Personal and undiluted views
Donegal

27 days ago

Some books belonging to Mora Ilbert, Christmas 1890

Last night, I discovered two more boxes still unopened since our move to the Welsh Hovel two years ago.  Within them, there is an old photo of the rev David Cochrane, my great great grandfather, looking very dour and stern as one would expect of a respectable cleric from Donegal. There was also a copy of The History of the Royal Military Canal by my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, signed and addressed with love to me. I tried to say how interesting that is as subject but the Mrs was not entirely convinced. I shall try again tonight, it is bound to put her into a good mood before bedtime.

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52 days ago

Reading the family papers: it is easy to be reduced to tears

Among those things I collected from the house of my late father in Shipston yesterday were some ancient photo albums and several boxes of family papers and documents. I have started reading but these things almost make me tearful.  

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65 days ago

Photo Article from the Welsh Hovel: Jane Tomlinson, My Grandfather in his Brideshead days & the portraits of a naked ex girlfriend dilemma

We moved to the Welsh Hovel 21 months ago and still we have some things in cardboard packing boxes. Not a lot but enough. But as rooms are renovated, one by one, and furniture is added, gradually those boxes can be unpacked. In a month or so I shall also be picking up more furniture from my late father’s house in Shipston including two more Victorian bookcases and so this week I have been going through those cardboard boxes.

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83 days ago

Chatting to my IRA pal about the EU punishment beatings of we Brits

Where my DNA comes from Sinn Fein and the IRA are seen as one and the same so he is known in this household as my pal in the IRA. Certainly he is proud of its actions – he celebrates the killing of British soldiers, something his forebears took part in. But, given the timing of the arrival of my family in his home county of Donegal (the 1650s), we know not to go chat about such matters. He knows that I wear an Ulster rugby shirt and we have much else to discuss anyway. Yesterday, he called to tease me about problems with Brexit, kicking off with Dutch customs officials seizing the ham sandwiches of British lorry drivers.

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861 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel - take that Bernard! Mr Fire is here

During the week that he was here, ShareProphets reader Bernard from the Grim North of England, c/o Donegal tried manfully to get my new wood burning stove going. It is jolly chilly at night. He failed. Over to the maestro.

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862 days ago

Day 5 of the Olive harvest at the Greek Hovel and a final P&L – Don’t all laugh

I have been sitting on this account of the final day of the 2018 olive harvest for some days as I am rather cross. I know the sums involved are trivial but none the less….

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1286 days ago

A gobshite Dublin taxi driver explains African famine to a descendent of a wicked Donegal squire

170 years ago my Church of Ireland forebears were sitting happily at Edenmoor, a country house in Donegal with bellies full while in the fields outside the poor catholics starved. Actually Donegal got off relatively lightly with its population falling by less than 20%. In Clare or Mayo the events of the Irish famine were truly terrible. A million Irish folks died and the same number emigrated. There is little doubt that British Corn Laws and the exploitative nature of the Landlord tenant relationship added to the woes of the potato blight. We Brits & the Cochranes of Ballybofey and their ilk have a good deal to answer for.

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1312 days ago

Photo: Stunning Portrait of my very handsome dead Great Uncle David Cochrane and a Donegal Mystery

I have written many times about my Great Uncle David Cochrane who, in 1931, died falling down the mountain now named after him, opposite Delphi in Greece. He was at the time a student at Trinity College Oxford. As my father seeks to de-clutter his house a few paintings have been offered to his children and step children and feeling a stronger Cochrane link than most I took these two below.

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2121 days ago

Hello said my Dad… my name is Tom (in Gaelic)

My father and step mother are on a cruise… He starts treatment, to delay not cure, on his return but pro tem they have headed off on a boat to Iceland, via the Faroe Islands and – first stop – Donegal.

The last time my father was in Donegal was with me, perhaps fifteen years ago or was it twenty, as we paid a visit to the Cochrane ancestral home in Ballybofey.

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