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The Reality of 19th century Christmas in Ireland can sometimes make stark reading and no matter how we try to retrospectively impart a sense of joy and happiness and 'making do' into their lives we should remember just how tough things were for many of our ancestors and remember also why so many had to leave Ireland to spend the rest of their lives in other countries.  The following journal was kept during an Irish Christmas by William O'Brien, a Dublin politician and journalist who came to the south side of the Galty Mountains (Galtee) in 1877 for three days to witness for himself the stories he had heard about the cruelty meted out to the tenants of the Buckley estate by the new 'Landlord's Agent'  Patten Bridge. His report of that Irish Christmas visit was  published in a series of articles in the Freeman's Journal in 1878. Part of that journal is offered here. The court case in Dublin he refers to was one where the landlord's agent - Patton Bridge - had sued a local newspaper reporter who had originally highlighted the cruel rack-renting on the Buckley Estate. Several of the tenants were summoned to Dublin to give evidence and that evidence was the reason William O'Brien came to Skeheenarinky.  (BallybegVillage.com website is created and maintained from a room  in the former teacher's house in Skeheenarinky and the window from this room looks out on the very mountains where O'Brien made his three day visit to the Galty Mountains during Christmas 1877) Christmas in Ireland. Today, Skeheenarinky is a prosperous and delightful place in which to live and Christmas here is the same as anywhere else in Ireland.  Wonderful modern houses, modern farms owned by modern farmers , the local school a model of the National School system in Ireland, great people, great neighbours - are all testament to the resilience of the people of this townland. (For link to rest of Christmas on the Galtees see end of page.)

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