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This year, Fr Brendan O'Mahony will be returning to his roots with a visit to the Mitchelstown Literary Festival, where he will speak about his newly published book 'The Last Word'.
Though born in Youghal, Fr Brendan has very strong connections to this area as his father Jimmy was born in Mitchelstown and his mother Maire (Tobin) came from near Doneraile. His book deals openly with the life and times of both of his parents and he will speak about it in The Firgrove Hotel on Saturday, July 20.
Liam Cusack of the Mitchelstown Literary Society explained that Brendan O’Mahony, christened Eamonn, lectured in UCC for 35 years and also lived for periods abroad in London, Italy, Belgium and California and now he lives in Cork city.
Brendan’s father, Jimmy O’Mahony, was born in Mitchelstown on January 1, 1900, the youngest of three brothers, son of James Snr., (builder) and Ellen O’Callaghan of Upper Cork Street (next door to Campaign House).
Young Jimmy was a renowned traditional fiddler who won the coveted Oireachtas gold medal at 17 and the Tailteann Games in 1932. He was actively involved in the War of Independence and the Civil War. He was educated at Mitchelstown CBS and went on to take a Humanities degree in UCC which qualified him to teach.
He taught, first in his native Mitchelstown and then at the Carmelite College in Castlemartyr. He died at home in Youghal at the age of 91 and is buried in St Oliver’s Cemetery, Cork. Máire, his wife and originally from Doneraile, died six months later, also in 1991.
Brendan’s mother, Máire Tobin, was born in 1908 in Skehana House near Doneraile. After attending boarding school at Crosshaven, she trained as a primary school teacher at Mount Pleasant in Liverpool and taught school for two years in Leeds.
During 'The Troubles', Tobins’ house was a ‘safe house’ which billeted the Flying Column of volunteers. There she first met Jimmy in 1920. After a long and sometimes arduous courtship they married in 1932. As housewife and mother of four boys she lived by the sea in Youghal until the year she died.
Brendan's story is one that would resonate with many people around Mitchelstown, as they walk through the streets of Mitchelstown and Doneraile reliving Brendan's stories in their minds.
'The Last Word' is available in the Favourite Newsagents and Hyland’s Educational bookshop, both located in Lower Cork Street, Mitchelstown. Queries can be directed to Liam Cusack 086-8248736.
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