Monday 11 March 2013

Knockmaol Corridans, Colberts and Connors


The Corridans over time moved inland from Ballyheigue   and sprinklings of them appeared in Ballybunion , Kilgarvan  (Corridans Cross),  Drombeg (4 miles north of Listowel) , the town of Listowel, Knockmaol and Rylane near Duagh, Ballyhennessey, Lixnaw, Tralee, Fossa and other nearby pockets.

 Joseph O’ Connor in his autobiography Hostage to Fortune , recalls how his father Daniel managed to join Her Imperial Majesty’s 10th Light Infantry familiarly known as the Lincolnshire Yallabellies . To join the forces of the oppressor was a mortal sin in the eyes of many, but to those who did, I think it may have afforded them a little bit of  food and security of their familiy’s future.



“We lived on Knock Maol.  That’s a wild old hill six miles out  from  Listowel . There were three families of us on the hill, Colberts , Corridans, and Connors and Lord Listowel   was our  landlord. We had to pay him twenty pounds for our share of the hill ;  the others had to pay the same. It was too much for them. We never knew anything but hunger   an’   starvation in our  house , eating spuds three times a day and easin’  them with sour milk,  when we had it. Everything else, oats, calves, and pigs, went to pay the rent. Would you believe it?  I had never tasted a mouthful of bacon, mutton or beef until I joined the Lincolns, although I spent all my time feeding pigs, sheep and cattle. The nearest we went to it was the odd time we boiled a sheep’s head for soup or filled  its  puddings with blood and mashed potatoes for a Sunday dinner.

To make a long story short, we failed to keep up with the rent and Lord Listowel gave orders to clear us all out,  Colberts , Connors and Corridans alike. They came on small Christmas Day in January 1863, bailiffs , peelers an’ soldiers, an’ had us out on the cold bog before dawn. They burned down the houses for fear we’d go back into them when their backs were turned and took my father and the other grown up men to the Workhouse in Listowel with them. They did that ‘out of charity’ they said because Lady Listowel wouldn’t sleep the night, if the poor creatures were left homeless on the mountain.

They left me and my brother Patsy to look after ourselves We slept out with the hares, a couple o’ nights,  eatin’  swedes that had ice in the heart o’ them an’ then we parted.   He went east an’ I went west towards Tralee. I must ha’   been a sight, after  walkin’ twenty miles on my bare feet an’ an empty belly. But I wasn’t hungry for long. A nice fellow in a red jacket an ribbons flyin’ from his cap took me into a baker’s shop, gave me two penny buns to eat and a cup of tea , to wash them down. The first tea I ever tasted. He gave me a shilling all for  myself   and invited me to go with him where he lived.  Ha!  Ha! I have been a soldier of the Queen ever since."