Bobby Hehir

INTERVIEW by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 11, 2010
 
Interviewee
Bobby Hehir  
Gender
Male  
Birth Date
1921  
Home County
Clare  
Area-Townland
West Clare -  
Parish-Townland
-  
Report Date
July 28, 2011  
Period Covered
life History  
Length of Interview
1hr 34 mins  
Thematic Areas Covered
Seasonal customs, School, Local traditions, War of independence, Cures,
Description
Bobby displays a sufficient knowledge on topics such as farm work, fairs, Fergus estuary islands, wakes, seaplanes,the War of Idependence, ghosts/storytelling and cures.  
 
 
Time
Description
0:00:000 - 0:07:54 File 1 
EARLIEST MEMORIES - Bobby’s father, Vincent Hehir, came from Ballycorick. He was the only boy in the family. His father was a farmer. Bobby remembers going to the creamery with Sonny Moloney as a young boy. Bobby describes the open hearth fire they had in the house. He also talks about holes in the side of the fire which were known as arches. One arch used to keep the iron in it. Bobby remembers visiting houses for card games.  
0:07:55 - 0:13:41 
SCHOOLDAYS - Bobby went to Lack school. Two teachers he remembers are Mrs Griffin and Mickey Coughlin from Lissycasy. He says school was cold in wintertime. Bobby says that they could be summonsed by the guards if they didn’t go to school. He speaks of a farmer who kept his children home to help with the tillage. Bobby says they learnt a lot of Irish at school.  
0:13:42 - 0:14:52 
OLDEST PERSON - Bobby says that Paddy King’s father was the oldest person he knew when he was young. He recalls how this man nearly got lost in a blizzard. JOHN BIANCONI - Bobby remembers people described Bianconi was the greatest fool of all time. He says that men working for him blackguarded him.  
0:14:53 - 0:17:33 
JOHN BIANCONI - Bobby remembers people described Bianconi was the greatest fool of all time. He says that men working for him blackguarded him.  
0:17:34 - 0:30:37 
FARMWORK/FAIRS - Bobby finished school at 14. He remembers going to fairs such as Kilmihil, Kildysart and Ballynacally. He says the biggest fair was 24th Oct in Kildysart Bobby says he would walk cattle to the fairs. The journey from his farm to Kilmihil would take over 2 hours. He says that each farmer had his own place for selling at the fair. He speaks of altercation with the guards in Kildysart on a fair day. He says jobbers would stay at Tom Connelly’s and O’Gradys’s in Kildysart. Bobby also went to fairs in Ennis, Kilrush and Sixmilebridge. He would walk to Sixmilebridge. He went to fairs in Tulla too and would stay overnight. He doesn’t remember any music or dancing after the fairs. He said that it was easy for people to get drunk at fairs as they weren’t used to drinking.  
0:30:38 - 0:36:04 
ENTERTAINMENT - Bobby remembers poitín being made in the area. He recalls going to a ‘gamble and a few sets’ in local houses and hearing musicians such as Mickey Costello with the Dangan Castle Ceili Band and fiddler Tomás Qualey from Cranny.  
0:36:05 - 0:38:09 
FERGUS ESTUARY ISLANDS - Bobby says the islanders came to Kildysart to mass. He sometimes went to the islands for dances.  
0:38:10 - 0:41:14 
WAKES/FUNERALS - Bobby describes a wake. He says it was a great place to go for porter. He says that the tradition of pipes and snuff was dying out in his time.  
0:00:00 - 0:05:06 File 2 
SEAPLANES - Bobby says he was allowed into the seaplanes at Foynes when he went there for dances. He says that Jimmy McInerney was running the seaplanes to and from the boats in Foynes.  
0:05:07 - 0:09:40 
THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Bobby says there were IRA volunteers in the area. He mentions John Clancy. He thinks a Black and Tan was shot near Ballynacally. Says the volunteers would hide in local caves. He recalls Francie Mac’s house was burnt.  
0:09:41 - 0:15:09 
ELECTRICITY - Bobby tells the story of a man in the area that got a flashlamp and left it outside in the manure to quench it for fear it would burn the house. He remembers Johnny Hurley and Johnny Lynch wiring the house. He says that some people didn’t take the electricity. He speaks of lamps before electricity.  
0:15:10 - 0:28:34 
FESTIVALS/TRADITIONS/HOLYWELLS - Bobby describes Christmas when he was a young man. He recalls when he and five others were told to get out of confession for having drunk too much porter. He speaks of the traditions associated with May Morning such as drinking from the well first thing in the morning. Bobby’s and his wife speak of going to the well in Ballynacally on St Martin’s Day, 11th November. Bobby believes he was cured of an eye problem from the water in St Brecain’s well in Crovraghan, Kildysart.  
0:28:35 - 0:41:01 
GHOSTS/STORYTELLING - Bobby speaks of the banshee and the Cóiste Bodhar. He says Sonny Andy was a good story teller. He recalls a time he met a man drunk on the road - Mick Seán Kelly, who sold Alfa Lavel milk separators.  
0:41:02 - 0:49:40 
CURES - Bobby recalls that a man called Marty Crowley had a cure for ringworm. He says that there was a day in May that the hoofprints of cows would be picked from mud and kept. Bobby says the cure for a cut was to ‘piss on it’ and boiled milk and pepper was a cure for flu. He says ferrets leaving were used as a cure for whooping cough. He speaks of a weed known as the rat’s tail that was cut and boiled as a cure for red water in cattle. Johnny Kelly was called to help with cows calving.  
0:49:40 - 0:52:44 
BIGGEST CHANGE - Bobby believes that the biggest change he had seen is that young people have nothing to do. He speaks of cutting hay with a scythe.  

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