Teresa Holohan

INTERVIEW by Shirley Ryan on July 01, 2011
 
Interviewee
Teresa Holohan  
Gender
Female  
Birth Date
1926  
Area-Townland
East Clare - Kilkishen  
Parish-Townland
Kilmurry (Bunratty Lr.) - Kilkishen  
Report Date
January 05, 2012  
Period Covered
Historical data ranging from the war of independence up the introduction of electricity  
Length of Interview
1hr 20mins 52secs  
Thematic Areas Covered
Seasonal customs, School, War of independence, Politics,
Description
Teresa Holohan was born into a Farming family in December 1926. She talks about growing up in Lahardan House and several other aspects of her life. She also spends some time talking about both the War of Independence and World War II.  
 
 
Time
Description
0:00:00 - 0:05:16 File 1 
EARLY LIFE AND THE FARM - Teresa says that she grew up in Lahardan House and was born in December 1926. Her grandmother was alive during her early years and she talks about her. She says that every night they would play cards and one of their games was ‘Rummy’. Every Saturday Teresa’s parents would always travel by car to town and her grandmother would take care of them while they were gone. Teresa’s father had one of the first milking parlours in County Clare. Her family had the cows until Teresa’s brother decided to sell them which occurred relatively recently. They also kept a few pigs for the own needs. Every night the family would sit around the open hearth fire. Teresa explains that this place was the centre of the house. Whenever there was a gathering, be for it for cards or simply a chat, it would occur next to the open hearth. Note: Interview breaks up here due to Teresa showing the interviewer a picture  
0:05:16 - 0:08:52 
SEASONAL CUSTOMS - Teresa says there were a lot of ‘pisreogs’ revolving around May Eve. You were never allowed to bring the whitethorn into the house. Another strong belief at the time was that if a baby died before it was baptized then it was forbidden to be buried on hallowed ground. During Length people weren’t allowed to eat meat on a Wednesday or a Friday so instead they had eggs. Teresa remembers the local priest, Father Welsh, visiting her house to play ‘Bridge’. She carries on talking about him for a few minutes. Teresa can’t remember much about her First Holy Communion but the one think she can remember is the dress that she wore on the day.  
0:08:52 - 0:10:52 
SICKNESS - Teresa’s talks about the death of her older sister which caused by some form of the pneumonia when she was 22 years old. According to Teresa, the TB disease had pretty much vanished from the Irish landscape in her later years.  
0:10:52 - 0:17:46 
SCHOOL AND FARMING - Teresa started school in Tulla after which she attended her sister’s school in Monaghan. When the train to Monaghan was cancelled, she attended a secondary school in County Mayo. While enrolled at the primary school in Tulla, Teresa would walk the 2½ miles to school every day. There always a fire in the classroom and the students would always bring their own lunch. Teresa can never remember bringing milk to school, instead she would bring a bit of tap water. Teresa can recollect the separator which was used to take the cream from the milk. Every morning before she left for school she would have to turn on the separator. She describes what the separator looked like and how it was used. Teresa’s family owned approximately twenty cows. World War II broke out while Teresa was at school and she can remember answering questions about it. There was a map of the world on one of the classroom walls and the students would have to point out the different countries that were involved. Teresa talks about the pets that they had on the farm. They had a cat and three dogs, two of which were greyhounds.  
0:17:46 - 0:27:08 
FAIRS AND FARMING - Teresa talks about the Fair day in Tulla that took place once a month. It was normal set up around where the bank is located today. Her uncle, Tom, would always attend this Fair and when Teresa went he would give her half a crown to spend. There were several different businesses operating in Tulla while Teresa was growing up and she lists several. Teresa describes the Fair day as a dirty one due to all the cows and pigs that were presents. Farmers would travel from as far away as O’ Callaghan’s Mills. They would have to get up very early in the morning so they could drive the cattle. ‘Churning the butter’ is something that Teresa can remember vividly and she describes it in great detail here. During the war there was a severe lack of petrol therefore the churn had to be done entirely by hand.  
0:00:00 - 0:04:58 File 2 
SEASONAL CUSTOMS - Teresa describes Christmas day as a ‘beautiful day’. Her mother would cook a goose on St. Stephens’s day and the only time they would have turkey was on Christmas day, Little Christmas and New Years Ever. There was no such thing as a Christmas in Teresa’s house while she was growing up but instead they had the big Christmas candles.  
0:04:58 - 0:06:27 
ELECTRICITY - When Teresa was young her family had running water in the form of a pump but no electricity. This didn’t appear until later on in the 50’s by which point Teresa was married. Before electricity people used the Tilley Lamp for lighting which was operated with paraffin oil. People also used a Tilley Iron at that time for clothes. Teresa tells a story that involves her ironing her father pants with the Tilley Iron.  
0:06:27 - 0:09:59 
THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND POLITICS- Teresa doesn’t have any memories of the Black and Tans because they were gone from the Irish landscape by the time she was born. She says her mother and father never talked about these British agents. Teresa can remember hearing about de Valera going to mass in Tulla. She then says that none of her family were Fianna Fail supporters. The mention of Fianna Fail leads Teresa to saying a few words on the modern day recession.  
0:09:59 - 0:15:03 
WORLD WAR II - Teresa talks about leaving home to go to Boarding school in Mayo. While she was present at this rationing was in place due to the war. She talks about the rarity of certain items such as tea. People were then given coupons to get clothes. She tells a story about her getting a dress in Limerick during the rationing years.  
0:00:00 - 0:18:13 File 3 
DANCES AND FESTIVALS - During the summer Teresa frequently visited Lahinch and one time she travelled to Lisdoonvarna with her mother. Teresa that there was a dance held once a month in Scariff. They also had ‘The Lanterns Ball’ in Paddy Cons in Ennis. When Teresa finished up in the Boarding School, she went to a catering college. She was there for only six months as her mother became sick and she returned home to care for her. Teresa says she met her husband at a festival which was held in Tulla around Easter time. She goes on to explain how this happened. Her husband, Bernie, was the local doctor and after they got married they moved into the house that Teresa lives in today. She spends some time talking about the awful condition of the house when they first moved in. The house was always busy with people coming to visit the doctor. Teresa was the one that would answer the door and welcome the visitors. She carries on talking about some of her husband duties as the local doctor and tells some stories.  
0:00:00 - 0:20:28 File 4 
KLIKISHEEN AND FAMILY - The main street on Kilkishen hasn’t changed much in Teresa’s lifetime. She highlights the few changes that have occurred. She returns to talk about some of her husband’s duties as a doctor which included providing sick notes. He was the local doctor in Kilkishen for 40 years. Every Wednesday Teresa and her husband would have a half day and they would go to Ennis to play Golf. It wasn’t until later years did Dromoland open. After this she talks about her kids mentioning where they went to school and what they ended up doing. She talks about the time Bernie, her husband; fell ill which eventually led to him passing away.  

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