The memory of James Tierney, known colloquially as a man before his time, will be honoured this weekend through the unveiling of a commemorative sign adorning his birth place.

The project, which has been running behind closed doors for two years, looks to celebrate one of the most memorable characters to ever come from Corofin.

Through the work of James’ granddaughter Lyndsey Tierney and Corofin Tidy Towns Chairperson Joe O’Connell, the life and times of mechanical engineer, inventor, radio host and perfect gentleman James Tierney, will be available for all to see on the cottage style house near the village grotto where he was born, and where his son Dennis currently resides in.

Reflecting on fond memories of her grandfather, having grown up in the same house together, Lyndsey recalled how “he was always making things and building things for me, such as doll houses” and “always wanted to be doing something, especially working with his hands.”

James joined the Irish Army when he was young, immersing himself in electronics and mechanics. Marrying Mary Doherty, he returned to Corofin where he established his own garage and electrical shop, all the while balancing a family of twelve children. He was the first person to introduce television into the village in the 1960s.

James designed a single engine aeroplane, but his appetite for airtime was quickly curtailed by the local parish priest and sergeant. In response, he decided to build a yellow submarine, that he took out on Lake Inchiquin. “James was known as a fantastic storyteller, whereby he could captivate an audience. When it came to mechanics or engineering, he was a man before his time. I remember, growing up here as a kid, in the late 70s, when he made a battery powered car for his son,” Joe noted.

With the story of the submarine reaching a worldwide audience, garnering considerable attention after BBC and RTÉ film crews decided to take a trip down to highlight the hysteria in a quiet North Clare village, James immediately shot to stardom, affirming his status as a local legend. Some of his other notable achievements before his passing in 1995 were, operating a pirate radio station in 1969, running as a Sinn Féin election candidate as well as taking up a mining post in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where he was known locally as ‘Captain James’ and admired by natives.

The unveiling of the sign on his ancestral home will take place in Corofin this coming Saturday at 3.30pm and will be attended by family, storytellers and all the local community. “We are expecting this to increase our heritage and historical tourism here in the village,” Joe stated.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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