Letters: How John L drank a Kerryman's saloon dry

John L O’Sullivan
John L O’Sullivan

Sir, I read Marisa Reidy's article in The Kerryman of December 11 about John L O'Sullivan's connections in north Kerry and thought your readers might like to know about a rather unusual connection he had to south Kerry through my grand uncle Con O'Leary.

Back in the 1890s Con of Ballynabloun, St. Finan's Bay, ran a saloon and grocery store in New London, Connecticut. .Among his many Irish customers was the famous boxer John L. He brought many friends to Con's tavern and there was great trade in the bar while John was doing well in his fights.

In May 1894 Con O'Leary, his wife Mary Moran, and their three children decided to come home to Sussa on vacation. Con left the running of the tavern to his employees. During that time John L ran into financial difficulties and ran up a big debt in Con's absence.

When Con and family returned in January 1895 his liquor trade had gone and there was no money left to restock. Con had to cut his losses and leave go of the saloon. Seven years later his wife died, leaving him with five children the youngest only four years old. He remarried in 1906 and he and his new wife lived on in Bridgeprt until his death in 1934. During the latter part of his life he worked as a boiler maintenance man.


Pat O Leary,


The Glen,