Jane McNamara

Interview by Jackie Elger on September 9, 2011

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1928

Area: Ennis

Report date: November 2, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:26 EARLY YEARS - Jane was born in Moyfadda, Labasheeda, on 23rd July 1928. She says they were very poor but happy and that had lovely neighbours. Her dad was a farmer. She describes her house. There were 7 girls and 2 boys in her family. Dr McAuliffe from Labasheeda would come on his horse when called. Her father was Michael MacNamara and her mother was Susan Clancy. Her mother came from Glencanane, Kildysart. Jane only remembers her grandmother being in bed. Recalls when her grandmother died.
0:04:27 - 0:11:01 NEIGHBOURS - Jane says a neighbour, Maggie Fox (Kenny), fattened her turkeys on castrovol [SP possibly 'caisearbhán', dandelion], a weed from the side of the road. She describes Maggie's house. She had a losset for storing bread. The bakery van would deliver bread and buns to her. They would get her water from the well. Paddy was her son. He would break stones at the quarry. The O'Neills were Jane's cousins and other neighbours were Pat and Moriah O'Conner and they would often stay with these neighbours. Jane talks about Jack Bruggy going on the wren playing the fiddle. She recalls her brother John covering a penny in tin foil and giving it to Paddy as a half crown. He would stay with Steven and Chris Bruggy. Stephen was the postman at one time. Jane talks about Jack Gallagher who was the postman in Labasheeda. She says Jack walked to deliver the post. A lift was offered to him once as he was walking to Kilrush but he refused it. He would bring telegrams to the house.
0:11:02 - 0:17:12 SCHOOL - Jane went to Effernan school. She thinks her first teacher was Mrs Pender. Mr Nagle was another teacher. When Mrs Pender was on maternity leave substitute teachers would stay at Griffin's. Jane says Mrs Pender was still allowed to work even though she was married. Another teacher was Mrs Conway. Jane says Peggy Moloney; Mary Cunningham; Ita Finnucane; Maura Reidy; Susan Kelly, (Kirrane); the Graces; Joseph Boland and John Haugh were some of the children in her class. John Haugh went on to be a great sculptor in Newry. He won a scholarship through the show in Kildysart to go on and study woodwork. Others in the class included Tommy Neenan and Nora Power. She went for a year to Dublin to her aunt and went to St Mary's School in Fairview. She went back to Effernan again until she was about 15. She says Mr Nagle stood at the fire most of the day. She remembers hiding her sandals on the way to school as she wanted to go barefoot to fit in with the others.
0:17:13 - 0:19:06 NURSING IN DUBLIN - Jane then went back to her aunt in Dublin. Her aunt got her a job a nursing home and then her aunt applied for her to do fever training in Cork St Hospital. The training was four years and the qualification wasn't recognised until you did your general (nursing) training. Jane has a book of the dates of her training. She first started training on the 06 October 1948 and finished in 1950.
FILE 2 0:00:00 - 0:02:48 NURSING IN DUBLIN - Jane liked her nurse's training days in Cork St Fever Hospital. She says there was measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough and chicken pox. Then she went Sir Patrick Dun's, at the back of Mount St, [Grand Canal St], to do her general training. She was there until 1954. After she trained she was ward sister for about 12 months and then she returned to Ennis.
0:02:49 - 0:12:14 FEVER HOSPITAL ENNIS - Jane got a post at the fever hospital in Ennis and was there until she retired in 1986. It was at the back of the County Home. At that time Shannon Airport came into operation and there was a fear of different diseases coming through the airport. They were inoculated against smallpox and there was a building in Raheen, Tuamgraney that was provided in case any smallpox came into the country. She recalls one person who they suspected had smallpox but it wasn't. They had to sign a form that if there was an outbreak of smallpox that they would go to Raheen to look after the patients. They got an allowance every year just in case they had to go there. She says there were a lot of people with polio. They had a spinal injection and they used streptomycin which she says caused some people to go deaf. She says measles were very prevalent. Dr Coonan, Frank's father, was their doctor. She says they only had a small steriliser. She says he was very good to the traveller children. He never drove-his wife drove him. There were only three wards-it was just an annexe to the County Home. She says the hospital was very clean and then Matron did her rounds in the morning and evening. She says there were open fires in every ward-no central heating. A furnace heated the water. She speaks of the food they had there. It was all home-cooked. She says a lot of the people of the County Home worked. The man who did the furnace and the fires was a patient there. There were about six beds in every ward. She thinks they were happy. There was a set amount of time for the different diseases.
FILE 3 0:00:00 - 0:04:01 COMMUNION/CONFIRMATION - Jane made her first communion in Coolmeen church. She had a white dress with frills and the same dress did all her sisters for both communion and confirmation. She got a new dress for her confirmation. She speaks of the long and short catechism for confirmation, which she made in Kildysart. A hackney car, (McMahon from Coolmeen), took them to the confirmation. Her local church was Coolmeen. Fr Kelly was the priest there. She also mentions Fr Ryan. His housekeeper was Mary Flanagan. She would visit them and bring strawberries.
0:04:02 - 0:12:04 THE GARDEN/FARM - Jane's mother would give new potatoes to the bishop when he came to the parish. She would send flowers for the altar. They had a haggard in front of the house and they had all kinds of vegetables and fruit in it. Her brother Miko did the gardening and John did the farming. Her mother would enter her cabbage and baking in the Kildysart Show. She remembers her making pancakes on the griddle and cooking a goose. She says they killed two or three pigs a year. A man called Jack Fitz would come and kill the pig. They would see the pig up on a table in the barn after it was killed. It was cured in a barrel for a few weeks. All the neighbours got a portion of the pig. She describes how her mother made the black puddings. Her mother would often milk thirteen or fourteen cows when the others were doing the hay. Her father died in 1945. She remembers people coming to help on the meitheal. She remembers a crowd coming in when they were doing the corn or cutting the hay. She says there was great community spirit.
0:12:04 - 0:14:45 HOUSE DANCES - Jane says they had dances in their house. They would come from all over. There was a big kitchen and flagged floor. One man, Siney McMahon, would sometimes get up and leave in the middle of playing the fiddle. If her sisters came back from England on holiday they would have a dance. Pat O'Halloran would come to the house and teach them to step-dance.
0:14:46 - 0:19:02 CUAIRD/CROSSROAD DANCES - Jane says her father would go on his cuaird to Fitz's. Someone else would come to their house. She says they would visit a 'cillín', (graveyard for unbaptised babies), near Aillroe on a Sunday. She says there would be dancing at the crossroads for St John's night. She remembers them having a bonfire. They would dance at Kenny's Crossroads. She says that a shop was built there called Taylor's and put up a platform at the back of the shop and they would have dancing on a Sunday. They would also have a field for matches. Bicycles would be parked in Jane's house and while they were at the matches Jane and her siblings would go for bike rides, down to Falahee's Cross and back.
0:19:03 - 0:27:00 CHRISTMAS/THE WREN - Jane talks about Christmas. They usually had a goose for dinner. They reared turkeys but they sold them. They decorated the house with Christmas cards. She speaks about lighting the Christmas candles at home and also at the fever hospital. At the hospital the man who did the fires would light the candles as he believed it should always be a man who lit them. At home they would go up the hill to see all the candles lighting in the windows. They had midnight mass in Coolmeen. They would always walk to mass. She remembers spending one Christmas at O'Connor's and Moriah had very long stockings and Pat said she should use Moriah's stocking as she would get more. She was afraid that Santa wouldn't know where she was. Older children would get something that would be suitable for the house, such as a set of ware. Adults wouldn't get presents. She remembers one year only getting half an orange. Four of her sisters, Delia, Julia, Aggie and Mary, went to England to nurse. Jane recalls going out on the wren. She remembers turning her coat inside out and tearing the lining on in to go on the wren. She says she went on her own to the neighbours.
0:27:01 - 0:30:41 EASTER/HALLOWE'EN/ST MARTIN'S DAY - Jane says at Easter there were no chocolate eggs only lots of hen's eggs. At Hallowe'en she remembers on tradition was to place beans on the fire and call them after couples they knew. If the beans hopped away from each other it was said the couple wouldn't get married. She says they also played the game of the apple in the water. One man, John Griffin, would come in and tell ghost stories by the fire. They would be afraid going to bed. She says Sunday was a day of rest. On St Martin's day they would kill some fowl, such as a chicken or goose and spill the blood.
0:30:41 - 0:32:00 CURES - Jane speaks of a cure for ringworm. She says the cure was to boil Jeyes fluid in a tin at the fire and to put it against the ringworm
FILE 4 0:00:0 - 0:09:19 ELECTRICITY/PHONE/CAR - Jane remembers using the old irons before they got electricity. She recalls the lamps up on the wall. She speaks of a tilly iron. Her aunt in Dublin sent them a gramophone with records. They would go to a neighbour's house to hear 'Denjo' on the wireless. She recalls a record they had about Killarney. She said her sister got the phone in for them. She remembers her first car. She learnt to drive in Dublin at the O'Connell School of Motoring. The driving instructor asked her to go to dinner and she didn't go to any more lessons there then. In Ennis Jane and a friend paid £100 for a Prefect car in Tulla. They would go to dances in the car.
0:09:20 - 0:13:40 DANCES - She would go to Paddy Cons dance hall in Ennis. She remembers the big bands coming there including Mick Delahunty and Brendan Boyer. They would go to Quin, Gort, Drumkeen and marquees in Tulla and Spancill Hill for dances. When she lived in Moyfadda they would go to dances in Kildysart and Labasheeda. She recalls her and her sister sharing a bike to the dances in Labasheeda. She remembers going to the cinema in Tulla. She speaks of the Gaiety Cinema in Ennis, where the entrance to Dunnes is now.
0:13:41 - 0:16:30 RATIONING - Jane says she was in Dublin when there was WWII rationing. Her family got sent coffee from America. Her mother would buy tea on the black market in Kilrush.
0:16:31 - 0:19:51 BIGGEST CHANGE - Jane thinks the biggest change is that children are so bored nowadays. She said they had nothing but they were very happy and never bored. Her cousin, Mrs Taylor had been in Salon and married an Englishman and then returned home. Their daughter had lots of dolls and this cousin would give them the dolls for Christmas. She recalls being told that there was no Santy by an older sibling and they found the dolls on the top of the wardrobe.

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