Sergeant Long's Photo Collection
Sergeant James Long
Sergeant Long was a native of Ballincollig, Co. Cork, in 1894. As a young man, he served as stretcher-bearer with the 37th and 5th Divisions in France and Belgium during the Great War and was gassed in northern France in 1917. He later joined the ranks of an Garda Siochana and served in various locations. One of his most vivid and painful memories were the Dromcollogher cinema fire disaster when many lived was lost. He was stationed in Dromcollogher on that occasion and figured prominently in the rescue work. On the 26 September 1926, the cinema was completely engulfed within a half an hour of the fire starting, and it was all over within an hour. By this time 46 people had died. He also surveyed Bunratty Castle and found figures of Sheela na Gig on the walls. Sergeant Long came to Clarecastle in the late 1940s and was in charge of the barracks there until his retirement. He built a house in the village and later set up a shop in the grounds of the house. He was very active in the community, projecting films in the Abbey Hall and playing music for various functions there too. Sergeant Long was a very keen photographer. He died on 13 May 1983 and is buried in Clare Hill cemetery.
Michael Keane through his friendship with the Long family enabled Clarecastle Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group make copies of these unique photographs.