THERE was a hectic schedule last week for visiting American Bob Bateman and his wife, Camille as they undertook a number of engagements locally in memory of his great-granduncle, famous Fenian, American civil war fighter, politician, policeman and businessman Captain Timothy Deasy who hailed from Farran, South Ring in the 1830’s. The couple had made contact initially four months ago with the then Clonakilty Mayor, asking him to organise an itinerary during which Mr Bateman agreed to present a lecture on his famous great-granduncle and also present some items relating to him to the town.
On Monday evening, July 4th, at ‘Cois na gCaoirigh’ clifftop, in the townland of Farran in South Ring, a wreath was laid by Mr Bateman. Organised by An Cumann Seanchais, the event was to mark the fact that Timothy Deasy lived in the townland (exact location not yet known) until his family emigrated at the height of the great hunger of the 1840s to America when he was just a child of eight.
It was then on to the Darrara Community Centre (former National School), where around 100 people listened to Bob Bateman deliver a fascinating illustrated lecture entitled ‘Irish-American Patriot – Captain Timothy Deasy, Soldier – Revolutionary - Legislator’ on his great-granduncle’s life and exploits in America as well as his Fenian activities in Ireland and Britain. This event was organised by Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage group, whose cathaoirleach Tim Feen welcomed all.
Mr Bateman (a retired US colonel) said that the occasion was the culmination of his life’s work since the age of 12 when he first learned about his famous great-granduncle, because he was back in Clonakilty and amongst the descendants of Timothy Deasy’s neighbours.
After the lecture, Mr. Bateman presented a framed/engraved picture of Captain Deasy and copies of the Lawrence City Council resolution and a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives honouring the memory of Captain Deasy to Mayor Anthony McDermott, who accepted them on behalf of the people of Clonakilty.
The Mayor subsequently presented these items the following morning to Jamie Murphy, manager of the Michael Collins House Museum appropriately in the O’Donovan Rossa-Fenian Room there, where they will be put on public display for visitors to see and read. Mr Bateman was present to witness the official handover.
Speaking after to this writer, Mr Bateman said: ‘I, my wife Camille, and the entire Bateman-Deasy family are extremely grateful to Dúchas Clon Heritage, and everyone involved, with the Captain Timothy Deasy presentation(s), wreath laying ceremony and Lecture concerning his lifelong pursuit of Ireland’s freedom and his undying belief in his Fenian Faith. We are also thankful to the Clonakilty Mayor and his immediate predecessor and the management of the Michael Collins House Museum for all their assistance during our short visit and we hope to return again in the future.’