Donnelly Canada

Recording the memories

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Heritage Tierworker

Heritage Tierworker

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This page serves as a temporary introduction to the website: is in process of development. Status may be monitored at

For context, please scroll down this page to:


Heritage Tierworker is a long-term undertaking sponsored by the DonnellyCanada Cooperative to record stories, publish old photographs, and preserve other memorabilia about Tierworker and the surrounding townlands of County Meath and County Cavan The area of primary interest is bounded by lines connecting Bailieborough, Shercock, Kingscourt, and Moynalty.



If you have roots in this region of County Meath or County Cavan, please contribute your piece of history. Write your personal memoir and share it with others.


The Vision

Heritage Tierworker will take shape over a period of years through increments consisting of:


 Articles - some long, some short - contributed by members of the DonnellyCanada Cooperative using any of the following three (3) media: 


  • The Feedback Form in the Contacts page
  • An email message, via the email address on the Contacts page
  • Contributing to Philip Donnelly's Blog under the Community page

The production of Articles is an on-going activity, driven mainly by members who contribute materials for publication using the three (3) media listed above. 


Projects - these are  organized initiatives with a goal of researching some part of the heritage of Tierworker to produce a record in the form of a series of articles, a photo collection, a video, a book, a specialized Database & Website such as (see above), or other. The next paragraphs below identifies two such projects: 


First completed project


THE EYES THAT SHONE: From Ireland to Canada in the 1950s (978-1-897508-67-1, 304 pp.) by Philip Donnelly was published in 2010 by General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, and retails for $29.95.


The next project -


GOOD NEWS! As of Summer, 2014, work is now underway to start implementation of this project. The leading action is the development of the website:

by a "Team of Four" students at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada. The next phase, also underway in 2014, is supported by a financial grant from the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society to be applied for gathering field data on the ancestral homes of Irish settlers in the Ottawa Valley under the title: THESE OLD WALLS-The homes of our Ottawa Valley great-grandparents 

With reference to Ireland, and more specifically the Parish of Tierworker, there is an urgent need for a heritage institution, such as the Cavan County Museum (or a Historical Society), to make a record - linked to the 1901 and 1911 Census - of the ruins that were once the homes of the families around Tierworker in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Indeed, there is a need to undertake such an All-Ireland Heritage Project for all of the four provinces of Ireland. 

The proposed title for this project is:THESE OLD WALLS-The homes of our great-grandparents. 

Since the record must be produced, and archived, in accordance with the generally accepted standards of a national museum, it is necessary that the project be under the direction of a qualified researcher ('project manager'), ideally a professor at one of Ireland's universities. 

From an operational point of view, the records of these old ruins could be produced at very reasonable cost by a combination of local volunteers and a well-trained team of two or three highly motivated students working under the guidance of the 'project manager' - supported by a few "old folks" who still have the memories of the people that once inhabited those houses.

To make the record of THESE OLD WALLS, the team would require transportation and a mobile phone equipped with digital camera, text messaging, GPS, and Internet access. At each ruin, the team would:

  1. Validate the link to the 1901 or 1911 census
  2. Record the location by GPS coordinates
  3. Take photos
  4. Record a short story about the people who once lived there (based on the memory of the accompanying "old folk"), and
  5. Upload the data to archives at pre-designed website

The two photos below are some examples of THESE OLD WALLS! Where exactly are they? Who used to live there? And where are their descendant's today? 


Let's do it!

Initial documentation for The Old Walls Project was prepared on November 17, 2009,  by Philip Donnelly, and a proposal to the Heritage Council of Ireland for funding was submitted, but that proposal was not successful.

Now, a new start is required.

The following links provide more information:

Heritage Tierworker can make it happen with your support. 


The Eyes That Shone - from Ireland to Canada in the 1950s

But a word of warning! The Eyes That Shone is not a saga filled with horrible tragedy and dysfunctional relationships, but rather a celebration of family lives in Ireland and Canada, in other words, a happy story featuring:

  • Memories of life on small farms in Ireland before 1950 and before tractors and electrification, when growing food depended largely on human sweat and muscle
  • Recollections about people and events in the Department of Public Works of Canada where the author worked during the period 1957 to 1991
  • Intimate perspectives on living and dying, politics and religion, home and family