Testimonials

After 21 years of telling stories around the world for the military, Jeremy Lock is setting out on his next adventure… LAST LETTERS. Lock is not only an accomplished military veteran receiving the Bronze Star Medal for distinguished service in Iraq, his experiences led to Jeremy being named “Military photojournalist of the year” seven times. Jeremy’s work has been published in magazines, newspapers and books including National Geographic, Time, New York Times, and the Washington Post among others. Jeremy has traveled more than 40 countries on 6 continents and brings his curiosity and empathetic love of story to the interview chair.

Met By Chance, Leave as Family

My name is Jeremy Lock, and I am the host of Last Letters podcast. With OM History Consultant Michelle O’Mahony selfless acts of kindness, extensive knowledge, and willingness to jump right in we were able to successfully grant a 98-year-old WWII veterans lifelong dream come true.

There has been an amazing outpouring of support for WWII Iwo Jima Veteran, Cpl. Don Graves’, USMC podcast story and life. Titled, We Tried Our Best

Cpl. Graves was a flamethrower operator who fought on Iwo Jima in World War II. The average life expectancy of a flamethrower on the battlefield was less than ten minutes. The Battle of Iwo Jima began with an amphibious assault by Marines on Feb. 19, 1945, following months of aerial and naval bombardment. Seventy-thousand Marines took part in the 36-day battle, with more than 6,800 killed and 19,000 wounded. The battle marked a turning point in World War II
Cpl. Graves was a member of Company D (Dog Company), Second Battalion, 28th Marines, Fifth Marine Division. Dog Company began the battle of Iwo Jima with 335 Marines and ended up with eighteen… and no officers.

During his Last Letter podcast episode, Don said, “I have always wanted to go to Ireland, sit in an Irish pub, order a beer, and I want to sing Danny Boy.” Don, an avid singer, who has performed the national anthem at multiple events, also feared he would never have the opportunity at 97. Don said, “I don’t want to go alone. When you get older, you don’t want to travel alone.”

Over 7 million people have been inspired by Don’s service and life and the most common comment is, “Thank you for your service, we can never repay you!”

Through sponsors and a Gofundme campaign Cpl. Don Graves wish came true this last May.

While coordinating the trip I was put into contact with Michelle O’Mahony via Declan Hughes. He told me that she would be pivotal in helping with Don’s wish, creating a better experience for him. Michelle didn’t disappoint and her true character shined! She also left me in amazement and assurance that there are good, beautiful people out in this world that would step right up even for a stranger.

Michelle, I would like to personally thank you for the countless hours working on Don’s Irish heritage, the personal tour of Gougane Barra and Saint Finbarrs Oratory with your family. Recognizing a beautiful story and taking the lead as the amazing liaison between the media and Don’s wish. To date, three national newspapers, the Examiner, the Irish Independent, the Irish Times and the provincial paper – The Southern Star, not to mention the numerous online, social media and radio interviews. Most of all, I am thankful you truly cared! That’s what family is all about!

Peter Popham, author, journalist and playwright

“I am very grateful to Michelle for enabling me to track down forgotten details of my forbears. I vaguely understood that my ancestors lived in Ireland, but Michelle’s meticulous research uncovered exactly who, where and when. And unlike other genealogists, her involvement does not stop at the cold facts. She takes real pleasure in peeling back the layers of confusion and misunderstanding that cloud knowledge of the past, shedding a bright and kindly light on the facts her scholarship reveals; then coaxing into life the real stories behind the dry facts of family trees, and bringing surviving family members together”.

Peter Popham, author, journalist and playwright was born in Bandon, Co.Cork. Peter was a foreign correspondent with the Independent newspaper. Popham interviewed Aung San Suu Kyi and met her several times. In 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady and the Peacock, was published by Random House. It was translated into Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Mongolian and published in the USA. He lives in London. His sequel, The Lady and the Generals, was published by Penguin Random House in 2016. His plays include The Kingdom of Heaven, performed at the Script Room in London in February 2019, and Savages, in a Zoom production directed by Sebastian Michael and starring Tim Bentinck, in July 2020.

Dr. Hiram Morgan,Head of School of History and Senior Lecturer

Michelle O’Mahony is a talented and accomplished consultant who holds a master’s degree in history from University College Cork. A true professional with enormous energy, she is an excellent task manager and genuine people person. An expert not only in the history of County Cork, but also Irish genealogy and history more widely, she is a published author in her own right, whether it is conference organisation, written report or historical research you need, Michelle will deliver it on time and accessible to all.

Dr. Hiram Morgan, Senior Lecturer in History, University College Cork. He has written peer-reviewed books and articles, was co-founder of History Ireland, Ireland’s popular history magazine. He has been a principal investigator on several local, national and international projects and is currently head of CELT, the world’s largest website for Irish Studies which is hosted by the School of History at Cork.

drone shot are curtesy of F. Browne

I know Michelle as a professional historian, author and enthusiastic supporter of the Dunmanway Heritage Centre, but above all someone with an ability to organise the successful presentation of history to an audience. Apart from utilising her own impressive knowledge base, Michelle’s numerous contacts in all matters of Irish history, whether locally or nationally, enable her to address all manner of queries on subjects related thereto.

As the Project Administrator of the McCarthy Surname Y-DNA Study, I first met Michelle in 2013 when I was invited to participate in a MacCarthys of Cork Cultural Weekend, hosted by the Dunmanway Historical Association and supported by the UCC School of History. Michelle and the late Pat McCarthy (of Dunmanway’s McCarthy’s Bar) were the prime movers in the organisation of this event.

In 2016 Michelle was made aware of a family archive – in Oregon, USA but in need of a safe home for years to come – of letters, documentation and memorabilia of the much-travelled 19th century author, antiquarian and genealogist Daniel MacCarthy Glas.  A seed was sown in Michelle’s imaginative mind, and fifteen months later, through her sheer hard work and attention to detail and following many negotiations with various interested parties, not only were historians purring over the archive in its new home in the Cork City and County Archives but its arrival there was being celebrated with a second MacCarthy ‘Gathering’ in Dunmanway, to which many in the town contributed.  Many of the visitors from foreign shores and attendees still reminisce fondly five years on about the wonderful time they experienced over the four days of varied social events, lectures, visits to castles and so on which Michelle had coordinated for this Homecoming of the Daniel MacCarthy Glas Archive Weekend. A truly remarkable achievement.

Nigel McCarthy, Project Administrator of the McCarthy Surname Y-DNA Study

As a heritage and conservation consultant of over 30 years’ experience, I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle on a number of heritage and historical research projects over the past twelve years. I can attest to both her expertise and her impressive research abilities. She is an untiring and enthusiastic historian who has an unparalleled knowledge and grasp of local, regional and national archival sources. For any individual, firm or organisation seeking assistance with historical, genealogical or archival research, I can recommend Michelle without reservation.

John Cronin

Irish Veterans (Historical Research Centre) is an Irish registered charity with global reach that focuses on commemorating the global military experience of the Irish and Irish Diaspora.  Michelle O’Mahony has been a tremendous source for us of both local and international historical research, which she accesses on very much a human level.  Whatever the subject, her attention to detail has always caught the humanity of the brief. 

Declan Hughes, Irish Veterans

We would firstly, like to thank Michelle for her dedication and all the hard work she has put into research for Togher Castle.  Her interest and her knowledge in the history of Togher Castle and its connection with the McCarthy ancestry is remarkable.   Michelle has also advised us in relation to conservation and preservation aspects on our applications for funding.  Michelle has a wealth of knowledge, we can highly recommend her services.

Derry & Sandra O Donovan, Togher Castle

I have known Michelle O’Mahony (O M History Consultant) for some years since she undertook post graduate work at the School of History in UCC. In connection with historical research I have undertaken on Dunmanway and West Cork, I have periodically called upon her detailed and expert knowledge in the fields of genealogy, family and local history. Her professional training as a historian/researcher has been most helpful completing history projects for academic articles, TV programmes, historical databases etc. On specific issues, she is in communication with a good network of local historians. She also has the skills to interrogate historical memory and the necessary expertise to trace relevant historical and family history records. I can therefore fully recommend her professional knowledge to anybody who wishes to undertake any kind of historical research.     

Dr. Andy Bielenberg, (Senior Lecturer, School of History, UCC) has lectured in UCC since 1991 and has published extensively in the fields of Irish economic history and on the Irish revolution. He is currently the PI on a Project Mapping Fatalities in the Irish Free State during the Civil War.

 

My great, great-grandfather was Daniel MacCarthy Glas.  He left an extensive collection of manuscripts, books, letters, research papers, newspaper articles, documents and family correspondence. These came into my possession.  I was introduced to Michelle in 2015 by a mutual acquaintance who assured me she would be a great resource to help me sort through the collection.  I cannot say enough about the help and assistance Michelle provided.  Her knowledge of Irish history was invaluable in sorting through the papers and documents.  We worked together on organizing the papers for 2 years.  Michelle arranged for the archive to be ultimately donated to the Cork City & County Archives.  In 2017 she organized and put together a 3 day conference surrounding the donation. Notable university professors, Irish historians and I gave presentations.  People across the globe attended. All enjoyed the presentations and the additional events which included sightseeing events to relevant historic places and a wonderful dinner and dance.  Michelle’s organizational skills were excellent.  We continue to this day to communicate and work on genealogical and historical subjects.  I would recommend her for any research project, small or large.

Susan MacCarthy Hallett- USA, Donor of the Daniel MacCarthy Glas Collection to Cork City & County Archives

Michelle played a key role in ensuring the donation of the Daniel MacCarthy Glas Archive of manuscripts, and associated portrait pictures, to the Cork City and County Archives.

Her skills and services as an historian have also been greatly beneficial to us when cataloguing, listing, and making publicly accessible, the Daniel MacCarthy Glas Archive.

Brian McGee , Senior Archivist, Cork City & County Archives

 

Michelle has worked with Cork Public Museum on several occasions since 2019 to help facilitate the transfer or donation of important historical objects and documents to the museum. She is an excellent point of contact and brings vast knowledge and experience in local, national and international history to all the projects we have collaborated on. I would highly recommend Michelle for any historical based work and would hope to work with her again in the future.

Dan Breen, Curator Cork Public Museum

Over the years I have come to know Michelle O’Mahony and witness her dedication to the conservation and preservation of Irish History and Heritage, in addition to her organisational abilities during the MacCarthy Gatherings of 2013 & 2017 . Her professional historian’s eye and ability to highlight documents and objects of historical significance ensured the preservation of the Daniel MacCarthy Glas Archive. Discovered in USA and assessed by Michelle, led to its owners donating the collection to the Irish State – being lodged in Cork City and County Archives. The Collection is itself of tremendous historical and cultural importance to Ireland. As an author she has written Famine In Cork City (2005) and is a contributing author to The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (2012) and several other articles. She manages to bring the past to life, I would recommend OM History Consultant.

Brian McCarthy, Fexco

While visiting West Cork last summer, I came across a brochure in the lobby of my B & B. It advertised OM History Consultant. As I had a great- grandfather from the area, whose family we never knew anything about, I contacted the proprietor, Michelle O’Mahony. Michelle was a true professional. She explained the scope of her services and what she might realistically be able to find out about his family. Her service was prompt, professional, courteous and resulted in a beautifully published document confirming and documenting his ancestors a generation back and that he had several siblings. I recommend her service without reservation.

Brian from New York