Frontline workers to be honoured with memorial in Gerry O’Sullivan garden

May 3rd, 2020 9:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The largest of the eight pieces of bog oak found by Denis O’Sullivan at his farm in Caheragh.

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A FARMER from Caheragh has generously agreed to donate eight, newly discovered – but ancient – pieces of bog oak to a memorial garden in his parish.

The Professor Gerry O’Sullivan Memorial Park is to receive all eight pieces of the bog oak that Denis O’Sullivan and his digger driver, Steve, found when clearing drains at his farm at Lissane, Caheragh, on Friday, April 17th.

Jokingly, Denis said he told Steve that the pieces – which could be thousands of years old – would be on DoneDeal by the end of the day. Instead, Denis posted them on Facebook and suggested an online auction.

Denis who has only been on Facebook a wet week – yet has over 1,000 friends – decided to post it because he was ‘bored as a result of having no social life.’

He said the interest in the finds spiralled beyond anything he could have imagined, but it was only when genuine, and generous, offers came in that Denis realised he wanted these ancient pieces of wood to remain in the locality.

Denis said he knew the perfect setting too, the Professor Gerry O’Sullivan Memorial Park. Gerry was global leader in cancer research and Denis rents 45 acres from Gerry’s family, in Milleenahorna – the place where the late professor was born and reared – so the idea naturally slotted into place.

Given the times we are living in, Denis would also like to see the bog oaks incorporated into a fitting tribute to the frontline workers, who are risking their lives to protect others, as well as those who have died as a result of Covid-19. Denis explained how they made the discovery. They were opening drains in a boggy part of his farm at Lissane, and Steve went deeper than the previous drains, looking for the source of the spring.

That is how they came across a cluster of eight pieces of bog oak, all of which came up intact. The longest and most impressive piece measures 18.5ft in length and would indeed make a fitting sculpture in the memorial garden.

Denis said the committee who oversee the development and maintenance of the memorial garden are ‘on the case’ and they will, in time, ‘make a proper feature of it.’ He said it would be good too if the deceased members of the Coppinger family, who previously farmed the land, could be remembered as well.

The farmer said it is ‘a privilege’ to be able to donate the pieces and ‘an honour’ to mark the courage of all those tackling the pandemic.

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