THE IMMORTAL DEED OF MICHAEL O’LEARY VC.
Cónal Creedon will present the inaugural talk at the Daniel Corkery Summer School 2019. Sunday 21st July – Creedon’s Hotel, Inchigeelagh.
The Immortal Deed of Michael O’Leary by Cónal Creedon.
[Pub: Cork City Library. 2016]
Michael O’Leary was born in Cooleen, Iveleary on 11th October 1888.
When Cónal first decided to collect the story of Michael O’Leary VC between the covers of a book, he assumed it would be a straightforward tale of an ordinary man who rose to the challenge of an extraordinary situation; a story that climaxed, like some operatic grand finale, during a daring dash across a pockmarked no man’s land and into the pages of history.
But as he peeled back the layers Cónal soon became entangled in the story of Iveleary [Uíbh Laoghaire: The Land of the O’Learys] and the Clan O’Leary.
It can be difficult to conceptualise the enormity of time in a timeless landscape. The O’Learys first came to Iveleary almost a thousand years ago. But a millennium is a mere blink of an eye-lid for a clan who claim direct lineage to the Érainn tribe, a seafaring people who are said to have settled the south-west coast of present day County Cork sometime between 1000 to 600 BC.
Iveleary, the land of the O’Learys – is a green and leafy valley; a land where history and story go hand in hand, fact and fiction seem to dovetail together seamlessly and the spiritual and the natural complement each other without contradiction or contrivance. No shroud of mystery conceals the powers of Gobnait when she sent out her squadrons of bees to defend neighbouring Ballyvourney and Coolea. No suspicion surrounds the story of Finbarr when he raised his arms above the water and banished the lake monster Luiwee from Gougán. There is nothing extraordinary about the triumph of mortal ingenuity over supernatural power in the Land of the O’Learys.
Cónal’s lecture will present a perspective of the course of Irish history as viewed from the half-door of a hillside cottage in Iveleary. It is a story that thunders along the beautiful green and leafy Lee Valley – from the pinpoint of its mystical source high up over Gougán, leading all the way to the broad meandering latticework of waterways of that great southern delta of Corcach Mór na Mumhan.
Iveleary is not just a destination; it is so much more than that. Iveleary is a journey into time; it is a sound, a scent, a state of mind.