Francis Scanlon

INTERVIEW by Linda Quinn on June 23, 2012
 
Interviewee
Francis Scanlon  
Gender
Male  
Birth Date
1934  
Area-Townland
West Clare - Kilkee Upper  
Parish-Townland
-  
Report Date
December 13, 2015  
 
 
Time
Description
0:00:00 – 0:13:20 
HOME AND FAMILY AND MICK GRIFFIN - The house that the interview was being conducted in Kilkee was where Francis and his brother PJ were born. It had been thatched but was refurbished in 1937. Francis speaks of his parents and where they met. He also speaks of Mick Griffin who was a builder and he reared Francis. Mick had a falling out with the clergy many years prior to getting sick but Francis speaks of the local priest Fr. Daly coming to tend to Mick on his death bed. The priest came again the following day also to give communion and Francis believes this was very important. His mother was born in 1894 and went to America in 1922 when she was twenty eight; she was the youngest and used to work in New York for a millionaire. Francis speaks of the work and property of this man. His mother was a concertina player and they used to have their own music sessions in New York. She came home to see her mother who had got sick and never went back and he speaks of other relatives that had been in the US also. Francis loves Traditional music as well. Francis speaks of how there was a match made for the marriage between her parents and they came to live in Francis house. His grandmother died in 1926 and her name was Kelly.  
0:13:21 – 0:29:30 
WHEELWRIGHT/FARMING/MILLING - Francis speaks of his Great grandfather born in 1821 and his grandfather and all came from the same house. He recalls helping his grandfather light his pipe at a young age. Francis speaks of his Great grandfather born in 1821 and his grandfather and all came from the same house. Francis also speaks on how manure was spread on land using horse and cart and bringing tea to the bog in a metal tin His profession was a wheelwright and Francis recalls a story of him dealing with a customer. The Family had a bit of land scattered around the area and had six cows and Francis added two more which had to be hand milked. Potatoes were sown and turnips and mangles for the animals in a bog. There would be a number of stacks of barley and oats grown and a local man Tom Downes in Blackware had his own mill and he would grind it down for them. Francis says if you had twelve cows at that time you were a big farmer. Francis also recalls a pony they had for many years and speaks of some of the journeys taken. He talks about where they would tie up the horses going to mass. Francis speaks of Falvey’s pub and the ould lads talking there until midnight. He speaks also of the handling of the pigs and bringing in the sow from the cold in winter. He says the banabh’s would be sold when six weeks old for about five or six pounds. The pig would also be killed and Tom Power from Querrin would kill the pig for them. The custom was to share the puddings in particular with three neighbours. The storing of food at the time was in a perforated type of press made by a local carpenter. But more often or not the food wouldn’t get time to go off. The daily diet might include a couple of fried eggs in the morning and porridge. There would be an acre of potatoes brought in from growing in the bog; everyone grew their own spuds and cabbage. The pig when killed could last about seven months. Francis speaks also of bread being made and making it himself and the different types of bread that was being made.  
0:29:31 – 0:39:05 
PARENTS/SAVING HAY/CUTTING TURF - Francis parents in Kilkee church and he shows a photograph of them. They honeymooned for a week in Co. Limerick. There was another photo that included his Grandfather. Francis speaks at length of the saving of the hay and the custom of the ‘Meitheal’. When the hay was required it would be cut in blocks with a hay knife and draw it into a shed near to the animals. People would come from the loop to cut a bank of turf in carts and the carts did not have rubber wheels. Francis speaks of the methods used to save and draw the turf. The climate in Francis’ opinion has changed but he recalls the normal summers would be almost a solid two months but remembers getting caught out in a bad day in the bog; against his mother’s advice, and what his father did to keep them dry.  
0:39:06 – 0:47:24 
EARLY MEMORIES - Francis recalls a local man who used to help around the farm off and on but lived with his mother. When his mother died he got nervous at home on his own and asked could he stay with Francis’ family for a while and stayed for twenty years until he got sick and left for the hospital. Francis recalls stealing two woodbines from his box and getting very sick from it. Francis speaks of the layout of his house which had not changed that much. He talks about the open fire and getting an oven from a cousin. He takes about the way he has adapted the fireplace and the old cookers and appliances; some over forty years old but still working. Francis speaks at length of the furniture and the building of the roof. Francis roofed the house himself. He speaks of the difficulty with the Killaloe quarry at the time of his parents doing the roof with slate first because they were closed due to a strike. They hired Tom Downes to bring slate for the roof down from Liscannor  
0:47:25 – 0:58:18 
EARLY INTERESTS/SCHOOL LIFE AND TRADE - On being asked what a typical evening would consist of Francis recalls sitting to do his homework at home or listening to a gramophone his mother had brought from America. Irish music was very important to Francis and he mentions his mother playing the concertina. He also recalls a recent birthday where a neighbour Alfie Marrinan played for him. Francis always enjoyed a game of football. People would visit in those times but this practice has largely died out. Francis went to school locally in Kilfeeragh in 1939. He would be accompanied by the Costello’s who were neighbours. He mentioned some others that went there at the same time. Francis did not have good memories of school due to the savagery of the teacher, and says he might have been able to learn if they had a different teacher. Francis speaks of the fear the pupils had for him. There was a female teacher who was much gentler but she passed away and was replaced by another even nicer female teacher. Francis speaks of another male teacher Pat Breen who took over when the other male teacher retired. His father used to go to the same school and Francis left at age of fifteen in 1949. Francis went on to learn his trade in carpentry and plastering and speaks of the numerous projects that he was involved especially with the Church’s, and speaks of Thompsons Architect who designed the church in Cross.  

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