Room with a view

by Gerry Cunningham

The name O’Connor has been associated with Sligo for many centuries, certainly from the fourth quarter of the 13th century where they are mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters. They became known as O’Connor Sligo from the 16th century.

BallyglassHouse
Ballyglass House

The O’Connor family had several branches and in the 16th century they owned property at Hazelwood and Doonally. The wealthy Sligo merchant, Peter O’Connor, who was born in Edenbawn, Calry, was not only a successful businessman but a much-loved philanthropist.  Peter O’Connor purchased Ballyglass House and surrounding lands on 31 July 1858 and one of his nephews, James Charles O’Connor lived there. James was a talented man and drew the first published sketches of the megalithic site in the Deerpark.

Mr James O’Connor’s wife, Emily Kate, died very young at the age of 28 years and he was devastated by her untimely passing.  She is buried in Clogher graveyard in the northeastern corner of the burial ground.  Other members of the O’Connor family (Patrick, son of Denis, and Peter, son of Patrick, both of Edenbawn) are buried in a crypt located in the central section of the burial grounds.

In describing Clogher graveyard, O’Rorke notes that:

A very fine Irish cross, set over the grave of the late much-lamented Mrs. James O’Connor, is the most striking object in the place. It bears the inscription:

IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF EMILY KATE,

THE BELOVED AND DEVOTED WIFE OF JAMES CHARLES O’CONNOR, OF BALLYGLASS.

BORN 21ST JULY, 1844;

DIED 1ST MAY, 1872.

MAY SHE REST IN PEACE.

James O’Connor died on 19 March 1910.

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James erected the cross in that prominent position so that he could see it clearly with binoculars from his east-facing bedroom window in Ballyglass House and the oral history passed down from the time of her death is that he viewed it first thing every morning when he arose so that the memory of his late wife started his day and remained with him throughout the day.

The photo of the celtic cross shown here with Lough Colga in the immediate background, also shows the east gable of Ballyglass House in the centre of the wooded area in the distant background.

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