Tom Talty

INTERVIEW by Geraldine Greene on January 04, 2012
 
Interviewee
Tom Talty  
Gender
Male  
Birth Date
1924  
Area-Townland
North Clare - Kilnamona  
Parish-Townland
-  
Report Date
December 05, 2015  
 
 
Time
Description
0:00:00 – 0:00:21 
PERSONAL INFORMATION - Tom was born in 1924 in Derula, between Kilnamona and Dysart; he was baptised in Kilnamona, his parish by Fr Marrinan.  
0:00:21 – 0:04:17 
FAMILY - Tom’s father came from Willbrook but moved to Derula, home of the Taltys before 1900; his mother was O’Leary from Ballymacravan, Kilshanny; 5 boys born at Derula; 2 boys died at a young age & buried at Dysart; 2 brothers alive – John lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada & worked in the packing plant; his niece is married in Canada; his nephew was promoted to sergeant major in the army in Calgary after service in Bosnia; Tom’s brother Matt, 4 years younger than Tom got a farm & house in Rineen, between Miltown and Lahinch from his uncle (Mickey Talty’s mother came from Rineen); Matt in Ennistymon hospital for 1.5 years; Marrinans now run the farm; Oliver Keane’s son now living in Talty home place. Tom’s people buried in Dysart; his 2 siblings who died young buried there; story – Dysart tombstone with shamrock worked into it & stone pointed; taken over by a cousin; inscription read “Michael Talty, Derula, RIP July 24, 1847, aged 77, erected by son Tom” in famine years; his aunts in Willbrook lived to their 80s/90s though they had arthritis; Tom’s mother died in 1957 & his father in 1963; both buried in Kilnamona; he has relatives in Ennistymon & North Clare; Tom refers to the co-incidence that the Talty family postal address was Fountain and his brother John now lives in Fountain Road in Alberta.  
0:04:17 – 0:05:46 
TALTY CONNECTIONS – Tom’s family tells how they were connected by marriage to the large Talty family in Drumbane; he recalls Bridie Talty’s comment about the 23 to feed; Tom was in same class in Kilnamona with Flan, youngest of the Drumbane family; talks about Flan buying pub in Ennis.  
0:05:46 – 0:08:47 
NFORMATION ABOUT THE GREENES & OTHER NEIGHBOURS - Tom says that George Greene was bright & eloquent, highly educated, used “big words” & spoke Irish; Tom was great friends withhim, tried to learn/”pick up” from him but George didn’t “give much away”; Tom says that George Greene’s sister was married to Barry in Drumcliff but the marriage didn’t work out; Tom met Greene at the bog every day; he recalls an argument between Lyons the carpenter and Barry – Greene tried to settle it; Tom recalls Greene’s as described by Mick Lyons (the carpenter who lived at Loughville and was married to Mary McInerney, Kilnamona); Tom talks about Frank Greene, George’s brother who got a “big job” in Northern Ireland & Johnny Greene who worked in the goldmines in Alaska; he talks about Tom Monahan who had lived at Henry Greene’s (Geraldine’s grandfather), the 3 Monahan families, Big Thomas and John Monahan were cousins of Tom Thady; mentions knowing Henry Greene, Kilnamona (Geraldine’s grandfathers); Tom was never at Henry Greene’s house; Tom Thady Monahan, Lil’s husband (Lil also recorded by Geraldine for Cuimhneamh an Chlair) was related to Fred Hegarty.  
0:08:47 – 0:09:37 
NEIGHBOURS & TOWNLANDS IN DERULA – Tom names Marty Keane (Oliver’s & Kevin’s father), John Kelly, Thomas Cullinan & O’Keeffes, Hegartys & some Hehirs emigrated; most of his school-mates have passed away.  
0:08:47 – 0:09:37 
NEIGHBOURS & TOWNLANDS IN DERULA – Tom names Marty Keane (Oliver’s & Kevin’s father), John Kelly, Thomas Cullinan & O’Keeffes, Hegartys & some Hehirs emigrated; most of his school-mates have passed away.  
0:09:37 – 0:13:24 
SCHOOL DAYS – Tom went to school in Gortown, Kilshanny parish; he stayed with his O’Leary grandparents & walked 100 yards to school; 1 classroom; Tom comments “the print of the stick is still is his legs”; teachers were Pat Lenihan, Kilfenora & his wife (grandparents of Brian Lenihan, a government minister in Ireland); he says he didn’t like school; but says he would have gone to secondary school, to the Brothers in Ennistymon if he had stayed in Gortown school & would have liked to study Geology; Tom hasn’t been to Gortown for years; says he wouldn’t know people in the area now but they would know him; Tom did his final year at school in Kilnamona but had no interest in it; says it was not as good as Gortown; teacher was Mr. Kelleher from Kilnaboy; Joe Keatinge had retired; Mrs Julia Keatinge, Mrs Hegarty 2 schools – boys & girls; Tom finished school at 14; “thought he’d had enough”; Tom’s 2 brothers went to Kilnamona school; Tom was baptised in Kilnamona, Holy Communion in Kilshanny & Confirmation in Kilfenora; he left school “as soon as he could”.  
0:13:24 - 0:14:00 
SPORT AT SCHOOL – Sport – football at Gortown; place too small - knocked walls; he played hurling at home with his neighbours not at Kilnamona school; he never played with a team.  
0:14:00 - 0:16:00 
IRISH LANGUAGE - Tom talks about his grandfather O’Leary from Lickeen & cousins home from UCG (a school inspector and 2 priests) who spoke Irish; George Greene spoke Irish; Tom had Irish from school days; his father did not speak Irish to them at home; Tom talks about the 3 phases of Irish – old, middle & modern; his grandfather had old Irish; Tom heard him when he was driving the cows; speak Irish – cows understood it!  
0:16:00 - 0:17:04 
ANIMALS - The cows liked music & singing while being milked; stood quiet; horses like whistling; when tackling or ploughing; easier horses more sober and when lads “cursing” vexed horses.  
0:17:04 - 0:20:27 
FAIRS - Tom’s father had land near the village of Kilfenora; he talks about Morgan’s forge; taking 2 year old horses to the forge to get them shod for the fair in Spancilhill in June; Ennis fair on 9th May; story of wild horses hard to catch; no bargains from North Clare men; he demonstrated the “cabhaisin”, a halter with 3 rings used on noses of cattle; 12 cattle, sheep at winter; farmers walked from Kilfenora to Kilnamona; Tom recalls other fairs dates: Kilfenora on 9th October & 4th November; fairs gone now; he knew many farmers through the fairs; he recall farmers coming the previous evenings of fairs & having fun at the pubs; he recalls listening to arguments over prices & judgements; he remembers 2 Aran Island men argueing in Irish; he repeats some phrases in Irish; he talks about their own dress – bainins & caps; they came by boat to Doolin.  
0:20:27 - 0:24:51 
FARMING CUSTOMS & CURES - Tom talks about Owen Hegarty, Kilnamona who had cures; tells story of another Hegarty brother, Patsy who had a hole burnt in his hat; Tom had no sign of ringworm left after the cure! Owen Hegarty had been to South America; story of Hegarty fighting with the priest in Kilnamona & being called a “quack”; Tom didn’t think people weren’t charged by Hegarty in case cures wouldn’t work out; Hegarty got his herbs at Inchiquin Woods and at Toonagh; Owen passed on skills to Mick Hegarty, Crowhill, Newmarket but he “couldn’t work them”; Owen was related to John Joe Sexton’s brother, a bone-setter in Miltown Malbay; recalls calves’ ears being split during the Economic war to prevent export; bleeding animals to help them thrive; use of herbs in Kilshanny; man blessing himself before ploughing.  
0:24:51 - 0:25:51 
ACTIVITIES IN HIS YOUNG DAYS – Tom often walked in the Burren; he recalls climbing Smithstown Castle barefooted & 1 friend falling & nearby being killed;he climbed to top of Lemenagh castle; story of how he fell of his bicycle (aged 20) following a collision with a donkey on the road in the dark at Maurices Mills.  
0:25:51 – 0:26:48 
FARMING IN DERULA - Tommy worked at home on the farm in the evenings after school; they kept pigs; he helped take animals to fairs; recalls butter-making – he names 7 families at Derula who did firkins in partnership; took the butter to Ennis and Cork; his mother did the butter; he didn’t help - stayed clear away; he did farm work at home after leaving school.  
0:26:48 – 0:28:35 
WORK LIFE IN CANADA - Tom spent 4 years in Canada from 1959-1963; his 1 brother John also went to Canada; Tom says he was too old when he went; he worked on a huge beef & dairy farm; the owner was Sandeman, a Scotsman & connected to the Duke of Hamilton; Tom recalls German plane story: Hesse’s plane which was not functioning correctly & he tried to contact the Duke who handed him over to the police who were searching overhead by plane at night on Duke of Hamilton’s estate; Hesse got imprisoned in Scotland - he was the last survivor of German government during World War 11). Tom worked every day of the week; 6am start; milked 80 cows before breakfast; good fry; didn’t get to Mass; he lived in a hut on his own at the house & had his food with the family; Tom was the only worker; tractors at Canadian farm machinery combine-harvester barley wheat 600 acres divided into 2 sections ¼ 160 acres in grain; Scotsman had ½ 300 acres in dairy; he learned to drive the tractor in Canada. Tom travelled to the Calgary Stampede which was on for 7 days in the summer; describes the wild cows & horses; day & night scenes; Tom went by day; he got a few days off work; he travelled to other provinces in Canada; he also worked on a farm in Northern Alberta; he went to the oil wells in Canada; he had to come home as “there was trouble at home”.  
0:28:35 – 0:36:06 
WORK LIFE ON FARM IN DROMOLAND ESTATE & CULLIGAN’S FARM IN ENNIS – He worked at the Dromoland estate for 6 months; recalls getting drunk at the openng of the Clare Inn hotel near Dromoland; Tom worked & lived at Culligan’s farm in Clonroad, Ennis for 24 years until he retired; he gives information about the Culligan families who had land in Ruan & Spancilhill; Tom talks about working with horses & tractors.  
0:36:06 – 0:37:42 
BLACKSMITHS - Tom recalls Morgan at Jig’s Forge & Tom Griffin (nicknamed “Stickler”), blacksmiths & talks about machinery when he was young; making the reek of hay.  
0:37:42 – 0:43:58 
MUSIC, DANCING & SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENT – Tom remembers the house dances; he remembers his mother & old Willie Hehir, Cloontohill (native of Inagh) played the concertina in his house; Tom and his brothers didn’t play but danced; Tom’s uncle also played the concertina at Kilfenora; remembers his grandfather & the O’Learys at Lickeen when the sons came home on holidays; Tom recalls music & dancing at sports days & arguments about the best set-dancer; he recalls Barry man a great dancer (his wife Lil Greene was Geraldine’s grand-aunt); he tells story of Barry coming home from a dance & meeting the priest who was coming in the morning for the station mass; Tom names some musicians & recalls Big Mike McTigue’s big pair of hands playing the concertina; he recalls hearing the Tullassa Pipe Band practising; he describes a fight at school; he recalls Mickey Talty taking a break from work to play for a set; Tom recalls Tom Stack, a Kerryman, the dancing master at Gortown but Tom had no interest; he remembers Veronica O’Looney attending classes (a classmate & Geraldine’s father’s first cousin); Stack taught step-dancing not set-dancing in the evenings after school; it was compulsory; they learned the set at home; Tom liked this but said he was “not good at it”; he remembers Mick & John Lyons, Maurice’s Mills were good singers; they were musical & their father played the concertina; old Jack worked at Willie Hehirs & he often came “on cuairt” to Talty’s house; he tells about turning on music on radio (Jackie Hearse trio) & the men put ashes all over the place while dancing sitting down.  
0:43:58 – 0:47:56 
GOING “ON CUAIRD”/STORIES/PISEOGS/WAKES/ HOUSE STATIONS & PLAYING CARDS – Tom recalls listening to stories when he was young; story about Lemenagh: land owned by Lord Inchiquin & divided among 9 families; McMahons (his aunt) got 1 homestead; haunted with “live ghosts”; Maire Rua tired of her husbands; she was codded! story of how she cut a notch in a man but she couldn’t identify prisoners in line-up; he quoted Maire Rua’s comments; he talks about ghost stories & piseogs, the banshee, wakes & house stations; card-playing not allowed at Tom’s house but at his grandparents house in Kilshanny.  
0:47:56 – 0:49:20 
SPORTS – Tom recalls sports near Pat Keanes & at Mickey Taltys in Kilnamona; Tom liked sports & did the long & high jump; his uncle could jump his own height; tug-of-war team in Kilnamona.  
0:49:20 – 0:51:42 
DE VALERA – Tom recalls seeing de Valera in Ennistymon in 1932; describes bonfires & crowds.  
0:51:42 – 0:53:11 
ELECTRICITY/TRANSPORT & WEST CLARE RAILWAY – Tom remembers electricity coming; tells a story which happened one night when he was about 20 & cycling at Maurices Mills; he had no light on his bike and got a huge fright when he was knocked down by a donkey on the road; “devil mend you” he said to the donkey! Tom talks about the West Clare Railway; his father was a linesman with the company for 11 years; the line passed through his father’s homeplace in Willbrook; he had meat for his dinner on Good Friday!; Tom recites a verse of “Are You Right There Michael”.  
0:53:11 - 0:53:42 
WORLD WAR II YEARS – Tom talks about the Taltys from Kilnamona men in the British army.  
0:53:42 - 0:54:33 
FOWLING IN DYSART – Tom talks about Frank Keane who shot & sold rabbits & grouse & got upset when nests burnt.  
0:54:33 - 0:55:02 
MARRIAGE & MATCHES - Tom didn’t get married; Mrs McKey’s (Kilnamona Post Office) marriage was a match; she first cousin to both Tom’s mother & Geraldine’s grandmother.  
0:55:02 - 0:55:27 
POLITICS – Tom had some interest in politics, supported Fianna Fail; Culligans supported Fine Gael.  
0:55:27 - 0:56:00 
LIFE IN ENNIS – Tom enjoyed the cinema, music & pints in Considine’s pub & reading.  
0:56:00 - 0:57:28 
SPECIAL DAY IN KILSHANNY & HORSE RACES – Tom recalls the special day/holiday in Kilshanny on 28th August – Mass, St. Augustine’s well & horse races; he also recalls races at Lahinch & Miltown Malbay.  
0:57:28 - 1:00:04 
TRAVEL & CLARE ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY – Tom enjoys travel; he has been to England, Scotland, Straits of Dover, France & Aran Islands with CAS; life-long member & attends CAS meetings; Lahinch with the Senior Citizens groups; says he knows every “hole & corner” in the Burren; has an interest in history, reading & geology – he got his interest from seeing the Canadian the oil wells.  
1:00:04 - 1:00:42 
PRESENT DAY LIFE – He will be 88 in April 2012. He enjoys reading & attends Ennis Community Centre every day for his dinner except one day when he cooks at home.  

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