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His passion for writing gained him tertiary qualifications in professional writing and freelance journalism. He has had freelance material published in leading newspapers and has for many years been a part-time contributor and consulting editor to community magazines and newspapers. He has edited manuals on aged care and copywriting and is also a published short story writer. He has lived and worked in several parts of Australia and as an owner builder has designed and built two homes using passive solar techniques.

His interests include the environment, walking and politics and he also enjoys reading, theatre, movies and listening to ABC programmes like Radio National. A keen student of Irish history, he was co-author of an audio tape on the Easter Rising of some years ago that sold in many English-speaking countries. He is now retired and lives in Victoria, Australia, with his wife Janet, where he continues to write at least a few hundred words each day. Articles and blog posts may be viewed at www.

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Against the Wind: Memoir of a Dissident Dubliner is the story of life in the first 50 years after independence was won for a part of the island of Ireland James A O'Brien. Best Sellers. Add to Cart failed.


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Fanny Colley died at Ferney on 1 March , aged Cavan, and of 1, Wilton-place, Dublin. Frederick Steuart Trench, Rector of Athy. It took place in Taney Church, close to Leopardstown House, where her parents were living at the time. His father, the Rev. When J. Vernon died in , he was succeeded by the barrister John Fane Vernon, the first-born son of his first marriage. Arthur married Mildred Blanche Bloomfield Trench. At that time, she was living in Clontarf West with her niece Florence Bowen, as well as her husband Henry and baby daughter Elizabeth.

It is tempting to suppose that Elizabeth Bowen was named for this unmarried aunt. Lily later occupied one of a hat-trick of houses at Shanganagh Terrace, on the south-side of Killiney Hill. Baba nicknamed it 'The Anthill', on account of all the aunts who lived there. The houses were five minutes from Ballybrack Railway Station and commanded fine views of both the mountains and the sea.

The houses on Shanganagh Terrace remained with the wider family. Nothing more is yet known of him but it is likely that he was the "Mr. John Colley, 23, Gentleman" from Ireland who appeared on the passenger manifest for the ship Liverpool arriving in New York in , along with ten other well-to-do passengers identified as ladies, gentlemen, one servant and a doctor.

His biographer Sir William F. Butler writes:. He was slight and well proportioned, but with a look of great physical strength. The features possessed the strongly moulded type noticeable in several branches of the Colley race; the brown hair fell upon a forehead already suggesting intellectual power.

His chief interests at this time were the artistic and literary pursuits which always held their own, notwithstanding an arduous professional life, until in the stress of the last few years they were necessarily laid aside. On such topics he was, I am told, often full of talk — at other times silent and dreamy.

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Though finished in manner even as a lad, he himself seems in his boyish years to have suffered from a quite disproportionate sense of shyness. I can well imagine a boy conscious of considerable power feeling solitary and at a disadvantage amongst others, not from too little manner in the common sense, but from too much ability — gifts beyond what his social practice as yet enables him to express. An artist of considerable skill, he was something of an intellectual genius, mastering subjects such as Russian, chemistry and political economy during regular two-hour private study sessions before breakfast.

Returning to Sandhurst to study at the Staff College, he again finished in first place and fetched up as an administrator of high repute in Africa. He also served as chief of the staff to Sir Garnet Wolseley when the latter was sent to avenge the Zulu victory at Isandlwana. In Colley was knighted, promoted to the rank of major-general, and appointed both high commissioner for South Eastern Africa and Governor of the Natal. Among his staff was H.

Rider Haggard , the adventure novelist whose books included King Solomon's Mines, published September However, all his good deeds came asunder less than a year later when he was forced into a hopeless situation by the government politics in London that led to the outbreak of the first Anglo-Boer War. On the night of 27 February he and some British soldiers occupied Majuba Hill, only for the force to be devastated by Boer marksmen. General Colley was among the first casualties. They [the Boers] asked me to identify him, and this I did. He was only wounded once, and that through the top of the skull.

Death must have been instantaneous.

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From the direction of the wound, he must have been facing the Boers when hit. Another Britons were killed, captured or wounded in one of the worst military defeats the British ever suffered in Africa. She was evidently an ambitious woman who had married for convenience rather than love.


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The truth is she was not with him at this time but contemporary rumours also proposed that she had written to him in advance of the battle, urging him into further action. This may be so but no such letters survive while letters she wrote to him on both 15th and 24th February suggest she did not 'care a rush for any such rubbish as work or success' and longed for his safe return.

Her friends likewise included men such as Henry James. Lady Allendale, as she had become, died in George Francis Colley, he was a grandson of the 4th Viscount Harberton. His great-grandmother was a first cousin of the Duke of Wellington, a kinship greatly prided valued by the family during his formative years. Born on 16 August and known to the family as Bena, she was the eldest daughter of the Hon.

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Laois, for an impressive 44 years. Thomas Kelly of Ballintubber, Co. The Rev. He never fully recovered from his exertions. By his wife Isabella, a daughter of the Rev. Edward Guille of Jersey, he had a son, the Rev. William E.

James A O'Brien

Wingfield, who was awarded a DSO in for his gallantry at the Somme. Wingfield was father to Captain Mervyn Wingfield, DSO, DSC — , the first British submarine commander to sink a Japanese submarine, and grandfather of the civil engineer Richard Wingfield who helped with the writing of this tome. Whilst living in India by the s, Major Webber was listed as the owner of 1, acres in County Limerick. He retired from the army in and subsequently served as Chief Constable of Flintshire for over twenty years until his death in London aged 63 on 4th May He would later stand as best man to his first cousin, the Rev.

He rose to become a lieutenant-colonel in the 30th Lancers, Indian Army. In Norah returned to Ireland on her own in order to give birth to their only son Tony and managed to visit her cousins at Corkagh in this time. Tony, who was born in Dublin on 5th June , and his cousin Veronica Colley later Hall-Dare , who was born on 14th April, would later claim a special bond on the basis that they shared a pram during this period.

Norah and Tony were en route from Liverpool to Karachi on board the SS City of Birmingham, a converted troopship, when they were torpedoed 90 miles south east of Malta on 27th November When the lifeboat they were being lowered into the sea on was snagged on the way down, mother and child were dumped into the sea. They spent two hours in the Mediterranean waters until rescued by a hospital ship. Norah later penned a vivid account of the event, which she posted back to her family in Ireland some months later. She and George remained in India for some time, where George rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and took command of the Royal Deccan Horse.

Tony and his only sister Ruth consequently spent much of their childhood at Corkagh, particularly during school holidays. Merle had previously married a highly-decorated submariner by name of Lieutenant David Verschoyle-Campbell, with whom she had a son, Dermot. David was the youngest Royal Navy officer to command a submarine and went on to be awarded a second medal for bravery.

There are no records of what happened to the vessel. Dublin, in July , although they may have lived there before that. Contemporary newspapers confirms that at least six of their ten children were born at Lucan Lodge. These six girls and four boys were named Elizabeth Bessie , Maud , Florence , George , Laura , Wingfield , Gerald , Constance , Gertrude and Edward Details of each of these children follows below.

He was prominent in both the Church Missionary Society from as early as and the Church Education Society for Ireland particularly during the s and s , as well as being on the Diocesan Board of Religious Education. Henry Colley of Lucan Lodge was also recorded as a donor to famine relief in India. It is a large, mid-to-late Victorian house with gables, narrow but many windows and an ornate brock front, beautifully placed, with lawns going down in terraces over a wide view of Dublin bay.

Its downstairs rooms are spacious, good for family life. It stands, or stood when the Colleys acquired it, in a sufficient number of acres, its nearness to Dublin was convenient in many ways. In addition, while Clontarf was still in Co. Dublin the township did not become absorbed into the city until , access had improved considerably. The horse-drawn tramline to Clontarf opened in May and passed by the end of the Howth Road. By the s electrification was being considered and in March the electric service from Clontarf to Nelson's Pillar was completed.