‘Steeplejill’ Angela tells how she really did scale the heights
THE amazing life of Angela Collins O’Mahony forms the nucleus of a new book titled “The Story of Ireland’s only Steeplejill” and launched in the comfortable surroundings of the Coach Restaurant in Millstreet’s Green Glens Complex last Saturday night.
On hand to launch the publication was Millstreet’s own Noel C Duggan, who applauded Ireland’s first female steeplejack. Clare native Angela is no stranger to Millstreet, she’s married to local native John O’Mahony.
Angela came from a small farming background in Kilkishen, Co. Clare and started her working life as a secretary for a steeplejack company. After her boss died, the farmer’s daughter from a poor background decided to set up her own company. Though she was managing director, she pursued scaling 300-foot high church spires to replace blown-off crosses and climbed 800-foots smokestacks, secured only by a rope.
That helped her being awarded the first ever Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award, the Bowmaker Award for Irish Industry, and an honorary doctorate, bestowed by HETAC. In addition to an appearance on The Late Late Show with Gay Byrne, Angela was featured in the RTÉ series Enterprise in 1971.
“To appear on the Late Late was a massive break, it opened up a new world and we never looked back,” she said.
Angela’s lifelong passion for climbing was born the day she was sent to a site to deliver materials. “When I couldn’t attract the men’s attention, I climbed up to the top of the chimney stack to tell the steeplejacks that their materials were there,” she said.
The Story of Ireland’s only Steeplejill is the fascinating story of a woman in a man’s world and gives the reader an insight into an unusual trade and how she was able to juggle her occupation with raising a family and surviving cancer. Angela applauded her great idol, Noel C Duggan, for putting Millstreet on the map. “We live in an uncertain world, nervous times on both sides of the Atlantic. Instead of drones and robots, we require entrepreneurs like Noel C to bring jobs into our towns,” she said.
In return, Mr Duggan applauded the highly acclaimed book and author on delivering a terrific insight into her life and business. “Angela is a remarkable woman, scaling the heights in business and generating employment. Of course, Angela’s husband, John, comes from one of most respected families in Millstreet, we remember his father, bringing his white horse and trap into town for shopping and Mass”, he said.
MC Seán Radley compered the proceedings and a lovely intimate Green Glens setting was enhanced by recitals from Millstreet Piper Gillian McCarthy and Millstreet Comhalthas Ceolteoirí.
Above: Eily Buckley, Angela O’Mahony and Mary O’Connor enjoyed a moment at the launch of “The Story of Ireland’s Only Steeplejill” in the Green Glens Complex.
Tim, Donie, Stephanie, Elizabeth and John O’Mahony attended the launch of “The Story of Ireland’s Only Steeplejill” in the Green Glens Complex.
Right: Tommy Burke, Millstreet joined by Niall and Elaine McDonagh, Banteer at the launch.
Author Angela O’Mahony pictured with Noel C Duggan at the launch of “The Story of Ireland’s Only Steeplejill” in the Green Glens Complex.