From any research (1780 to the tum of the century) I leamed, that the people of town and country were just struggling for survival. Some struggled harder than others, but all were in the same boat, and at the same level. You can easily assess the level and conditions when, before the Wyndham Act (1903), only three per cent (3%) of the Land of Ireland was owned by the people.
They stood united – courageously resisting the challenge of the times, bonded in loyalty, sympathy, friendliness and helpfulness. “The Fields of Athenry”, tells the sad story of our past, a past now far behind us, but time has proved that poverty was no barrier to respectability and no hindrance to progress, thank God for that. It is equally true to state that wealth is not, and never was, a guarantee of integrity. From the poorest have come the ﬁnest of people. In every area they have made it to the top – Farming, Professions, Business and Administration.
We can feel a great sense of pride, that the families of this parish, raised in the hardest of times, have proved themselves a credit to Athenry, both in the new world and the old.
My sincere thanks to the following, who gave me old photographs for this:
History – Eamon Whelan (Ballygurane) Boys of the Old School 1921.
Mrs. Nora Keary, (Clorane) Ladies First Aid Class 1917.
Mrs. J. Egan, (Cheltenham) Athenry Fair and Inner Abbey.
Paddy Burke (Cahertubber) Tickets to Athenry Races 1892.
Sergt. Michael Shaughnessy Map showing location of Chaleybeate Spring also Finnerty’s Arch Calendar 1895, with postage information of time ,and old Athenry fairs.
Mrs. Maura Hardiman Male Dress at tum of century and others.
Downes Survey Map of Athenry 1655 was given to me by the late Eddie Joe Kennedy, Kingsland, who came to my house to read the map for me.
Written by Aggie Qualter
Published here 12 May 2022 and originally published March 1989
Page 65 of Athenry History
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