Flying high at Duffy’s Circus

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Having met the extended Browner family yesterday, and discovered not only their wonderful singing voices but also their promotion of “Pink Pills for Pale People”, we move on to the circus today. The circus is always a great experience, especially for the young at heart and Duffy’s is an institution on the Irish Circus scene. For most of us, our circus experience was looking up at the adults, the trucks, and the Big Top. Here we can see the bird’s eye view, with thanks to the greatest Monkey of them all! :-)

Photographer: Alexander Campbell “Monkey” Morgan

Collection: Morgan Aerial Photographic Collection

Date: ca. April 1956

NLI Ref: NPA MOR2288

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 7144
morganaerialphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland ireland bw alexandercampbellmorgan captainacmorgan monkeymorgan piperapache eiajl westonaerodrome phaseboxes mylar aerial duffyscircus cahir cotipperary bigtop caravans trucks cages

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  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 30/Apr/2021 08:17:40

    Monkey Morgan's Flying Circus ! 🐒

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 30/Apr/2021 08:42:53

    Guessing it was a Monday - from the drying laundry.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 30/Apr/2021 09:02:22

    I see from wikipedia that Duffy's did "the splits" in 1956; before or after these photos? - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Duffy%27s_Circus

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 30/Apr/2021 09:07:03

    This must be before John Duffy died. His name is writ large in front of the Big Top. From wiki above "... Following John Duffy's death in 1956, the circus split between his son James and his uncle. ..."

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    Oretani Wildlife (Mike Grimes)

    • 30/Apr/2021 09:35:21

    Coincidentally the circus has come to our village here in Spain and we're bringing the kids tomorrow evening. Nothing like Duffy's, which I went to once in Bandon many moons ago. Still though, it's got a big top and anything is good in these strange times to give my kids some cheerful childhood memories.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:09:43

    John Joseph Duffy died aged 54 on 2nd of November 1954. Circus Proprietor, son John James present at Chapel Street Dunmanway. Coronary thrombosis, acute heart failure.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:21:08

    The layby with a little building, is that a weighbridge for lorries?

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:29:31

    I'm far from certain about this, but the shadows suggest to me that we're looking at a road that's leading roughly southwards out of town. Looking at the 25" OSI Map geohive.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9... (not sure if link will work) I think we're on Barrack Street, opposite the woods containing Caher Lodge and Caher Mills. Very close to where the fire station is now. www.google.ie/maps/place/Cahir+Fire+Station/@52.3747184,-... Edited to add: Looks like my link to Google Maps is incorrect - as Niall points out below, the field corresponds to the Carrigeen Industrial Estate What do we think? This photo gives a bit more context: catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000736735/HierarchyTree

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:35:27

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy Tricky enough. The OSI doesn't show playing fields, and the roads have all been widened and straightened since, obliterating a lot of the identifying detail.

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:37:14

    In terms of shadow, I think we're looking SSW, so that fits.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:39:44

    derangedlemur Yup. I found some of the other aerial photos include more details of the wood - and that, along with field shapes on the 25” OSI make me about 75% sure.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:40:14

    I think we are looking South, river Suir on the left, and the Carrigeen Industrial estate is on this field now. OSI Map link of sorts. I think they are in the 4.844 acre field between Barrack Road and the Mitchelstown Road.

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:44:45

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy The kink in the road matches Bernard's suggestion, though the path seems very close to the road - that matches Niall's better. Also, it's surprising the the south end of the town isn't visible if it's where the fire station is now. I'm still only at about 75% for either suggestion - I'm not sure it's an exact match. I don't think the field boundaries line up either. I'd have gone with further south, myself, except that the road is dead straight.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:47:09

    The field has goalposts either side of the circus, it was a GAA pitch.

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:51:59

    yeah, but the OSI, being an imperialist institution, doesn't distinguish between a GAA pitch and a field of turnips. They are not so helpful.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:52:15

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Yes! That's the field that I was looking at on the OSI Map. I agree with that identification. It's possible that I made a mistake in moving from the 25" map to Google maps. Let me look again.

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    cargeofg

    • 30/Apr/2021 10:53:59

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Weighbridge. It looks like it from the pattern on the road. Telephone wires on other side of road, but that single pole beside building could be for electric (two insulators) It does have a stay wire going down inside wall also.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:00:07

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Yup. You're right. I made a mess of transposing my OSI identification to Google Maps. It was definitelty where the Industrial Estate is now. goo.gl/maps/vAA3wrcktGiYPjAT8 Re: OSI Map - I think the quarry visible in some of the other arial photos & its placement on the 25" map should be enough to confirm our identification.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:00:46

    Yes, they are in the 4.844 acre field, South with the animals is the 7.91 acre field and then there is a little triangle out of the corner of the next field at the road, visible in the 25" and 6" cassini. The footpath to the East of the road stops out at the bend, a detail also visible on the 25".

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:11:24

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Agreed, the quarry visible in NPA MOR2283 is definitive, I think.

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:12:55

    Whatever that feature is beside the road (Weighbridge?), it didn't last long. It's not on the Cassini, and it's gone now

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:17:20

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Yes, I think so.

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    Foxglove

    • 30/Apr/2021 11:32:12

    in the next field ( with cows) there appears to be a small fire (?) or is it a fault in the negative. Another point (pun alert) the goal posts used as laundry posts -

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:09:48

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ It needn’t even have been an official pitch. I certainly knew farmers’ fields & patches of wasteland growing up that had goalposts erected on them in an unofficial manner.

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:09:53

    Some engagements for Duffy's circus in April 1956: 9th Ballina 10th Dromore West 11th Sligo 12th Ballymote (Sligo Champion - Saturday 07 April 1956) 29th Waterford 30th New Ross (New Ross Standard - Friday 27 April 1956) Except the Sligo notice is for James Duffy & Sons, the New Ross one is for John Duffy & Sons, and the advertised acts are different, so it appears the split came before Johns' death in November 1956.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:19:11

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] According to this article, there were some earlier splits. www.dublininquirer.com/2015/07/29/circus-time-can-the-big... The second of their seven children, John Duffy, set up the John Duffy Circus in the 1870s, which proved to be a successful venture. Not long after his father Patrick died in 1890, John and his wife moved with their three sons and three daughters to Ireland and continued the trade there. One son, Tom, didn’t get involved in the circus, but James, John, Lizzie and Phyllis did. When John Snr died in 1909, his wife Ann took over the business, but in 1914 the brothers and the sisters took charge and began touring as the Duffy Family Circus. They toured for three seasons before creative differences and family divisions caused them to split in 1917 into three separate companies. Eventually there were two: John Duffy and Sons and James Duffy (David’s grandfather) and Sons. John Duffy’s circus, known as the Irish Barnum, was the much larger of the two, “a very big organisation”, says David. Growing up in Tralee in the 1980s, it was always Fosset's Circus that came to town for the Rose of Tralee, but Duffy's Circus was part of the language. When my father's generation wanted to describe something that was loud, chaotic or crowded, or a situation that was accompanied by more fuss and bother than it deserved, it would be described as being "like Duffy's circus."

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:21:06

    In James' obituary in 1959 it says that he and his brother John ran a circus together in his early life, but they formed their own 40 years previously (i.e. circa 1919). Was this on the death of their father (also called John)? On John's death in November 1956 his son (also John) took over John Duffy & Sons. James had 7 sons, all with James Duffy & Sons, and a daughter with John Duffy & Sons. (Belfast Telegraph - Saturday 23 May 1959) cross-posted

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    derangedlemur

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:32:30

    For more aerial fun, the graun has a photoshoot of seaside towns from the air today: www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2021/apr/30/engl...

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:43:25

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/foxglove Not so much "jumpers for goalposts" as "goalposts for jumpers"

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    suckindeesel

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:47:00

    Perhaps this aerial view earth.app.goo.gl/j9PBnD #googleearth

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:52:21

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy I've seen plenty of examples this morning, including the Sligo Champion - Wednesday 16 July 2003, describing a heated debate of Sligo County Council

    And at one point in the debate, after County Manager Mr. Hubert Kearns had pointed out that all the discussion had been about procedure, Clr. Margaret Gormley said it was "like Duffy's Circus" with "plenty of clowns".
    The equivalent expression in England would be "like Billy Smarts", often used to describe chaotic and incompetent management or administration .

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Apr/2021 12:56:17

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/foxglove That does look like a little bonfire. Did farmers in Ireland light smudge fires to keep insects away? I don't know.

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 17:57:44

    How Ireland's National Circus advertised its shows in April 1956 I like the sound of the Collottis (?) Continental Funsters, and Patrick, the Dope on a Rope. New Ross Standard - Friday 27 April 1956 (New Ross Standard - Friday 27 April 1956)

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 18:10:17

    In contrast the big attraction of James Duffy and Sons that month was:

    The Sensation of Sensations, direct from West Africa and the film "Mogambo" with Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardiner comes
    PRINCE NKOYA and ANA CONDRA
    With the world's largest reptile in the most amazing performance ever seen, introducing Clark Gable's pet (Joe) the 25 ft. long Python
    and little else. (Sligo Champion - Saturday 07 April 1956)

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Apr/2021 18:16:11

    Joe in a still from the 1953 film Mogambo www.californiaherps.com/films/filmimages/mogambo5.jpg and another with Ava Gardiner www.californiaherps.com/films/filmimages/mogambo10.jpg

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    suckindeesel

    • 30/Apr/2021 19:56:34

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Certainly looks like a weighbridge, perhaps for weighing the load from a nearby quarry or the "sand" from that depot shown in the companion photo

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    Bernard Healy

    • 30/Apr/2021 20:09:25

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ According to the bottom of the poster they purchased “worn out” farm animals to feed their zoo.

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    suckindeesel

    • 02/May/2021 09:49:51

    A collection of Duffys posters, but no Cahir www.muckrosshouseresearchlibrary.ie/Duffy-Zoom.php#topImage

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