John Queally

Interview by Linda Quinn on July 25, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1926

Report date: December 13, 2015

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:10:28 CARMODY'S HOTEL AND POLITICS - John begins speaking of the Carmody hotel disaster in Ennis, he talks at particular of a Belgian national who died named professor De Regge; a music instructor in St Flannan's college. It was international news at the time and there were a number of people killed when the top floor collapsed during an auction. It was a favourite of Eamonn de Valera when he was in Ennis and John recalls a speech in the thirties. He mentions a number of politicians of the era and says that politics was a volatile business at the time and speaks of an army lorry going around the county during election time. Tullabrack and Clare was a hotbed of Fianna Fáil support. It was a five seat constituency at the time. Many would meet in the Market House, Market Square Kilrush. John speaks of the politicians in Clare at the time and says his father was a proposer of the Labour party candidate who was Ceann Comhairle even though his politics did not lean that way. John speaks also of Michael D Higgins the Irish President. He is a limerick man raised in Newmarket on Fergus and educated in St Flannan's. John talks of the politicians of the time and the party politics they espoused. John recalls only voting once in Clare but says it was a very serious business.
0:10:30 -0:20:32 JOE LYNCH, OLD PHOTOS OF ENNIS AND GAA - John mentions a man named Coffee; who may have become county librarian at a later stage, but he and Joe Lynch were part of a social group who used to meet in Ennis. Joe Lynch got into a bit of trouble whilst gambling and threw himself off the railway bridge in Ennis because he could not handle the pressure of his debts. Dinny Healy had a pub off of the main O Connell square. Mick Hennessy the County secretary of the GAA used to serve them pints when they were young lads. John Does not recall the Gaiety cinema; situated where the Dunne's stores O Connell street entrance is today, very well but comments that it would be as well populated with fleas as any that were around. Speaking of Griffey's Bar in the market; connected to his step mother, John recalls that after the cross country competitions that were on in Drumcliff every year they would go back to Griffey's because there was also a nice café there also. John speaks of some of the Griffey family. John does not recall too many bakeries because Ennis was really not his town John speaks of the Turnpike area as considered a more run down part of town. Larry Blake the Clare hurler used to come from there. 1935/6 John was in Cusack park for the opening of the ground. He recalls that there had been a challenge match arranged with Tipperary at the time but they could not fulfil the fixture due to the death of a leading cleric; possibly the Bishop of Cashel. Kilkenny the all- Ireland Champions turned out instead. They had beaten Clare in the 1932 All-Ireland.
0:20:34 - 0:31:32 KILKEE - John's brother Brendan was reared from the age of two by an Aunt Brown. She opened a shop next to the church in Doonaha after coming home from America. Paddy Griffin was the librarian and Terry Lynch owned the pub in Doonaha and passed it onto his son Eddie. Doonaha was a lovely place and John gives directions and names some of the local people. John also speaks of the Irish College in Carrigaholt and says that it was a lovely place. He speaks also of Kilfeeragh and talks about a number of people from there. He recalls a game of hurling between Clare and Limerick in Kilrush in the old cricket field in 1939 and it included some of the Mackey's. John goes on to speak of Kilkee and a number of people who played football and the success of Clare around 1917. John speaks of going to Kilkee races saying it was very popular. He says that there were races run outside the rules whereas Miltown Malbay was a recognised meeting. John speaks of calculating the proper conditions for the tide, generally in August and recalls where all the bookies and other stalls would be. He speaks of Richard Harris and Limerick people coming in and playing handball competitions. Many hotels would have bathing areas called boxes that were exclusive to its clientele.
0:31:34 - 0:43:48 KILBAHA AND WEST AREAS - John recalls going to the Church of the Little Ark and recalls that a daughter of de Valera, Maureen used to holiday at Stephen Hehir's in Kilbaha. John thinks Stephen, or a relative owned Fanny O Deas at that time. And recalls drinking there one night and having to be pulled out of a hedge. John spent several summers in Béal a Clogath near the Bellbridge hotel. John has always maintained that Spanish Point is the most dangerous beach on the west coast. Parish football between Cooraclare and others would be played in Milltown Malbay and they would travel by horse and car to it but would park at a woman's house that had Cooraclare connections. John speaks of a special rivalry between Milltown and Cooraclare. Music was big in Milltown but John says he never attended any sessions. He speaks of some of the exponents of concertina playing and other instruments. He speaks of dancing and the fame of many others from the Tullabrack area. Many people had collections of 78's, even the County Council cottages which were very small and hosted many a spontaneous set. Dancing sets in houses was a great thing of the times. Lahinch was a bit far for John and he speaks of some of the people in particular Josie Mc Hugh's pub and Davy Fitzgerald owning it.
0:43:50 - 0:50:30 SOUTH CLARE/SHANNON AND FOYNES - John recalls Shannon airport starting up but even before that he says the flight path to Foynes Flying Boats went over his house. John actually names some of the aircraft such as the Cambria and the Caledonia; he recalls one day the Cambria coming in over his house it was so low he thought it would land on top of them. Before Johns time, during the twenties Immigration was rife, he mentions a number of people that did go but he said many from his area returned. John mentions some of the Queally men were picked to play in the Tailteann Games, but one was incarcerated in the Curragh for 'Political activity' and the other in Maynooth for Clerical activity and neither were released. John speaks of having a break in Lahinch one time and playing pitch and putt and mentions a John Burke who was one of the leading Golfers of his time and he used to play Lahinch. Lisdoonvarna was a place a friend went on holidays and they stayed in Callinans. John does not have a lot of personal experience of the town
0:50:31 - 0:57:18 WEST CLARE RAILWAY - John speaks of the different engines on the West Clare railway and each one had a different name. He looked at a picture and recognised the steam engine the Sliabh Callan. There were also diesel engines. John's father was part of a committee in Kilrush protesting against Minister Andrews decision on the closing of the railway. John speaks of a Billy Whelan who has part of the railway and cars kept at Moyasta station. On being showed more pictures of teams John names some of the players and many of them were wearing caps. He recognised some of them; one was a Fr Corry who he said chaired the County board at one time. The training at the time was a lot less strenuous than today but recalls, John says that St Flannan's was very successful He says that there was not a hurley to be found west of Fanny O Deas. He does recall a local man setting up a small club named 'Gaileamh united'. He collected enough money to buy three dozen hurleys but when practising there were a lot broken and plenty of blood spilled. He does recall the team reaching a County Minor Final but thinks there were a lot of the 'boys' married at the time so were disqualified for being overage. The hurling centres were in mid and South Clare.

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