3† † † † History Continued.† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † Grangecon Community Website.

Mike (Tony) O'Neill.

Source of donation material Kim Vo Journalist " San Jose Mercury Newspaper " California
dated 12.03.02 kvo@sjmercury.com or Phone (650)688-7571.

Mike O'Neill (80) or "Tony"†as he was known in Baltinglass and Dunlavin parishes was first resident in Tinoran where O'Neills live today and also at Oldcourt past Griffinstown. He used to do contract agricultural machinery work (with real live horses) in†West Wicklow and Kildare. He immigrated to Canada in the fifties and worked hard for his dollar with a ready smile, and willingness plus an air of confidence, at many jobs. Construction rodman being one of them and eventually he ended up as a foreman on the DEW line, the†defensive communications shield for the USA in freezing cold conditions. His final job on each 2000ft (609.6 metre) tower was to†place and tighten the final nut. Here in Australia they only went up 1300ft at Carnavon WA. He left Canada and went to the US, San Francisco in particular. He studied Building Construction, became a registered builder and his family†Company ended up controlling three corners of a cross street on Franklin St in that city, and that's not all. He moved residence to San Matteo county south of the Bay area eight years ago, and called his magnificent home 'Wicklow House†".
He and his wife Margaret have recently donated 462 acres of scenic land†near Half Moon Bay to a Peninsula Land Trust known as POST.
Mike said:†-
"California is getting too crowded and there is no place to move. When you come down here from San Francisco you think you are in a different World†. The reason†I am doing this is that I don't want to see anyone building anything out there. When†I go out in the morning or at night time and walk around, I like what†I see and I'd like to keep it that way."
Mike "Tony" has always had his feet on the ground, lived a balanced life, and still had an eye for cattle and farming, as he proved when he purchased Orleans Farm past Condingup west of Esperance in Western Australia in the eighties. Within a four year period he took a 6000 Hectares plus farm which was run down and turned it into a flourishing spread and eventually returned to the US with a smile on his face. During that time he paid his men a lot more than the going rate but he chose them well. I only know a part of his character, and he has an unerring eye for value and people. Mike is generous in his own private way without ostentation and this is the first public act of generosity he has perpetrated that†I know of. Bit hard to hide! Lets face it he has what it takes. Yes, and his wife Margaret is a brick too!

Tony Mallen Perth† 24 December 2002

Notes on Grangecon.
The following items are four pages (Pages 382-385) from the
"Journal of the Co Kildare Archaeological Society"
Volume III, No. 6, published in 1902. We would like to thank Sťamus Shortall for sending us the scans of these pages. The notes were written by Sir Arthur Vicars and there are many references to Sir Henry Harrington who owned most of this area in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (From 1583 to his death in 1612).† Notice the different names of townlands on the first page though many of them are recognisable in our local Placenames today.

Click on the thumbnails below to see readable images of the pages.

The ruins of Baltinglass Abbey (left)

This is what remains of the Abbey referred to in Sir Arthur Vicars' notes as† "The Great Abbey of Baltinglass"

Harrington family crest.
The pattern on the shield shows more
clearly the knot referred to in relation
to the stone carving depicted above.

Image from:† †

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