Jerome Connor: Early Years

Coumduff

Jerome Connor was born on 23 February 1874(1) in Coumduff, Annascaul.  He was the sixth and youngest son of Patrick and Margaret Connor (née Currane).

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Coumduff today

Jerome’s father held a small farm, but was also a stonemason.  Connor was later to claim that he stole his father’s chisels and carved figures on rocks in the neighbouring fields.

The Connor house in Coumduff
The Connor house in Coumduff

The family house had been built when the family had gained the leasehold of the farm in about 1830, and extended by Jerome’s grandfather , Batt, in about 1861.

The memorial erected at Coumduff: the year of birth is incorrect(1)

The house has long been demolished: amongst the rubble was found a stonemason’s hammer: this is now exhibited along with the Jerome Connor Sculpture Collection at the South Pole Inn in Annascaul Village.

A memorial to Connor was erected close to the site of the family home in 1974.

 


 

The Connor family emigrated to Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA in 1888. Jerome’s elder brother, Timothy, had already settled there. Jerome’s father sold the remainder of his lease in the Coumduff farm and purchased a landholding in Massachusetts. The legend that the family left in the dead of night on the Tralee & Dingle Railway are clearly untrue: the railway did not arrive in the village until 1891.

Notes
(1) Connor’s date of birth is often given as 12 October 1876. However, Giollamuire Ó Murchú, in carrying out research for his 1993 book on the sculptor, discovered his birth certificate and baptismal details. The incorrect date, which was Columbus Day in the Centennial year of America’s Declaration of Independence,  seems to have been given by U.S. immigration officials in 1888 and is possible that he did not know his own exact birth date.

The heart of the Dingle Peninsula: the village of Annascaul lies among mountains, lakes and streams and is surrounded by history and beauty.

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