All of the Connaughton family were born in Ballyhivina, Craughwell. We were living about 100 yards from Dunsandle “Big House” and in 1954 we moved near another big house—Castle Ellen. My father Michael (Mick) Connaughton bought the farm from Mick Mullin, my mother’s brother. So really my mother was coming home.
When we came to Castle Ellen our neighbours were Martin Hynes, R.I.P., Kate and Martin Rabbitt whose family all emigrated except Tom who married and settled on the farm with his family, Jack and Bina Rabbitt and their family all of whom stayed in Ireland. Across the road from us were Tom and Mary Varley, R.I.P. Mary was the character in our area. She was known to everyone as “Granny”. She died at the great age of 85 years.
The Cunniffe family also lived across the road from us but they moved and John and Eileen Hynes came to live there in 1956 from Patrickswell in Co. Limerick. A close relationship started which exists to the present day. I grew up with the Hynes family and have many lovely memories of growing up with them. Two of the girls, Angela (London) and Bernadette (New York) emigrated, the other seven stayed in Ireland. Sean, the eldest, is now aide-de-comp to President Mary Robinson. Johnny, who worked with C.I.E., died suddenly in February 1990. We will all miss him and will never forget him.
The five eldest in our own family started school in Carnaun together. Twins Joe and J.J., Maureen, Christy and Pat. Mr. Tim O’Regan, Finbarr’s father was principal then. Teresa, Anne and myself started later on. Now our family are scattered. Joe works for the Los Angeles Times in California, Maureen went to Africa but is now settled in Wales nursing. Anne is also a nurse and is married and living in Liverpool. Pat works in Digital and lives in Tuam. Christy owns a farm in Colemanstown. Teresa married former Cussane goalie Eamonn Mullins and lives in Cussane. J.J. and I are agents for Madden’s Milk and run the business from home where we are well supported locally and in the town of Athenry.
We are a close-knit community and new comers Joe O’Carroll from Tipperary and his wife Caroline from Antrim have added to this closeness.
My mother is now 76 and father is 85 and they, like all of us, are looking forward to the Centenary of Carnaun School where all ten of us will be together again.
Written by Gerry Connaughton
Published here 05 Feb 2021
Page 247 of The Carnaun Centenary Book
Hurlers are Magic around the Fields of Athenry – Christmas 1998
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