IMG_6883The background to the ‘Patch Project’

Anita Hawkes Lyons

Following the setting up of the website in October I decided to have a more in depth look at the authors in the parish. As Frank Whelan has already written a little about Fr Pat Carroll and as he had lived just a mile from my home, I decided to have a deeper look.

I started with the usual online sites to find some details of Fr Pat’s family tree. Going online and entering. Patrick Joseph Carroll was like dipping into a treasure trove of wonderful archives. No matter how often I googled him something new turned up!! Little by little I gathered quite a lot of online data and got more ‘gems’ from local historians who were more than generous with their time and information.

I would have probably left it there but a friend gave me an article written about Fr Pat, claiming him as one of ASKEATON’s greatest treasures!!!!!!. I’m afraid my GAA and community games rural divides just saw red😳😳 Now if ever I had to find out more about this man, if, for no other reason than to claim him back for his rightful parish!!!!!

I borrowed a copy of ‘Patch’ from a friend and the rest as they say is history…I was hooked… the wonderful descriptions in Fr Pats books had transported me to a new world. A world of late 1800’s Ballybaun rural community and the escapades of a mischievous fun loving young lad of 11 as he tramped to school through the fields and enjoyed the blissful freedom of a simple country life.

I followed with ‘Patch and Fan’ then Patch Scatters Culture, Michaleen and Patch of Askeaton Days, kindly loaned to me by various generous Cappagh collectors.

The next breakthrough was discovering there were some Fr Pat relatives living nearby in Adare… Enter Mary Carroll and her mum Teresa. Though they didn’t have much information at first, they both came on board and filled me in on some current Carroll relations. We spent a lovely afternoon travelling around Cappagh reminiscing and visiting the Cappagh and Rathkeale graveyards where they directed me to Carroll graves. Mary was to go on to unearth gems of information which furthered our quest no end!

The next breakthrough came just before Christmas when Michael Cregan called me to let me know that he had discovered other Carrolls in Callow, Cappagh and that one of them had written a book on his grandfather, called Railway Man’ which was available to download from Lulu.com. This was to be my reading while on holidays before Christmas. I googled the author and got his contact details. Enter Michael Carroll, Chicago, Celtic artist, author, researcher. Exchanging data with a fellow enthusiast was fantastic👍. The speed of the exchanges over and back was electrifying😳😳.

Along with Michael Carroll came another Carroll relative in the form of Mick Mc Nulty, a Scott’s man. Mick is the most prolific researcher I have ever come across. You just send him the name of a person or place and within seconds you have a barrage of information. He helps adopted children find their heritage so he has lots of resources at his fingertips.

Since then I have been in contact with Notre Dame University where Fr Pat went onto become Vice President of in the 1930’s.  Deborah Buzzard, an assistant at the Province Archives Center for the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province.  has unearthed great early photo’s of Fr Pat.

I have also contacted the president of ND university explaining about the project. I would hope that they might consider reprinting at least the ‘Patch’ series These books deserve to be readily available and not just in collections and in research libraries.

Michael Carroll has taken over the writing up of the project and has produced a fine comprehensive and informative mini bio which we’re attaching as a link here. This is only the tip of the iceberg as new information is pouring in daily. The finished Fr Pat biography make take several re- writes😎😎

Just last week 2 more Carroll relatives have made contact.

  1. Maura Carroll, daughter of Tom Carroll nephew of Fr Pat from Chesterton, New York
  2. Angela Drever, representing Mary Agnes Carroll, recently discovered eldest sister of Fr Pat , Victoria, Australia

Together with Mary, Anne and Teresa Carroll daughters and wife respectively, of Joe Carroll, nephew of Fr Pat these family members are bringing great ongoing discoveries to the project.

Overall the Patch Project’ to date has been a wonderful experience and I would encourage anyone considering researching their roots not to delay. Especially try and interview older family members who are fountains of information which is not to be found in books or online.

I would appeal to anyone who might have any more information on this amazing man, to make contact with the website. We would especially like to hear from other Carroll relations who may have old photographs or family letters. These would really enrich the final biography.

NEWSFLASH!!!. Due to the tireless time and dedication of Michael Carroll in Chicago, Fr Pat’s  ‘Patch series’ of books are now available to download FOR FREE from Lulu.com. http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-j-carroll/patch/paperback/product-23189241.html

Print on demand copies can also be ordered from the same source. This has truly been a labour of love. Treat yourself to a trip back in time with these timeless books.

Anita Hawkes Lyons

Sit back and read the introductory biography to this young Cappagh lad by pressing this link.

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