Tim Harrington

Tim Harrington
John Finbarr O'Sullivan
Tim Harrington with his wife Marie and daughter Betty.
John Finbarr O'Sullivan
Tim Harrington's farm in Alberta, Canada.
John Finbarr O'Sullivan

Early Life

Timothy (Tim) Harrington (Jackell) was the second of 7 children born to John (Jack J) Harrington (Caobach) (Derrycreeveen, Bere Island) and Julia Harrington (also Caobach) (Kilcatherine, Eyeries Parish) in December 1891 on Cnocán Rua, Derrycreeveen, Bere Island.

Like his older brother Jim, he went to Ballinakilla National School (now the Heritage Centre) and later worked as a Monitor there before attending the De La SalleTeacher Training College in Waterford. He was excellent at art and did a fantastic drawing of Ballinakilla National School showing the vegetable plot that they had when he was a student there. The original now belongs to his nephew in Canada.

Emigration to Canada

He emigrated to Canada with his older brother Jim in 1913. He arrived and stayed for a short time on the east coast of Canada before heading west. He taught in Camrose Normal School in Alberta until 1927. (A Normal School is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name. Most of these schools are now called Teachers’ Colleges).

Farming and Family Life

While working at the Normal school, Tim met a French Canadian girl called Marie Dressler and they got married in 1927. Following their marriage they moved to Alcomdale, Alberta where Tim continued teaching at the New England School. He also bought a section of land, which is the equivalent of 160 acres of land.
When they first moved to the farm they lived in a granary (storehouse for grain) while Tim built a two-storey home. He then left teaching to become a fulltime farmer. He did mixed farming, growing oats, wheat  and barley and rearing cows, horses and pigs.

Tim and Marie had five children including two sets of twins but sadly one half twin, a girl, died at birth. Their surviving children were: Betty, Lucille, Eugene, and Carole. Apart from raising her family, Marie was a member of the Independence Women’s Institute, and both Tim and Marie held membership with the Alcomdale Community League.

Tim never returned to Ireland since leaving at the age of 22, but he never forgot his homeland and kept up contact with his sisters Julia, Katie and Lizzie and brother John (Jackell) who stayed on the Island.


His daughter Lucille was the only member of his family ever to visit Bere Island and before she left Canada, he drew her a map of the harbour showing her the trip from Castletownbere to Bere Island in the greatest detail, which amazed everyone when she showed it to the family on her arrival. Every single rock in the harbour was included!

He has a daughter Betty who is still living in Alberta, Canada where she married and raised five children and now has six grandchildren to enjoy. Her 3 siblings, Eugene, Carole  and Lucille died at the ages of 39, 40 and 49 respectively. Tim’s only son Eugene was single when he died and thus the Harrington name for this branch of the family has died out. Carole was married with two children and Lucille was married with one daughter, Tori who used to write to her Grandaunts in Bere Island.
Tim died in 1972 at the age of 80 years, 7 years after the death of his wife Marie. In his years on his own, he continued growing wheat and spent his days with his two faithful dogs doing battle with the weeds on his farm.

Tim never forgot his roots and although he never met any of the younger generation of his family living in Bere Island, he took a very keen interest in their affairs and refers to them often in his letters home as if they were all old pals. There were also many references to his younger days living In Bere Island.

In 1993, a photo album belonging to Tim was donated to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. It contains 136 photos of the Harrington family circa 1916-1917 including images of the Alcomdale area, Edmonton, and logging operations.

Submitted by: His nephew John Finbarr O’Sullivan, April 2012.

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