Research, records and sheer persistence are the stuff of family history as Deirdre Carroll has found out

Compiling her family history is a challenge that Deirdre Carroll has set herself and she hopes to jog the memories of people in Clare who may know members of her branch of the Carrolls in Ennis and the O'Connors in Crusheen.

Her research, to date, has brought her back to the latter part of the 1800s when her great grandfather, Bernard Carroll, a Limerick man, worked as a car driver (horse drawn) in the Clare area. He married Mary O'Leary from Miltown Malbay.

Bernard was the steward at the famous Abbey Club, a gentlemen's club situated at the bridge opposite Ennis Abbey. It is believed that the couple lived in the Borheen at some stage.
Deirdre's grandfather, Michael Carroll married Delia O'Connor from Crumumna, Crusheen and it was there that her father, Joe, was born in 1916.

Michael and Delia moved to Ennis with their young family - Joe, Mary, Peggy and Bridie - and initially lived at Abbey House before moving to the Borheen.

When her husband died at a relatively young age in 1929, Delia trained as a nurse and became a wellknown figure in Ennis. Nurse Carroll cycled everywhere and much of her work brought her to West Clare.

On completing their education, Delia's children all took up civil service posts in Dublin and Deirdre has kept up that tradition.

Delia decided to move to the city around 1940 to be close to her family. A warmhearted and lively person, she was always ready for a a bit of craic.

"Despite having her family around her in Dublin, Delia very much missed her many friends in Ennis and spoke of her beloved Clare right up to her death."

In fact, it was her outgoing personality which brought Delia some measure of celebrity in the early '50s.

The Eddie Golden Show, a live quiz, was a big event at the Theatre Royal and contestants were selected by lottery from the audience.

Delia's daughter's ticket came out but she was too shy to take to the stage. However, Delia was unfazed and stepped up to answer the questions. For the final question she was asked to name the specially woven edge on material to prevent it from unravelling. Without hesitation, she answered correctly 'Selvedge'.

The prize was a new car and since she was unable to drive, Delia sold it and went to Rome and Lourdes on the proceeds. Delia had walked with the aid of a stick but on returning from Lourdes she discarded it.

Despite having her family around her in Dublin, Delia very much missed her many friends in Ennis and always spoke of her beloved Clare right up to her death in 1969.

It was through listening to a wealth of stories about Clare, that Deirdre, her oldest granddaughter, came to know so much about the place. Also her father Joe was deeply involved in the Clare Association in Dublin and their home was a halfway house for people from the Banner County.

Deirdre has heard so much about Clare over the years that she feels she knows every town and village in the place. She keeps up to speed on happenings in the county through The Clare Champion which she buys at Easons each week. She also visits Clare on a fairly regular basis, staying with cousins in Ballyvaughan. In compiling her family history, Deirdre has unearthed many interesting old family photographs but would love to get her hands on much more which might feature members of her family or extended family. If anybody can help Deirdre with her efforts please contact her at 087 2425099.

Courtesy of Austin Hobbs (Clare Champion) 2002