Jenny Keating

Interview by Linda Quinn on August 21, 2011

Gender: Female

Area: West Clare - Kilbaha South

Report date: December 13, 2015

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:13:07 EARLY LIFE - Born near Cross village. Parents were farmers. One of thirteen children two of which died in birth. Her father was talented with his hands so the family home and sheds had slated roofs. Jenny tells of the location of where her family lived and who has it now. Jenny's earliest memories are that of the farm, milking cattle and she describes the killing of pigs and handling of cattle. Cows would be milked before school and her father would bring it to the creamery. They were self-sufficient food wise and nothing was ever bought. Jenny also recalls the butter churn until the creamery came in. The separated milk was brought home and fed to animals. Jenny describes the shape of the house and the uses of the rooms and she names her sisters and brothers. She speaks of two sisters entering the order of the sacred heart an Australian order and she recalls seeing them off on the boat. Jenny says that most who left for USA or Australia never came back. Jenny was in the middle age wise and she speaks of helping out with the washing and the making of bread. Sunday roast would be their own reared goose. Along with bacon it was part of the diet. Jenny speaks of the home births and the difficulties surrounding this. Most births were assisted by a local woman who would be known as a midwife.
0:13:09 - 0:17:45 CHILDHOOD GAMES - Some games played were rounder's and jenny describes some other games , playing cards and going to Haughs house to learn dancing and play music. Jenny went to school at five or six and she recalls going with the other children in a group. She speaks of their teachers; the Crowley's a husband and wife team where she came from Kildysart. Her husband did not believe in hitting the children. Another teacher was Mrs Mc McCarthy who was lovely also. There was a Gabriel Keating; whose Grandmother hailed from Galway and taught as well. Jenny's maiden name was Keating she says there were around fourteen families of Keating's in the area. Jenny speaks warmly of her Communion day and recalls the preparations. She says it was as big as a wedding day but did not look forward to the confirmation. Jenny's uncle Pat attended a special school near Kilmihil and he exceled. He went to England and joined the civil service where he was sent to China, when they were sorting out the currency there. Pat Keating owned Plassey house; where the University of Limerick now stands, in 1932, when he came home from China and he used to look after them by sending clothes and gifts etc. Jenny maintains that he would have been very proud of the use his house is now put to. Jenny describes where her father hailed from in the locality (her brother has it now) but moved to his wife's place.
0:17:46 - 0:35:25 SCHOOL DAYS AND TRAINING - Jenny went to Cahercon boarding school near Kildysart after national school. She didn't settle due to being lonely. The Columbans ran the school at the time but the Silesians took over later. They would be allowed home for the holidays because of a lack of transport. Jenny left school after the inter cert and went to serve her time in Rushes in Kilrush as a confectioner. While there she lived in Kilrush. After serving her time she went to Monaghan after replying to an ad in the paper and spent seven years there at Shevlins'. She speaks of it as the end of the war in 1935 but there were still troubles. She would travel home by bus once a year but enjoyed her stay in Monaghan making cakes. Communication at the time was by letter. They used to stay in Behan's house whilst in Kilrush during her training years. Jenny speaks of the fairs and all they entailed in Kilrush. She also outlines the different business premises around the town. She says there would be a lot of weddings and she speaks of a particular hotel involved in criminal activity at the time. Many weddings took place in the home of the bride but cakes would be made in the bakery.
0:35:26 - 0:47:56 RETURN FROM MONAGHAN/GETTING MARRIED - Jenny went from Monaghan to another town for a few years but came home due to her mother's ill health and ended staying. Jenny speaks of the subterfuge involved in her romance prior to getting married. She worked on the farm whilst at home. She got married in 1961 (was having a party on the weekend after this interview) in Cross and moved into her husband's uncle's house which was a bar with a six day license and ended up running a bar. Jenny speaks of life in the bar and the different customers with Bord fáilte enticing more tourism to the area. Jenny speaks of her four children and where they ended up and their careers. Her son runs the bar now with the others in Germany, Ennis. She speaks also of her grandchildren in Ennis.
0:47:58 - 0:52:51 PUB BUSINESS IN THE SIXTIES - Jenny speaks off the area and the pubs with their afternoon teas. Not everybody would be permitted to enter these especially locals. Entertainment could be quite spontaneous with someone just breaking into song at a whim. She speaks of many great singers and the drama with them. Women at the time would not be going into pubs, Jenny says that it was likely that people coming home from being away may have relaxed this but also the 'snug', drifted in from Dublin. Cards would also be played.
0:52:53 - 1:07:39 CATTLE AND LAND AN IMMIGRATION - Jenny speaks of the cattle and the conditions of the land, with it staying dry during the winter. There is not much growing on a commercial basis there either. Jenny didn't do any farming after she got married nor did she use her confectionary skills unless for the home. After going on Honeymoon to Dublin she would go on Holidays to Kerry. Her husband had a car when they got married and did Hackney. He would drive people to Cork to get the boat when immigrating. She speaks of the sending off parties to those leaving as the 'American wakes'. Jenny speaks of the relatives with the interviewer referring to the paper that was shown and says many of their relatives come home to visit. People had to leave to survive. Jenny speaks of her home place as being still in good condition and her brother letting it out. Jenny shows the interviewer a paper which is of interest. It mentions family members compiled by a sister and a discussion follows on the relatives mentioned in this paper.
1:07:40 - 1:10:39 LACK OF FISHING/THE LIGHTHOUSE AND THE LITTLE ARK - Jenny also mentions meeting Jack Charlton at one time. There was not many involved in fishing in the area but she speaks of a loss of five locals whilst trying to race each other to pilot a boat upriver. There was a song 'the five pilots' that had been written about it. The lighthouse keepers would come in to the pub for something to eat but they would often be moved around. Jenny relates on the story of why the little ark came about during the famine. It was instigated by a Fr Meehan. Jenny speaks of the disdain held by protestants for the catholic community but says there was one landowner in the area named Stoddert that treated Catholics fairly. People were very much attached to their faith. Jenny speaks of fasting and going to mass.
1:10:40 - 1:15:40 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Jenny speaks of the divide between families with the civil war and people would have taken sides. To this end there was very little spoken on it. She speaks of having a little shop in the pub so the only reason to go shopping was for clothes; which was done in Kilrush. She says she wouldn't change her life or where she lives for anything as she says, “An American once commented to me outside the door”,” you know you've got the million dollar view?” and I said to him, “I Know”.

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