Fr Martin Bugler

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on August 25, 2010

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1927

Area: East Clare

Report date: December 30, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:08:01 AIRPLANE/BUTTERMAKING/COORING/THE BOG - Fr. Martin speaks about his early life and the first time he saw an airplane in Scariff (1933). He explains how in 2003 he googled the same spot he had been on when he saw his first plane. Fr. Martin recalls his early life in Clonusker in pre transport days. Fr. Martin remembered the first time lorries were used to help fix the road. Fr. Martin states that separators were introduced when he was about ten years old. He recalls how the butter was made before the separator came in. He speaks about the simplicity of life in his younger days and the different items that were purchases and produced locally. He speaks about the tradition of co-operating or cooring which was an important local tradition. He speaks about bringing in the turf and the different bogs that they used. Each family had strip of the bog and turf was cut by the breast slain. Fr. Martin recalls having to boil the kettle at the bog and that everyone brought their own food. Fr. Martin states that the bog (with Mass and school) was the only part of their life that went by the clock. They would break at the Angelus bell in Bodyke.
0:08:01 - 0:10:08 HAYMAKING - Fr. Martin speaks about haymaking when he was a young boy. His mother always brought holy water at the start of making the hay. He speaks about the process of making hay and how it was dependent largely on the weather.
0:10:09 - 0:14:57 RELIGION - Fr. Martin speaks about religious practice in Scariff when he was a young boy. He states that in rural Ireland, there was rarely grace before meals. He speaks about greetings including 'God Bless all here' or God Bless the work'. Fr. Martin states that religion and life were not different things when he was younger and speaks about the importance of the belief in God among country people. He recalls the importance of religion in times of economic hardship.
0:14:57 - 0:19:34 ADVERTISING/SCHOOL - Fr. Martin speaks about change broadly and connects it to the increase in income. He speaks about local advertising like “All the nice boys use Brillcream”. He also remembers boots being referred to as shoes. As World War II began, the economy improved and style came to be more important. He speaks about the various changes to the local area including the development of Scariff technical school. He stated that National School education was inspiring teaching and recalls finishing his national school education in 1939 in Feakle.
0:19:38 - 0:25:30 PASTIMES - Fr. Martin speaks about pastimes and recreation when he was a younger man including sport. He recalls the first time he saw teenage boys togged out for sport. He states that dress was very strict and that ten year olds could not be in long pants and teenagers could not stay in short pants. He remembers swimming in the river since he was four or five years of age. He and his brother John would go for a swim on the way home from the bog. Only a select few could get to play hurling. He stated that the demands on young people to work at home meant that you couldn't always go hurling. However, he was encouraged to participate in sports days in school. He recalled that a Mrs. Moloney had a saying that “I'm as well off keeping the tide out with a pitch fork”.
0:25:30 - 0:27:38 MUSIC - Fr. Martin speaks about 'his master's voice' that was used for music for dancing. Fr. Martin names local musicians including the McMahon's in Gortavrullagh.
0:27:39 - 0:30:03 THE WREN - Fr. Martin speaks about other general pastimes including going on the Wren and card games.
0:30:03 - 0:33:34 TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS /THE CLARE SHOUT - Fr. Martin speaks about traditions and customs in rural Ireland. Fr. Martin speaks about the Clare Shout and local people shouting at different occasions.
0:34:07: 0:39:03 DANCE HALLS - Fr. Martin speaks about the dance halls and stories he used to hear about dances at the cross roads and priests who were trying to stop them. He tells a story about a blind fiddler at a crossroads dance. He names a number of dance halls in East Clare where he used to go to in the mid to late 1940's. He recalls cycling to various dancehalls around East Clare. Fr. Martin speaks about dance halls in Limerick and contrasts his memories with the ones presented in 'Angela's Ashes' by Frank McCourt.
0:39:04 - 0:46:07 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND CIVIL WAR - Fr. Martin speaks about the War of Independence and Civil War and states that his parents saved them from the ugliness of the time. He mentions 'the four' (Scariff Martyrs). He speaks about his mother's recollections of the Black and Tans and how she felt they were 'ugly men'. He refers to Capt. Tommo Touhy who was the local organiser. His bother was Joe Touhy. Fr. Martin speaks about the night that the IRA went to set fire to the Barracks in Scariff and different versions being told. Fr. Martin speaks about the Civil War locally. Although his family were Fianna Fáil, his parents did not pass on any bitterness down to them.
0:46:08 - 0:49:58 STORYTELLING - Fr. Martin speaks about local storytelling and mentions and local storyteller called Nevilles Horn (pronounced Harn locally). He speaks about older people in general and the general change that has occurred over time in terms of respect for older people and life. He speaks about the connection to place and how this has changed over time.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:03:13 RURAL IRISH SOCIETY - Fr. Martin speaks about the mono-cultural nature of rural Irish society. He states that only the tinkers offered the difference in culture. He speaks about Paddy McMahon's mother (Kathleen Tierney), who came from a different parish and brightened up the area with her dancing and singing. He states that rural society could be limited in its generosity and that it is not right to canonise the past.
0:03:14 - 0:04:48 LEGION OF MARY - Fr. Martin speaks about the Legion of Mary and its importance to him when he was growing up.
0:04:48 - 0:08:49 MISSIONARY WORK / PRIESTHOOD - Fr. Martin speaks about missionary work. He states that he met many women who he would have liked to marry but that his vocation was too long. He speaks about the year he did his leaving. Out of sixty who did the leaving with him twenty-seven joined the priesthood. He speaks about the time he decided to become a priest. He describes becoming a priest as the ultimate in a community.

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