Thursday, January 13, 2011

Athy Lawn Tennis Club Group / Col. Hosie

This week I am looking for help with a number of queries.  Dermot McCarthy formerly of St. Patrick’s Avenue and now living for more than 40 years in Dublin gave me a photograph some time ago of a group from Athy Lawn Tennis Club.  I cannot say whether those photographed were from the Tennis Club on the Carlow Road which was part of the Social Club based in St. John’s Lane or the older more established Club at Geraldine Park.  Can you identify any of the men or women featured in the photograph or say when or where the photograph was taken?

The I.V.I. Foundry, opened in 1926, was for many years the most important employer of men in this town. The Foundry worked in all types of metal, bronze, aluminium, copper, lead and white metal but suffered badly during the Second World War due to the shortage of raw material.  Frank White was Manager of the enterprise in those early years while Jim Tierney of Emily Row was in charge of sales.  Jack Lowe of Church Road later became Sales Manager and oversaw an upswing in the Foundry’s fortunes after the War when much work was done for many of Ireland’s most important semi-state bodies.

The Managing Director and founder of the firm was a man who was always referred to by his military title, which came from his time in the British Army.  Colonel Hosie was by all accounts a good employer and was involved in many projects aimed at improving the lot of his employees as well as the wider local community.  For the 1932 Eucharistic Congress he set up in the Peoples Park at his own expense a radio transmission system with amplification so that the people of Athy could follow the Congress events in Dublin as they were relayed on 2RN.

Another venture of his, which I only became aware of recently, was a radio and bicycle shop which he opened for the benefit of his workers.  Any worker wishing to buy a bicycle or a radio could do so and have it paid for by deducting half a crown a week from his wages.  The Colonel took a keen and benevolent interest in his workers at a time when employment opportunities in Athy and Ireland generally were very poor.  I would like to hear from anyone who remembers Colonel Hosie.

John Moran, born in Monasterevin in 1892, joined the Royal Irish Constabulary and was one of those Irish Policemen who enlisted during the First World War.  He joined the Leinster Regiment, based in Birr, and before the end of the War was mentioned in dispatches, received a Military Award for Bravery and was finally promoted to the rank of Captain.  On being demobbed he rejoined the R.I.C. and served as District Inspector in Cork during the latter part of the War of Independence.  He served up to the disbandment of that police force in 1922.  Moran subsequently entered a Seminary in Rome and was ordained in priest in 1926.  He wrote the well-known hymn “A Hymn to Our Lady of Peace” and for many years celebrated the annual Mass held in Westminster Cathedral London for members of the R.I.C. who died in service in Ireland.

Can anyone tell me anything about John Moran and his unique career as an R.I.C. man, as a soldier in World War I and finally as a Catholic priest?

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