Christy Kelly

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on February 23, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1929

Report date: September 19, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:06:16 FAMILY FARM - The Kellys have been in Mullagh for generations. Christy was born on a farm. He speaks of tillage on the farm. He says the hours on the farm were long and it was hard to get away to play football. Christy speaks of his father, Jacky Kelly, who kept Shorthorn cattle. He says he paid 119 guineas for a bull in Ballsbridge in Dublin in 1929. Premiums were given to buy a bull. He brought the bull back by train. The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Rodgers and Paddy Wall from Kildysart would come with their cows for the bull. Martin O'Neill used to be his father's main opponent at the shows. His father refused £40 before WWII to slaughter the bull. During the war cattle prices fell and the bull was sold for £8. He says a lady from Scariff took a photo of the bull at the show in Ennis. Christy believes that Liscannor, Kilrush and Mullagh was the home of the Shorthorn.
0:06:17 - 0:08:09 FAIRS - Christy remembers buying yearlings with his father in Kilfenora at £8 a piece. Recalls going to a fair in Miltown when he was a child. His father bought a foal for him for £4.50.
0:08:10 - 0:13:05 WORK ON THE FARM - They had 125 acres of land, 47 acres of tillage. Christy speaks of milking and churning of butter. He says if someone came to visit while you were churning they would have to put their hand on the churn or the butter wouldn't make. His sister won prizes for butter. His eldest sister Josephine was a poultry instructress. Christy says the best vets are people who are born on the land. Remembers lambing ewes when he was young.
0:13:06 - 0:15:3 ANIMAL CURES - Christy names a Patrick Sexton who cured animals. He says murrain was a terrible disease at the time and Patrick had a way of curing it using port, pepper and treacle. Speaks of de-horning and Patrick sealing the wound with a cobweb. He also had a cure for red water.
0:15:37 - 0:25:40 HORSES AND FAIRS - Christy describes their horses and ploughing. His brothers were JJ and Timothy. Speaks of what he would look out for when buying horses. Recalls a mare he had. He sold her for £85 at a fair in Kilrush. He says at the fair in Miltown they were warned not to buy horses coming from the Spanish Point or from the Quilty road as they might have sand in their stomachs. Says people fed carrageen to cattle which was good for their bones. Recalls walking to the fair. Speaks of haggling. Says cattle are wilder now as in the past they were bucket fed. Recalls that Friesians came in around 1946.
0.017835648148148 JOB AS A LIVESTOCK INSPECTOR - Christy started work as a livestock inspector at the age of 19. He worked under 10 ministers of agriculture. He recalls some of the ministers. He mentions the Suckler & Heifer Schemes. He speaks of the racing / coursing dogs he kept. Recalls a story of coursing in1936 where PJ Rutledge a former Minister for Finance, (says Finance but was Justice), was coursing with his dog called Rebel Music Mad.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:03:25 ATHLETICS - Christy's townland is Finnor Beag. Athletics were held there at one time. He talks about cross-country running there about 20 years ago.
0:03:26 - 0:09:10 CAISLEÁN AN ÓIR / BALL FIND - There is a hill there called Caisleán an Óir, which is the 2nd highest point in West Clare. Ordinance Survey have a stone there. Tells a story of the Pyne boys went digging for gold at the castle. Christy found a ball near the castle, which is now in the museum. He tells the story of how he found it. .
0:09:11 - 0:18:55 FAMINE TIMES / OLDER PEOPLE - Says an archaeologist came from Dublin to see where he found the ball and she showed him that the ridges from famine times were still there. He says that field which was 22 acres had 11 muds houses. He got a letter from a woman in America looking for O'Briens. Her great-grandparents were living in that field. Speaks of an old man, Paddy Downes, who told him stories about his grandfather, James Kelly. Speaks of people helping their neighbours. Remembers a path going through their land to the village and he says many people used the path to go to mass.
0:18:56 - 0:33:41 CUAIRD / SPORT - Very strong tradition of going on the 'cuaird'. Christy was 19 when they got their first radio. Remembers at least 18 people listening to a match on the radio. Speaks of meeting Michael O Hehir at a match between Clare and Cork when he was 18. He met Dick Grace a hurler from Kilkenny. Dick Grace spoke to him about Jimmy Smyth from Clare. Tells a story of him and friends taking part in an athletics event. Christy speaks of a Frank Casey from Ruan who owned a threshing machine. Frank, his brother Monty and Tim Smythe were good runners and they raced with Christy and his brother in a field. These men went on to win the all-Ireland. He speaks of a man named Brody from Kilmurry Ibrickane, who has a well named after him, who was a European champion weight thrower. An uncle to Christy's wife, Mickey Priol won a European medal boxing in the navy. He speaks of the boxers Mctigue & McInernery.
0:33:42 - 0:40:42 CALENDAR CUSTOMS - Christy mentions St Bridget's Day and going to the blessed well. He thinks religion has changed a lot. When he was young you had to fast for 12 hours before communion. He speaks of Ash Wednesday, not eating meat on Fridays, Shrove Tuesday and Chalk Sunday. Christy mentions May night and that he didn't believe in 'pisreogs'. He says his wife's favourite words were 'the power of prayer'.
0.028275462962963 CHRISTY'S MOTHER & BEING A LIVESTOCK INSPECTOR - His mother's name was Margaret Shalloo from Cahermore, Ennistymon. He tells a story about a man who knew his mother. He speaks again about being a livestock inspector. He recalls some of the people he met including being in a train with Jack Lynch and meeting President Kennedy's sister. He speaks of getting an autograph from 'the singing tinker lady', Margaret Barry, from West Cork. He recalls going to Paddy Con's in 1958 to see Bridie Gallagher and banging heads with her.

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