Jack Meere

Interview by Jackie Elger on June 8, 2016

Gender: Male

Area: West Clare - Killadysert

Report date: April 3, 2017

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Time Description
FILE 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:00 LAYING OUT' - Jack is originally from Kildysart. He says they used to stay up with people who were sick long ago. He speaks of two men from Crovraghan in Kildysart, Miko Murrihy and Thomas Meere, who would 'lay out' the bodies of local men when they died. Jack's father was a carpenter and undertaker. He tells a funny story of him helping the men to 'lay out' a man when he was about 15. His father would get about six or seven funerals in the year and Jack would help him.
0:04:01 - 0:05:02 FAMILY - Jack's father's name was John Meere from Crovraghan. There were nine children in his family. Jack was born in 1938. He names his siblings.
0:05:03 - 0:08:15 WAKES - Jack recalls going to wakes. He remembers going to one in Pitfield in Ballynacally and tells a story about an American at that wake. He tells another story of a Mrs Keane who was supposed to have died but two doctors wouldn't sign the death cert because her body wasn't cold. He says she was three days like that. Micky Sheehan from Lack in Ballynacally was saying the rosary by her bed when she straightened up in the bed and spoke - “Mickie,” she said, “I'm not dead at all yet!” He said that woman lived for years after.
0:08:16 - 0:12:21 JOHN MEERE, WHEELWRIGHT - Jack says his father was a wheelwright. He speaks of an apprentice he took on. His mother and father married in England. She was Mary Maloney from Glencanane, Kildysart. His father worked in a cinema in Highgate. He learnt his trade at John McMahon's in the Square in Kildysart, where O'Grady's shop is today.
FILE 2 0:00:00 - 0:02:12 APRENTICES OF JOHN MCMAHON - Jack speaks of a man from Kilkee called Conway who also trained at John McMahon's in Kildysart. He met him years later while in Ennis hospital. He thinks they had to pay a fee of about £28 a year to be an apprentice. Many of the apprentice emigrated.
0:02:13 - 0:04:13 VISITING AMERICA - Jack visited America in 1982. He went to a pub in New York and one of the men playing the accordion in the pub was a Collins man from Cranny.
0:04:14 - 0:05:55 POST OFFICES IN KILDYSART - Jack's parent's bought the site of their house in Crovraghan from the McNamaras in Woodlawn in Kildysart. He says Woodlawn was originally a post office. What is now McMahon's Chemist Shop was also a post office called Maloneys. Then there was a post office in Lynch's near Corry's pub[near the church]. It moved up to Paddy Maloney's where it is now. Jack got an old map in Willie Cannon's farmhouse in Crovraghan, which is where he saw the site of the old post office. He lent the map to someone and never got it back.
0:05:56 - 0:07:18 THE CANNON FAMILY, CROVRAGHAN - Jack speaks of the Cannon family. He thinks one of them - Miko went to Canada and joined the Canadian Mounted Police. Willie, George and Hilda stayed at home but when Willie got married George and Hilda had to leave. George went to Wexford or Waterford. He recalls him coming back once on a motorbike. He was the blacksmith for the family farm. Josie O'Dea who lived near them, went to work for the Cannons after leaving school. Jack's father asked Willie for a couple of drills to sow potatoes. It would take about four buckets of 'scalláns' to sow a drill. Jack father used blackground seed, where it was grown in boggy ground. Jack's mother would cut them. Willie Cannon planted them without cutting them and his crop wasn't as good.
0:07:19 - 0:12:50 GARRY FAMILY - Jack speaks of a Garry family living across the fields in Crovraghan. They sold the land to Master Garry and moved into Ennis. One of the women married Michael Tierney from Tierney's shop in Ennis. Jack worked with Mike Garry at the building firm, Murphy's, in Shannon.
0:12:51 - 0:23:49 FERGUS ESTUARY ISLANDS - Jack says that Miko Maloney's wife was Ginnane from Coney Island. He says there was five families on Horse Island - The Connors; Big Morgan McInerney; Jimmo McInerney and his family; the Ginnanes and the Garrys. In Canon Island there was Big Morgan McInerney and the Hastings. Miko Hasting's sister married Joe Maloney a draper in Kildysart. Mary Tuohy from Crovraghan came from Low Island. Her mother was Ginnane from Lanesborough. Brud Ginnane was married to Jack's aunt Kathy. He mentions some of the other Ginnanes. Jack and his father would sometimes do work on Horse Island. They had to stay on the island for five days once because the weather was bad. Jack's father had a bad stomach at the time and Mrs Garry gave him a cup of buttermilk every day and he didn't suffer from a bad stomach for years after that. He recalls going to Low Island once with O'Malley, a guard in Kildysart. He names some of the other islands.
FILE 3 0:00:00 - 0:05:07 ISLAND BOATS - Jack tells a story of a gamble held on Coney Island. He recalls himself and a few local lads taking a boat belonging to islanders, 'for a spin' from Kildysart Quay. The tide was too low for them to bring the boat in and they had to wade back in. They had to walk back up past the graveyard. Sonny Kelly, the postman, who was there cleaning graves, played a trick on him. He recalls going across to Willie Cannon's Island off Crovraghan.
0:05:08 - 0:07:42 SCHOOL - Jack went to Kildysart NS. One of his teachers was McCarthy, then Seán Griffin. His first teacher was Mrs Conway. She was O'Neill across from Corry's pub. They had a small shop selling decorative paper for houses and it was also a sweetshop. She was married to Conway who was an Irish teacher from Lissycasey. Another teacher was Mrs Griffin. Master Griffin was crippled with arthritis. O'Shea from Ballynacally also taught him. Mrs Pender and Ms Keating taught the girls. Ms Keating was a sister of John Clancy's wife in Lacknashannagh and they came from Carrigaholt. She lived in one side of what was the old school (Meaney's house on the way into Kildysart). The Hurleys lived on the other side of it.
0:07:43 - 0:15:38 PUBS/SHOPS IN KILDYSART - Jack recalls that when he was young there were about 19 pubs in Kildysart - now there is only four. He says Dorie Clancy's was one of the best ones - “the craic was mighty there.” He names the pubs down along Dorie's - Dan Mescall's; McCarthys; Martin Garry's; Miniter's; Cahill's; Corry's; Cunninghams; Charlie McMahons; Conways; Cahill's; McInerney's; Hehir's; Donellan's; Kenny's; Mary O'Dea's; Clancy's; Conneally's & Chamber's. Several of them would sell milk - you could go and get a can filled. He speaks of Conneally's shop. There was three butchers - O'Grady's; Marty Corranes' and Tom Conneally's. There was one dressmaker up the Kerry Road. He recalls three shoemakers called Bohannons; Grace and Johnny Fitzpatrick.
0:15:39 - 0:18:28 REPAIRING SHOES - Jack remembers his father making clogs out of old shoes. He would use the wood from elder trees. He would make them for boys in Cooga. These boys would come to Jack's house for a haircut and you could hear them coming with the clogs. He then added old worn bicycle tyres to the soles. The boys complained that they couldn't dance with them. He names the boys from Cooga. His uncle, Johnsie Moloney, who had only one leg as a result of an accident, also got a shoe made.
0:18:29 - 0:23:49 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Jack's family had a farmhouse at the back of the Terrace in Crovraghan. His grandfather was John Meere, who thinks came from Cloncolman, near Pitfield. His grandmother was Donnellan from Ballylean. Her sister married Breen from Lissycasey. Her brother was Pat Joe Donnellan. He worked on the roads for the council. The house his grandfather moved into in Crovraghan was Meehan's house. The Meehan's came with the Meere's from Pitfield. The Meehans then moved to Kildysart ad bought a shop and the Meeres bought the house. The Meehans also bought an island off Kildysart and some land, Scully Ginnane's, on the Kerry Road. Jack tells a funny story about a man looking for a 'letter of freedom' from a parish priest.
FILE 4 0:00:00 - 0:07:45 PLAYING JOKES ON PEOPLE IN THE TERRACE - Jack recalls playing a joke with Jack Murrihy, (who lived at the time in the Terrace) on Paddy Blake, (Jack Murrihy's uncle) [who was from Moyfadda, Labasheeda]. Paddy was good to tell stories. They secretly recorded him and played it back to him and he thought it was the radio. They also wired up several of the radios in the Terrace so that their own voice came through and they pretended to give out prices of cattle etc as if they were on the radio. Jack also recalls playing a joke on John Kavanagh with a donkey and a washing line. He speaks of some of the people in the Terrace.
0:07:46 - 0:18:11 KILDYSART WORKHOUSE - Jack speaks of the workhouse that was there before the Terrace. His father used to play football, (a pig's or sheep's bladder), in the main hall before it was burnt down. Charlie McCarthy [later calls him McMahon] from Kildysart, who used to deliver telegrams, told Jack once that he got a telegram to give to the leaders of the IRA in Kildysart and on it was the order not to burn the workhouse but he arrived too late. Master Garry was a master of the workhouse at the time. He speaks of photos of the workhouse. Jack recalls that John Joe Thompson, who was related to Charlie McMahon, was a chef for the guards in Newmarket-on-Fergus. He tells a story about Thompson and a guard, McBride, from Donegal. He speaks again of the McMahons in Kildysart. He speaks of Jacko Mac from Shanacoole.
0:18:12 - 0:21:46 LOCAL CHARACTER - Jack says there was one man in Kildysart, Paddy Halpin, who never wore a shoe or a boot. He tells a story about this man, who was great for poaching and Fitzgerald the teacher. He lived on the Kerry road in Kildysart.
0:21:47 - 0:25:27 CONNECTIONS WITH KERRY - Jack explains why the Kerry Road was called that. He speaks of three Sheehan brothers who would come across the estuary from Askeaton to buy cattle at the monthly fairs in Kildysart.
0:25:28 - 0:28:53 FAIR DAYS IN KILDYSART - The 24th of October was the biggest fair. He tells a story about his uncle Peter Meere and three Shorthorn heifer calves, (which he says de Valera had said were worthless in 1950) and a priest called Fitzgerald. He recalls where Peter lived in Lacknashannagh.
0:28:54 - 0:35:10 LOCAL MUSIC - He speaks of the local musician, Jack Murrihy. He was with the Dangan Castle Céílí Band. Some of the musicians in that were: Paul Casey on the drums; Mickey Costello on the flute; Jack Murrihy on the concertina; PJ McMahon accordion; George Chambers, fiddle; Mickey Nagle, accordion; Buddy Connell, fiddle; Frankie Mescill, concertina; Johnny Garry; Jacky Cahill. Jack loved to dance in the halls. He recalls driving people to the county Fleadh in Kilrush (1963) using Dr McGrath's car. They met an accident on the way home.
0:35:10 - 0:39:25 ST BRICIN'S HOLY WELL - Jack recalls a story of how Jimmy Murtagh left his crutches as the well in Crovraghan. Eddie McMahon's sight was cured at the well and he asked Jack's father would he help to clear the well and put up the altar, about 60 years ago. Jack's grandfather, Mick Moloney, supplied the cement for the well in Lacknashannagh. He speaks of the flagstones in Kelly's field for the rounds of the well.
0:39:26 - 0:45:35 FUNNY STORIES - Jack recalls a man, Tommy Crowe who had a lot of funny sayings. He tells a funny story that Tommy told about a man finding a match in Lisdoonvarna. He mentions 'buachalán', the Irish for ragwort. He tells some more funny stories.
0:45:36 - 0:51:42 WEDDING - His uncle Peter Meere got married at 7am in the morning. That night they had strawboys in the house.
0:45:23 - 0:49:13 GAMES - Jack says they had good times. He mentions some of his friends; Matthew Murtagh; Patsy Clancy. He recalls the stone piers at the Workhouse gate. He speaks of his brother, Tommy, playing pitch and toss there. He mentions one of the only times he played football.

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