James Freeman

- Quarried at Ballyknockan circa 1917 to 1960s

The author obtained this information on James Freeman from his son, Michael Freeman, in November 2012.


James Freeman (1891-1975), was born in Ballyknockan.  He worked for Osbornes and boarded with them. He married Julia Osborne (1895-1977).


He worked the quarry that had been his grandfather's from at least 1917 until the early 1930s, althought Johnny Brien owned it.  James Freeman's account books for the early part of this period have survived.



James Freeman with the 'Virgin and Child' statue
James Freeman with the 'Virgin and Child' statue

The 'Virgin and Child' statue


This photo dates from 1961 and shows James Freeman at the Statue of the 'Virgin and Child' in Ballyknockan.


The statue was carved by James Freeman's grand-uncle, Ambrose Freeman.  He was recorded as a stonecutter at Ballyknockan in the 1911 Census.  After this he moved to Scotland. 



Account Book for James Freeman’s quarry, 1917 to 1919


James Freeman (1891-1975), operated the Freeman quarry at Ballyknockan in the period 1917 to circa 1930. 


Jimmy Freeman recalled rebuilding O'Connell Street after the 1916 Rising and stated in 1964 that 'the carved stonework for numbers 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 28, 29 and 31 came from the Freeman quarry'.


Freeman's Account Book for the period 1917 to 1919 lists his workmen involved in the reconstruction of Lower O'Connell Street after the damage caused by the 1916 Rebellion.


  -   Click on a photo below to run slideshow   -




Memorial to Irish dead in World War I


Jimmy was proud of having carved the War Memorial at Ginchy in France, which commemorates the men who fell while fighting with the 16th Irish Division at the Battles of Guillemont and Ginchy on 3rd and 9th September 1916, and all Irishmen who gave their lives in the Great War.


The memorial is situated next to the church in the village of Guillemont.



Last days at Ballyknockan

This sad photo was taken in Ballyknockan in 1963 when all work had ceased in the quarries. 


James Freeman sits on a banker with his feet resting on a granite truck and looks out towards the abandoned quarry from one from the cutting sheds.

















Created December 2012.