Mai McNamara

INTERVIEW by Bríd McNamara on March 18, 2011
 
Interviewee
Mai McNamara  
Gender
Female  
Birth Date
1920  
Area-Townland
Ennis -  
Parish-Townland
-  
Report Date
September 19, 2015  
 
 
Time
Description
File 1 0:00:00 – 0:4:08 
FATHER, PJ MCNAMARA - Mai speaks about her memories of her father PJ McNamara who was an officer with the Irish National Volunteers. PJ ran for the Labour Party (Finishing second to Eamon de Valera). Mai speaks of the respect which the people of Clare had for De Valera.  
0:04:08 - 0:05:20 
ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY (RIC) - Mai speaks of her school friend Mary Sheehan whose father was an RIC man. Mai’s husband’s grandfather was also an RIC man.  
0:05:21 – 0:06:24 
FATHER, PJ MCNAMARA - Mai speaks about her fathers passion for the labour movement and GAA  
0:06:25 - 0:07:17 
THE CIVIL WAR Mai remembers her mother speaking of the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries.  
0:07:18 - 0:08:59 
FATHER, PJ MCNAMARA - Mai speaks of her father’s continued involvement with the Labour party up until the time of his death. He was chairman of the urban council in Ennis several times (the Mayor).  
0:09:00 - 0:10:01 
ART O’ DONNELL - Mai speaks about knowing Art O’Donnell (native of Tullycrine, West Clare) who lived in 28 Steele’s Terrace when Mai was growing up. She was not aware of his involvement in the IRA at the time.  
0:10:09 - 0:11:43 
THE SHEEHAN FAMILY - Mai recalls a family called the Sheehan’s who also lived on Steele’s Terrace. Mr Sheehan was an RIC man. Following the War of Independence, the family moved to England. Many members of the RIC left the country at this time.  
0:11:44 - 0:14:08 
KATY QUINN - Mai speaks of her neighbour in the Turnpike, Katy Quinn (Mrs Moloney, but she was known as Katy Quinn). Katy’s nephew, Christy was on of the three men executed in the military barracks at the end of the Irish Civil War. Katy did not speak of the incident as “the people who were all around them knew all about it”. Mai states that Katy reared a number of the Quinn children.  
0:14:17 - 0:17:43 
THE BANSHEE / CÓISTE BODHAR / FAIRIES - Mai speaks of the ghost stories her parents told of banshees, coiste bodhars and fairies. Mai’s step-grandmother used to take her to the Rocky Road in Ennis to pick berries. Mai was warned not to go in any fields during the month of May as the fairies would take you. Her step grandmother would not allow whitethorn to the house as it was considered unlucky.  
0:17:44 - 0:20:07 
TELEPATHY - May speaks of her sister who could ‘see things’. One evening after returning from work in Shannon, Mai’s sister described a woman to her mother who she has seen and spoken to but who had not answered her back. Her mother knew the woman as “Mrs Skerrett” who was already dead at the time. Mai speaks about a planned trip to Ennis – the night before she had a feeling that Alfie Smith’s sister had died. The she heard a knock at the door and Mai’s friend Una has arrived to tell her that the trip was cancelled as Betty Smith had died.  
0:20:17 - 0:25:18 
MAI’S HUSBAND (PAT MOLLOY), PADDY CONS DANCE HALL - Mai speaks about being home from England on holidays and attending a carnival in Cusack Park with her best friend and her husband Paddy Hogan. Mai speaks of a man standing in front of her as they walked around the carnival. Her friends introduced Mai to the man and left them to speak. Pat was stationed in Ballygreen at the time. Mai speaks of Paddy Cons dance hall – her sister Rita was a great dancer. Mai brought the kids down every summer and on Sunday night her mother used to babysit so she could attend dances in Paddy Cons with her sister Rita and Rita’s husband. Mai speaks of the crowds which used to attend the dance hall. Pat asked Mai for her hand in marriage a week after meeting. Mai had already promised the nuns that she would return to Cardiff to work in a nursing home, so she told Pat that she would think about it. Mai returned six months later in January and married Pat in March. Pat was not a dancer and didn’t really enjoy the pictures so the couple used to visit friends a lot during their courtship. Mai and Pat had a very small family wedding in the National Hotel in Limerick and went to Cork on honeymoon.  
0:26:21 - 0:30:02 
MOVING TO DUBLIN - Mai and Pat had three children in Ennis before moving to Dublin. Their first home in Dublin was sharing a bungalow with Peg Barrett on Station Road. Peg’s brother (Frank Barrett) was the commander in chief of the IRA in Clare at the time. Later Mai and her family moved to Mill Street for a short time before renting a house in Lifford on the south side of Dublin. Pat had moved to Dublin two years before the rest of their family as it was so difficult to get a house at the time. Mai used to come and visit regularly until they got their first house. Mai always took the children home to Clare for the summer holidays every year as soon as school ended. File pauses  
0:30:06 - 0:33:00 
File continues WHITEHALL – THE FAMILY HOME - Mai speaks of when they first moved to Whitehall – the surrounding area was mostly countryside and she used to pick primroses in fields nearby with the children. There was a great sense of community and lots of big families in Whitehall at the time.  
0:33:01 - 0:34:11 
BEING A CLARE WOMAN - Mai speaks of having lived in Dublin since 1949 but still retaining a strong sense of being a Clare woman.  

National Development PlanLEADERThe European Agricultural Fund for Rural DevelopmentClare Local Development CompanyDepartment of the Environment Community and Local Government