Nohoval Native, Con Lyons Honoured In San Francisco
Con Lyons from the village of Nohoval in south Cork was recently bestowed the honour of 2018 Corkman of the Year, by the Rebel Cork Benevolent Association (RCBA) in San Francisco at their annual Dinner Dance held at the United Irish Cultural Centre.
Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper recently, Liam Reidy, President of the RCBA in San Francisco said “Con is more than deserving of this year’s award, as he exemplifies what it means to be a member of the Rebel Cork club here within the Irish-American community. Con is always willing to give a helping hand where needed, takes an active part in RCBA activities during the year, and has been heavily involved in the development of the Youth GAA program in the city for the past 15 years”. Many congratulations to Con and his wife Brenda, his mother Margaret who flew from Ireland to be present for the award ceremony, and his four children.
Con Lyons was raised on a small farm near the village of Nohoval. He is the second oldest of five children born to Donie (RIP in 2017) and Margaret Lyons. He was educated at Rennies N.S. and later graduated from the technical school in Kinsale, where he showed a keen interest and mastery in woodwork and metalwork. Following the completion of his formal education, Con went to work locally in Cork for builder Stephen McCarthy as a labourer.
Back then when you started out as a labourer you are expected to learn several trades at once. Forming, pouring and finishing concrete techniques as part of public works projects became second nature to Con while at McCarthy’s. However, in October of 1986, Con’s friend Gerry Tierney from Kinsale decided to emigrate to the USA, and Con decided to go with him for the adventure and try it out for six months. At the time, thousands of young Irish people were emigrating on a weekly basis from the Emerald Isle. Long term prospects were not good for anyone “hanging around” and “waiting for things to improve in Ireland,” according to Con.
Con and Gerry arrived in Boston in October 1986, but looking back on it now it was probably not the best time of year to arrive in the North-East as winter came early and constant snow on the ground limited the opportunity for work. After three long weeks, and with money running low, Con and Gerry had a decision to make. Should they return home to Cork on the return flight or find a way to go to the West Coast? Con and Gerry borrowed $50 each from an old lady that Gerry’s family knew and they bought a one way Greyhound ticket to San Francisco.
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