The O'Donoghue Society

For all those interested in history and genealogy and whose names are derived from the Gaelic

April Snippet: The Family Farm - Response Two

Contributed by Roderick O'Donoghue

When Rod announced that the subject of the April snippet would be "The Family Farm", my immediate reaction was that i could submit nothing.....
 
I thought about what a farm is, and how I came to learn about them through books, songs and schools. I wonder whether there is an Irish form of Old MacDonald's farm? I thought about chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, cows, wheat barley....and probably in that order. Nothing came to mind that related to a family farm.
 
Violet Evangeline O'Donoghue, daughter of Rev Edward Geoffrey O'Donoghue, followed in her father and grandfather's footsteps in writing books. Her father  wrote non-fiction. Her grandfather wrote fiction, while she, too, wrote fiction under her married name, Whish. One of her books bore the title 'Come to Good Farm'....a tenuous connection to farming.
 
My mind continued to drift. Could i argue that successive generations of a family focussed on producing similar output was like a 'family farm'? A flock of writers...a herd of writers??

The thinking was becoming tortuous as my mind went blank. Yet having let my mind go blank, I remembered the obvious.....but a subject i had repressed. 
 
How often do we forget things which are uncomfortable? But research requires rigour and honesty, however difficult that would be....
 
My family had spent almost all of the 19th century in India, Burma and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Louis Rumbold O'Donoghue went into tea planting. My great grandfather, (Louis' brother) Algernon Leopold O'Donoghue, worked in Burma, for the Bombay and Burmah Trading Co, as manager of their forestry interests. He was based in Kindat, Upper Chindwin River area. In a way he 'farmed' trees....slightly larger than ears of barley...but.... 
 
His son, Algernon Charles O'Donoghue, was born in Kindat in 1900, but moved back to Bath, England, where he became a sound engineer, variously at the BBC, ITN, and in films. He hankered for the colonial life and took his family to Kenya. In Kenya, they lived at Kitale where they bred dogs for the English market, a brutal and unpleasant market of crime, betting and horror.....which is why, I expect, I repress the facts. Algernon, known as Don, stayed in Kitale mostly, but his wife, Cara, worked in Nairobi and took advantage of the Happy Valley Set, which was made into a book and then a film called 'White Mischief'.
 
Perhaps it was karma, if such a thing exists? - as they lost everything, farm, stock, savings, everything, during the MauMau uprisings, and during their flight back to England.
 
Perhaps now I wish i had not remembered, or dared to divulge. Yet we cannot escape the truth of our past, or only remember the good things. Nor can we keep back the truth from others.......we are not censors but researchers, surely......? And we have to accept that the social mores change in time and from place to place...our lens is different from theirs.
Contributed by Roderick O'Donoghue

When Rod announced that the subject of the April snippet would be "The Family Farm", my immediate reaction was that i could submit nothing.....
 
I thought about what a farm is, and how I came to learn about them through books, songs and schools. I wonder whether there is an Irish form of Old MacDonald's farm? I thought about chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, cows, wheat barley....and probably in that order. Nothing came to mind that related to a family farm.
 
Violet Evangeline O'Donoghue, daughter of Rev Edward Geoffrey O'Donoghue, followed in her father and grandfather's footsteps in writing books. Her father  wrote non-fiction. Her grandfather wrote fiction, while she, too, wrote fiction under her married name, Whish. One of her books bore the title 'Come to Good Farm'....a tenuous connection to farming.
 
My mind continued to drift. Could i argue that successive generations of a family focussed on producing similar output was like a 'family farm'? A flock of writers...a herd of writers??

The thinking was becoming tortuous as my mind went blank. Yet having let my mind go blank, I remembered the obvious.....but a subject i had repressed. 
 
How often do we forget things which are uncomfortable? But research requires rigour and honesty, however difficult that would be....
 
My family had spent almost all of the 19th century in India, Burma and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Louis Rumbold O'Donoghue went into tea planting. My great grandfather, (Louis' brother) Algernon Leopold O'Donoghue, worked in Burma, for the Bombay and Burmah Trading Co, as manager of their forestry interests. He was based in Kindat, Upper Chindwin River area. In a way he 'farmed' trees....slightly larger than ears of barley...but.... 
 
His son, Algernon Charles O'Donoghue, was born in Kindat in 1900, but moved back to Bath, England, where he became a sound engineer, variously at the BBC, ITN, and in films. He hankered for the colonial life and took his family to Kenya. In Kenya, they lived at Kitale where they bred dogs for the English market, a brutal and unpleasant market of crime, betting and horror.....which is why, I expect, I repress the facts. Algernon, known as Don, stayed in Kitale mostly, but his wife, Cara, worked in Nairobi and took advantage of the Happy Valley Set, which was made into a book and then a film called 'White Mischief'.
 
Perhaps it was karma, if such a thing exists? - as they lost everything, farm, stock, savings, everything, during the MauMau uprisings, and during their flight back to England.
 
Perhaps now I wish i had not remembered, or dared to divulge. Yet we cannot escape the truth of our past, or only remember the good things. Nor can we keep back the truth from others.......we are not censors but researchers, surely......? And we have to accept that the social mores change in time and from place to place...our lens is different from theirs.
25.03.2019