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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:13 pm 
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Location: Qld Australia
Some time ago, in a dusty old secondhand bookshop, I seized upon a copy of John O'Brien's book of Irish- Australian bush verse entitled "Around the Boree Log". As I thumbed through the pages familiar phrases came leaping out from forgotten corners of my memory where they had lain dormant since my school days. The little red book is now a treasured possession because its verses so beautifully capture the Australian bush, Irish Catholic environment in which I was raised.

I was of course already aware that John O'Brien was a pen name for Father Patrick Hartigan, so recently I went looking on the net for more info on father Pat. I found out that he was born in Yass, NSW in 1878, but his parents had come from Lisseycasey, Co Clare. I was also interested to discover that he was parish priest at Narrandera, NSW from 1917 to 1944. My great grandmother (on my mother's side), Margaret Lyons (nee Manning) died at Narrandera in 1918, so most likely it was Father Pat who led the prayers at her burial.

But wait a minute, the mention of Lissycasey also rang a bell, because I recalled having seen a previous reference to a "Boree Log" in connection with Lissycasey. I went looking and found it on the Clare Library website at http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... illage.htm It says "The blessed well at Tobarniddaun is located a short distance down a side road near the Boree Log."

Now the title poem in the book has a footnote which reads "Boree .... is the aboriginal name for the Weeping Myall - the best firewood in Australia except Gidgee." So I find it rather intriguing that Lisseycasey should have its own Boree Log, lest it be some sort of tribute to Father (later Monsignore) Patrick Hartigan, a noted son of Lisseycasey folk.
Can anyone enlighten me - what is the Boree Log at Lisseycasey?

Murf


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:13 am 
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Hi murf, Sorry, cannot help you with the origin of Boree Log, but Father Hartigan was also parish priest at Berrigan in the Riverina in 1916, near where my Clare-born grandfather farmed (Micheal O'Brien born Scarriff 1841, son of Cornelius O'Brien and Brigid Nash). I was raised in that environment, too, and still love John O'Brien's poems. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:27 pm 
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Location: Ballina, Killaloe
I too have a copy of "Around the Boree Log" on my shelves - a 1980 gift to my late father from a second cousin returning from Sydney to the Irish homeland of his grandfather.

The present Boree Log in Lissycasey is a public house (bar) on the main road between Ennis and Kilrush. A Google search suggests that it is in the townland of Decomade.

My father and grandfather had a wonderful habit of placing relevant newspaper cuttings inside the front covers of their books. In this case, the cutting is from the Labasheeda notes in the Clare Champion of 2 Nov 1990. It refers to a visit to Ireland by Fr Frank Meecham [sic] from Australia, to participate in the marriage ceremony of his cousin Ann O'Dea of Knockerra to John O'Shea of Wexford. Fr Meecham was described as a `nephew of the late Irish-Australian writer "John O'Brien" whose parents emigrated from County Clare in the last [i.e. 19th] century.'

This 1978 edition of Around The Boree Log, published to mark the centenary of the poet's birth, has an eight-page biographical introduction about John O'Brien, illustrated with family photographs and written by none other than Fr. F. A. Mecham. Yet again, the Clare Champion's faulty spelling is shown up!

As this is primarily a genealogical forum, it may be no harm to quote relevant passages from Fr Mecham's introduction:

`By 1925, when Father Hartigan endeavoured to trace his ancestry in Lisseycasey, County Clare, the Hartigan name had disappeared from the district. He did discover relatives on the maternal side with the name Trousdell (when his mother came to Australia it had been Townsell). It may earlier have been Townsend - Irish families adopted English names after the siege of Limerick in 1651.

The Australian saga of this branch of the Hartigan family begins in 1864 when Patrick Joseph Snr arrived in Australia from Lisseycasey. ... He married Mary Townsell (also from Lisseycasey) at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, on 25 July 1871 ... Patrick Joseph was born there on 13 October 1878, the fourth of nine children. Frank, the youngest boy, became a priest of Goulburn diocese ... four of the daughters entered Mercy convents; Michael joined the public service and married Irene Costello of Lismore; Annie, the youngest girl, after teaching for a few years, married Dick Mecham of Lewisham. John, the eldest, died in infancy.

Patrick Hartigan was ordained ... on 18 January 1903 ... Albury was his first appointment where he was to spend seven years.

In 1910 ... he went to live at Thurgoona on the outskirts of Albury.

In the year 1916 Father Hartigan became parish priest of Berrigan.

In March 1917 Father Hartigan began what was to be a twenty-seven year stint as parish priest of Narrandera.

1944 ... advancing years and the desire to devote himself to historical writing caused his semi-retirement to the chaplaincy of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Rose Bay.

Father Hartigan died at Lewisham Hospital on 27 December 1952

He is buried with his parents at North Rocks cemetery - originally the burial ground for the Sisters of Mercy at Parramatta. Two of his sisters are buried there, as are Annie, her husband and their three invalid daughters, Jean, Cecily and Nance, for whom he felt so deeply.

... material has been gathered for a full biography that is now in preparation.


There is a brief biography at http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090224b.htm which confirms that Fr Mecham's biography of his uncle was published in 1981:

F. A. Mecham, John O'Brien and the Boree Log (Syd, 1981)

I myself had distant cousins named Trousdell in Limerick but am not aware of any connection to Mrs Hartigan. The surname Trousdell is now almost extinct in Ireland - two surviving brothers born around 1950 have three children each, five of whom are female, leaving only William Trousdell now aged about 13 to carry on the surname.

Finally, a bookmark suggests that my father's favourite poem from the book was Tangmalangaloo. In this poem, a bishop at confirmation asked a boy `What is Christmas Day?'

The ready answer bared a fact no bishop ever knew -
"It's the day before the races out at Tangmalangaloo."


Last edited by pwaldron on Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:49 pm 
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Location: Qld Australia
Ah yes, the Boxing Day picnic races. Thanks for that. Seems a simple Google search may have answered my question, but then I wouldn't have got your interesting slant on it, would I?
I did a little exploring on the NSW indexes and found that Patrick Hartigan Sr (20) arrived in Australia on the John Temperley in 1863. Also on board were Mary Townsell (16) and her older sisters Catherine (20) and Bridget (17).
All of the Hartigan children births were registered at Yass. From the dates it appears that Patrick was actually fifth in line rather than fourth. But if John died in infancy then that explains the discrepancy.
There were two Townsells in Griffiths Valuation at Lissycasey (the only ones in Clare), and some Hartigans in the Killadysert area.
Anyway I have marked down the Boree Log as a place to visit when I come over.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:58 am 
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I presume this is the Patrick Hartigan who is among numerous individuals of Clare birth or Clare descent included in a new list of "the Top 100 Irish Australians of all time." For more, see http://news.irishecho.com.au/2009/08/12 ... -revealed/ and http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 70389.html


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:48 am 
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So nice to see this post on my relative, Fr. Hartigan.

As mentioned in another posting there were two Townsell brothers from whom the Lissycasey, County Clare, Ireland Townsell/Trousdells descend: Michael Townsell/Trousdell (ca. 1793-1873) and Patrick Townsell/Trousdell (ca. 1795-1875). Their father is thought to have been Michael Townsend (ca. 1770-ca. 1850). These are the oldest known to have lived in Lissycasey. I descend from Patrick; all of his children emigrated to America ca. mid-1850's-mid-1860's, with his late-in-life child, Pat Townsell (1862-1942) emigrating in 1879. My great-grandfather was James Townsell (1836-1880), who settled in New York. All the children used the "Townsell" spelling, with the exception of one, who used the "Townsend" spelling.

Of Michael Townsell/Trousdell (ca. 1793-1873), his son, Patrick Townsell (ca. 1836-1890) first went to Australia. He paid for the passage of his sisters, Mary (Townsell) Hartigan, age 16; Catherine and Bridget, who sailed on the 'John Temperley', which left Plymouth, England on 25 April 1863 and arrived in Sydney, Australia on 1 August 1863. These siblings retained the "Townsell" name. Sailing on the ship, also, was Patrick Hartigan, age 20; his passage was paid for by his uncle, Matthew O'Hehir. Patrick's brother, Michael Hartigan, and Michael's future wife, Ellen Cusack, also emigrated. Until their marriage in 1871, eight years after they sailed to Australia, Mary worked as a servant in Sydney.

Another of Michael's sons, William Townsell/Trousdell (ca. 1847-?), emigrated to the United States; he, too, probably used the "Townsell" spelling. Two other sons, Michael Trousdell (ca. 1841-1901+), the eldest son, and Mathew Trousdell (ca. 1840-?), remained in Ireland, where the name generalized to "Trousdell" by 1915. It was Michael Trousdell (ca. 1841-1901+) who inherited the Townsell/Trousdell property in Lissycasey, and his son, Mat Trousdell (?-1962), later inherited it. Mat's only son, Willie Trousdell died in the 1950's, and the property was left to a nephew of Mat's wife. The cottage, the birthplace of Mary (Townsell) Hartigan, sits empty today.

Is the name actually "Townsell" or "Trousdell"? Six of one; half a dozen of another . . . however, saying Trousdell/Townsell with an Irish accent, it sounds exactly the same and it sounds like /town sell/.

I was in correspondence with Fr. Mecham until shortly before his death; he was quite proud of his Irish heritage.

The Trousdells of Kilrush and Limerick are "somehow" related to the Lissycasey Townsell/Trousdells; several of us have tried to connect them but haven't found the link. Interesting to note that the Lissycasey Townsell/Trousdells were Catholic; whereas, the other Trousdells were Protestant.

If you have something to share, or are related to the Townsell/Trousdell clan, I'd love to hear from you!
Teresa Townsell
ttownsell@aol.com


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:31 am 
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Location: Ballina, Killaloe
There is an obituary of the above-mentioned Fr Mecham online at
http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/print. ... 20National

Also a lecture by Fr. Frank Mecham on the Boree Log (1985) at
http://inet.acu.edu.au/download.cfm/113 ... x/1985.pdf ;
a tribute to Fr. Patrick J. Hartigan at
http://www.catholica.com.au/brianstake/010_bt_print.php ; and
a conversation with Fr.Frank Mecham at
http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/print. ... ion%20with

Thanks to Laurelle Thompson for these leads.

I drove past the Boree Log in Lissycasey on Tuesday and realised as I headed for Kilrush that I should have stopped and taken a photograph to post here. Next time ...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:34 pm 
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Location: Ballina, Killaloe
A request for information about "the poem by Jack O'Brien called 'An exile's return' or 'The exile'" reminded me of this thread. I don't think the author was the same person as John O'Brien but would be happy to be corrected.

However, I now realise that I never uploaded the photographs of The Boree Log which I did indeed take on my next trip through Lissycasey last April. Here they are.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:39 pm 
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There's a nice piece about Fr. Hartigan AKA John O'Brien in this week's Clare Champion:
http://clarechampion.ie/index.php?optio ... le&id=8698


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Location: USA
ttownsell wrote:
If you have something to share, or are related to the Townsell/Trousdell clan, I'd love to hear from you!
Teresa Townsell


An outline of research done on Lisseycasey and Kilrush Trousdell families (RC only) apparently by an English resident and descendant, involving some who relocated to New York:
http://ied.dippam.ac.uk/records/43747

I stumbled across this while doing an unrelated Internet search.

Sharon Carberry
USA


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