Montage of life of Mr. Timothy D. Keating as narrated by his son Séan Keating

Séan D Keating
IMK archives
Mass protest rally C.1894 of small tenant farmers and agrarian labourers demanding their rights in the Market Square of Macroom, County Cork, Ireland,
IMK archives
Brass pocket watch of Séan D Keating
IMK archives
Séan Keating Birth and Baptismal Certificate 1971 on the Centenary of his birth.
IMK archives
1897 US Citizenship Certificate of Sean D Keating
IMK archives
Life of Séan D Keating by his nephew Séan Keating Part 1
IMK archives
Life of Séan D Keating by his nephew Séan Keating Part 2
IMK archives

Timothy D. Keating was born of Cors. Keating and Mary Dennehy 12 of March 1871 at Kilbarry. Inchigeela. He had five brothers, Jeremiah D., Con. D. Jack D., William D., and Patrick D.; of whom he was the eldest. Thady, as he was best known, attended Kilbarry N.S. where he was taught by the late Master O’Day, as the name was then pronounced.

Lady Day

As was generally the practice on those days Lady Day, 25 March which then a Church Holiday, was removal day for the labourers who had houses from the farmers. After one such removal, the family contracted scarlet fever in their new home at Gosmarane. The illness proved fatal in the case of the father, and therefore the family were left without a bread-winner and Thady who was then eleven years old up was left with no other option but to leave school and go to work for the princely sum of 13/- per quarter (13 weeks) and the little house in which they lived. As time went on, the family moved to various houses in the Kilmichael and Inchigeelagh parishes, and finally took possession of a new County Council Cottage at Moneycusker Toames. This was the first fruits of the family agitation, but was by no means the last. The whole family, right along the line supported W. O Brien, D. D. Sheehan and later organised Labour and the Trade Union movement. On those days the spades were much in evidence for digging the potato crop. Thady, like many more workers of the time moved eastwards to Kilmurry and other centres when the time for lifting the crop came around.

Seasonal Work In Kilmurry and Emigration

It was during those seasonal trips that Thady built up the great friendship, goodwill and the high esteem in which he held the people of Kilmurry. Generally those seasonal workers would assemble outside Kilmurry Church gate with their spades on sundays after Mass, when the local farmers hired as many as he wanted. This system continued until the entire crop was lifted and stored away.

An athlete of note, he won many a prize at the various sports meetings of these days.

Thady later emigrated to England and then finally to Butte Montana in the year of 1894. He worked on various jobs, including mining and freight handling, and on the 18th November 1897, Timothy Dennehy Keating was sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America.

On a visit home to his native land, he purchased a set of bagpipes and cycled twice weekly from Moneycusker, Toames to Cork city where he learned to play music from Séan Whelan in the evening at the Cork Pipers Club. Séan Whelan later emigrated to Perth, Western Australia. When Thady returned to the US, he was an accomplished piper.


Immigration, Volunteers and Labour and the Trade Union movement

He finally returned to Ireland in August 1915 at the height of The First World War. He later played music at the head of parading Volunteers on several occasions and also rendered funeral music. His home at Ardnaneen, Lissarda was raided by the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) and Black and Tans on several occasions. He worked locally for some time and finally took up employment with Cork County Council in 1917. He was closely attached to Labour and the Trade Union movement, South Kilmurry Branch IT & GWU and Macroom District Branch of the above. On all occasions he enjoyed the confidence of the workers, both on his own job and those in other employments, and all through those years was elected to either one or other of the officerships. He was noted for his straightforward manner. He took a firm stand on all matters relating to trade unionism, wages, conditions of employment. He led his comrades on their then demands for Direct Labour on the roads maintained by the Local Authorities. He frequently led deputations to meetings of the Cork County Council, both in connection with wages, conditions of employment and the Direct Labour system of maintaining the Roads. He never once failed to champion the cause of his fellow man, and was always ready and willing to try and help anyone seeking any favours from the the powers that be. The untimely death of his wife Margaret O’Leary on 14 October 1939 had such a profound effect on him, that he never afterwards played a tune of the bag-pipes. His pipes came into the possession of his grandson Séan O’Riordan in London, who often did justice to the memory of his grandfather by playing Irish Airs at concerts and in the parks over there. Timothy D. Keating died on 10 December 1951, almost eighty-one years of age.

This 12th day of March 1971 marked the 100 hundred anniversary of his birth. And now a quote from one of his many old saying:

He went back to the land from whence he sprung unwept, unhonoured and unsung.

May he and other deceased members of the family Rest in Peace.

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