Great Events and Achievements ARTICLES IN The GRANGE BOOK (6)
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These Grange Book articles are about remarkable achievements in the parish over the years and national calamities that left their marks on the parish.
Grange was electrified in 1952 and Pa (Pat) O'Connell tells the national and local stories in both informative and entertaining fashion. The reader is introduced to transformers, 'dead men' and 'arials' and to the plight of the housewife when the electric bulb showed up dirt that was previously unseen. He articulates the dilemma that faced each home in deciding the location of a very small number of light fittings in addition to the Sacred Heart light which was prioritised, and one or two sockets (more commonly known as plugs at the time). He recounts the story told in a newspaper of the man visiting his sister, when he refused to drink tea made from water boiled by an electric kettle, fearful that the water would electrocute him! She had no option but to boil the old kettle on the turf fire!
The story of the local Éire Óg Set Dancing Club under the tutelage of Ivan Ryan is nostalgically told by Carmel and Marella Cregan. The great successes of the club are recounted: fifteen All-Ireland titles, overseas performances and an appearance on television.
The story of that great calamity, The Great Famine in Ireland, is told in great detail by Brian Gallagher. Tales of hunger and starvation, exacerbated by eviction and inhuman treatment by landlords, are certain to evoke great emotion in the reader, even after so many decades have elapsed. Despite the inhumanity, there were some in privileged classes at the time who displayed great sympathy and concern for the starving and those dying from disease, by endeavoring to ameliorate the hunger and suffering. There are accounts of the huge numbers who left Irish shores in 'coffin ships' in search of survival in far away places, such as North America, many of whom died aboard the ships or upon arrival. The fact that the famine was the cause of supplying America with many upstanding and strong-minded Irish men and women, who subsequently contributed to and influenced, in a major way, the development of the United States of America, is not lost in the story.
John Carroll tells the story of the involvement of Grange folk in the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA). The important contributions made by Michael Lombard and John O'Dwyer (Rahin) are set out.
Tim O'Donnell and Austin Cregan tell the extraordinary story of the Lough Gur Group Water Scheme from the very beginning in 1969 up to the end of 2015, by which time the group scheme had become one of the largest and most successful in Ireland. It is a story of great foresight, single-mindedness and tremendous organisation and management ability, bringing running water to a large locality - water began to flow in 1972. Tim and Austin have been involved since the outset and Austin Cregan was deservedly honoured some time ago by Limerick County Council for his remarkable influence and contribution down through the years. Several Grange men partook in the organisation/management over the years - Tony Clancy and Joe O'Shea each served a term as chairman of the Lough Gur Scheme.
The Night of the Big Wind in January of 1839 brought a storm of such ferocity as has not been experienced since in Ireland. Destruction of mammoth proportions was experienced throughout the country, both on shore and off shore. A number of people lost their lives. The cross on the roof of Grange Church blew down - it was restored and, remarkably, remains in position to this day. There is a record of enormous damage done to buildings in Bruff, with roof slates flying in all directions. After the hurricane abated, over two hundred dead crows were found in the Caherguillamore Demesne. Around the country, extraordinary happenings were reported. A number of dead sea birds were discovered far inland, while fish from a lake were carried a number of miles away by the ferocity of the wind. Tommy Hourigan compiled this story.