Memories of my Father

John O'Connor New Village 1914-1988

Patti O'Connor

John O'Connor about 1940 in the London Fire Brigade
Patti O'Connor

Taken from 150 Blian ag Fás 1851-2011 Scoil Chumín.

The Boy’s School Oughterard A Unique Story

Early Childhood
Johnny O’Connor was born on January 1st 1914 in Oughterard. His father Laurence was from Oakfield and his mother Bridget Fahy was from Gortacarnaun. The family set up a business as butchers in Camp St. Today it is still a butcher shop owned by McGeough’s.
He attended the “Boys’ School” as it was always called. His teachers were Mr. Cooney, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Melville who was from East Galway. He was also taught by Gerard Lee. Some of the teachers stayed in his own home in Camp St. as lodgers. There was no getting away from them!  Johnny’s childhood was spent about the town and he frequently talked about Lemonfield and the White Hill.

In Exile
In 1933 he went to London to join the Irish Guards. He returned home in 1936 and went to work with his uncle in Headford in his butcher shop.
He went back to London in 1939 and joined the London Fire Brigade. He was there during “The Blitz” – the bombing of London by the German Luftwaffe in 1940. After that he joined the R.A.F. and travelled overseas to India and Burma, stopping off at South Africa. The journey took about six weeks. He spent about six years in the Far East altogether. During his time there he fell ill, contracting a form of malaria called Blackwater Fever. He made a miraculous recovery after spending a long time in a make shift camp hospital.

Home Again
After returning home to Oughterard, he met and married Josephine McDonagh from New Village, Glann. They had four children, Bridie, Patti, Kevin and Pauline. They were farmers and he loved the land, especially growing crops.
In the sixties times were changing. He became an active member of the N.F.A. (now
the I.F.A.) and Muintir na Tire.

Boxing Club
He also started a boxing club in which he trained young men and boys physical fit- ness and boxing. The club has been successful since the beginning and to this day. Máirtín Lee won national titles in 1969 and 1970. Since then 13 national and numerous Connacht and County titles were won by members of the club.
The Agricultural Show was another of Johnny’s great interests. After its revival in 1961 he was actively involved in the running of this very successful annual event. It was held behind where the community centre now stands. Johnny suddenly took ill and died in January 1988. He was a great loss to his family and all his friends and neighbours.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam


This page was added on 28/02/2024.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.