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From Drumline to the Blue Ridge – a mystery solved

In August 2010, a Clare Champion article informed readers of my search for descendants of the Crohan (also Croghan) family who worked on the mile-long Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel. The train tunnel—along with three shorter tunnels and 34 miles of connecting tracks—was a dangerous, 10-year public works project between 1850 and 1860. The entire endeavor took the lives of more than 200 Irish famine emigrants. About 100 were Blue Ridge Tunnel workers or family members living in shanties near each portal.

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Kitty recalls Kilbaha school career

PRIOR to teaching at the old Kilbaha national school in the 1950s, Kitty Garvey had never set foot in Clare’s most westerly community. In the intervening six decades, the Miltown Malbay woman has grown to know and love Kilbaha and the school, where she served as principal from 1968 until 1993. On Friday, the new school will mark its 50th anniversary, although records show the old school, which is now Halla Eoin, was established in the early 1870s. “I hadn’t heard of it even,” Kitty said of her knowledge of Kilbaha prior to securing a teaching post there. Not yet 20, she stayed with a local family during her early years teaching at St Cuan’s National School, Kilbaha. “I lodged with Paddy Keating, his wife Bridget and family. It was a super experience. The house was two miles from the primary school so I was able to walk or cycle, morning and evening,” she reminisced. “I came to the greatest …

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