Mannion that also got a job in 1954 with the Irish Post Office Engineering branch in Dublin with me. Martin was a very good footballer and hurler and was on the Dublin minor hurling team that won the 1954 All-Ireland in Croke Park. We both stayed at the same accommodation (DIGS), 159 Caple Street in Dublin. At the time Martin was the first man from Connemara to win an All-Ireland medal in Hurling that was such a great achievement as Rosmuck did not have a hurling team.
During my years at home I would go fishing with Martin Sullivan and Pakey Coomer (Mulkerrins) to the local lakes in Knock. We did not catch very much trout but however we enjoyed going. Occasionally we would run into Mark Hehir from Knock, he seemed to catch many more trout than us as he knew where the good spots were to fish. Fishing to me is like playing golf as one does not have to good at it to enjoy it.
Post Office Electrician
During my last year at the Spiddal Tech. I took an exam in Irish (I got extra bonus points) for the Civil Service for the Post Office Engineering Department. When I was called for the job I left my job at Larry’ O’Toole’ joinery, in Galway and went to work in Dublin as a Trainee Post Office Electrician: Youth In training or Y.I.T. I stayed with uncle Seamus for a few weeks until I moved into my first boarding house accommodation (DIGS) at 159 Caple Street, Dublin where I could walk to the job in O’Connell’s Street. I very much enjoyed my stay in Dublin. I had two (2) uncles living there on my father’s side of the family, uncle Pat and Seamus. I trained in various locations with the Post Office Engineering Department and found the work to be very interesting. I became a Post Office Electrician at the age of 21. In later years that title of Post Office Electrician was changed to a Post Office Technician which is more appropriate for the type of work it entails. One day I was in a house in the Dublin suburbs on a service call, there were three (3) sets of twins (all boys) in that family ranging from ages 4,5 and 6 years old. The poor mother must to have her hands full with her boys.
Life in Dublin
I played on two (2) football teams while I lived in Dublin, the first one the Civil Service team and the other one the Ballymun Gaels. I attended many football and hurling games in Croke Park. The one best to remember was when the Galway Senior Football team beat Cork in the 1956 final by the score of 2-13 to 3-7. Jack Mangan the Galway caption and goalkeeper said afterwards that the second half of that game was the longest he had felt while playing a football game as he thought the game would never end. Frank Stockwell scored 2 goals and 5 points at that game, that still may be a record up to this day for an All-Ireland Football Final.
I did a fair bit of cycling while in Dublin with my 10-speed racing bike as I joined a cycling club with my co-workers. The first medal that I ever won was a cycling medal. The farthest cycling trip was to Belfast one week end. My longest sole trip was from Dublin to Moycullen (Home) on a Saturday. I did the whole trip in about 10.5 hours. I was in such good shape (condition) at the time I cycled the second half faster than the first half despite rain and strong head winds. I overstayed my time at home so I took the train back to Dublin with my bike. I found Dublin to be a very good place for a young person to work and live with Ceili dancing, sporting events, the Ballsbridge Horse Show, and many more social activities. I learned to swim there, something that I now enjoy anytime we go on holidays where there is access to swimming pools. While in Dublin I joined the Irish Navy Reserves that involved training a few evenings a week. When one had so much time put into training one would get two (2) weeks with pay with the Irish Navy Fleet. However, I did not have enough time served so I never got to sail on an Irish Navy Ship.
Move to England
I left Dublin for England in 1957. Before I left I was a sub on the Dublin Post Office Engineering football team that won the All-Ireland final that year, and I missed my second All-Ireland football medal. I played with a junior football club in Manchester that won the local championship, I left to work in Liverpool when the medals were given out so I never collected that medal.
I got a job with the Ericsson Telephone Company on the construction of Automatic Telephone Exchange Equipment. My first job was in London and as time went on I worked in many cities throughout England, Wales, and Scotland. I had worked in Liverpool before the Beatles became famous in the early 1960’s. I started as an installer with the Ericsson Telephone Company and finished as a Staff Tester. A Staff Testers job is to test all the Telephone Exchange equipment and to see that it works and functions. When I worked in Cardiff, Wales I used to make some week end trips to London with my Volkswagen Beetle that I took with me from Galway as it was just a few hours’ drive. I was on the Ericsson Telephone Installation crew that worked on the new Automatic Exchange in Galway in 1958. It was nice to stay at home while the work was being done. The job lasted three (3) months to complete and when the job was finished I returned to work in England.
While at home in Galway in 1958 I played on the Moycullen junior football team that won the West Board Championship that year. However, we lost out to Annaghdown in the County final. I had to return from Manchester for some of the games as there were a few draws before the County Final was played. On one of my trips home in 2014 I gave my West Board medal to my grandnephew Daniel Faherty in Moycullen so that medal is now back where it came from.
The Ericsson Telephone Company did a lot of Telephone Construction work overseas, mostly in the British Commonwealth countries. I went to Nigeria with them in 1960 for a period of 20 months. I worked in 4 cities while I was there, Kano, Zaria, Akure and Ibadin. Nigeria got their Independence from England in 1960. Many foreign Government Diplomats attended the celebrations in Lagos, the capital. I met and shook hands with Sean Lemass, the Irish Prime Minister, in Kano when he was returning home from the celebrations with a small group of Irish politicians that travelled with him. Sean Lemass was a typical Irish man and he smoked a pipe. While in Nigeria the installation crew lived in trailer homes and rented houses and we were provided with local servants, security guards and free cars and jeeps. (Little did I realize at the time that I would own a jeep in later years in Chicago). Many of the towns that we worked in had no electricity so we got the power from generators. I was in my trailer home one Sunday afternoon and the overhead power lines from the generator to the trailer got hit by lightning. Luckily the trailer home was made in England that had a built-in lightening protector breaker switch that disconnected the power when the lightning struck the overhead wires leading to the trailer home. I never realized what poverty was like until I went to Nigeria where so many of the local people had so little food or living accommodations. I have since seen poverty in other third world countries that I have visited in later years.
I returned to Galway to work on an addition to the Automatic Telephone Exchange in 1962. While in Galway I bought my first new Volkswagen Beetle car at Maddens garage in Salthill. I went to the bank of Ireland (The Ivy House) at the square to withdraw five hundred pounds to pay for the car. I gave the withdrawal slip to the teller at the bank counter, he walked away and was not coming back with my money. I had to remind him for my 500 pounds. He said that he forgot and I eventually got my money and was on my to pick up my first car. The number plate on the car was: EIM 448, a Galway registration. I have had two (2) more Volkswagen Beetle cars later, one in 1964 and the other in 1971, both in Chicago.
We presently have two (2) Lexus SUV’S (Sport Utility Vehicles). The first one was a 2002 model that Frances drove as I had a car at the time. When we got the second SUV, a 2009 model, (Burgundy/Maroon the Galway colours) guess who now drives it : Frances. However, I am content with driving the 2002 model as both SUV’S are nice to drive and are a very good Winter vehicle as they have the All-Wheel Drive feature.
My first American car was a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, 2 doors, V8 engine that had power to burn. It was stolen from outside my apartment once but was recovered 2 weeks later undamaged. We had a 1977 Ford LTD Station Wagon, 4 door, V8 engine, 8 seater that the girls liked so well as they sat all the way in the back of the vehicle. I had wanted to exceed 100,000 miles on it but one of the pistons went out so I had to sell it to a junk yard for spare parts.
I got my first drivers licence at the Galway County Buildings for 10 shillings in 1953 that I still have in my possession. (It may be a collector’s item some day). There was no driving test required at that time to get a drivers licence. Since then I have had driver licences from the following countries: England, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the US. I also had an International drivers licence before I left England that I used here before I got my first US drivers licence.
Move to USA
I immigrated to Chicago in 1964 and have spent 50 plus years here since. I was sponsored by my aunt Julia McCarty and her husband Bill. I had two (2) uncles on my father’s side here, uncle Mick and Willie. I also had two (2) uncles on my mother’s side, uncle Ned and Pat McDonagh and one (1) aunt Maggie Patton on my mother’s side. My sister Margaret had immigrated to Chicago in 1963 and was living with aunt Julia at the time. There were also some people from Moycullen that I met here as time went on. I must say that I was not that keen on living in Chicago at first but as time went on I got used to living here and I am still here 50 plus later.
I have worked for two (2) Telephone Companies in Chicago as a Telephone Engineer, the latter being A.T.&T. The reason I left the first company (Automatic Electric) was because the engineers went out on strike and I joined them as I was a union member. I could have gone back with them but I decided to stay with A.T.&T. that worked out good for me. By the time I retired in 2001 (the week after 9/11) I had worked a total of 47 years of service in the Telephone Business from my very first job in Dublin in 1954. I had 32 years of service with A.T.& T. when I retired that included 21 years of perfect attendance from 1971 to 2001, that included 11 consecutive years from 1978 to 1989. My work with A.T.& T. took me to many US states over the years. All in all, I had some very interesting job assignments with the company, one in particular was at the Boeing Aircraft Assembly Plant in Seattle and Everett in Washington State where they assemble the Boeing planes. the aircraft parts are purchased from outside suppliers and then assembled in their hangers. One of the hangers can hold a total of 16, 767 and 747 (the largest aircraft they make) in the same building. It takes 28 days to assemble the smaller aircraft, the 737 model from start to finish. After the planes are completed they are then flown to another location to be painted outside Seattle and Everett. I had another interesting business trip to Montevideo, Uruguay in South America for a Cellular (Mobile) telephone survey that took one week. It was a very long flight from Chicago via Miami, Santiago, Chili, Buenos Aires, Argentina and then on to Montevideo. The return trip home was via Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to Miami and Chicago on an older 747 Boeing Pan AM plane that I thought would never lift off the ground because it took so long on the runway before it went air born. I stayed in the same hotel (The Emporio) in Montevideo that the Pope had stayed in when he visited that country some years before. One of the things that got my attention while I was there was all the older cars on the roads. I asked the local Telephone Technician how they could keep all the cars on the road. His answer was that there are factories in Argentina that manufacture spare parts for the older cars and this way they can keep them on the road for long period of time. I had another interesting job assignment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on a cellular (Mobile) project for the Saudi Government with A.T.&T. Saudi Arabia is 95% desert and the country is extremely wealthy. It was kind of funny flying over the South of Ireland on the way to a stopover in Paris and not landing at Shannon Airport. That project was so large that there were 1000 A.T.&T. engineers in the country at the same time to provide 100 % cellular service to the whole country as money was no object. They even have white Italian marble on the sidewalks, when it gets wet it can be very slippery and dangerous. While there we stayed in a secured gated (8 foot high walls) compound. We were supplied with SUV’S and free gas/petrol for the vehicles. While there we drove a jeep to Abha, a city by the Red Sea that took about 12 hours to drive. We had a local driver and a guide from Ethiopia that was very knowledgeable with the country and the Arabic language. I called my daughter Teresa from the Holiday Inn motel in Abha and told her where I was and that the ocean water in the Red Sea was Blue and not Red. On the approach into the city of Abha there are many water filtration plants with their high stacks where the sea water is converted into pure water for drinking and other uses. There are no lakes in the country because of the extreme heat and the huge desert all throughout the country. I found the price of water in Riyadh to be more expensive than the price of gas/petrol. Another interesting job assignment was at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in California with the company. This was the location where the US Government designed and produced the Atomic Bomb that was dropped on Japan during the second World War. While working in Livermore I stayed at a Holiday Inn motel in an adjacent town called Dublin. There are three (3) towns in the US called Dublin.
Life in the US has been good to me as I have had full employment since I arrived in Chicago in 1964. I met my wife Frances Coady at an Irish dance hall (The Holiday Ballroom) in Chicago in 1966 . We got married in 1967 and had our honeymoon in Miami Beach, Florida. We were married by Fr. Lydon, a second cousin of my father. Patricia Coady, Frances sister was the bridesmaid. Tom Plunkett was the best man. Eileen Morrissey and Tim Mc Carty R.I.P. were also part of the wedding. Ann Marie Clarke was the flower girl and Mark Keleghan was the ring bearer. Andy Clarke gave Frances away at the church and I always feel that Andy, R.I.P. was my best friend as he was the one that gave me my wife. Frances comes from Monivea, Athenry. Her parents were Thomas and Kathleen Coady R.I.P. There were 11 children in the Coady family, 7 sisters: Frances, Patricia, Maura, Helena, Sarita, Teresa, R.I.P., and Angela. The brothers are: Martin, Sean, Malachy, and Tommy.
Frances does all the cooking in our house (and she is very good at and I do not have any complaints) but I am the designated dishwasher in the house. One of the first household appliances that we purchased after we got married was a dishwasher that makes my job a little easier. This is one job that I will never lose as there is no one else in the house to take over. I would like to add that she likes to have the hot water poured very slowly into the tea pot for best results using Barry’s tea bags. I should point out to her that I am not pouring a pint of Graft Guinness that takes about two (2) minutes to pour slowly for best results . Frances likes reading, doing the daily crossword in addition to Yoga classes and knitting. When the kids were younger we did some camping in Illinois and in the adjoining states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana for a few years. The camp grounds provided bathroom facilities, electric hook-up to your camper and in most places food mart shopping. This was a step up from how the Gypsy’s camped in Ireland years ago. Frances became an Illinois State Registered Cosmetologist (beauty operator/hair stylist) in 1971 that involved many hours of training in a beauty shop. She has cut all our hair over the years. Peter likes to come by the house at short notice to have his free haircut. Tim likes to go to his own barber shop for his hair cut. Frances and I became US Citizens in 1971. Being a US Citizen has its positives that allows one to vote, makes it much easier for leaving and returning into the US. For me being a US Citizen allowed me to work on US Government projects over the years with A.T.& T. In our first house, the local board of elections ward held voting in our house for a few years. During election day, normally from 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM we would have a Chicago police man/woman in the house during the voting process, you might say that our house had police protection for that one day. During one of the elections a policeman left his nightstick (baton) after him and he never returned for it so I still have it, however I have had no need to use it but I will hold on to it anyway.
In 1975, we went home for Teresa and Patrick Maloney’s wedding in Galway. All six (6) sisters were in the wedding party which is not what one sees very often. The Coady’s had a nice size farm (no mountain or bogs). I always admired the horses that Thomas Coady had on the land as he used to deal in horses during his time.
We have four (4) children, 2 girls: Teresa and Loretta, 2 boys, Peter and Tim. Teresa is married to Wyatt Smith and they live in Kansas City, Missouri. They have 2 children : Katie and Mathew. My cousin Kay Hamilton (Connolly) calls them: ” The Two Redheads”. Teresa was a Para Legal when she worked in Chicago before she got married. One-time Frances and I were visiting the Smiths in Kansas City, Teresa baked a cake for my birthday, left it on top of the stove to cool out. We went out for a few hours and when we returned the cake that was left on top of the stove was missing. The mystery was solved when we noticed their big dog acting a little strange in the house so the dog was the culprit as she could reach to the top of the stove easily. I somehow do not think that she shared the cake with their smaller dog.
Both Katie and Mathew are very good swimmers. Katie is also a very talented ballet dancer as she is a natural at it like her grandmother is at Irish Set Dancing. Kansas City is about 525 miles from Chicago, it is a 9-hour drive, 1 hour by plane and 12 hours by train. Loretta married Joe Maloney from Monivea, they have 2 children: Megan and Derek. Loretta now lives in Chicago. Loretta is a certified Pastry Chef and makes a lot of people happy with all the sweet cakes, scones etc. that she makes. With having grandkids, it is another stage of our lives and it is so nice when they come to visit or we go to visit them. Our grand daughter, Megan Maloney got married in December 2016 to Kyle Phillips. The wedding took place on the beach with the Atlantic Ocean in the background in Punta Cana, The Dominican Republic, Central America. Frances and I went to the wedding and had a very nice time despite the Zika Virus concern in that part of the world at that time. Punta Cana is a 4-hour direct flight from Chicago and it was nice for me going back to visit a Central American Country again after 50 plus years. It would be nice to be able to speak Spanish but we got by with our English. Megan is a school teacher and she teaches both Spanish and Italian at her school. She got her Master’s Degree in 2016 and we are very proud of her for what she has achieved. We went on a tour one day in Punta Cana to a cigar factory. A man in the cigar display shop asked us where we came from, I said Chicago. He raised his hands above his head and said: DON’T SHOOT. It appears that everyone knows about all the shooting that goes on in Chicago these days. Both our 2 sons, Peter and Tim live in Chicago. Peter is a certified union Roofer and is a certified Stationary Engineer. Peter likes fast cars and his Harley Davidson Motorcycle also. Tim is a certified Pharmacy Tech. and knows a lot about medicine. Frances, myself and our 2 daughters, Teresa and Loretta took our first trip home in 1971. There was a great welcome home for all of us at the Coady household as I was the first Connemara man to marry into the Coady family and that was the first time they had seen Teresa and Loretta. We split the holiday time between Frances’s home and Knockarasser and I think we all had a good first holiday home with the kids. We are in our second house right now and have all the modern things we need for living. We are within walking distance (1/4) mile) to a local 9-hole golf course that we both play there on and off during the golf season. There are many 18-hole golf courses within driving distance from our house that we play at also. I have one “Hole in One” in my time so I am working hard on the second one. Frances and I had some nice vacations (Holidays) abroad including Mexico, Canada, Hawaii (My favourite resort), Sidney, Australia, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, New Zealand both North and South Islands. We also had a few vacations in Alaska including a cruise where we visited with my cousins the McDonagh girls there. Frances and I enjoyed some Winter vacations in Florida while her aunt Sally was living there. It is a 900 plus mile drive each way, we would drive 600 miles the first day, stay overnight in a motel and leave early the next day to complete the trip. With highway driving at speeds of 75 to 85 miles per hour the drive did not feel that long. We played golf at the local golf courses there that we both enjoyed. At one of the courses that we played at was the Tanglewood Golf Course in Milton, Fl. This is Bubba Watson’s (2 time Masters Champion in 2012 & 2014) local golf course as he comes from around that area. There is an autographed Left Handed Big Bertha Driver donated by him on display in the Tanglewood club house. Another golf course that we played at was at the US Naval Air Station, Whiting Field in Pensacola, FL. This is the home base for the US Blue Angles Flying Squadron. This pilot training facility was open to the public to play golf at a very reasonable course fee. This course was a lot different to play with the planes flying overhead as the trainee pilots practiced take offs and landing while you were on the fairways and greens. Aunt Sally R.I.P. passed away in 2014 so that ended our trips to Florida for now. It was so nice to get away from the snow and the bitter Winter weather in Chicago to the Summer like weather in Sunny Florida. Like the saying says good things do not last forever.
I have made many trips home over the years mostly when my mother was living. I still like to come home for weddings or birthday parties, these are what I call the good trip. I am very impressed with the improvements and advancements that Ireland has made over the years, particularly, the new motorway From Dublin to Galway and to other cities throughout the country. I do however have difficulty at times getting out of and back into the Dublin Airport on the M50 motorway. Getting out of and back into Shannon Airport is a breeze and the new motorway from Shannon to Galway. It is also so nice to see all the new houses that have been built over the years. However, I am not that keen on all the new Wind Turbines that have been erected as some of them appear to be very close to some houses. They can be very noisy and are a hazard to birds getting killed when they fly into the rotating propellers. I do understand that they serve a purpose to provide clean energy and it looks like there will be many more Wind Turbine Farms built all over the country as time goes by.
I have enjoyed some games of golf at home on some of my last trips at the following golf courses: Claremorris, Co. Mayo with Sarita Glynn (Frances sister) and David Higgins (grandnephew).
The Oughterard golf course with Maurteen Faherty. (Maurteen and I played on the winning Moycullen junior football team that won the West Board final in 1958). The Bearna golf course with Timothy Faherty. This golf course was built in the late 1960’s. It is built on 250 acres of Connemara moorland. The smell of the bog, gorse and heather lingers in the air, this is a course which will ignite your senses. In my wildest dream, I could never have imagined a golf course there but it did become a reality.
I was always interested in sports and apart from hurling and football games in Croke Park while I lived in Dublin, I have attended the following sporting events: I was at the White City Stadium in London in 1957 when a Four Minute Mile was run. I was at the European Cup Soccer Final game at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960 when Real Madrid of Spain beat Eintracht/ Frankfort of West Germany by the score of 7 goals to 3. That was classic game to watch as Real Madrid had won 5 European Cup Championships in a row during that era. Ference Puskas scored 4 goals that day and the great Alfredo DI Stefano had a 3-goal hat trick. The 7 goals scored at that game is a record for most goals scored for a European Cup Final.
I was at a Grand National horse meeting in Liverpool. (I don’t remember if I won or lost but I am sure that I bet on some horse.). I was at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. I was at the final match when Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) won the light heavyweight gold medal in boxing. I attended many of the events while I was there mostly track and field and the swimming and diving. Ronnie Delaney won the Gold medal race in the 1500 Meters at Melbourne, Australia in 1956 in the time of 3 minutes and 42 seconds. The Irish Government paid for his trip home for Christmas in 1956 from the US in appreciation for winning the Gold Medal. Ronnie studied at the Villanova University in Indiana. I was out at uncle Pats house in Ballsbridge visiting before the Christmas holidays in 1956 when Ronnie stopped by as he was a school friend of Garry Connolly. He had the Gold Medal with him and we all had a good look at it including myself. I did see Ronnie run in the 1500 Meter race at the Rome Olympics but he got spiked and was eliminated from the race. I was at an International Rugby game in Cardiff, Wales when Ireland played Wales there.
I was at a Men’s World Cup Soccer game at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1980 when Spain beat Bolivia. My daughter Teresa and Joe Maloney came to the game also, it was their very first soccer game ever to attend, talk about starting out at the top. I also attended a Women’s World Cup Soccer game at Soldier Field in Chicago when the USA team beat Japan. (I must say that the ladies can also play soccer very well).
Frances and I went on a vacation to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, while there we visited the Maracana Soccer Stadium that was opened in 1950 to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup which Uruguay beat Brazil by the score of 2 goals to 1. The total attendance at that game was 199,854 (146 no shows) making it the world’s largest Stadium by capacity when it was inaugurated. It was a treble Decker Circular Stadium that would hold 200,000 spectators seated. Some people would ask me why I went to Rio. My answer was to see the Maracana Soccer Stadium of course. Looking back now it was worth going all that way to see this massive structure. The stadium was renovated in 2010-2013 and the rebuilt stadium currently seats 78,838. The 2014 FIFA World Cup was held there in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics. I was at the Medina Golf Course in Chicago in 2012 when the European Team beat the US in the Ryder Cup. The way that result turned out with the surprise win for Europe one can say than any sporting event is never over until it is over. It was very difficult and expensive get tickets for the Ryder Cup matches. I got my admission tickets however when I did car parking duties at a remote car park (the Arlington Park Race Course) during the matches. There was not sufficient car parking spaces available at the Medina Golf Course so the US PGA used the Arlington Race Track for additional parking and used shuttle buses to the Medina golf course on a round the clock basis. I have also attended some US PGA golf outings over the years in the Chicago area where Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and other have played. I was at the golf outing in 2015 when Jason Day became # 1 in the World in Golf ratings.
The US nation sport is baseball. There are 2 teams in Chicago, The Chicago Cubs (National League) and the Chicago White Socks (American League). Tim McCarty R.I.P. my first cousin took me to my first White Socks baseball game in 1964. The game went on and on and I thought it would never end as it lasted 6 or 7 hours. As it turned out it was a double header game were 2 games are played on the same day. This is done sometimes if a previous game is cancelled because of rain out or a make up game. The baseball season consists of approximately 160 games trough out the baseball season. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, the first time since 1905, (a 108-year lapse) (GSA: Guest Services Ambassador) with the Chicago Cubs for years now so she was presented with an employee 2016 World Championship Ring. This was the very first World Series Rings presented to the Chicago Cubs players/employees as medals were issued when the Chicago Cubs last won previous World Series Championships. It is the largest ring I ever saw so Loretta is very proud to be part of the winning team’s organization. The most exciting and fasted game to watch is Ice Hockey that is played in Canada, the US and in Europe and at the Winter Olympic games. The Chicago Black Hawks have won the Stanley Cup 3 times recently, 2010, 2013 and 2015. I saw the following caption on a Guinness sign at the Six Penny Bit Irish Pub where I go to see All-Ireland Hurling and Football games on TV: “COMPETITION ON THE FIELD, FRIENDSHIP IN THE PUB” I would like to add to the saying: The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat. The sad thing in sport is that one team wins (joy) and one team loses (sadness).
I got my first camera while I was in Dublin for a few Irish Pounds that I still have. It is a Zeiss Ikon German make that took nice smaller pictures. Later, I purchased a Canon AE-1 35 MM Programmed camera that I have used over the years during my travels. When I retired in 2001 from A.T&T./ Lucent, my retirement gift from the company was a 35 MM Minolta Traveller Freedom Zoom camera that I have also used a lot with very good results. There has been great advancement in cameras and films over the years . I do have a very large collection of black and white and colour photographs that I have taken over the years during my travels. I have put some of the photographs on disks and I do plan to do more later.
One thing I look forward to receiving is the Moycullen Matters. It is a very detailed magazine with all the local news and sports. The people behind the scenes deserve a lot of credit for putting the magazine together so keep up the good work folks.
We had 2 Conneely/Connolly family reunions in the past, one in Spiddal in 2006 and the second one in Chicago in 2008. Patricia Higgins, my niece put together a very nice Booklet covering the story of the Conneely/Connolly Family of Knockarasser from the year of the birth of William Conneely in 1854 for the 2006 family reunion. The booklet covers the Conneely/Connolly family history from 1854 to 2006. This booklet will forever be a treasure to the younger generation. The third Conneely/Connolly Family Reunion was held in Galway from June 22nd. to June 24th. 2017.
Day 1, Thursday June 22nd. The first get together was at the Menlo Park Hotel & Conference Centre, Terryland, Headford Road, Galway City, for a family meet and greet. A buffet meal and drinks were served. There was a very nice Photo Slide presentation of past photographs that was put together by Patricia Higgins that was enjoyed by all.
Day 2, Friday June 23rd. There was a coach pick up (The Moycullen Faherty Coaches) from Cuirt Na Coiribe and the Maldron Hotel, Galway City for a visit to the ancestral Conneely/Connolly homestead in Knockarasser. We stopped by the original Loughwell School house that was built in 1872 that all the Conneely family attended. We visited the Conneely, Walsh and Faherty Family graves in the Moycullen Churchyard that included wreath laying by their family members. There was a Family Memorial Mass officiated by Canon Michael McLoughlin, P.P. at the Moycullen Parish Church. We were honoured to have Sean Kyne TD, take time out of his busy schedule to say many nice things about the Conneely Family that had immigrated over the years with his speech during the Mass. The names of the following that have gone to their final resting place since the first family reunion in 2006 were remembered at the Mass: Bridgie Faherty, Julia Kellett, Jimmie Conneely, Dan Geraghty, Billy (Butch) Connolly, Mary Connolly, Mary Walsh, and Patti Connolly. May they all Rest in Peace.
Day 3, Saturday, June 24th. There was a coach pick (The Moycullen Faherty Coaches) from Cuirt Na Coiribe for a day trip of Connemara for a tour of Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden. Lunch was served at the Station House Hotel, Sky Road, Clifden. The final stop of the day was at the Walsh Family Home in Keagh, Moycullen where Wine, Beer, Food was served including Ice Cream for the Kids and Adults also from the Ice Cream Van. Paddy Connolly, the senior member present had the honour to cut the party cake at the party. The Music and Songs ended in the early hours of Sunday morning. Our very sincere thanks to all the Walsh family for putting on such a terrific and entertaining evening. They sure kept the best for last. It would be nice to have Reunion #4 back in Chicago in 2019 so anyone that may be interested in coming the year 2019 in too far away.
I attended the wedding of my grandniece, Martina Keady to Damien Walsh that took place in the Church of The Immaculate Conception in Moycullen on Saturday, July 1st. 2017. There were some showers in the morning of the wedding as my sisters Mary, Margaret and myself drove from Galway City via Spiddal to the Moycullen Church. By the time the wedding started the sun had come out to shine on the happy couple. The reception was held at the Ardilaun Hotel in Taylors Hill, Galway City. There was a very large crowd of wedding guests from both sides of the familys that attended the reception and a very good time was had by all.
I took my first transatlantic flight on B.O.A.C. (British Airways) from London to New York in 1963 on my way to work on a new Automatic Telephone Exchange in Belize, British Honduras in Central America. On the way to Belize I stayed one full day and night in Kingston, Jamaica as there were not daily flights from Kingston to Belize. I took a taxi city tour around Kingston while I was there. The job in Belize lasted 6 months. While in Belize I visited Merida in Mexico where I saw my first bull fight. I went to see another bull fight in Mexico City later. On completion of the job in November 1963 I took a holiday in Mexico City. I visited Chicago for one week and spent a few days both in Boston and New York City. On the return flight home from New York to London on British Airways, Prince Phillip, and some of the English Government Politicians that had come to President Kennedy’s funeral were on the plane that I travelled on. I watched the whole funeral services on TV in my hotel room in New York. It was amazing to see all the heads of State including Eamon De Valera (DEV) from so many countries that had come to Washington for the services.
I have made 50 plus one-way Transatlantic Flights since my first one in 1963 so with the next one it will be #56. I have flown with many Air Line Carriers over the years including Aeroflot (The Russian Airline) The Round Tower Travel Agency in Chicago used to run charter flights from Chicago to Shannon in the 1970’S and 1980’S. They used Aeroflot on occasions as Aeroflot at that time used propeller aircraft and they would always make a re-fuelling stop at Shannon as the range from Chicago to Moscow was too far a flying distance so they always stopped going and coming at Shannon Airport. Aeroflot now use the newer jet aircraft so they can now fly nonstop from Moscow to Chicago and vice – versa without re-fuelling. If you were a passenger travelling from Chicago to Shannon you were given a Green Boarding Pass. If you were a passenger going to Moscow you were given a Red Boarding Pass. I did fly with Aeroflot on a few occasions and they always got me there and back. Many Russians passengers that made the stop over at Shannon would have pints of Guinness at the bar and would refer to Guinness as Dark Beer. I can only guess that Guinness was not available in Russia. We had one dog, a Jack Russell Fox Terrier that was shipped by airfreight from Frances’s family home. We named her Ceili and she lived to be 17 plus years of age before she came to the end of her life. She was a great pet to have around the house and was a great watch dog until the later years of her life when her hearing went bad. Having a pet dog in your house is very much like having a child as they become part of the household.
Now that the Galway senior hurlers were successful over old rivals Tipperary in the All-Ireland Hurling semi- final on August 6th, by the score of 0-22 to 1-18, there is a good chance that I will go home for the final to be played on September 3rd. against Waterford. Waterford beat Cork on August 13th. by the score of: 4-19 to 0.20. The Galway minor team will play Cork in the All-Ireland final on September 3rd., so if they win it will sure give the Seniors a boost. It would full-fill my sporting career to be present in Croke Park and see the men in Maroon and White of Galway win the 2017 All-Ireland final. It would make my nephew Nicky Faherty a very happy man and many other Galway supporters also.
One of the first pictures (Movie) I saw was in the old school house in Furbo. The first one was of a gangster movie about Chicago: “Yellow Cab”. The Yellow Cab Taxi company is still in existence today in Chicago. Anyone who wants to book them for a ride their phone number is: 312-829-4244. I have called that number many times for their taxi service when I worked out of state and needed a ride to the airport. I like to watch the Quiet Man movie and it is shown here (an edited version) in Chicago on the Saint Patrick’s Day week. The movie was made in Cong, Co. Mayo in 1952. I was in Spiddal one Sunday while the movie was being filmed and I saw most of the cast as they were entertained by Lord Killannin on the beach and at “The Sean Cheibh” and at his Big House in Spiddal. Martin Thornton from Spiddal played the part of the boxer that was knocked out by John Wayne the American ex-boxer in the movie. I asked Martin about the part he played in the movie and he said that part was rehearsed over and over many times before they got it right. Etta Vaughan from the Old Post Office in Moycullen was the stand in for Maureen O’Hara in the Quiet Man as she resembled Maureen O’Hara very much. Lord Killannin was a journalist, producer, author and was President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1972 to 1980. He was very well liked in the Spiddal area.
Some of my favourite songs are: Danny Boy and My Dear Old Galway Bay. My Dear Old Galway Bay is a very appropriate for any Galway man that immigrated to Illinois as the song says. So, I will finish with a few verses from the song:
Its far away I am today from scenes I roamed a boy
And Long ago the hour, I know I first saw Illinois (1963)
But Time nor Tide, not waters wide, can wean my heart away
For ever true it flies to you My Dear Old Galway Bay
A prouder man I’d walk the land in health and peace of mind,
If I might toil and strive and moil, Nor cast one thought behind;
But what would be the world to me, its rank and rich array,
In memory I lost of thee, My Poor Old Galway Bay.
The blessing of a poor old man be with you night and day,
The blessing of a lonely man whose heart will soon be clay,
‘Tis all the heaven I’d ask of God upon my dying day,
My soul to soar for evermore above you Galway Bay.
Mise Le Meas
All-Ireland Hurling finals 2017
The All- Ireland Hurling Finals in both Minor and Senior were played in Croke Park, Dublin on September 3rd. 2017. The weather was perfect with no rain during both games. I was one of the lucky ones to get a ticket (thanks to my nephew Nicky Faherty) for the Cusack Stand for the games. It was almost impossible to get tickets as tickets were allocated to the County Boards and to the Clubs and were not made available for Public Sale though the usual outlets like is done for other games. My cousin in Dublin, Patrick Connolly had sent out an S.O.S. on Facebook looking for a ticket for me but to no avail. The Croke Park Stadium holds 82.300 spectators and there was a full house at the finals. Hill 16 is standing room only where the Cusack and the Hogan Stands are seating.
All-Ireland SHC Final
Wides: Galway 6, Waterford 11
Frees: Galway 10, Waterford 14
Yellow Cards: Galway 4, Waterford 1
Galway have now won 5 Senior All-Ireland Hurling Championships: 1923, 1980, 1987, 1988 and 2017. Let’s hope they win many more in future years. They now end the season as League, Leinster and All-Ireland Champions, and head West in triumph after Galway’s most successful hurling day ever in Croke Park. Just for the record Waterford had beaten Galway 10 times in the All-Ireland Championship from 1938 to 2011.
All-Ireland MHC Final
I flew from Chicago to Dublin on a direct flight on American Airlines on August 30th. 2017 and returned on September 6th. 2017. I was accompanied on the outward flight with my Golfing Buddy Gerry Kavanagh from Monivea as we both planned this trip after Galway beat Tipperary in the league final early this year. I flew on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner Jet Aircraft that flies like a bird. This aircraft took the best part of 10 years to design before it went into service. It was always my dream to fly on this aircraft as it is the State of The Art as the saying goes. On the flight to Dublin there was a female captain at the controls and I must say that she made an excellent job on the take-off and landing. This aircraft is so automatic it could fly by itself. The previous aircraft to this one was the Boeing 777 that also took the best part of 10 years to design and put into production. I have now flown on all the Boeing aircraft’s: the 707, 717, 727,737, 747, 757, 767,777 and the latest and greatest the 787 Dreamliner. The new Airforce One, a 747 aircraft (The Presidents Plane) is presently in the design stages and is scheduled for delivery in 2024. Anyone interested in additional stats on Boeing aircraft’s it can be found on their web site: www.Boeing.com.
On this trip home I did not rent a car as I stayed with my sister Mary Geraghty in Lucan, Co. Dublin for the full week. I used the Airport Hopper Shuttle from Dublin airport to Lucan and back again for the very reasonable fare of 9 Euros each way. On the day of the matches Nicky Faherty, Michael Lydon, his son and nephew drove from Moycullen to Lucan early that Sunday morning. (They made sure they would be on time). We took a taxi to Croke Park and got there in plenty of time. On the way to Croke park in the taxi we passed the Heuston Railway Station, many Galway supporters had exited the trains from Galway and were waiting outside the station for taxi’s or buses to take them to Croke Park. Nicky and I took a short tour of the Croke Park GAA Museum before entering the Stadium. I was very impressed with the Museum but I would like to have more time to have a good look around and see more, maybe some other time perhaps.
The Galway Minors got off to a very bad start (a goal was scored against them in the first 10 seconds) against Cork but they came out on top at the end with the score of: Galway 2-17 and Cork 2-15. The star forward for Galway was Jack Canning (super Joe is his uncle) as he scored 2-2 for the Galway minor team. The Senior game against Waterford got off to a blazing start with Galway scoring 4 points in as many minutes until Waterford got a goal that put them back in the game for a while. The Galway Advertiser Sport Section gives a very detailed report of the game so I will not go into all the details of the game as the Advertiser covers it all. The only concern I had during the game was with about 5 minutes left there was a scramble at the Galway end of the field but the Galway lads could clear the ball from their end and as time went on before you knew it full time had arrived and the 4 minutes or so of injury or stoppage time began. Even when Waterford went ahead by 1 point late in the second half there was no real concern as we knew that Galway could pull ahead again as they did and win by 3 points.
There was a lot of Emotional Galway Supporters in the Stadium when the final whistle was blown as I am sure those watching the game on TV and listening to it on radio around the world. The singing of: “The Fields of Athenry” by the standing room only crowd in “Hill 16” and the playing of many Galway songs including “My Dear Old Galway Bay” over the loudspeaker system made a lot of Galway supporters very happy for one day. My grandnephew Daniel Faherty said that with the Galway win it was the happiest day of his life. All the Galway players gave 100% plus during the game and I think Joe Canning scoring 9 points during the game, (6F, 1 side-line cut) deserves a very special credit and maybe he should be called: Super Joe in the future. Now that I have been present in Croke Park for both Galway Teams All-Ireland wins, the footballers in 1956, Galway 2-13 to Corks 3-7, and now the hurlers in 2017, with their 0-26 win over Waterford’s 2-17 this leaves only the Ladies to win an All-Ireland so who knows maybe next year.
The few pints of Guinness that Nicky Faherty and I had to celebrate the Galway win in the Parnell Heritage Pub, 74 Parnell St. Dublin went down very well to say the least. As Michael Lydon was the designated driver he celebrated with a coke.
My sister Mary and I got together with my cousins Paddy Connolly, his son Patrick, Lynn O’Connor, and her husband Dan (a Kerry man) at the Spa Hotel in Lucan on Tuesday evening September 5th. for a few drinks and discussed Galway’s win in detail. I mentioned to Lynn that her dad and Mr. Flynn (her dads tailor) got together at a Galway club in Dublin after the Galway Football team had won the 1956 All-Ireland against Cork. Her dad told me afterwards that they played that game over and over many times. This brought back memories to me as it reflected back on that win also as I was present at that game also.
The nice thing about sport is that one team wins, and the sad thing is that one team loses, like the saying goes: “The Thrill OF Victory And The Agony Of Defeat”.
I felt sorry in a way for Waterford as they have not won an All-Ireland in Hurling since 1959 and even if they did win I would not begrudge them of the victory. Their only other win was in 1848.
I met Ed Condon, one of my golfing buddies from Tipperary prior to the Hurling Final and Ed said to me: John Galway will be in trouble against Waterford because the referee, Fergal Horgan is a Tipperary man. I said to Ed if the Galway Team plays up to the same standard when they beat Tipperary by double scores in the league final this year they should have nothing to worry about. When I met Ed again after the Final I said to him that I will never again say a bad word about Tipperary as the referee did an excellent job and was very fair to both sides and let the play go on with no complaints from either county.
The year 2018 is not too far away so maybe I should look into airfares and getting a ticket for next year’s All-Ireland Final so that Galway can defend and retain the McCarthy Cup and keep it in the West.
Mise Le Meas