Catherine Talty

INTERVIEW by Tomás Mac Conmara on December 06, 2008
 
Interviewee
Catherine Talty  
Gender
Female  
Birth Date
1916  
Home County
Clare  
Area-Townland
West Clare - Coor East  
Parish-Townland
Kilmurry Ibrickan - Coor East  
Occupation
Housewife – Poultry farm operator  
Report Date
December 20, 2008  
Period Covered
Life Interview  
Length of Interview
0:63:29  
Description
Catherine speaks about her recollections of life in Clounlaghine, rural electrification, her schooldays, emigration, republicanism, the West Clare Railway, the Economic War, World War II, Rationing and house dances.  
 
 
Time
Description
File 1 0:00:00 – 0:05:49 
Catherine speaks about the paraffin lamps that gave them light before the arrival of electricity. She then speaks about the arrival of electricity and how important it was for farmers. She describes the change from trying to look after cows calving with a lantern and how easier it was after electricity. She describes how her father who was in his eighties when the electricity was installed. She purchased an electric heater to heat help heat up his room and it had a great effect. Catherine speaks about how she used to sow clothes for her children and family. She describes the different irons she used for ironing the clothes including putting coals from the open hearth fire to heat the iron. The ‘electric iron was heaven’ when it came in.  
0:05:49 - 0:08:10 
Catherine recalls seeing planes during World War II. The American war planes came at night. She remembers the glass in the window started to split with the reverberations from the American war planes. Catherine’s home is in the direct line with Shannon Airport. Catherin recalls Sputnik in the 1960’s passing by early one morning.  
0:08:11 - 0:09:35 
Catherine recalls the last time de Valera came to visit Clare. His escort passed by her house and they watched from the window.  
0:09:36 - 0:20:34 
Catherine speaks about her memories of World War II. She explains how there were very few radios in her area. They got their first radio in 1938. A first cousin from England gave them a present of it. She recalls a Sunday morning when her parents had gone to mass. Catherine had stayed behind and turned to radio on to hear Chamberlin announce that they were at War with Germany. She states that there was fear in the area during the War. People would gather to hear updates most evening. Catherine recalls hearing Lord Ha Ha. She remembers the Lord Ha Ha speaking about Ark Royal and the Royal Oak, two ships that were lost during the war. Catherine recalls the rationing during World War II. She describes the effect on families during the period. Catherine was an only child so there family did not suffer badly from the rationing. She remembers one Christmas evening when the postman arrived with a package from her Uncle in America with food and other items. She describes the type of flour that people had to eat if they had a big family. She recalls how coffee became more popular during World War II. There was something added to the coffee and it was ‘awful stuff’. They got coffee from America sometimes which was a real treat. Catherine talks briefly about the black market in tea, cigarettes, sugar and flour. If you were a regular with a particular shopkeeper, you might get more than your ration books would allow.  
0:20:34 - 0:27:16 
Catherine speaks about her schooldays in Coore National school, which was three miles from her house. Catherine states that her teacher (Tom O’Gorman) never beat anyone and was probably two lenient. Catherine was unable to attend school very regularly because it was a long walk to the school (3 miles). Catherine would walk by the road during the winter. If the weather was fine, she would go by the Coore road which was shorter. Catherine states that Irish was only coming into the schools at that stage and that some of the teachers were only learning Irish themselves. She states that the teachers had to do a course in Irish each summer. When Catherine finished in Coore national school, she went to Spanish Point to the secondary school. While she was in secondary school, she stayed in Miltown Malbay and would cycle to Spanish Point to school.  
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:03:55 
Note: The Carol referred to in this segment is Carol Gleeson (Coore) who is a Cuariteoir with Cuimhneamh an Chláir. Catherine recalls her father speaking about Michael Collins and de Valera. Her father discussed the period of the War of Indpenedence. At least six of Catherine’s neighbours were interred in Ballikinlar. One was a first cousin of Catherine’s father and he would often call and talk about the period. The area around Catherine was a very Republican area and would have taken de Valera’s side in the Civil War. If you were Fine Gael, “you were bad news in the area”. However, de Valera was hated in Catherine’s house.  
0:03:57 - 0:12:03 
Catherine speaks about her recollections of the Economic War. She states that the levy on the cattle which was the local people’s only livelihood. She statest that they were pauperised. She recalled being on holiday in 1936 or 1937 in East Cork. She met a man in who had a neighbour who had just committed suicide because of financial pressure. She states that some people in the local area (Coore) would use turbery rights to cut turf and sell it at the nearest town. Catherine recalls seeing doors in Ennis beginning to rot because they hadn’t been painted. She also remembers walking through Queenstown (Cobh) and it being desolate. Catherine also recalls the start of the ‘Farmer’s Dole’. She remembers one neighbour who was very sick but walked seven mile to collect his one shilling for the dole. Catherine speaks about emigration as a result of the Economic War. Some of Catherine’s school friends left at the age of fifteen and sixteen. She states that many young Irish women would end up as prostitutes because they had no training and would not know anyone in England. File ends when Catherine’s daughter Moira comes in with a message.  
File 3 0:00:00 - 0:04:49 
Note: File 3 continues directly from File 2 Catherine speaks about emigration from the local area around Clounlaghine. She states that a lot of people were never heard of again. Catherine recalls attending one of the last American wakes in the local area in the 1920’s. She recalls singing and dancing all night with her mother. They then walked to the train station with the person who was emigrating. Catherine states that it was ‘horrendous’ for the parents of the children who was emigrating. In her own family, a number of her mother’s siblings emigrated to America. Her Aunt Hannah Burke emigrated to America and never returned. Hannah never met her own brother Joe Burke who was born after she emigrated.  
0:04:49 – 0.11.04 
Catherine used to sing Carraig Domhan and The Moon behind the Hill at parties. Her party piece was step dancing. Catherine speaks about a local dancing master who taught the local people how to dance. Catherine speaks about a dancing tournament that had become popular during the 1930s. There would be card games and a dance in the one house. A goose, or some bacon would be put up as a prize and it would be a source of income for the house. She explains who it was made illegal at the behest of the clergy. Catherine recalled a girl from East Clare (Patricia Bugler from Scariff) who stayed with her while she was teaching locally. Catherine explains a how local guard who used to call was telling them about a raid he did on a house dancing tournament.  
0.11.05 - 0.16.24 
Catherine speaks about local Republicans. She states that although local men were Republicans, there was no history of bad landlordism which meant there wasn’t as much animosity as in other places. She recalls her father discussing the War of Independence but that he was neutral on the subject. She states that her grandfather on her mother’s side was a member of the IRB and was tried for treason. He was later acquitted. Later in life after voting in Miltown Malbay, he was attacked and almost beaten to death. Catherine states that this was a result of a Land dispute that was going on between two sections. Catherine also remembers her grandmother having rocks thrown threw her windows. Catherine felt that this was a lot of the motivation for Republicans who got involved in struggle over the years.  
0.16.24 - 0.19.59 
Catherine speaks about cures for ringworm and other ailments. She states that there was always someone in each locality who had cures for various ailments. However, Catherine’s parents didn’t believe in cures of superstitions. Catherine states that ‘people didn’t run to the Doctor’ when they had a problem.  
0.20.00 - 0.24.10 
Note: Catherine’s daughter Moira joined the interview for this segment. Catherine speaks about the West Clare Railway. She used it to transport chickens from a poultry farm that she ran in the 1950s. She speaks about the West Clare Railway being used to transport cattle to and from fairs and mentions the ‘drovers’ who would drive cattle for farmers. Catherine speaks about a man who would kill cows and sell it around the local area. His name was Paddy McTeigue and it was known as ‘Paddy McTeigue’s beef’.  

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