Bryan O’Connor
Lismahane Dripsey
Born 6th September 1903 and died 18th December 1980
Parents Jack & Hannah O’Connor
Brothers Dan & John (Twins) Sisters Ellen (Nell) & Peggy
Childhood
The family first lived in a one-roomed house and then in the late 30’s they had a new house built by the Daly’s from Donoughmore. The old house was converted to a storehouse and garage, this structure is still in existence.
Bryan went to the old National School in Dripsey, usually travelling through the fields back along the railway line to Kilblaffer and then down towards the old creamery in Magoola. When he finished National School, he went to the North Monastery School in Cork, this time travelling on the Old Muskerry Train. The station at North Kilmurray was located quite literally just down the road from his home.
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Left to Right. Jack O’Connor, Minnie Brennan, Peggy O’Connor, Hannah O’Connor and Bryan O’Connor
Livelihood
When he left the North Monastery he was employed at the Ford Factory in Cork, this would be about 1919 or 1920. After a number of years working, he purchased a lorry and he started drawing pigs. He bought the pigs at various fairs, fattening them at home and then sold them on again; he also took his milk to Kilcolman creamery. At that time, Dripsey Woollen Mills was a thriving business and many of the people who lived in the Model Village worked there. Bryan started buying coal in bulk and bagged it at home. He then sold coal in the Model Village and surrounding areas, and later he added gas cylinders to his range of goods. He also transported wool from the Mills to Sallybrook in Glanmire.
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Bryan and Lorry (Registration number possibly ZB 2588)
Family
He married May Buckley from Berrings, who had a shop in the Model Village and as well as bringing the coal from Cork, he brought whatever was wanted for the shop. He travelled to Cork on a very regular basis sometimes twice a day and people started asking him to bring goods home before him. These goods, usually wrapped in brown parcels, were loaded on top of the coal in the back of the lorry. He was very careful about these goods to ensure that no damage happened to any item he carried. Bryan established a reputation for being honest and reliable, people trusted him without question, and Bryan never betrayed their trust.
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Front of Shop in Model Village
He lived and worked through the War of Independence, the Economic War and the Second World War, during that time goods including fuel and spare parts for his lorry were very difficult to come by, rationing was a feature of life, roads were of a very poor quality. Bryan never let these difficulties stop him, he always found a solution for every problem and difficulty that he met. Bryan and May ran their businesses together happily for many years serving the needs of the people in the locality. They had a great faith and lived this faith in their everyday life, reciting the rosary was a regular feature of this and Bryan always added the trimmings at the end which he knew off by heart. They had four children Hannie, Eileen, Mary & John.
Community
There were very few cars in the locality at that time. Bryan’s lorry had high cribs all around and as an added service, he purchased a cover, made a frame and this was put over these cribs to make the back of the lorry rain and wind proof. He started taking the people from the Model Village to Mass on Sunday’s Holy days Easter etc. A big day out was carrying people to Cloghroe for the Corpus Christi Procession. Every weekend the lorry was thoroughly washed and cleaned out, and the cover put over the back. He had a small ladder so that the people could get in to the lorry, a few small stools were provided for the elderly, the rest of the people stood holding on to the cribs at the side and front of the lorry.
Dripsey Pipe Band and Dripsey Mill Rovers Dramatic Society
There was a very active pipe band which was founded in the early part of the century, many band members came from the Model Village. Bryan initially played the big drum and later he carried the flag. The band played at sports meetings around the county including Nadd, Banteer, Donoughmore and, Bweeng, these meetings were very popular at the time, they also played at many GAA matches. A very important occasion was the Annual parade to commemorate the Dripsey Ambush, every year he led the decade of the rosary in Irish to remember those who had lost their lives in the struggle for Independence.
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Dripsey Pipe Band 1936
Back Row (l to r): Jim Long, John Michael O’Brien, J Tonge, Bill Murray, Bill Galvin, Dan McCarthy, Brian O’Connor, Paddy O’Callaghan, Dan T. Murphy, Paddy O’Shea, Jim Noonan
Front Row (l to r): Matty Galvin, Dan Collins, Timmy O’Shea, Dick Leonard, Willie Murray and Jack Manley
Later on Jimmy Noonan was instrumental in starting the Dripsey Mill Rovers dramatic society. During Lent they produced one act plays and variety concerts, these would be shown first in Berrings Hall, then in various locations around the County. Places like Coachford, Tower, Mourneabbey, Templemichael and Rathduff to name but a few. Bryan's lorry was the mode of transport used for all these occasions, washed cleaned and the cover put on everything was loaded on board, cast, supporters and props for the plays, band members' supporters and musical instruments for the band. They set off with Bryan driving to all the locations, his lorry became a regular feature at these venues. The journey home sometimes took a lot longer then the journey going out, a great time was had by all.
One of his more unusual trips would be going for the midwife; she was a very important feature of country life at that time as many children were born at home

There was a Platform next to May’s shop in the village and open-air dances would be held along with an annual bazaar.
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GAA
Bryan was a passionate supporter of Inniscarra Hurlers and he needed little encouragement to advertise this fact. He travelled to most of their matches, which at that time would have been the Mid Cork Championship. These matches were played at a time when as the saying goes “men were men” and the rivalry particularly between neighbouring parishes was very keen, many of the matches were played in Coachford and big crowds would attend. Inniscarra’s great rivals were Aghabullogue, Cloughduv, Eire Og, Ballincollig and Blarney. In a local context, the matches with Aghabullogue would be the keenest. They would be the main topic of conversation for a considerable time both before and after the games. Bryan loved nothing more than debating about these matches or indeed any other topic you might care to mention and it was difficult indeed to get the better of him on any of the topics that would be under discussion.
Bryan Died on 18th December 1980 his passing brought an end to a great character, a loving family man, he is still remembered for his wit and humour, a kind neighbour and friend.