THE son of a Clare man is seeking the help of readers of The Clare Champion in trying to piece together the ‘missing years’ of his father’s life.
Jim O’Donoghue, who now lives in Dublin, is the son of Charles O’Donoghue, who was born on January 17, 1896 to Michael and Eliza O’Donohue of Causeway, Ennis. He was part of a family of 10, six girls and four boys. Jim explained that his late father lived in Clare for a number of years before moving to Dublin in the late ’30s, where he married Jim’s now late mother.
However, little is known about his father’s time in the county from 1921 to 1936. There have even been rumours that his father may have been married in Clare or that he may have fought in the War of Independence and Jim is keen to learn all he can about his father’s life in the county.
“Late last year I decided to look into my family’s past. We didn’t know a lot about my dad’s past and I just thought ‘this is awful’. My father never spoke about his childhood and when we were young myself and my brother would never ask questions. We were never down in Clare as a family, not even for holidays but we would go to my mother’s home place. I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve taken it as far as I can at this stage. I was going to close the file on it and then it was suggested that I try contacting the newspaper,” he outlined.
Jim explained that his father was one of twin boys, his brother named Patrick. According to Jim’s research, Charles and Patrick went to live with their grandparents, Roady and Margaret Scanlon in Quin.
“On the census, his name was spelt Donohue, but my father spelt it Donoghue. The 1901 census showed them there and also the 1911 census. Then in 1921, there was the War of Independence and there was no census done so I lost where I could tie them down,” he said.
“The trail runs cold in 1921 and he would have been 25 then, so maybe he was involved in the war. He did mention Dev a few times but that was only because my mam would have said it. It was not the topic of conversation at the dinner table. And my cousin thought he may have been shot in the army because he had a dropped shoulder,” he explained.
Jim has undertaken a lot of research into his father’s life and has been in touch with a variety of resources, including the census, Clare Heritage Centre and the Clare Roots Society, among others.
Through his research, Jim found that his grandparents were both psychiatric nurses, who were married in the local psychiatric hospital at the time. “There were also some mentions by his father of Francis Street, the Causeway and the great card houses there,” said Jim.
Jim has one cousin who he is in touch with and he added, “There was a rumour that maybe my father was married while he was in Clare. If he was, it’s no big deal and if there are any members of the family who are still alive, I would love to meet them.”
Jim has some family photographs showing his father’s family, including one of his parents, brothers and sisters.
“From the photograph, they seem to be from a well-to-do family, with the men all dressed in suits and the women and girls all carrying poesies. And I believe that their house is still standing near the friary.
“From what I know, most of his brothers and sisters went to America, with some becoming doctors. And, of course, back then you didn’t come back from America.”
Jim concluded, “I would be grateful if any readers could be of help in uncovering the missing years of my father”.
Anybody with any information should contact Jessica Quinn at The Clare Champion email@example.com and your details will be forwarded to Jim.