Rosamund Previté Interview
Oughterard Newsletter March 2012
Geraldine Bresnihan and Mary Kyne
Rosamund Previté was born on the 5th March 1916. Her parents were Robert and Gladys Hodgson. She spent the first eight years of her life living in Darjeeling in India where her father worked as chief engineer with Public Works Department in Bengal. Rosamund has wonderful memories of her early life in India. To her it was a mystical and magical place. The colours, the smells,the way the people moved, women in beautiful saris, glided with great grace and dignity. She often wandered into the woods to look at the Goompas, which were trails of material hung on trees which were some form of religious practice. Her father’s work often took them on the journey from Darjeeling to Bengal - it was totally magical. They would stay in Government residences along the way. One memory that terrified her was that of the funeral pyres. She looks back with great fondness on those happy days of her childhood in India
Robert Cecil Hodgson was the youngest brother of Henry Dudley Hodgson who lived at Currarevagh House and Edward Hodgson who lived in Oughterard House. They had one sister, Hilda who married and settled in England.
Rosamund’s Immediate Family
Rosamund’s mother was Gladys Gwendolyn Butt from Ballinasloe. She was Robert’s second wife, his first wife died in childbirth; the baby boy, who survived, was called Phillip Sydney Hodgson. His grandmother Grace Kingsmill reared him in England. He would have been seven years old when Rosamund was born. He came to live with his stepmother, Gladys, shortly after she had married Robert in 1912. In later years Phillip went to live in Lima in Peru.
Returning to Ireland
Rosamund’s father retired from India (Bengal) when she was eight years old, at first they lived in Old Currarevagh then her father built a house at Cappagariff. Old Currarevagh was demolished because there was not enough money to pay the rates. Rosamund told us a story of how her father buried a bag of sovereigns in the garden during the Civil War but after the house was demolished they were never found.
A friend of the family by the name of Hubert Tozer, who was an ex Hoogley pilot in India and often visited them, wrote a poem about Cappagariff called “The Changing Corrib”.
Gladys was a wonderful pianist and people often came out from Galway to hear her play the piano. Her mother-in-law also used to bring out guests from Drimcong to hear her play Chopin and Beethoven.
Rosamund was sent to school in England at the age of eight. This involved getting a train to Dublin where the guard looked after her. There she was met by a friend of the family called Doreen Timmins who was games mistress at her school. She brought her back and forth to school each year. This was a very lonely time for Rosamund.She missed her mother very much and was very homesick and miserable. She had a toy dog by the name of Mickey who went everywhere with her.
Summers were spent back in Cappagariff, where a lovely time was had out cycling to the hill of Doon and rowing the boat out on the lake fishing and listening to her gramophone. There was not much social life for teenagers in those days. Rosamund was a shy teenager and preferred her own company. Sometimes her Godmother the Countess Metaxa had tennis parties at her house, Gort na Ganiv, which is across the road from Currarevagh. The Countess had two children Dick and Thelma.
Her father had a barge that used to go to Morgan’s island to get gravel for the avenue.
The Hodgson family had mining rights at Glengowla, Glann and Doon. The family originally came from Merlin Park.
After school she went to live with a great aunt in London and then went on to become under matron in a school in Surrey. From there she went on to work in a boys’ school in Felixstowe which she liked very much. She went out at weekends to friends of the family and had a nice time.
One of the low points in her life was when her mother died in 1959, she had been very ill with emphysema in London. Rosamund had come home to recover herself from an illness and her mother died when she was not there and was cremated in England. She was very upset and distressed at the time. Her father had previously died in 1946.
Memories of Oughterard
Being away from home so much Rosamund did not get to know many people in Oughterard at that time but she has fond memories of Joyce’s shop and Byrne’s bakery. Mr. Byrne’s sister was able to get stuff in the Black Market during the war.
She used to chat with Mrs Joyce in Joyce’s shop, who attributed the migraine Rosamund suffered to the trauma of separation that she suffered in her childhood.
Rosamund knew Michael Previté since she was eight years old. He was also educated in England. When they got married they lived in an army Camp. During the War they came back with the two boys Anthony and Nicholas to live in Drimcong House which was the family home of Michael. During the war they lived frugally, they were almost self-sufficient. They grew fruit and vegetables in the garden and the excess was brought to the market in Galway. Life was isolated. Petrol was scarce, cigarettes were hard to come by but there was a priest in Moycullen at the time who used to bring her cigarettes and help out with other things that were hard to come by.
Post War Years
After the war they lived for a time in England and then during the early ‘50s lived in the West Indies where Michael was involved with the Previté family business of Trinidad Lake Asphalt. They returned again to England for a while and then finally back to Oughterard in the ‘60s where they then ran a broiler business for a number of years.
Later they moved to Screebe Lodge where Michael ran the fishing and Rosamund looked after the guests, This was a very happy time in their lives. Screebe Lodge is a lovely place and they met many interesting people who were guests at the lodge.
Their ultimate home was then to be at Clareville where Michael sadly died in 2005.
We are very grateful to Rosamund for taking the time to share her memories with us. The Oughterard Culture and Heritage Group and the wider community join with us in wishing her a happy 96th birthday on the 5th March.