SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF LATEST JOURNAL IN GNEEVEGUILLA

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The 15th issue of the Sliabh Luachra Journal was officially launched in Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry, by journalist and Ballydesmond native Ray Ryan, on November 23rd.
The 124-page journal, which includes almost 100 photographs, has numerous articles of interest which focus on the heritage, culture and history of the area.
It tells, for instance, how Barraduff man Paddy O’Donoghue helped future Taoiseach Eamon de Valera escape from Lincoln Jail, in 1919. Paddy, who had an interesting and colourful life, had Michael Collins as bestman at his wedding later in 1919.
He was manager of the Shelbourne Park Greyhound stadium, in Dublin, for several decades until his death in 1966.
Paddy’s story is one of many contained in the popular journal, which is published by the local history society Cumann Luachra.
He was involved with several others, including his wife-to-be Elizabeth Gore, in planning de Valera’s escape and is reputed to have driven the car with Dev as passenger to a safe house which happened to be the home of a parish priest.
Varied subjects covered in other articles include football matches in yesteryear, notable anniversaries in Sliabh Luachra, the life and times of times of traditional musicians Nickie and Anne McAuliffe, old crafts, Headford Ambush, the Civil War, personalities and customs of the area.
The 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster and its connections with the area are recalled, with photographs of local people who were on the ship. In all nine people from Sliabh Luachra were among the passengers, five of whom survived.
One of the survivors was Nora Herlihy (nee O’Leary) from Glencollins, Ballydesmond, then aged 16. She was believed to be one of the last people to be taken on board the rescue ship, Carpathia, and went on to spend several years working in New York.
She returned home some years later, married local farmer and IRA man Tom Herlihy, in 1922, and spend the remainder of her life in Ballydesmond. She died in 1975.
Nora’s story is told in graphic detail by her great grandson, Barry O’Leary, who draws from family memories and a newspaper interview she gave in 1972.  ‘’When I saw water pouring in the cabin, I thought it was a burst pipe, or something,’’ she is reported as saying.
 In an insightful address at the launch, Ray Ryan said people trying to cope with austerity today could learn much from the way previous generations dealt with tough times.
In addition to having a great sense of humour, he said Sliabh Luachra people were also firm believers in self sufficiency. They grew their own vegetables and made their own clothing. 
‘’The consumer society with its throw-away approach was still some time away with the result that they had to be innovative in order to survive. They were into recycling long before the term was invented,’’ he said. 
‘’They never discarded shoes just because the heels were worn. They went to the cobbler instead and had them repaired. 
‘’Men were not ashamed to wear jackets with elbow patches.  Clothing was passed down from one child to another in families. 
‘’Socks were darned. Patches were sewn on to the worn knees of trousers. The gentle sound of the sewing machine was to be heard in many a kitchen,’’ he went on. 
Ray, who received warm applause at the end of his address, said improvisation was an inherent feature of daily life and nothing was wasted.
The journal is on sale in shops around in the area and in Castleisland, Killarney, Millstreet and other towns. Copies can also be obtained from Jerh O’Leary, Hollymount, Rathmore, Co Kerry.