Some remained in their own locality, fulfilling their destiny in familiar surroundings. Others left in search of fame, fortune or fulfillment. Their journeys took them from the plains of India to the goldfields of Colorado, and from Newfoundland to South Africa. They won acclaim by their heroism on the battlefield or through their labours in the mission fields, while one man’s perseverance made him a millionaire and the confidante of presidents and kings.
Others were destined to end their days in ignominy and shame. These include the notorious swindler who brought about the financial ruin of thousands, while a debauched lifestyle led another to the dreaded penal settlement on Devil’s Island. Nearer home, we have the sensational story of the man who murdered his wife believing her to be a fairy and a theft of £2 which brought the culprit to the gallows in Clonmel jail.
There are mayors of the town and nameless victims of famine; there is the Catholic bishop who abandoned his religion in the hope of producing an heir and the lawyer who rose from obscurity to become a Lord of the Realm. We read about the priest who inspired GK Chesterton’s famous fictional detective Fr. Brown and sportsmen who brought acclaim to the town. There is also the eccentric grocer who thought that he could walk on water and a love sick Squire whose obsession ruined his life.
Each in their own way added a thread to the rich tapestry of Clonmel life.