Dan O'Hara Homestead

Leagan Gaeilge den leathanach seo

Sure it' poor I am today,
For God gave and took away,
And left without a home poor Dan O'Hara
With these matches in my hand,
In the frost and snow I stand
So it's here I am today your brokenhearted

Dan O'Hara's homestead is built on the original site of the home of Dan from Connemara renowned in the popular ballad all over the world. Dan O Hara lived with his wife and seven children in a cottage shadowed by the Twelve Bens. The family were self sufficient on 8 acres of land and lived a simple but happy lifestyle. The main part of the farm was given over to the potato crop and they kept a variety of animals on the farm.

The turf for the fire was cut in the local bog and kept the family warm and cosy through the winter months. Dan O' Hara's was a visiting house and many a romance began in the flickering firelight of the hearth. Social gatherings such as storytelling and céilis kept the Irish language and traditions alive.

 

Most of Dan O'Hara's land was given over to the potato crop. It's advantage was that it grew in the poorest conditions and an acre and a half would sustain five or six people for six months. Some of the crop was used to feed a pig. Potatoes along with buttermilk ensured that the population of Connemara at the time was robust and healthy although poor.

Like most people in Connemara at the time Dan O'Hara did not own the house he lived in or the land. He paid rent to the local landlord. His simple but happy lifestyle came abruptly to an end when he was evicted for non payment of his rent. He had decided to increase the size of the windows in his house and this led to increased rent payments. He was evicted from his home and forced to emigrate. He arrived in New York, a broken man. His wife and three of his children died on the harsh sea journey and penniless and destitute he had to put the remaining children into care. He ended his days selling matches on the street far from his beloved Connemara.

 

 
 
Connemara Heritage Centre, Lettershea, Clifden, Connemara. Tel: +353 95 21808 Fax: +353 95 22098 Email: danohara@eircom.net