John O’Connell 3

Interview by Jackie Elger on January 21, 2013

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1942

Area: West Clare - Ballynacally

Report date: September 21, 2015

[bws_pdfprint display='pdf']

Time Description
File 1 00:00 - 3:11 EARLY YEARS - John was born in Limerick City in 1942 then moved to Bunratty. He moved to his maternal grandmother's house (Mary Cleary) on Deer Island when she became unable to look after herself. He says his mother Ann died in 1949 of TB. John Cleary was his grandfather and he was from Deer Island. His grandmother's maiden name was also Cleary and she came from above the village. He says his grandmother was in a wheelchair for 40 years and died in 1949 when she was 88. She had no wheels on the chair and never left the island.
3:12 - 4:15 HOUSE - He describes his grandmother's house. He says he slept in a settle bed.
4:16 - 6:39 FAMILY- John's father worked for the Jimmo Murphy who owned a lot of land on the island. A lot of people worked for him on the island. He says Jimmo's son was Seámus and his grandfather was Jim. John has traced back to when his grandparents got married - 21/10/1886 and their first daughter was born in 1887.
6:40 - 10:18 SCHOOL- John moved to his aunt Mary's in Ballyea when his mother died. His uncle Tom Cleary remained on the island. John often went back to visit. He describes the shoreline of Deer. He says he attended Ballyea school while still living on Deer Island. The school was alongside where he was living. He says his dad's name was William. There were four teachers in his school. His teachers were Mr & Mrs O'Mahony and then he was taught by their son, Haulie O'Mahony.
10:19 - 13:25 INHABITANTS OF DEER ISLAND - John says that the other children on the island were George Chambers and his two sisters. They went to Ballynacally school. He mentions other people on the island; Flynns (2 families, Jimmy Flynn & Jacky Flynn); Kellys (Pappy & Michael); Chambers; Tuohys (Bridget Ann, Addie, John). He says the Murphys had moved out. John Tuohy lived on the island until he married Mary Kelly (from Low) in Kildysart.
13:26 - 16:10 CONEY ISLAND - John speaks of a teacher from Coney called Griffin who wrote a book. He recalls going to Seán Ginnane's funeral on Coney. He says they used to dance outside between the houses on Coney.
16:11 - 19.47 JOHN'S GRANDMOTHER - John speaks of radios and batteries. He remembers Polly Tuohy visiting his grandmother. Dr Moylan was her doctor. John speaks of his grandmother and where she came from. He says she is buried in Kilchreest.
19:48 - 31.19 LIFE ON DEER ISLAND - John mentions the church on Deer. The name of Deer Island is discussed. John says they grew flax and he speaks of the Compulsory Tillage Scheme during WWII. He speaks of thatched houses. He says his uncle died in 1980. He says they swam the horses out to the island from Paradise House. He speaks of the Henns. He recalls a story of Mr Henn painting his grandfather's shed. He speaks of holy wells and wells. Their own well would fill with salt water which had to be emptied.
42:29 - 48.35 SHORE ISLAND / OTHER ISLANDS - John says you could walk from Deer to Shore Island. He thinks McInerneys, cousins of the Tuohys, owned Shore and that Noel O'Hehir has it now. John Tuohy's aunt once lived there. He speaks of an island off Lisheen which was once Nagle's but now owned by the Donnellans. He says they built a road in from Jimmy King's. He speaks of visiting Low Island with John Tuohy one January and felt it was milder there than on the mainland.
48:36 - 49.32 MAY EVE - John speaks of his family shaking holy water on May Eve.
49:33 - 53.13 FUNERAL - John recalls going to Bridget Ann Tuohy's funeral to Canon Island in 2004.
53:14 - 54.58 PROVISIONS - John says that as winter was approaching the island people would buy sugar, tea etc in bulk. He thinks they usually shopped in Daly's. He says they would be out very early for mass. He mentions that the houses were positioned where they were for shelter.
53:14 - 59.58 MICHAEL TONER - John speaks of footballer Michael Toner who came from Dublin to live with his uncle Jimmy Flynn. He says he met his brothers one day recently. Michael died around the same time as his uncle. He recalls he had a shop in Ennis.
59:59 - 1:04:20 INHABITANTS OF THE ISLANDS - John says after 1980 there were just 2 sisters (Addie & Bridget-Ann Tuohy) and their mother (Holly nee Hastings) left on the island. He mentions matchmaking. He recalls some people from Coney Island.
1:04:21 - 1:06.46 TB - He says that before they moved into Deer his aunt Madge had been looking after his grandmother but she died of TB as did another uncle Frank. His mother was from a family of 6. He remembers being tested for TB. He says his mother went to the sanatorium at Kilmorane, (Edenvale). He has a photograph of her there.
1:06:47 - 1:16.04 FAMILY - John recalls the old trams in Dublin. John's speaks of his paternal grandparents. He says there were 10 in his father's family. He recalls getting the family stories from his aunt who was a nun in London. He says his father at one time worked for the Careys in Bunratty. They had a cottage near the restaurant which is still there.
1:16:05 - 1:29.17 FARMING - John speaks of what they used for a threshing machine on the island. He mentions his cousin Mary Costello who was married to Michael Costello of the Daingean Castle Céilí Band. He remembers mowing machines. He recalls people cutting hay with a scythe and then tractors coming in. He says his father would get about a £1 a week working on the island. He remembers the fairs in Clarecastle in May and November. He says his uncle would have horses in Kildysart Horse Show.

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!