Dinny Costello

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on January 14, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1919

Area: North Clare - Ennistimon

Report date: July 20, 2011

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:02:13 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Dinny talks about his family and their origins. His great grandfather, Michael Costelloe, came from Connolly.
0:02:14 - 0:04:05 SCHOOL - Dinny talks about walking to school barefoot. He says you would stay there until you were 14 and if you had a bicycle you would go to the monastery. If you didn't you would stay home and learn how to cut turf. He speaks of learning Irish and that people in the area didn't have much Irish
0:04:05 - 0:10:45 WORLD WAR II - Dinny remembers hearing about the start of World War II. He heard about it on a Friday on the radio. When the war began the Irish Army started to mobilise. Dinny's brother was in the army and he was called on. Dinny joined the Local Defence Forces and talks about his training and experiences while he was in it. He also talks about how they were a reserve police force and the colours of their uniforms He recalls de Valera coming to Ennis.
0:10:46 - 0:21:25 THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE CIVIL WAR - Dinny talks about the Rineen Ambush. At the time it wasn't spoken about much so he didn't have any stories. He mentioned a few names that were involved in the ambush. Conway was shot at the bridge in Ennistymon. James McMahon and another man, who's name Dinny can't recall, were involved Note: Interview paused here. He talks about some of the lads that he knew that were involved in the Rineen Ambush. Micky O' Dwyer was the sniper in the ambush. Thomas Hennesy and Ignatius O' Neill were also involved in the ambush. He says there wasn't much activity in the area in the War of Independence or the Civil War. The Black and Tans and the Free Staters wouldn't go into the area. He speaks of Robbie Roberts a Black and Tan who stayed in the area after the war. He mentions a Black and Tan being shot and buried in the bog. He explained that he begged for them not to kill him. Dinny supposes that he was based in Ennisytmon. He would have been brought to Gallagher's house and court marshalled. They talk about how pigs blood was used to make people think it was the Black and Tans blood. His mother and father would encounter the Black and Tans when they went to town on Market Days.
0:21:26 - 0:24:51 WORLD WAR I - 63 from the Ennistymon area served in WWI - 28 were killed and 5 lost their arms. Tommy Shea was one of the soldiers that lost his arm and Dinny talks about him and where he was from in Ennistymon. The main motivation for them joining the army was the lack of work at that time. Anyone that lost their arms got 4 pounds 10 shillings dole money.
0:24:52 - 0:30:31 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - There were no commemorations of the Monreal or Rineen ambush until recent years. Dinny explains that Thomas Connole was wearing someones else coat which meant he had the wrong identification. Flan and Dinny talk about the time the Black and Tans burning down of Ennistymon. People would talk about the incident but not in detail as they didn't have memories of that event. Others incidents that people would simply mention were the burning of Lahinch and Vaughan's.
0:30:32 - 0:38:56 CULTURAL TRADITIONS - Dinny says there was a strong tradition of 'cuairt' when he was growing up as there was no television. Dinny explains the routine and tradition involved with the killing of the pigs. It would happen once a year and it would generally happen in October. They used to have a turkey for Christmas and you would get them in the market.
0:38:57 - 0:49:20 BUILDING TRADITIONS AND WORK - Dinny had an interest in carpentry from a very early age. He used to build wheel barrels for lads cutting the turf and forks for the hay. Dinny talks about basket makers and how they use to collect materials at night which had something to do with the November moon. He used to also make coal scuttles which were also used for straining spuds. He continues to talk about other things he used to build including 'sugáns' and chairs. Tom Killeen used to be a great thatcher. Dinny talks about the thatching in Adare and then mentions that his own house was once thatched. You would get paid ten shillings a day which was great money for the time.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:03:50 AILLWEE CAVES - Dinny also did a bit of stone work at the Aillwee Cave. He goes on to talk about his previous experience in stone work. He explains that Jack McGann found the caves when he was hunting and talks about the time it was discover. Flan mentions an unexplored cave and a ringfort located in Corofin on Gerry Quinn's land.
0:03:51 - 0:08:39 FOLKLORE - Flan and Dinny never heard of any folklore that was associated with the caves. This leads into a discussion about ringforts, fairies and the Banshee. Flan talks about his father hearing the Banshee the night his younger brother, Frank Garvey, died in Parteen. He also believed in the curse of 'pisreogs'. The centre of the impression the cow would make was taken for luck. Flan tells a story from his parents that happened on May Eve about people putting bad luck on their neighbours.
0:08:39 - 0:16:39 FARMING AND MACHINERY- Dinny use to work with a scythe and explains the technique required to use this tool. The earliest machinery Dinny can remember is the Pierce Mowing Machinery and the lighter Deering. He use to make Paddy tumblers and according to Dinny they weren't too complex to make. Dinny talks about the introduction of tractors and how the older generation of man would set back and watch them while smoking a pipe. The use of candles for lightening gets mentioned here.
0:16:40 - 0:33:23 FAIRS AND TRADITIONS - The closest fair for Dinny was Ennistymon. There was no cars been used for transport during that time. Dinny goes on to tell some stories that happened during the fairs. He says there was often fighting during the fairs. Flan says that his uncle would get in trouble every now and then at the fairs and continues on to tell a story about the Co Down footballer Kevin O' Neill. Dinny spends a few minutes talking about the time he was in Limerick building a house for Sergeant John Cronin. He would commute to and from there every night. Dinny goes back to talking about fights that would occur at fairs. He never heard about faction fighting happening at the fairs. Dinny couldn't remember any great storytellers that would come around on 'cuairt'. He says the only time they would be any big discussion was during elections about politics.

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