KILLALOE – Off an old dirt road and into the woods, there lives a hidden treasure in Killaloe.
On August 18, as a part of the, An Irish Gathering’s festivities, the O’Grady Settlement opened its doors for people to reconnect with their Irish roots and heritage.
Back in the 1800s, the O’Grady’s came to settle in the Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards Township.
During this time, the government encouraged settlement through squatting, as the township was not surveyed until 1862, Shirley Mask, one of two hostesses for the day, said.
Specifically, Martin O’Grady, who later went on to marry Catherine Daly, in 1873, helped create, what we consider now, the O’Grady settlement.
Martin was one of 14 children and son of Irish immigrants, Thomas O’Grady and Margaret Spaine.
The O’Grady family immigrated to Canada in 1826, from the parish of Kilbarron, in County Tipperary, Ireland. This parish is a part of the Diocese of Killaloe and close to the large town of Nenagh.
Martin and a few of his brothers, soon after, found work as raftsmen on the Bonnechere and Ottawa Rivers. But they longed for a homestead, history tells us.
And eventually, they would find it at the end of the newly extended Opeongo Road.
They did not realize, initially, however, how stony the land was at that time.
All the while, there was no land in Nepean.
So, Martin and 12 of 14, of his siblings eventually found their way to and settled in the Hagarty Township.
It’s said, that most likely, the cook house on the current O’Grady Settlement, was probably the original, shanty, or dwelling on this farm.
Those throughout history, have guessed, that after Martin and Daly married, Martin went on to build a new house for his bride – the O’Grady Settlement, which exists today.
The original house was actually half the size and the kitchen was later added on, Mask explained.
This style of house, which is built of logs and later sheeted with clapboard, was considered typical of all farmhouses in the area.
Today, Shirley Mask and Tom Connolly own the O’Grady Settlement.
Connolly is a great grandson of Martin and Daly.
Story continues in the August 21, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette