Richard Farmer


by Patrick Shanahan

Richard Farmer

In this book it is appropriate that one of Abbeydorney's younger generation gets to recall a person of the past generation.  I am, of course, at a disadvantage from not ever having seen, spoken to or heard this man.  However, from the people who knew him and dealt with him, a fascinating picture of a very resourceful and inventive man can be drawn.  I hope this picture brings across a little flavour of Dick.

Dick Farmer was born in the 1890s, the son of a shoemaker from Kilflynn and Mary Finn from Castlegregory.  Interestingly, Mary's father taught in Abbeydorney National School for many years.  At school Dick is remembered as being very intelligent and useful with his hands. On reaching adulthood, however, he chose the life of adventure and became a wireless operator in the merchant Navy. In this capacity he served in World War 1.  Many of the old people have fond memories of his legendary tales of far flung ports and exotic peoples when that medium gave to them as much delight as we get from television.  On one of these trips he brought back the plans for the house that he built on his return to Abbeydorney around 1938.  It is Mexican or Italian in design and this accounts for the unusual flat roof and narrow windows which made it an eye opener in the Abbeydorney of the 1930s and still does today.

Back home, he settled down to farming, living with his two sisters, Molly and Marcella.  Dick showed great inventiveness in these years, farming to overcome problems of scarcity caused by the rationing during World War 11.  He kept swarms of bees in concrete hives as opposed to wood which he felt improved the performance of the bees.  He tended pear and apple trees from which wine was made.  It is a tribute to him that these are still bearing fruit behind the old house.  He also grew his own tobacco and this afforded him a great luxury during the emergency.  Dick's love and care for animals was second to none and it is a great distinction of his that he never had to call a vet but rather he produced his own cures.  Two of which afterwards were patented.  His marksmanship was of the highest quality and he never ceased to amaze people with the accuracy of his shot.  Two of his proudest possessions were an ornamental sword brought back from the Fijian islands and a mobile caravan converted from a swallow car in which he spent some summers in Banna.  A great journeyman he also toured the country in this.

Dick was quiet in his ways but always had to talk with others.  He never let  life get on top of him but rather he gently smoothed his way through as it should be.  He died in his eighties and is buried in Kilflynn.

Of this man it can truly be said, his likes will not pass this way again.

**If anybody has a good quality photograph of Dick Farmer, a copy would be appreciated.**

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