|This is the tiny house Dan O’Hara, his wife, and seven children lived in until they were forced to vacate when they couldn’t pay the rent during the potato famine.|
“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Any person who is born on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is considered to be very lucky.”
The story of Dan O’Hara and his family is heartbreaking and yet so typical of other farms families in Ireland during the time of the potato famine. As we learned of him and his family living in a simple cottage with seven children, we’re reminded of how grateful people of his day were for what that had, not what they could have had.
|Tom had to duck his head to enter the house.|
But, the sorrow of the times due to famine and subsequent loss of life in the mid-1800s brought most people living in Connemara and other parts of Ireland to their knees. More than one million people died between 1846 and 1851 as a result of the Potato Famine. Many of these died from starvation. Many more died from diseases that preyed on people weakened by the loss of food.
|There was a fire in the fireplace, which the staff must start each day, but it didn’t smell well ventilated.|
They tried to escape Ireland by embarking on long and dangerous Atlantic Ocean crossings with little to no food, no money, often leaving most of their belongings behind to what they assumed was the land of plenty, the US.
|This twin-size daybed is located in the main living area, although a bedroom is shown in the photo below.|
As was the case for some of Tom’s ancestors, many escaped to other countries such as England, Canada, and Australia. Irish descendants may be found all over the world, often in surprising locations.
|The one-bedroom in the house was most likely where Dan and his wife slept.|
Here is the story of Dan O’Hara and his wife and seven children from this site:
“‘Dan O’Hara’s homestead is built on the original site of the home of Dan from Connemara renowned in the popular ballad all over the world. Dan O Hara lived with his wife and seven children in a cottage shadowed by the Twelve Bens. The family was self-sufficient on 8 acres of land and lived a simple but happy lifestyle. The central part of the farm was given over to the potato crop, and they kept a variety of animals on the farm.
|Spinning wheel in the corner of the bedroom.|
The turf for the fire was cut in the local bog and kept the family warm and cozy through the winter months. Dan O’ Hara’s was a visiting house, and many a romance began in the flickering firelight of the hearth. Social gatherings such as storytelling and céilis kept the Irish language and traditions alive.
|The Dutch door to the barn next to the house.|
Most of Dan O’Hara’s land was given over to the potato crop. Its advantage was that it grew in the poorest conditions, and an acre and a half would sustain five or six people for six months. Some of the crops were used to feed a pig. Potatoes and buttermilk ensured that the population of Connemara was robust and healthy, although poor.
|Note the small size of the barn.|
Like most people in Connemara at the time, Dan O’Hara did not own the house he lived in or the land. He paid rent to the local landlord. His happy but straightforward lifestyle came abruptly when he was evicted for non-payment of his rent. He had decided to increase the size of the windows in his house, which led to increased rent payments.
He was evicted from his home and forced to emigrate. He arrived in New York, a broken man. His wife and three of his children died on the harsh sea journey, and penniless and destitute, he had to put the remaining children into care. He ended his days selling matches on the street far from his beloved Connemara.”
|Many wealthy individuals, companies, and organizations have donated trees for the grounds.|
We were both in contemplative thought upon leaving Dan O’Hara’s homestead located on the Connemara Heritage and History Centre grounds and didn’t say a word until we made the steep walk back to the car and began our 40-minute drive back to our holiday home.
We were both touched and saddened by what we’d learned. No doubt, for Tom, this was particularly heartwrenching when he knew many of his ancestors suffered this same fate.
|This breed of white horses is indigenous to Connemara.|
But, most of us, were we become aware of the strife experienced by our ancestors, we’d often find that they too suffered greatly. It reminds us how grateful we should be for the times in which we live our lives in this modern-day and age.
|View of the landscape from Dan O’Hara homestead, located up a steep hill from the car park.|
For most of us, we have a roof over our heads, food in the refrigerator and cupboards, and the benefit of using machines and technology that has been a part of our lives since the day we were born.
However, like all things, everything is relative. We experience our daily struggles and challenges and rarely dismiss them to realize just how lucky we are to live in these times.
|A shed is used to store peat moss which may often be used for heating, as well as: “Gardeners use peat moss mainly as a soil amendment or ingredient in potting soil. It has an acid pH, ideal for acid-loving plants, such as blueberries and camellias. For plants that with more alkaline soil, compost may be a better choice.”|
From time to time and now, as we explore Ireland and other countries, we’ve become entrenched in the facts of the hardships our ancestors suffered in times past and hope we continue to learn from their experiences.
|View of the creek running through the history center’s grounds.|
Today, we’ll stay in on yet another rainy and cool day. We’ve begun to research where we’d like to go after we’re done in the US at the end of this year. We have some cruises booked in the next few years, but we have plenty of times in between to search for future adventures.
Have a fulfilling and meaningful day.
Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2018:
|Each night I practice taking photos in the dark once the bushbabies arrive. For more photos, please click here.|