• Irish Corish

Inspirational women from 1969

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

This newspaper article was written about my mum when she was 24 in the Summer of 1969 in Sneem, Kerry, Ireland and I love re-reading it. This time in her life is a definite inspiration to me.

It's very accurate how we get pulled into 9-5 office city jobs so easily and come to a point in our lives when we just want something more satisfying and free.

I'm currently reading Timothy Ferriss's book "The 4-hour work week : Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the new rich". Perhaps this isn't the new rich but the old rich, my mum seemed to have it right in the Summer of 69. It's certainly made me re-think life now in 2020.

FREEDOM OF THE COUNTRY for Rosheen Conroy:

In the back bar of Casey's, farm men with faces like beaten leather and fresh-faced country girls are singing "come-all-yous " for the tourists. Rosheen Conroy hums a tune, taps her glass of vodka, and looks thoroughly contented. "Great laugh, isn't it?" she says.

Rosheen, 24, likes it down there near Sneem in County Kerry.

While Irish girls the country over dream of the high-life in Dublin or London and beat a well-trodden path to the bright lights, Rosheen has left Dublin for the faraway, sleepy West.

She's a girl with enough independence to swim against the current.

She gave up her secretary's job and became a riding instructress. Instead of dicing with Dublin's traffic, she now leads tourist laden ponies through the Kerry hills.

"Funny? Yes, I suppose it was. Everyone said I must be crazy, but I haven't regretted a moment of it."

She's a pretty girl, relaxed and intelligent. She fits comfortably into a corner at Casey's, among the country men, or down at the local dances.

"We had a farm near Bray, just outside Dublin," she says. I always wanted to work with horses but, just like everyone else, I got drawn to Dublin and ended up working in an office.

I never liked it very much. I never went to clubs much, or to dance-halls. In fact I wouldn't go to town at all except to go to the pictures."

"If I went shopping it was just a waste of an afternoon when I could have been riding. So I thought I might as well be doing what I liked. I got this job down here, brought down my Connemara pony in the spring, and I'm loving it."

"It's a great life, a great laugh, too. A jar at Casey's, the odd dance. I know it sounds crazy but I've been to more dances in Sneem than I have in Dublin."

"I always felt cooped up in an office. Here there's no one towering over you all the time. Lots of open spaces and friendly people. All this freedom-I'm really having a ball."

"My boss in Dublin went pale when I told him I was coming here. Everyone said I would not stick it, and it's true I have some friends who'd go berserk in a place like this."

"It does seem mad, doesn't it, when everyone else wants to get

into the cities."

Soon her paradise may end. Pony-riding is a tourist trade that dies with the summer.

What then? Rosheen shrugs. "I'll think of something. That's the thing these days. A girl can do what she wants, be herself. In Ireland today, a girl can go anywhere and please herself. That's what I've done. And I'll do it again."

50 years on and here's her grand-daughter following in her footsteps... teaching me a thing or two about what's important in life.

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