Colette Dinan

Interview by Marie Cahill on October 17, 2013

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1937

Area: East Clare

Report date: December 13, 2015

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:02:45 COLETTE'S EARLY LIFE AND FATHER'S DEATH - Colette's dad was a guard in Scariff and they lived for some time in Tuamgraney; where she was born, whilst waiting for a place in Scariff. Friends moved to Scariff at the same time and they are still friends 75 years later. Colette loves poetry and has written all her life and read a number to disc. She had a wonderful childhood but when she was fifteen her dad died at 52 y/o and she had real difficulties getting over it.
0:02:50 - 0:04:23 PULLING TURNIPS - Her father taught them all to dance; he played the accordion, and one of her poems was about him and an aunt pulling turnips and he used to tell a funny story about another aunt who skipped off to town when she saw the work ahead of them. Her dad and aunt toiled all day in the field and when the other girl came home they had not had even a cup of tea and she began to tell them what to do. Her dad picked up the town aunt and threw her up on the ditch saying that's the place for the best hurlers. This story has been recorded and used elsewhere. ( Donncha O Dualing).
0:04:33 - 0:05:48 FAMILY - Colette's dad was from Gortmor Banteer in Co Cork, and her mother was from Galway City but started off in Clarinbridge. Her maternal grandfather came from Donegal and was an RIC Sergeant and a native speaker. He was shot in 1922 about 100 yards from home when the RIC were disbanded. This was unexpected due to his nature but he spent six weeks in the central hospital in Galway. He felt the people who shot him had the angst out of their system. He had wanted to go back to Donegal but couldn't because of the troubles.
0:4:50 - 0:08:35 ARCHIVED LETTERS - In letters that Colette had found and donated to the National Archives, Colette mentions that her Grandfather got a letter from the IRA telling him to leave the country or his sons would be dealt with, so he went to England. A lot of RIC men were ordered out of the Country then. The family were sorry they let him go. He had still a lot of shot in him and never mentioned being in pain but often asked if it was ok to come home. When he came home he died within a short time Families had often a mix of allegiance, whether it was IRA or RIC and people grew up with this. Colette also mentions the efficiency of the postal service at the time with her Grandfather writing home twice a day and the mail would be delivered the next day.
0:08:35 - 0:12:40 FATHER'S BACKGROUND - Colette's father was farmer's son but we were happy to go on holidays to both sides and we would go from one contrast to another going from seaside life to farm life. Many families never had a chance to go anywhere and we were getting the best of both worlds. We had great friends in Scariff and we used to play together using what we had such as cubbies. We were never slapped or anything but none of our friends were either but we were never bold either because we were so busy.
0:12:40 - 0:20:55 HOW PARENTS MET - If a guard had relatives with a business in particular a pub he would be moved. When he joined he was sent to Dublin and then Wexford. He was then sent to Fanore and loved it. And that is where he met my mother. They really loved each other which was a great thing for us, and when he died my mother wore black for a long time. She was younger than him but rose out of it after a time and used to organise trips away for friends. They would go to Knock and Salthill and places such like but her income was especially poor as a Widows pension in the Gardaí was not great. Something like £5 per month and the house cost about £2 per month.
0:20:55 - 0:25:33 COLETTE'S CHILDHOOD - We lived in the centre of Scariff in a two storey house and we had a fortunate upbringing. We still and used to visit friends all the time. Colette was eleven before electricity was installed but the big question was how many plugs you would want in the kitchen Colette used to live about fifty yards from the school and that is where she saw her husband first. He used to be sliding past the house and her mother used to be trying to stop him because of her being pregnant. Colette has a poem written about this. Sean's people were farmers.
0:25:33 - 0:29:30 SCHOOL - A nun by the name of Long who was in sixth class was the first one to bring Colette to primary school. The idea of being educated was important but the rooms were so big and cold at the time often children would put up their hand so as to go to the toilet. People used to leave the door unlocked at that time in their houses.
0:29:30 - 0:35:30 GARDA PROCEDURE - There was four Guards stationed in Fanore and they had got permission at the time to hire a housekeeper. Father was an only son and his father was not impressed when he joined the guards. He would often be stationed just outside the station in all weathers.
0:35:30 - 0:40:10 POULTRY/VEG IN THE STATION GARDEN - Used to plant the station garden, so as they would have vegetables. Had turf, Chickens, ducks etc. all in the station grounds. Father used assist people i.e. travellers with letters and such. Had a pig also and used to feed it. Describes the killing of the pig and the making of puddings.
0:40:10 - 0:41:05 TRAVEL WAS LIMITED - Father never went back to Fanore because he had no way of going. If you had to go to Ennis from Scariff you would have to go to limerick first. It was easier arrange going to Galway or Cork.
0:41:05 - 0:45:55 MONEY WAS TIGHT - Very little money. Used to win a penny for spellings and buy six Dandy Toffees. Never felt that people had more. The family was short of bread after the death of Colette's father and it shows the generosity that the young boy next door offered his shilling.
0:45:56 - 0:51:55 EVENTS - Drama Festival used to be very popular, with people coming from all over, with lots of plays and there is a reference in Colette's poetry. Christmas plays were popular also especially the children. School plays were all popular. Cinema was 4p for the afternoon in Galway who had the electricity before Cork. One reflection of the Electricity was it highlighted the 'dirty' house. Cookers became popular in- stead of the range, some would only carry one saucepan. Dinner for Colette would often be set aside and may consist of nine potatoes.
0:51:56 - 0:54:02 SCHOOL IN KILLALOE - Went from a happy school to an unhappy one in Killaloe, the nuns were contrary. Extra subjects on the curriculum. Had to attend school on a Saturday until half twelve but bus didn't come until half five so they had to polish desks for the nuns. Used to finish lessons on the way in to school. Delighted to finish school.
0:54:02 - 0:55:50 WORK LIFE - On leaving school Colette speaks about her career in hotel management. Worked in management in Killarney in the great southern but had a contrary manager but he was generally contrary. Was her own boss in Scott's Hotel. Mrs Scott's brother had a heart attack in America. Worked in the old Galway Bay Hotel and really enjoyed it. Still goes to dances in the Gleneagle
0:55:50 - 0:58:20 POETRY/WRITING - Began to develop a love of writing and poetry in primary school due to the influence of a teacher who used to recite. We used to do little plays in our own yards. This was the interest of those around us. Used to do the same with her sisters and in the ICA.
0:58:20 - 1:11:32 PARENTS DURING THE WAR - Father didn't talk about the war years, he was interred for IRA membership in spike island but joined the Gardaí later. Did not have war feelings. Still has photos of father in garda photos as part of a gymnastics team. People didn't in general speak about the war.
1:08:07- 1:11:32 CHRISTMAS TIME - Reminisces about Mam and Dad singing and has written about the experiences. Colette is still in the choir now. Wrote about Grandfather Haughey (no relation of Charlie) called him the man from Tealon. Did a concert in the house for him when he was dying. It was a tradition in some areas where friends would come and have a sing song for a person who was dying. Had written about the death of her grandfather and made a file for the family but never put it into the public sphere because of the illness of the son of the man who shot him.
1:11:15 - 1:17:30 HISTORY OF GRANDFATHER HAUGHEY - Grandmother was from Ballyvaughan. (O'Donoghue) Grandfather from (Tealon) Donegal. Married in the Cathedral Ennis. Started his RIC career in Lissycasey. Went to Kilkernon in Connemara. Then sent to Eglington street in Galway. Eventually became a Garda Station but closed since. Promoted to Sergeant in December 1916 and moved to Clarinbridge. Was from a Gaelteacht area in Donegal. Colette's mother was also an Irish speaker so Colette assumed her grandmother was also fluent. Mary McAleese visited Tealon to so as to brush up on her Irish.
1:17:30 - 1:22:30 RELATIONSHIP WITH GRANDMOTHER - Had a wonderful relationship with her grandmother Bridget O'Donoghue. Used to read Woman's Weekly with her. Colette Used to visit as often as possible when she was working in Galway Uncle Christy used to bring them dancing at Seapoint in Salthill and waited until it was over and walk them home. Grandmother would always have a tart cooked for them. Colette's mother failed to tell her of her grandmothers Funeral because of her position as a manager in Scott's Hotel in Killarney.

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