It is 6 miles to walk from Carracastle to Ballaghaderreen. (Bealach an Doirín) is a town in County Roscommon, Ireland. The town name means in Irish: the way (Bealach) of the little oak (Doirín)’. It was located in County Mayo until 1899, but then transferred to Rosecommon by the local government (Ireland) Act of 1898. See Map
In 2013, Catherine and John Breheny’s original family home is now an open field. However the original granary and hay sheds are still standing and restored to working order.
The original house of the Breheny’s had two chimneys and was built in 1912 of stones and mortar, with plastered internal and external walls; a timber roof couples and juices, with Blue Banger grey slate. Teak window frames, teak doors, skirtings and architraves. and located at Number 5 Lissymulgee Road, Carracastle, Rosecommon, Ballaghaderreen.
One of the chimneys collapsed, and the old house was demolished and a new house erected in its place by Catherine and John Breheny. During the time of its rebuilding, Catherine, John and two children Thomas and Kate took up residence in the upstairs 1st floor of the granary. Which was later restored by Jim Coleman and family.
The property stands on the Moy river frontage. Originally 22acres. In 1952 it was auctioned off by Ellen Coughlin (nee Breheny) for $700 Pounds and purchased by Mr. Jim Coleman (Senior). In 2013 the land is worth 4000 pounds per acre.
According to Jim Coleman even though they were poor they enjoyed the farm life, fishing and swimming in the summer time. “We didn’t have too many hobbies back then, if they had any bit of wealth the British made sure they took it from us”.
There is a lovely photo of the original home, which must have housed at least two or three of the Breheny family members. Both Catherine Lee and John Breheny and possibly also John’s Parents, James Breheny and Anne Judge.
The next door neighbours to the Breheny’s were the Teatums and you can also see a nice photo of Catherine with Marie/ Ellen Teatum. Ellen had 2 daughters according to Jim Coleman and both alive and well in 2013. Mary Battle daughter to Catherine and John Breheny used to send cloths parcels in the 1940’s and 50’s from Australia.
‘Maneen’ was the Breheny family dog, it was black with brown legs and eyes.
‘Jackeen the horse’ (Male) was also Catherine and the story is he was well trained and could rear up on command. Jackeen would stick his head out the back window and Jim Coleman stuck a stick at the door of the stable so he got a good feed. Next day Catherine said “oh I should stick you with a fork”.
40 truck loads of (peat) Turf was delivered and was racked up outside, and the geese house was where the tank is now in 2014. Jim Coleman remembers that he, Maggie Battle, Catherine, Jackeen and a cart would stack the peat and store it for baking and keeping the house warm in winter.
Around 1953 the average wage was a mere 8 pound per hour (TBC)
From at least 1921 John Breheny (Catherine’s husband) suffered badly from Alzheimer’s and at one stage he and Catherine lived in the Granary while the new house was being built.