John’s Characters of Castleisland from the Early 1980s

Julia & Eily Sheehy 1981:82
John WH O’Connor pictured during his interview with Eily and Julia Sheehy in their Church Street home in 1981.
Island Players, Danny Broderick and Jean Horgan in a scene from A Gown for his Mistress from the Ivy Leaf which was filmed by John WH O’Connor in 1983.
Veteran and highly respected athlete, Jim O’Connor and his son Jack in a clip from one of John WH O’Connor’s videos from the early 1980s.

I have been asked, enough times to make me curious, about photographs of people in various situations around the town from the early 1980s.
I explained to people that I didn’t start taking photographs like that until well into 1982. Then it was explained to me that people were hearing that there were photographs of relatives of theirs being seen on the internet.

The Penny Dropped
After one very specific enquiry for an image of a man from that era, the penny dropped with me that these people were appearing on John WH O’Connor’s collection of videos.
John has been posting batches of his all encompassing videos online for the past couple of years. He did a blitz on everything that moved here for a few years around that time and they are now a treasure throve of pure nostalgia.

Compulsive Viewing
John didn’t just point and shoot and post his stuff online, he actually traced his tapes and captioned them for the posterity they’re now enjoying.
I had a quick look through his collection and it’s compulsive viewing: I filmed one interview he did with the Sheehy sisters, Eily and Julia of the well known sweet shop on Church Street while John went through his well prepared set of questions. He did another with the late Jim O’Connor the well known athlete and magic bottle man with Desmonds for years and his son Jack.

Clips of Doggie Men
You’ll also find clips and chats with doggie men:  Sean McGaley, Noel Browne and Michael Murphy.
There’s a chat with Patsy O’Connor of Desmonds Avenue about his passion for Gaelic Football and his interest in underage teams. He tells a story of finding a few young players in a pub in Knocknagoshel with pints of beer in their hands. It didn’t go down well with Patsy and doubly so as he was a staunch member of the local Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

Street Corners and Shop Doors

You’ll find rugby and soccer matches with dog shows and horse fairs and footage of our chaotic traffic situation of that time – which is absolutely hilarious when you look at the order it’s under today.
And you’ll also find those people standing at street corners and shop doors – the kind I was getting the enquiries about. You can dip into John’s collection through the link below. Be warned though: you’ll be there for hours.