Jimmy Gleeson

Interview by Historical data ranging from the Great Famine right up to the modern day Troubles in the North. on September 19, 2015

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1925

Area: North Clare - Coor East

Report date: September 19, 2015

[bws_pdfprint display='pdf']

Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:09:59 EARLY LIFE - Jimmy was second born into a family of eight. There were four boys and four girls, all of which ended up emigrating. All of the kids were educated in Coore. Tom O' Gorman was a great teacher for history and geography, His wife was a very good musician and singer. When Master O' Gorman retired, a Master Reid took over his position. Jimmy says that both his grandparents on his mother side were alive when he was. They both spent some time working in the docks in New York. His grandfather would tell stories about the time he used to box. He never boxed professional but instead he boxed in the docks, with fights been organised amongst the workers.
0:09:59 - 0:23:10 HUNTING - During the war years you would get half a crown for a rabbit. Jimmy started hunting rabbits when he was 14 with his father been his teacher. They would hunt in a Glen located at the back of their house and it continued all the way up to Mount Callen. Jimmy talks about a few tricks he knew for hunting rabbits. They used dogs when they were hunting and they were trained by Jimmy's father. Jimmy briefly talks about hunting geese at the lake. After the goose was shot the dog would go into the lake and retrieve the body. Jimmy says you never shot a swan or a hare. They wouldn't always bring the rabbits they caught to the creamery to sell. Sometimes they were brought home to be eaten and Jimmy says his mother had a great way of cooking them.
0:23:10 - 0:30:30 PASTIMES / GAELIC FOOTBALL - Football was the big pass time when Jimmy was growing up. It was Gaelic football they played and there was very little soccer played in those days. Jimmy used to play football with the parish of Kilmurry/lbrickane. Jimmy says that they were always allowed time for football and it would have been very strong tradition in his fathers time as well. While he was growing up Jimmy didn't take much interest in hurling. Faction Fighting - Jimmy's says that the older generation was always fighting with sticks, which was known as 'Faction Fighting'. Jimmy's grandfather, Con Gleeson, was meant to be very good at this. Jimmy describes it as a cruel sport but you would never hear of any major injuries when these events would occur. Other pass times included road bowling and cricket.
0:30:31 - 0:35:38 FOLKLORE - Jimmy says that they were one of the first rural areas to get electricity. Nell works out the year electricity was introduced by remembering a story of Paddy Killoran who was a great fiddle player. Jimmy talks about Ciarán Mac Mathúna coming to his house and at that time you took out the bulb and plug in the recording device.
0:35:39 - 0:40:47 ELECTRICITY, RADIO AND WWII - Before the introduction of electricity, paraffin oil and candles were used for lighting. During the winter you had to have plenty of supplies in case the roads were frozen. Jimmy remembers his first radio and he recollects the first broadcast he listened to, which was a boxing match. He would also listen to Lord Haw Haw broadcasts during the war. At the time they didn't know it was Joyce presenting the propaganda but they did know he was from Ireland. Jimmy remembers the war around the time of Dunkirk when the allies weren't doing so well. He says he was always fascinated with the ships and submarines in the sea. There was a lot patrolling the Atlantic and frequently wreckage would come ashore on the Irish coast.
0:40:48 - 0:46:58 MUTTON ISLAND - Jimmy talks about an elderly man, Ger Sexton, who that lived on Mutton Island. He talks about the time he found a barrel of rum off one ship wreckage. When his pension was due he would hang out a white cloth and then someone would go out on a boat and pick him up. Jimmy describes his dwelling on the island and illustrates the land he worked. There were five or six families living on the island. Over time they all came back to the mainland to live because he was too hard to get on and off the island. Jimmy talks about some experiences he has of fishing and tells a story about his father going fishing.
0:46:59 - 1:02:25 THE GREAT FAMINE AND THE OLDER GENERATION - Jimmy says that there was a mud hut at the back of the local school. There is a story about a man been found dead there after eating a raw turnip. Jimmy talks about a few more mud huts that were located in the area at the time. He also says that there was no value on land during 'The Great Famine'. Nell doesn't remember many stories from the Famine. Here she says that Tommy Burke would have been the oldest man she would have known while she was growing up. At that time there was great respect for the older generation. Older women would rarely get out of the house and the oldest women she can remember would have been Tommy Burke's wife, Susan Burke. She was a very quiet woman and kept to herself. Jimmy talks about Joe Burke and tells a few stories that involve him.
1:02:26 - 1:16:26 FARMING - Jimmy talks about tillage and how artificial manure used to be scarce. People would use either a wheel plough or a swing plough. Jimmy's family owned their own horses and his father used to break horses. At that time horses were very important because they were used for so much. During the war there was severe rationing which lead to the rise of the black market. Jimmy briefly talks about the black market giving a few examples of what would be sold. When Jimmy was 14 his father was injured and this was at the time of the compulsory tillage which was strictly enforced. Jimmy lists some of the machinery that was used on his family's farm and mentions where you would buy it. If some machinery ever broke, the blacksmith would be required to fix it. Jimmy lists off some of the Blacksmiths that were operating in the area during these times.
1:16:27 - 1:20:53 THATCHING - Jimmy says that his house was one of the first houses in the area to be slated. While he was growing up all of the houses were thatched. Barley was the best material to use when thatching. Martin Meaney was one of the last men in the area to do thatching. Jimmy talks briefly about his house been slated.
1:20:54 - 1:30:55 THE BOG - Jimmy returned from America in 1954 and bought a Ferguson TVO tractor. It was the first one in his community. Jimmy mentions a bog in Mayo as he was very impressed with its drainage. He goes on to talk about some of the bogs in his locality. They would always make a fire in the bog so they could make the tea. During his father's time most of the work on the bog was done with a spade.
1:30:55 - 1:43:00 SEASONAL CUSTOMS - Nelly remembers her father bringing in the May Bush and on May day you weren't allowed to drink from neighbours wells. Jimmy says 'pisreogs' had a lot to do with it. It was never big in his home but it was always respected. He talks about one neighbour who was a strong believer in the customs and tells one story about a tradition she would do every morning. Jimmy talks about people putting eggs and stuff in their neighbours land on May Eve which was bad luck. When you were getting rid of these omens you would never touch them with your hands. Jimmy remembers one 'pisreog' from fair days. When you were travelling to the fair, it was considered very bad luck to pass a red head. He talks about one man in the community that has red hair.
1:43:00 - 1:47:52 CHANGES IN SOCIETY - Nelly says that the biggest change in her lifetime was the introduction of the telephone. She talks about ringing Michael, who is out in Guam (13,000 miles away), and been able to talk to him as if he is in the same room. Jimmy talks about the major improvements in transport that have happened in his lifetime.

Archive conditions of use

Cuimhneamh an Chláir provides access to these transcripts / recordings on the understanding that they are for personal use.  If you wish to use the material in any form of research, publication or presentation online or in person, you will need to specify that use and seek specific permission from Cuimhneamh an Chláir at [email protected]


Your request will then be reviewed by Cuimhneamh an Chláir and will be subject to a licensing agreement (at no cost).


Please enter your email address here to indicate your agreement to the above conditions. We will retain your email in accordance with our privacy policy.


Enjoy the archive!