I spent my life in this area. I went to school, grew up and worked around here. I have many memories. Across the road from Cowley’s farm there is a field near my house called the “Carrigeen”. I can remember long ago when the workmen finished their day’s work with the horses. It was in that field they would put them for the night. Further up the road there is a bend and a small road. This is called “Suil” and it leads down to the “Moan Rua”. I went down this road time and time again. Years back there was an uncle of mine married down there in a little house. It was down a long way. It is no longer there, but there is a new house being built on the road and it is great to see someone using the little road again.
The farm now belongs to the O’Connor family. The O’Sullivans were before them. There were Lanes, O’Briens and McMahons all living here. There is a well, known as “Allens” near the “Moan Rua”. We got our water from a well near the side of the road. In the summer-time my father would clean out this well by the side of the river and put stones around it.
There was a right of way through the fields when we were going to school. We would go down through O’Connor’s field and cross into Purcell’s and come out beside the lodge. Sometimes Miss Purcell would meet us in the fields. She would make us pick up the buchalans for her. She was a lovely tall nicely mannered lady. Only persons walking used this right of way. The people in this road used it mainly; men working for Jackie Murphy used it as well. There were parts of this very wet because the shaking bog was very close. There were collies in the water by the bridge below my house. I often caught them with the jam jars. There was trout also in it further back stream; at Cowleys there were eels. Years back, cows would fall into drains and the neighbours would get together to pull out the animal.
There was a workman at Cowley’s called Tom Bowler, he was from Doneraile side. He would come down to our house every night. He was great at telling stories. He used to have ghost stories and he would frighten the life out of us. He used to do the crows dance in the kitchen. It was great fun for us.
I worked at Flannery’s and Purcell’s, both were very nice families. I thing Glovers owned Flannery’s, years back. There was a pond up in Murphy’s and we used to call it the “Warren”. In the winter time there would be thick ice and we would go skating. Everyone had nails on the soles of their boots then. There was a gate at the turn of the road below Keane’s called the “Cule” gate, which was in Churchtown House, and before you came to the lodge was the “Ram’s Close”.
There were more Twomey’s who were cousins of mine and lived at the other side of Cowley’s. Dan had a horse and butt and he worked at Flannery’s quarry.Mick was a ganger on the road one time. Dan was born in the house where the late Pad Relihan lived and he later got a cottage. At Cowley’s there was always a dangerous bull. It was said there was an echo and it disturbed the animals, so we would be on our guard. We always had two goats each, tied to the other with a stick. I have good neighbours and we get on well together. From the window facing the south of my house I have a view of the castle of Templeconnell. This is a strong building, badly damaged during the Rebellion of 1641. This castle was originally built by the Magniers, but was later seized by Sir Philip Percival. In 1641 Sir William St. Leger, Lord President of Munster wrote to Sir Philip Percival telling him that some of Magnier’s followers were still occupying Templeconnell and he asked Sir Philip for permission to remove them.
Sir Percival, writing to a Mr.Gall, 13th November 1643, complained of the great injuries done to him since the cessation. In an abstract enclosed he complained that Edward Magnier and his son made prisoners of some of his men. On the same day, some of the Irish, being admitted in a friendly manner into the Castle, treacherously seized upon the wardens and took possession of the Castle. Barry of Buttevant, being chief in the matter, went on and seized corn on adjoining townlands. John Hodder, writing from Cork on March 8th, 1649, told Lady Percival that if men had not been sent to guard the Castle of Templeconnell and Walshestown, they would have been burnt by the Irish, as was the fate of the Annagh Castle.
In 1659 there were five English and eighteen Irish families living on the town-land of Templeconnell. As I remember Templeconnell Castle, it stood tall and bare on the verge of the Moanroe bog. A large gaping hole showed in the centre of the eastern face. On the side facing Biddy’s Tree, a cut out image could be seen high up on the Castle wall. Some of the old people in the district said it was the face of Queen Elizabeth 1.