Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann


5 February 2002
Cill Rónáin
Máirín Uí Chonghaile
Nell Uí Chuinn
Archival information
MD 62 Nell Uí Chuinn. Clann; Deartháir sa chogadh; Siopa; Breith agus tógáil clainne; Teaghlaigh; Smiths; Cairde; Báicéireacht; Scoil; Damhsa; Ceol; Amhrán.
Additional information
MD 62 Nell Quinn. Family; Brother in the war; Shop; Raising family; Households; Smiths; Friends; Baking; School; Dancing; Music; Song.
Archival Reference
Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann, BBAF.00058
Recording & metadata © Bailiúchán Béaloidis Árann.
See copyright details.


MÁIRÍN: Now Nell, were you born in Kilronan?

NELL: I was born in Kilronan, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And was it in this house or …?

NELL: No, in the old house down below.

MÁIRÍN: And where is that old house now?

NELL: Where Mary Gill is living now only that it’s a new house.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: Just in the very same spot.

MÁIRÍN: Nell would you mind telling us what age you are?

NELL: I’ll be ninety next July if I live long enough.

MÁIRÍN: Oh well now that’s a great age and in great health thanks be to God. And had you many brothers and sisters and where are they all now?

NELL: There was eleven of us in family Máirín. Two of them died as babies. One of them I think was premature as far as I used to hear and the other died just after being born. The two of them died very soon after being born. But there was eleven of us in family and we all grew up, everyone went their way, you know and to America of course. And I was the only one that stayed on the island then.


NELL: Simon went to England, and I stayed here, stayed on the island. Came and went but always came back to it.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yeah. So your sisters, are there any of your family alive today?

NELL: There’s not one of them alive now Máirín.


NELL: Only myself.

MÁIRÍN: But your sisters got a great age, didn’t they?

NELL: They got a big age.


NELL: They got a big ages thanks be


NELL: But the boys didn’t Máirín, the boys didn’t but the girls did seemingly, you know….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, yeah. And didn’t you have a brother that was in the army or somewhere?

NELL: Josie, Lord have mercy on his soul ....

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah.

NELL: was in World War 1.


NELL: Yes, and he died out in Mesopotamia, out in, well out in the Holy Land.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: And is he buried there?

NELL: He’s buried out in, near Bethlehem.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and your parents were alive, were they?

NELL: Oh they were alive.

MÁIRÍN: That time?

NELL: Oh they were of course.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Sure it was only ….

MÁIRÍN: .… he was only young ….

NELL: .… sure it’s how he went away Máirín. I was only small I think down below in the old house now and my mother went somewhere to do an errand and left me in and I don’t know whether Jack or someone, they were left taking care of me, but when she came back there was no one there only meself and hadn’t they come in on the boat and they were conscripting.

MÁIRÍN: And he joined?

NELL: The boys, the young fellas from here, and that’s how they went then, you know. Josie, Lord have mercy on his soul went off with them then.


NELL: And of course he never came back.

MÁIRÍN: So your parents never saw him after that?

NELL: Never saw him after that.

MÁIRÍN: And they weren’t even there when he went actually

NELL: Oh no they weren’t even there, my father was out fishing ….

MÁIRÍN: …. They weren’t ….

NELL: .… and she was doing, gone doing an errand ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, so ….

NELL: .… and he was left taking care of me and he went off with them. Of course delighted to hear a story and to go with them. And Hugh Gill, a brother of Pat Gills went and one of the Black Toms from Kilmurvey.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: The three of them together.


NELL: They came back, Hugh Gill and, and the other boy came back but poor Josie never came back.

MÁIRÍN: And what happened to him Nell?

NELL: Appendix.

MÁIRÍN: Oh so it was ….

NELL: …. Appendix, and there was nowhere, near a hospital or anything.

MÁIRÍN: No, oh yes.

NELL: And he died.

MÁIRÍN: Oh God that was really sad.

NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: For your parents like, you know.

NELL: Oh it was terrible.


NELL: Terrible.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Were your parents from this island? Your mother was anyways.

NELL: My mother was, my father wasn’t.


NELL: My father was from Roundstone.


NELL: Yeah from a little island off Roundstone


NELL: Called Inisnee.

MÁIRÍN: Where did your mother meet him, did she go to meet him in America?

NELL: He used to come in here fishing.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: You know on the boats.


NELL: They used to come in here that time.


NELL: And that’s where she met him.

MÁIRÍN: Did they get married here or …?

NELL: They got married here and they went out to Roundstone and they had a little place in Roundstone, a little shop for a while.


NELL: And then after the years they changed their mind and they came in here.

MÁIRÍN: Hm. So, so you lived down then near

NELL: Where, where Mary Gill as I said, is….

MÁIRÍN: .… yeah, down there then, yes.

NELL: That’s where we lived, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. So you got married then when you grew up, and did you marry a local man Nell?

NELL: No a girlín, indeed I did not. The Lord have mercy on him sure he was from Armagh. Yes.

MÁIRÍN: So what brought him here that time?

NELL: He was travelling for Owens’s Tea.


NELL: There were travellers going that time Máirín.


NELL: They’d come taking orders, like Eddie Kanes used to do….

MÁIRÍN: …. Oh yes, yes….

NELL: …. Do you remember them coming ….

MÁIRÍN: ….Yeah.

NELL: Ah you wouldn’t remember, I’m sure.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah but I heard of Eddie Kane.

NELL: Eddie Kane’s, yes. But that was the same thing now like. And he was travelling for tea, you’d give him an order for a pound of tea, you know, that was a big thing in them days.


NELL: And he was travelling for Owens’s Tea Company.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, all the way from Armagh?

NELL: And that’s now how he came here. Then of course after, after that he set up a little shop for himself. He had a bar down in, a rented place down in Eddie Costellos, down there at

MÁIRÍN: But you weren’t married to him that time?

NELL: No, no, no.

MÁIRÍN: So he had stayed on the island kind of?

NELL: He stayed on the island.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And he rented this place and had a ….

MÁIRÍN: …. He had a ….

NELL: …. bar and a little grocery.

MÁIRÍN: Because actually Dara [Mullen, Máirín’s uncle] was telling me that, and he said alright Quinn had a ….

NELL: …. Yeah, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: a place down in Eddie Costellos….

NELL: …. In Eddies, yes.

MÁIRÍN: So he had a bar and a ….

NELL: …. A bar and grocery….

MÁIRÍN: …. there first.

NELL: Oh a good shop going.


NELL: Yes, because there wasn’t many shops that time.


NELL: But eh then he moved out of there then and he came up and he rented another little place right across from us that time, a little thatched place….

MÁIRÍN: …. Oh the little thatch across ….

NELL: …. He did.


NELL: He did.

MÁIRÍN: That’s where Peaitín Saors was, was it?

NELL: Yes, exactly.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And eh that’s where he was when I, when I got married.


NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: So ye, did ye ….

NELL: …. Just across from our own house, do you know.

MÁIRÍN: So did ye live there first?

NELL: We lived there first, for a while.


NELL: Until he, he built the other house.

MÁIRÍN: So he built the two storey house ….

NELL: …. Yes ….

MÁIRÍN: …. that’s there now?

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: And ye had a shop there. I remember that shop myself….

NELL: …. Yes, we had.

MÁIRÍN: And I remember your husband being there….(Laughs)

NELL: …. Yeah, we had, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: I remember buying the ehm, you know the red bulls eyes or something.

NELL: Oh God yes (laughs).

MÁIRÍN: (Laughs) I forget what they were.

NELL: (Laughs)

MÁIRÍN: So do you remember really what did ye sell there or ?

NELL: Everything, tea, sugar, flour, paraffin oil of course, that time you had to come for your pint of paraffin oil.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Eh bread, butter, margarine.


NELL: Everything, the usual groceries.

MÁIRÍN: The usual, where used ye get most of those stuff, like you know the, I suppose naturally the tea and sugar, all those had to come from Galway ….?

NELL: …. Come in from Galway. From Galway yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And do you remember the names of the shops?

NELL: Powell’s, Póilíns in Galway and Kanes.

MÁIRÍN: And Kanes.

NELL And Kanes.

MÁIRÍN: You wouldn’t be able to remember the prices of any kind of little thing you’d remember that has changed a lot since?

NELL: Oh God it has changed so much ….

MÁIRÍN: …. It has [changed] a lot since….

NELL: …. Máirín, sure things were very cheap that time.


NELL: Sure a pound of sugar was only three or four pence.

MÁIRÍN: Pence, like that._

NELL: Yes.


NELL: The loaf of bread, five pence or six pence.

NELL: Aw things were cheap.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Used ye get the loaves from Galway?

NELL: No, while Mrs Goram was going we’d take them from her, but then when she gave up we had to get them from Galway. We used to get them in a nice big hampers.

MÁIRÍN: And where ….

NELL: From Lydons in Galway.

MÁIRÍN: From Ly[dons]. But before that ye used to buy them from ….

NELL: …. From Mrs Goram.

MÁIRÍN: Goram had a bakery?

NELL: Gorams had a bakery.

MÁIRÍN: Bakery, the father ….

NELL: …. Gorams that’s down …

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah .…

NELL: .… at the old pier.

MÁIRÍN: I remember Goram himself.

NELL: The same place now.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, Mary Ann …

NELL: At the back of that big house they had the bakery in there.

MÁIRÍN: And she was baking up till when you had the shop?

NELL: Baking, she was baking, well it wasn’t herself …

MÁIRÍN: Well not herself, but it was, it was being ….

NELL: But still going.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and

NELL: Oh yes and good bread.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and ye used to sell it in the shop then?

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: So eh Nell how many children had you when you got married?

NELL: Four.


NELL: Four boys.

MÁIRÍN: And were they all born at home or ?

NELL: They were all born in this house here. I used to come up here (laughs) to have the babies.

MÁIRÍN: You came up to your mother?

NELL: Always yes.

MÁIRÍN: Well you were lucky that you were able to do that.

NELL: Ah sure that’s true, that’s true.

MÁIRÍN: So what doctor had ye or had ye a nurse?

NELL: Dr. O’Brien and a good doctor.


NELL: A good doctor, the Lord have mercy on him….

MÁIRÍN: …. Do you remember the name of the nurse that was around that time or?

NELL: Ehm oh God knows I don’t, there were so many of them coming and going….

MÁIRÍN: …. I suppose they were changed yeah.

NELL: But I never had a nurse or anything.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, so you only had the doctor ….

NELL: …. Only the doctor….

MÁIRÍN: …. and who else was with you?

NELL: Yeah. Oh my mother.


NELL: Once the baby was born she’d take the baby and wash it and be finished then….

MÁIRÍN: …. Now used they hand you the baby before they’d wash them, do you know, or would?

NELL: When, after the baby would be delivered they’d wrap it up you know and they’d let you see it.

MÁIRÍN: Oh used they ….

NELL: …. You know.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yes.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: So, and then they’d wash the baby?

NELL: And then they’d wash the baby.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: And dress it up, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah. Do you, when you first discovered you were pregnant, how long before you’d go to a doctor or can you remember ….?

NELL: …. Oh goodness Máirín it’d be, it’d be nearly the time (laughs) we’d be having the baby before ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Before you’d go to a doctor ….

NELL: …. Before you’d go to the doctor ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah, so ye never had your blood pressure checked or you were never on iron tablets or …. ?

NELL: …. Never on anything.

MÁIRÍN: Nothing like that, no.

NELL: No, never on anything and as I said I never had a nurse or one, only the doctor.

MÁIRÍN: And you know when you were pregnant then, did ye wear different clothes or ?

NELL: Just the loose ol overall.

MÁIRÍN: Just the loose overall.

NELL: That’s all.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, nothing, nothing ….

NELL: ….That was all ….

MÁIRÍN: …. different, no. And you know now if there was an emergency, a case of emergency like a miscarriage or forceps or anything like that, you’d have to call the doctor, would you?

NELL: Oh you’d have to call the doctor.


NELL: You’d have to call the doctor, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah. And did they give ye anything for the eh labour pains or ?


MÁIRÍN: Nothing at all?

NELL: Not at all.

MÁIRÍN: Grin and bear it.

NELL: Oh grin and bear it. Not a thing ever.

MÁIRÍN: My gosh.

NELL: And as I say he, he was a great, he was a good doctor. Now there was very few cases that he lost, in his time. And the Lord have mercy on your mother.


NELL: And Molly Daly often swore, the Lord have mercy on them all now


NELL: That if he had the luck of bringing her with him that day

MÁIRÍN: Yeah I heard that alright, yes, yeah, yeah.

NELL: But those things happen.


NELL: But that was, but he was, oh God he was great. Now the night our Sean was born, he was over in Bungowla, over in Dainíns, in Bungowla, and my brother Mike went from here down and he got Joe Kelly, the Lord have mercy on them all, to get the jaunt ready and to go over and to collect the doctor.


NELL: And of course we didn’t know now whether he could come or not because if she hadn’t had the baby


NELL: he couldn’t leave her you see.


NELL: But luckily when they were going down Bungowla hill, the baby was born, down in, in Unas.


NELL: And then they, Mike collected the doctor and they came over here and my Seán was born then.


NELL: But oh it was a, it was hard times, because you were worried like.


NELL: But if he was going anywhere now or if he was going to the islands or anything he’d always come to the wall there and shout in to me mother where he’d be going.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see, so he really ….

NELL: …. He’d let you know that he’d be gone.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: He would.


NELL: He would.

MÁIRÍN: And who used to cut the cord, used it be the doctor I suppose?

NELL: The doctor.

MÁIRÍN: And used, what used they do with the afterbirth?

NELL: Burn it.


NELL: Burn it.

MÁIRÍN: You never heard of Máirín an Chaptaen or any of those that used to help, you know instead of a doctor….

NELL: …. Oh indeed I remember poor Máirín well.

MÁIRÍN: Do you remember her Nell?

NELL: I do, we’d be watching her here going up on the horse, you know.


NELL: Going to Bungowla. She was great, she delivered all the babies in the, in the island..

MÁIRÍN: Where did she live?

NELL: Down in the little house that John Máirt has down there now, a thatched cottage, there beside our old house down there now.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And you remember her, Máirín an Chaptaen?

NELL: Oh I do of course, indeed. They’d come from Bungowla for Máirín and


NELL: She’d sit up on the horse. We’d watch her going up here. “ Máirín is going to get a baby for someone”.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: We asked somebody the name of the back road one day, you know how we were doing the old roads and, or putting names on roads and wells and someone said to us that it was called Bóthar, Bóthar Mhaidhc after Máirín an Chaptaen’s husband name, as well.

NELL: Could be.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, and when did she die then Nell?

NELL: Oh God I don’t know what age was I when poor Máirín died.

MÁIRÍN: So she died down there like, that’s where she died ….?

NELL: …. She died down there, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yeah.

NELL: She had a niece from America.


NELL: Must be her sister that came home and she left this niece, Nora McDonagh, lovely girl.


NELL: But poor Nora got TB and she died down there.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yeah.

NELL: She was going to school now with our Agnes and Agnes, oh she was.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: She was, she’s in the picture of the, the old school picture now, did you get any of them pictures ever?

MÁIRÍN: No, no.

NELL: No, God I have one of them somewhere now ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah ….

NELL: that you could see it.


NELL: Agnes Connolly and Mary and Agnes and Mary Chóil Pheaitsín and.

MÁIRÍN: Oh all those were in it.

NELL: Miss Lundy and all those….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes.

NELL: All the crowd you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. So where was she originally from, was she from Kilronan?

NELL: Who?

MÁIRÍN: Máirín an Chaptaen.

NELL: No, I think she was from the west, Máirín.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, someone said she was from Creig a’ Chéirín. What was her right name, they called her Máirín an Chaptaen, nobody knows …?

NELL: God knows, we never called her anything but Máirín an Chaptaen.

MÁIRÍN: Did you ever hear of a Rose Gilllen, she used to be present when children [were born]?


MÁIRÍN: No, well or did you ever hear Bridget Joe Watty used to help?

NELL: I didn’t hear of them now helping.


NELL: No I didn’t.

MÁRÍN: ’Cos someone said ….

NELL: …. I remember her so well ….

MÁIRÍN: …. when our, our Micheál was born ….

NELL: …. Yes ….

MÁIRÍN: … that it was Bridget that was …

NELL: …. Now, yes of course ….

MÁIRÍN: … that it was, present. Yeah.

NELL: Well of course, they were, they had to do it Máirín.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. But you always had the doctor Nell?

NELL: I always had the doctor.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: That was in the later times now, we had the doctor.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. So what used ye use for nappies on the children?

NELL: We’d make nappies Máirín out of old sheets and things.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: We’d make them.

MÁIRÍN: And ….

NELL: …. Until later years, like.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: Until we got posh.

MÁIRÍN: (Laughs) Yeah.

NELL: And got them, we’d get them from Galway then.

MÁIRÍN: There were no disposable nappies anyway, I can tell you.(Laughs)

NELL: Oh there was nothing….

MÁIRÍN: …. Not even in my time Nell.

NELL: Faith and I’ll tell you ….

MÁIRÍN: …. When mine were growing up I had no disposable nappies.

NELL: Yes and we’d have to be washing them and …

MÁIRÍN: So did you breastfeed them?

NELL: Never did, Máirín and that killed me.


NELL: I could never breastfeed a child.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: So where did you get the milk?

NELL: Through the bottle then .


NELL: that they had to get it.

MÁIRÍN: So was that cow’s milk?

NELL: Cow’s milk and then we had cans of stuff, it was Neeves food we used to call it.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: Neeves food.

MÁIRÍN: And used you have to buy that in the shop?

NELL: You’d have to buy that in the shop


NELL: and make it up.

MÁIRÍN: Oh Neeves food.

NELL: Neeves food.

MÁIRÍN: Oh, I suppose it was like the powder milk now?

NELL: It was powder.


NELL: Yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And you’d, and you’d give that to the baby?

NELL: And when we didn’t have milk, we’d give them that.

MÁIRÍN: I suppose everybody else used to use that as well?

NELL: Oh they did, anyone that didn’t have a cow.

MÁIRÍN: That’s what I’m saying. And when you used to give them the cow’s milk, would you give it strong to them or would you put water through it and take it to the boil ….?

NELL: …. A little bit of water yes.

MÁIRÍN: And would ye boil it? Heat it just.

NELL: Heat it, heat it.

MÁIRÍN: But ye didn’t boil it?

NELL: Oh no.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And when the children ate solids, what would you give them?

NELL: A potato mashed up with a bit of butter on it.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: That would be the first thing now, that’s the first thing. You’d mash the potato well and put a good bit of butter on it, .


NELL: And spoon feed them with that then.


NELL: Do you know.

MÁIRÍN: Used ye ever give them builín down in tea or anything ?

NELL: Oh yes, oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: Goodie or whatever?

NELL: Or in milk, broken up in milk….

MÁIRÍN: …. Or in milk.

NELL: Oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: But it was always the potato first.

NELL: But the potato first, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Now, and how long would you stay in bed after you having a baby Nell?

NELL: That time they used to keep us seven or eight days in bed.

MÁIRÍN: Would ye be given much to eat after the baby being born?

NELL: Nothing, nothing for a few days.

MÁIRÍN: (Laughs) Yeah.

NELL: Absolutely starved.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: For a few days after the baby was born. Why they did that I don’t know.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, someone said they used to have some kind of crackers that they used to eat.

NELL: But, but

MÁIRÍN: So (--) Well of course it was different with you Nell, when you were, when you were in bed after the children you had your mother here.

NELL: Oh I had, she was great….

MÁIRÍN: …. So like ….

NELL: …. Oh she was great.

MÁIRÍN: Did the husbands help around the house?

NELL: Oh they would, they, oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: They’d also

NELL: Oh Lord yes.

MÁIRÍN: And they’d help with the rest of the children?

NELL: Help with anything.

MÁIRÍN: Now even you said there that two of your brothers died when they were weak, what would they do with weak children or if babies were premature?

NELL: Nothing only, they’d die.

MÁIRÍN: There was no help for them.

NELL: There was no help.

MÁIRÍN: There was no help for them.

NELL: There was no help. Sure that’s why in Manister there’s a lot of babies [buried]. Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And if there was handicapped children or, were they, was there no help for them?

NELL: There was no help for anything that time, Máirín.


NELL: No, mothers or parents had to just do what they could do for them and that was it.

MÁIRÍN: Like if there was un, unmarried mothers or children

NELL: They were looked down on, they were looked down on, which was wrong of course.

MÁIRÍN: Yes. And were the mothers allowed to keep ….?

NELL: …. And badly treated because of that.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: You know.

MÁIRÍN: Were they allowed to keep the babies?

NELL: They were, oh they were allowed to keep the babies.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yeah, that was good anyways.

NELL: Yeah they were.


NELL: They were allowed to keep the babies, but it was an awful come down, kind of.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes yes, yeah.

NELL: Do you know.

MÁIRÍN: Well thank God that has all changed now.

NELL: You were a bad person.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Which was wrong.

MÁIRÍN: Which was very wrong.

NELL: Very wrong God help us.

MÁIRÍN: Very wrong. My goodness that was ….

NELL: …. It was a terrible thing.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, so did the nurse or doctor like eh visit you after your children were born, like you know ?

NELL: Oh for a few days they would, they’d come….

MÁIRÍN: …. They would, and the doctor as well?

NELL: Oh the doctor would come.

MÁIRÍN: And did the nurse then visit you?

NELL: She’d, well I never had, as I say I never had the nurse.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. She wouldn’t come to visit you after the baby?

NELL: She wouldn’t.


NELL: She wouldn’t.

MÁIRÍN: But he’d come.

NELL: He’d come.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yeah.

NELL: He’d come, for the few days.


NELL: And then you’d be up and around again and that’d be it.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. And what injections did the children get when they grew up, as babies, did they get eh an bolgach as we called the pock or ?

NELL: Eh …

MÁIRÍN: What else was going?

NELL: Of course every woman was vaccinated then Máirín.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah but that was the eh …

NELL: That was the vaccination.

MÁIRÍN: That was the small pox.

NELL: The small pox, yes, but outside of that they didn’t get much of anything.

MÁIRÍN: There was, there was no BCG that time?

NELL: There was not….

MÁIRÍN: …. That was later, much later….

NELL: …. No way, no….


NELL: There wasn’t.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: There wasn’t anything really.

MÁIRÍN: There was no other injections children got, no?

NELL: No indeed.

MÁIRÍN: No. How old were your children when they baptized like, the babies. Were they ?

NELL: Oh three or four days.

MÁIRÍN: Just ….

NELL: …. three or four days.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: They’d get them baptized very soon.


NELL: Three or four days.

MÁIRÍN: And ehm you couldn’t go to the chapel?


MÁIRÍN: Well of course you were still in bed anyways.

NELL: Still in bed.

MÁIRÍN: So then you had to be churched.

NELL: Oh you had to be churched.


NELL: Yes, yes. And then all that died out. You wouldn’t go outside the door until you’d go to the chapel to be churched Máirín.


NELL: No, they wouldn’t like you to.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.


MÁIRÍN: You couldn’t go into the chapel until you were churched.

NELL: Yes, you weren’t supposed to .


NELL: go anywhere until you’d go to the chapel and be churched and then you could go where you wanted.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah I think that was the most ridiculous thing ever….

NELL: …. Wasn’t it, wasn’t it.

MÁIRÍN: Oh my goodness.

NELL: It was alright.

MÁIRÍN: So did you ever hear of baiste urláir, like if some baby was dying and you’d baptize him there and then, in case he’d die?


MÁIRÍN: Like if there’s a weak baby how ….

NELL: …. But they would, they would baptize.

MÁIRÍN: They would baptize them yeah?

NELL: Oh they would baptize them.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: Oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: They would.

NELL: Oh yes, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And so had you a pram and cot for your babies?

NELL: I had a cot, I had a cot for them.


NELL: And then when they were, when I was able to take them out, I had the pram.


NELL: Oh I had the pram.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: And where did you get them Nell now?

NELL: Galway, Robert Gill, Lord have mercy on his soul, made the cot for me.

MÁIRÍN: Oh he made a cot.

NELL: He was a carpenter, kind of.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: He made the cot.

MÁIRÍN: And you got the pram

NELL: And I had that. That went to Kilmurvey after my children were reared, Máirín.


NELL: And it went over to Máires. I don’t know what they did with it afterwards (Laughs).

MÁIRÍN: Yeah but you had the same cot. Was ….

NELL: …. It was a lovely ….

MÁIRÍN: …. that a little cliabhán now, the small little one or?

NELL: No, a nice big crib.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: A nice big crib.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And you got the pram from ….

NELL: …. We had the cradle, you know.

MÁIRÍN: You had the cradle first and then ….

NELL: …. Oh we had the cradle first.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and where did you get the cradle?

NELL: Galway, from Galway, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And you got the pram then from Galway.

NELL: And the pram of course was from Galway.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yes, yes, yeah.

NELL: But the cradle was great and you’d rock them then ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, yeah.

NELL: … they’d go to sleep.

MÁIRÍN: The babies were first in the cradle.

NELL: Exactly.

MÁIRÍN: And then when they got older you put them into the cot.

NELL: And they were handed to you when you were working around the house you know, you had them there close to you.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah. And do you know the clothes for the children, did ye make them or did ye buy them or did ye get them from America or?

NELL: We, I, I remember, I used to get them from, from Naughtons in Galway, Neachtainín Beags as we used to call them.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: The little shirts.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: And the whole little rig outs like.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes yeah.

NELL: And then you’d keep whatever you had from the first babies.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: You’d have to keep them, use them again, you know.


NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: But you know first when the babies were, were born, all little babies, there was no babygros then, was it a little kind of a flannel little dress kin of a ….

NELL: …. A little jacket, like a little jackety thing.

MÁIRÍN: When they were very small?

NELL: When they were very small. Oh what they wore when they were very small?

MÁIRÍN: In the, yeah?

NELL: Like a little, like a little nightie, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And that was made of what kind of….?

NELL: …. Flannelette.

MÁIRÍN: Flannelette.

NELL: Flannelette.

MÁIRÍN: And that was always on the baby.

NELL: That was on them, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yeah.

NELL: Yes, flannelette.

MÁIRÍN: And then you’d wrap them in a little shawl?

NELL: And you’d wrap them, yes.

MÁIRÍN: In a little shawl, is it?

NELL: A little seáilín, yes.

MÁIRÍN: A little seáilín.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. But then you got the clothes from Neachtain Beag in Galway?

NELL: Oh yes and, and them were more dress clothes, do you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: But did you ever make any clothes yourself, Nell or ?

NELL: Oh Lord we always did.

MÁIRÍN: That’s, yeah.

NELL: Yes, yes, for every day, oh goodness, yes.


NELL: Yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and knitted the jumpers of course?

NELL: Yes and I knit the little jumpers, you know.

MÁIRÍN: All, whatever the children wore.

NELL: Yes, and, and make little clothes out of, out of the family’s clothes, you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes again, yes.

NELL: Cut them up and make little trousers and things for them you know, when they were able to crawl around.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. So how old were your children when you first took them out?

NELL: As soon as you were, had the time and, and got on your feet right, you had them out.

MÁIRÍN: You took them out.

NELL: Ah yes, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And how did ye choose a name, was it family names or?

NELL: Family names mostly, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Would the fathers like to have boys or girls or did it make any difference?

NELL: I suppose it didn’t, it didn’t make a difference really but they liked the boys too.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yes (laughs).

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: (Laughing)

Do you remember or know of any women that lost children, that children died at childbirth or, when they were born like, young babies died when ?

NELL: Well no mind you now, I don’t remember.


NELL: Now, I don’t remember any babies being, being lost around here now.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, and of course there wasn’t that many women lost when their?

NELL: No, no.


NELL: Thanks be to God.

MÁIRÍN: No, no.

NELL: We were very lucky.

MÁIRÍN: In your time, you don’t remember?

NELL: In my time there was not.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: No, no.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, and if babies died before they were baptized, where were they buried?

NELL: All the babies that I know of Máirín


NELL: Were buried in Manister.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Now I don’t know whether they were all baptized but they must be.

MÁIRÍN: Well there’s, we were over there one day ….

NELL: …. I’d imagine.

MÁIRÍN: And there’s somebody I think belonging to Joe Wattys and I think it was four or five [years old], there’s a little headstone

NELL: Ah yes, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, so, so they must have been baptized.

NELL: Ah they were, they were.

MÁIRÍN: You don’t know anything about that Manister graveyard or who opened it or what’s the story ….?

NELL: …. I don’t Máirín but it was there in my time, all the time….

MÁIRÍN: …. In your, you remember it being there.

NELL: I remember it being ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes ….

NELL: .… there all the time, and I know there was babies of ours

MÁIRÍN: Buried there.

NELL: You know, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: It’s a pity there’s no, nothing done about that ....

NELL: …. It is….

MÁIRÍN: …. because there’s a lot of babies buried there.

NELL: Yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And like, children as well.

NELL: My mother Lord have mercy on her soul used to often show me up by the wall where, where, where she said the babies were buried.


NELL: Ah but I wouldn’t know now, you know.


NELL: They were buried there alright, but nothing done about it, like.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah. So things have changed a lot since, all the women go to Galway and ….

NELL: …. Indeed.

MÁIRÍN: …. there’s hardly any babies born at home….

NELL: …. Completely changed. It is completely changed. It is.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and they all have the disposable nappies and the

NELL: Oh yes. But that time you just had the, the poor old doctor if he was convenient.


NELL: And lots of them didn’t have a doctor at all.


NELL: They’d just have Máirín.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And she’d deliver the baby.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: So it was pretty hard times.


NELL: But that the people, God was with them and ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, they were lucky….

NELL: … helped them. That’s now what it was….

MÁIRÍN: …. It’s true yes, yeah.

NELL: Because other than that they hadn’t the care.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. But you said there Nell that ye’d, that ye got very little to eat, you must be very weak when ye got out of bed?

NELL: Oh we were starved, oh God we used to be starved.


NELL: Absolutely starved now, and I know my mother Lord have mercy on her soul she’d always make soup then.


NELL: She’d kill a hen you know and she’d make the soup.


NELL: And she’d have the chicken broth.


NELL: And that would be one of the first things you’d get.


NELL: You’d think that was a great treat then, to get that.


NELL: Until you were back on your feet again to be able to, to eat.

MÁIRÍN: And ye weren’t allowed to get out of the bed at all only to go to the toilet ….?

NELL: …. But I wonder why was that Máirín, that they starved us ….?

MÁIRÍN: …. I don’t know because I heard, someone else said, maybe it was Mamó that once, Maggie [her aunt] was telling me that when Baba was born that she ….

NELL: …. Yes….

MÁIRÍN: …. she could only eat some, is it tea and crackers for so many days….

NELL: …. Oh you couldn’t eat a thing.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: I thought that was terrible.


NELL: Oh I used to be starving, because you see you were healthy every other way.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And you were hungry.


NELL: And I thought it was terrible to be left starve like that, you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Well thanks Nell for doing that, there was just a few more questions if you don’t mind I was going to, I was always fascinated by the Smyth’s myself.

NELL: Yes?

MÁIRÍN: I remember Mrs Smyth and I think I remember a few of the, [I remember]eh Freddie and Arnold.

NELL: Arnold, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And Wyndham.

NELL: And Wyndham.

MÁIRÍN: But I don’t remember Paddy.


MÁIRÍN: I don’t remember ever seeing him.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Do you know why they came to Aran or why did Smyth come?

NELL: Gosh now Máirín I don’t know why, like, if they had any reason to come. But they came to the Lodge do you know. Of course they were, the Clohertys, her family in Galway were very wealthy, they owned half Galway.


NELL: And I don’t think they were too happy about her marrying Smyth, the Lord have mercy on his soul, you know.

MÁIRÍN: He was English, was he?

NELL: He was English.


NELL: And eh I don’t think that her family that time, the Clohertys were too happy about it, but anyhow they came to the Lodge then and they rented the Lodge for a while.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, who did the Lodge belong to that time? The Ned Báns, was it?

NELL: It was some of, or Joe Macs I think.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah, the Joe Macs had it that time, yeah.

NELL: Yes and then as I say they, they came over to the, well they finished in the American Bar, but she of course then, that was when poor Smyth died and everything, she had to pack up.

MÁIRÍN: So they lived in the American Bar?

NELL: They lived in the American Bar….

MÁIRÍN: …. But they didn’t build that?

NELL: Oh they didn’t build it.

MÁIRÍN: That, that was built before that.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: Now ehm

MÁIRÍN: Was it Dr. O’Brien’s ?

NELL: The O’Brien’s that owned it.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: The O’Brien’s that owned it.


NELL: The O’Brien’s seemingly had a small little eh, little thatched house there.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: Before the, that house ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Was built, yes, yeah.

NELL: Yes, yes and then they built the big house.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: And that was, well it was, as we used to call it The American Bar.


NELL: But the Clohertys then ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Smyth and the, yeah.

NELL: Smyth and May Cloherty came over there then and they, the children were reared there and they had a housekeeper


NELL: and a nursemaid for the children.

MÁIRÍN: They had both, they had a housekeeper and a nursemaid?

NELL: They had, they had. Of course she was used to all that kind of thing.

MÁIRÍN: But did they have a [pub], used they have a ….

NELL: …. They had a bar and a grocery…..

MÁIRÍN: …. bar and a grocery shop there. Oh I see.

NELL: A bar and grocery.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: A bar and grocery. They had, ah it was very nice too.


NELL: But like that, of course there was an awful lot of the stuff taken and got that was never paid for.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: And of course they couldn’t come up with the money again then.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Either when they didn’t get it.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: They couldn’t come up with it when it was needed so they had to pack up the shop too.

MÁIRÍN: Used they keep visitors there?

NELL: Oh they used, oh they used….

MÁIRÍN: …. In it as well.

NELL: As well, yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: They used.


NELL: Oh yes, oh they kept people there, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: So they had a nursemaid to look after the children as well.

NELL: They had a nursemaid, Nora to look after the children.

MÁIRÍN: Was Nora from here?

NELL: Nora Cooke from Kilmurvey.


NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, and used she stay with them all the time?

NELL: She stayed with them, and she travelled with them, and they used to travel, Germany and different places, Nora was always with them.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah and then they used to come back here then after travelling ….?

NELL: …. Come back again, yes, yes. So poor Smyth died Lord have mercy on his soul, then.


NELL: And of course that broke up the home.


NELL: It really did. Then she moved to Galway I think after that.


NELL: And she was a good while in Galway before she came back here again or did she go to England. Now she might have gone to England.


NELL: I think because that’s where the kids were educated.


NELL: I think that’s where they went to school. She went to England I think, and she was probably doing a little bit of nursing.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: I don’t think (laughs) she was ever a nurse or anything but she was helping out in a hospital or something like that.


NELL: And the boys were all English, very English.


NELL: You know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And of course when they were able then they went into the army of course.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: Like their father did. She was a lovely person.

MÁIRÍN: So she came back then?

NELL: But she came back here again.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, and then she went in to where she lived.

NELL: She settled here then.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, so there was somebody living there first, was there. Was that the Protestant school?

NELL: School.


NELL: That was the Protestant school and it was very nice Máirín and there was a lovely family in it then after the school.


NELL: The Barrars.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, Barrars, yeah.

NELL: And he had his workshop at the side going up there now at Jackie Gills róidín there.


NELL: There was a little house there.


NELL: And that was his workshop.


NELL: And he could do anything in the line of carpentry. He was a marvellous carpenter altogether, Barrer was. And no matter what ’d be going on or what ’d get broken, the first thing they’d say was “tabhair ag Barrar é

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: Bring it to Barrar and ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah ….

NELL: .… he’d fix it.


NELL: She was a lovely woman herself, Mrs Barrar, and then they had a daughter Florrie.


NELL: And they had a son James. James went away to England very [early]. I barely, barely remember him but I remember Florrie alright.


NELL: And Mrs Barrar herself she was a lovely person.

MÁIRÍN: They were English, were they?

NELL: They were English.


NELL: And they lived there then until oh I don’t know why they left, were they all alive when they left, I know the family were going when they were young.


NELL: But Mrs Barrar herself and himself then, I don’t think she died here either. I think they left.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And went away somewhere out of here.


NELL: They had a nice place then, she had a lovely vegetable garden, she’d have all sorts of vegetables and everything, lovely people. And they were very friendly with another family there, I don’t know but they weren’t connected in any way, I don’t think, the Chards.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: They were very friendly.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Lovely family too.

MÁIRÍN: Do you remember the Chards, Nell?

NELL: I remember Maggie and Richie, yes I do.

MÁIRÍN: And where did they live when you remember them?

NELL: Well they moved so much Máirín. I remember them down in the Cara first.


NELL: Well then they moved from the Cara and they were down, they were living down in ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Were they living there where John …?

NELL: How come they were living down the Minister’s place for a while?

MÁIRÍN: Were they?

NELL: They were.


NELL: And then they built that little house.

MÁIRÍN: On the back road.

NELL: That was on the back road.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: That’s where they finished up.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see, yes, yeah.

NELL: Yeah, that’s where they finished up.

MÁIRÍN: So who was Chard, was he eh?

NELL: Chard, they owned the Cara and they owned all down that place.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Were they from here?

NELL: They were, they must have been.

MÁIRÍN: They were.

NELL: Because they, they owned the land so they must have been from here.

MÁIRÍN: From here yes, yeah, yes.

NELL: The Chards.

NELL: But I just remember Maggie and, and eh


NELL: And, and the brother, Richie. I think, I don’t know now did they, did they also own where Ganley’s old hotel was first.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, did they not have the post office there?

NELL: And they had the post office.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah because Dara told me that.

NELL: They had.

MÁIRÍN: The róidín going down there at Powells as we call it now, that was róidín Chard.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Because the post office, so they were there as well.

NELL: They were there as well.


NELL: They were there as well.

MÁIRÍN: God they did a lot of moving around.

NELL: They did a lot of moving.

MÁIRÍN: Now all them finished .

NELL: Aw they’re gone.


NELL: They’re all gone. But they were lovely people.


NELL: That never bothered anybody.

MÁIRÍN: Anybody, yes, yes.

NELL: And they went their way, very lovely people.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. Had Smyth something to do with the Lifeboat coming to Aran Nell, do you remember hearing?

NELL: Now Máirín, God I couldn’t tell you that.

MÁIRÍN: You can’t remember, yeah.

NELL: Now I couldn’t tell you.

MÁIRÍN: Had Mrs Smyth some version of you know Aill na nGlasóg in English or had she anything to do with the song of Aill na nGlasóg , you didn’t hear anything about that?

NELL: Never.

MÁIRÍN: You never heard anything?

NELL: Never.

MÁIRÍN: Well that was (--) I remember when poor Mrs Smyth died anyways.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: And you said there was some of the family visit you ….

NELL: …. I was in America when she died, Máirín ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Oh were you .…

NELL: …. And I, my heart was broken. I was in America and we were at a race meeting and it was Pádraic Denny out here that came over to me through the field.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: And he said, we were sitting up on the balcony and he said “Nell” he said, May and Agnes and those were with me, and he said “did you hear from home?” I said “no Pádraic I didn’t” “well Mrs Smyth is dead”. Ah I nearly died.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, ‘cos you were next door neighbour to her there all ....

NELL: …. Oh my God I nearly died.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Because we were such friends you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Oh my goodness I couldn’t get over that at all.


NELL: Really, I was terribly heartbroken over Mrs Smyth. But mind you the family still keep in touch now. There was two of them here last year, last summer.

MÁIRÍN: Hm, they were Freddies’ were they?

NELL: Yeah, Freddie’s family.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yeah.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Oh so it was nice they still have ….

NELL: …. It’s nice they, that they’re coming here.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Yeah, and they did say, I said it was a pity that there wasn’t some kind of a little marker put on their, on the grave.

MÁIRÍN: She’s buried in [Killeany], is Smyth buried too there?

NELL: In Killeany, in Killeany.

MÁIRÍN: Both of them are buried there?

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Oh are they, oh?

NELL: And it was a pity that there wasn’t some kind of a marker, ’cos they don’t know where the grave is.


NELL: Well I said “if I was able” I said “I’d have a good idea”. But of course everything is covered up now, Máirín….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, yes, and that oul muirileach….

NELL: …. Because it was kind of over, across, I said if ye went down off from Doyle’s grave


NELL: I said it was over across from Doyle’s grave.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, oh yes….

NELL: …. That was in between ours and ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah.

NELL: Over there but of course I wouldn’t know now.


NELL: I wouldn’t because it’s all overgrown of course, and gone. But it was strange that there was never a, a marker put on the grave.

MÁIRÍN: Oh and Smyths ….

NELL: …. Some kind of a little cross.


NELL: And they’re very upset over that now….

MÁIRÍN: …. Oh yes I know, yes, yeah….

NELL: …. And it’s too late now you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: It’s too late now.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah. So eh, do you remember the bakery that was at the back of the post office?

NELL: I do indeed.

MÁIRÍN: And who had it?

NELL: Lydons from Galway.

MÁIRÍN: Oh Lydons that had .…

NELL: …. Lydons from Galway came and they rented that place.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: They had the bakery and used to bake, lovely bread.

MÁIRÍN: Who used to do the baking there for them?

NELL: They had a baker.


NELL: And lovely, lovely bread and they had a shop as well then where the post office is now, in there.

MÁIRÍN: And was PJ Lynch not there?

NELL: Ah but that was afterwards.

MÁIRÍN: Oh first it was Lydons.

NELL: Oh it was the Lydons that …

MÁIRÍN: That put the ovens in it you might as well say.

NELL: Oh Lydons, yes.


NELL: And then it wasn’t paying them I suppose and they left here.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: Ah yes, but they had lovely bread.


NELL: …. They had a shop and a bakery.

MÁIRÍN: And a bakery.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: And you remember that “__” ….

NELL: …. Oh I remember it well. Going in for little scones. [where] the post office is now.


NELL: That’s where the shop was.

MÁIRÍN: And they had all those ….

NELL: …. They had the bread and the scones and things there, yeah. And a shop.


NELL: Oh they had.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see.

NELL: But it didn’t, ara it didn’t pay them I suppose.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, God that was great then. Just imagine coming out from and setting ….

NELL: …. Yes. They had a shop in [Galway].

MÁIRÍN: So then PJ Lynch had it afterwards?

NELL: Well then PJ Lynch took it. Of course, ah sure of course if he was right sure he’d be a millionaire but sure he drank …


NELL: … the whole thing. He picked up the the bakery business like, from, from his own ….

MÁIRÍN: …. His own ….

NELL: …. grandmother, from the Gorams.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes.

NELL: Do you know. Mrs Lynch was one of the Gorams, you know.


NELL: The Gorams had a bakery.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Oh God they had and a good bakery. They had and we used to get the bread for the school in Gorams.

MÁIRÍN: That’s what I was going to say, so that came from the bakery at home.

NELL: That came from the bakery.

MÁIRÍN: When you were going to school.

NELL: When I was going to school we’d come over and collect the bread….

MÁIRÍN: …. So that was over eighty years ago there was ….

NELL: …. That’s right.

MÁIRÍN: The school bread was got from the bakery at home in Aran….

NELL: …. That’s right, at home, in Gorams.

MÁIRÍN: In Gorams, oh I see.

NELL: That’s right, and we brought it down to the school and cut it up and had our lunch.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And did ye have cocoa in school?

NELL: Cocoa, yeah and lovely cocoa.

MÁIRÍN: And was there jam or anything for the bread, can you remember?

NELL: I don’t remember ….

MÁIRÍN: …. You don’t remember the jam.

NELL: I think there was jam.


NELL: Yeah.

MÁIRÍN: But the cocoa was there that time.

NELL: But the cocoa was there.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: The cocoa and the bread.

MÁIRÍN: And the bread.

NELL: Lovely fresh bread.

MÁIRÍN: My goodness.

NELL: That you didn’t care whether there was jam or not on it….

MÁIRÍN: …. Exactly….

NELL: …. It was just fresh out of the oven….

MÁIRÍN: …. So ye’d go from school and collect the bread and take it down.

NELL: Yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, my ….

NELL: …. Yes.

MÁIRÍN: That was something, we have none of those now.

NELL: And slice it up then and everyone got their slices and ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, yeah ….

NELL: …. went off with it.

MÁIRÍN: So then when PJ had it, did he have a shop there to sell the bread?

NELL: He had, no he, he didn’t have any shop.

MÁIRÍN: Just the bakery….

NELL: …. He had just the bakery.


NELL: And he used to go to the west with it.

MÁIRÍN: On an ass cart?

NELL: On an ass cart, yes ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah, and sell it.

NELL: Lovely bread too.


NELL: But of course he wasn’t wise enough to keep it.


NELL: To take care of it and he left it go.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: And it went. But they had lovely, lovely bread. It was a pity.

MÁIRÍN: So when you were at school as well Nell, do you remember the name of the teachers or could you remember who was teaching you at school?

NELL: Oh well I rem[ember], I barely remember Miss Meehan now. Miss Meehan now was teaching Agnes and May and Agnes Connolly Lord have mercy on her soul ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah ….

NELL: …. and all those.


NELL: Senior girls.


NELL: Well then we had Miss Lynch. Well, well Mrs Scanlon of course.

MÁIRÍN: Oh yes, yeah.

NELL: You don’t remember Mrs Scanlon?

MÁIRÍN: No I don’t, but I heard about her, but I don’t remember her.

NELL: Yes, we had her. Well there was Mrs McCarthy, Ann McCarthy you know.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I heard about them, yes.

NELL: They were before my time, now I remember Mrs McCarthy, I must be in the infants I’d say.

MÁIRÍN: When she, yes.

NELL: Because nobody liked her, she was very cross.


NELL: And ehm, the husband was the teacher in the boys school.


NELL: And she was in the girls school, do you see.

MÁIRÍN: That was now where the old school was.

NELL: Where the old school was.

MÁIRÍN: So the boys and girls were separate?

NELL: The boys and girls yes, were separate.


NELL: Oh yes, separate and we used to love to go out from the girls school


NELL: and sneak out when the boys would be having their singing, oh God they were beautiful singers.


NELL: And we used to love to hear them singing.


NELL: And we’d sneak out and sneak under the wall.

MÁIRÍN: Hm, yeah.

NELL: Listening to them singing.


NELL: But Mrs McCarthy she was really very cranky and, and mean to the children, do you know….

MÁIRÍN: …. Oh yeah, oh yes, yeah.

NELL: She was.

MÁIRÍN: Was there many going when you were going to school, roughly – had you, you know, I suppose there was big families then?

NELL: There was big families Máirín.


NELL: Ah there was a lot of children ....

MÁIRÍN: ….Yeah ….

NELL: .… going to school. There was an awful lot.


NELL: Every house there was a family in every house do you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yes, yeah.

NELL: Oh there was a lot of children going to school. A lot, and it was lovely to see us all with our nice little white bibs you know.

MÁIRÍN: Oh so ye’d have to wear little white bibs ….

NELL: …. Little pinafores ….

MÁIRÍN: ….Yeah.

NELL: You know, lace across here on them and little ribbons …

MÁIRÍN: …. And they were made at home for ye, your mother would have to make them?

NELL: Well anyone that could do it, if you didn’t you bought it in the shop.

MÁIRÍN: Oh you could buy them in the shop?

NELL: You could buy them in the shop. Oh yeah.

MÁIRÍN: And is it locally or were they, did you have to get them from Galway?

NELL: We used to call them bibs.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, I heard about them alright. And would you get them from Galway?

NELL: You’d get them from Galway.

MÁIRÍN: Oh if you didn’t …

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: But you had to wear those.

NELL: Yes, we were all dressed up .…

MÁIRÍN: …. And what did the boys wear then?

NELL: The boys would wear the little, their little trousers.

MÁIRÍN: Little trousers, yeah.

NELL: And a jersey, yes.


NELL: Or a little jackety thing ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes ….

NELL: …. anything at all that .…

MÁIRÍN: ….Yeah.

NELL: [They were] very poorly dressed you know. They hadn’t any dainties at all or any fancy stuff….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yeah but its, like you know the fact that the little girls had the bibs on them, wasn’t it something ….

NELL: …. The little white bibs were beautiful.


NELL: ‘Cos there was a little ribbon running through them.


NELL: And when they were washed and ironed they were lovely.

MÁIRÍN: Ah I see, yeah.

NELL: They were lovely, hard to keep them clean of course.


NELL: But, but you had to be clean going to school, you were washed and scrubbed in the morning going out and nice clean pinafore.

MÁIRÍN: In, in your younger days as well Nell, you were great for music and dancing and

NELL: Oh we loved it, we loved it ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Do you remember who were the good singers or ….

NELL: …. We loved it….

MÁIRÍN: … or accordion players or?

NELL: And Mrs Scanlon, she was Miss Lynch then of course, she wasn’t Mrs Scanlon, she used to be teaching us, steps you know.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, oh I see at school?

NELL: At school.


NELL: And we used to think it was great, oh we thought it was great.

MÁIRÍN: So later in years then used ye go to the céilís or to the dances or where used ye have dances or ?

NELL: Anywhere that we could, Máirín, anywhere that we could get into a place, we’d have, we’d have a dance.


NELL: And then there was St Homers of course when that came into, into being, when Peg and Agnes Costello grew up .

MÁIRÍN: Oh that was down ….

NELL: .… They had a shed.


NELL: And eh

MÁIRÍN: St Homers is it?

NELL: We used to call it …

MÁIRÍN: ….Well that’s what ye called it….

NELL: …. We used to call it St Homers.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: And we had that for a great dance hall. Ah gosh, great times in it.

MÁIRÍN: That was at, that’s where Veronica put those two little [houses]….

NELL: …. Yes.


NELL: Exactly, exactly.

MÁIRÍN: But it was Peg that kind of used to have that going.

NELL: Peg, she was great for dancing and music.


NELL: And so was Agnes too.


NELL: Always ready to go.


NELL: Do you know.


NELL: They were.

MÁIRÍN: And who used to play the accordion and thing then, or was there an accordion player, was there?

NELL: There was always someone that’d play the accordion.


NELL: Well MaryAnn Goram of course.

MÁIRÍN: Oh that’s right (laughs)

NELL: We’d fall back on in the end.


NELL: Even though she wasn’t


NELL: extra good


NELL: but we’d have MaryAnn no matter what, you see, all you had to do was call MaryAnn ….

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, yeah ….

NELL: …. and tell her you were going, she was with you.


NELL: Aw MaryAnn was great .


NELL: Lord have mercy on her.

MÁIRÍN: And was there many good singers, like who had good voices or?

NELL: Ah there was lovely singers Máirín, there was lovely singers.


NELL: Going to school.


NELL: Oh God there were.

MÁIRÍN: Or even later like, do you remember any of them who were good singers, you know singing afterwards you know like?

NELL: Well now of course Peg always sang.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Any dance, wedding or party, Peg would


NELL: always.


NELL: I wasn’t too bad meself.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, I was thinking that, yes.

NELL: I wasn’t too bad myself and my sister Agnes was a lovely singer.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: And so was May.


NELL: Mary Chóil Pheaitsín


NELL: She was a nice singer, but of course like Mary went early from home.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: She, she

MÁIRÍN: But at weddings or at dances who used to sing kind of you know?

NELL: The older people Máirín.


NELL: The older people


NELL: would always sing.


MÁIRÍN: The older people would always sing. And we used to think it was great to listen to them.

MÁIRÍN: And was it in Irish or in English they sang?

NELL: English mostly.

MÁIRÍN: They sang them songs?

NELL: English mostly.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yes.

NELL: Yeah.


NELL: Unless now it was a wedding over in the west.

MÁIRÍN: It was mostly English?

NELL: They’d sing the Irish, oh yes but


NELL: mostly English.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah that they’d

NELL: Oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: And eh used ye have the dances at the Alley, that’s when you were ?

NELL: Ah the dances at the Alley sure were great and down at the slip and no matter how they’d collect, or they’d gather anyway and they’d be over on the Ball Alley on Sunday evening, in the evenings, and the lovely summer evenings and of course in the winter time, you couldn’t go in it.


NELL: But in the summer time you’d be over there. And sure it was great.


NELL: And you’d hear that music all over the island.

MÁIRÍN: And who’d play there, the accordion then?

NELL: The different ones that were able to play.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Poor MaryAnn Goram Lord have mercy on her soul


NELL: The O’Rourke’s were good players.

MÁIRÍN: Oh they were good players?

NELL: Yes oh yes and anyone that was able to play ’d play. Very few accordions in the place, you know.

MÁIRÍN: In them days. Used they have the Jew[s] harp or the …?

NELL: Oh they had.

MÁIRÍN: The mouth organ?

NELL: They had the mouth organ, oh yes.


NELL: And Jew[s] harp too.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Yes, oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: So then when the dance hall opened, do you remember that Nell, I suppose your children, you were married then, were you when the old school, like when the school closed, was that the first dance hall we had?

NELL: That’s the first dance hall.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yeah.

NELL: That was the first dance hall.


NELL: And it was great Máirín.


NELL: And well looked after, now Tom Beatty used to be an overseer in it.


NELL: For a good while, and nothing would go wrong.

MÁIRÍN: Yes, yeah.

NELL: Everything was taken care of in that hall. And it was all music and they enjoyed themselves.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, the men ’d have to sit one side and the women ….

NELL: …. Oh yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yes (laughs).

NELL: They’d come over “___+”

MÁIRÍN: …. Yes, well had the priest something to do with the hall that time, would he be kind of an overseer on it ….?

NELL: …. He had, he had of course, yes.

MÁIRÍN: And do you remember years ago, well I remember the Giolla Críostaí that came here teaching the dancing, do you remember he came teaching in the hall, oh like that was years after you, he used to teach down in the dance hall?

NELL: I think I do.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, like even I suppose only, Enda [Nell’s son] ’d be there, I suppose the other lads, I’d be there.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: Your children ’d be down there, yes.

NELL: Yes.

MÁIRÍN: He used to come teaching us.

NELL: I think I remember that alright, yeah.

MÁIRÍN: Teaching us, but the dance hall was great, well that was later in life when the dance hall

NELL: Oh that was later like when they built the school, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Yeah, yes, yeah.

NELL: Oh that was after they built the school, but like when we were going to school of course it was the two, the boys and the girls


NELL: There was no mixed school until after.


NELL: And then of course the boys were with us and Lord have mercy on your father many is the sum he did for me and shifted over through the

MÁIRÍN: But when you were going it was boys and girls like?

NELL: Boys and girls.

MÁIRÍN: And it’s only when the new school opened that it went …

NELL: Yes, yes.

MÁIRÍN: Oh I see. Well now thanks a million Nell agus go raibh míle maith agat a Nell anois.

NELL: Ó muise you’re welcome a girlín.

Bairbre Uí Chonaill
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