Lil Monahan (née O’Connell)

Interview by Geraldine Greene on February 25, 2010

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1911

Area: West Clare - Ballyea

Report date: December 30, 2015

Time Description
File 1 - 0:00:00 - 0:02:08 INTRODUCTION - Lil was born in Ballyea, Tiermaclane in 1911. She will be 99 in Sept 2010. Chat about her relations O'Connells; oldest person in Kilnamona; chat about Mrs Marrinan, Inagh recently 100, now the oldest person in Inagh-Kilnamona parish Health good, reads big print without glasses, well-looked after by her family; has walking frame; prefers radio to television - she got rid of television to save her sight.
0:02:08 - 0:05:06 SCHOOL DAYS - School days in Ballyea; walked to school ½ mile away; 4 classrooms - boys & girls separate; teachers; story about a female teacher (name erased) & probable death of a girl as a result of a blow on her head. Loved knitting, sewing & writing; did v. little Irish; teachers sometimes did summer courses to learn Irish - pupils often go longer holidays.
0:05:06 - 0:06:26 FAMILY - Her 9 siblings - 6 brothers and 3 sisters, Lil second eldest in family; she names the ten of them and other details, 2 alive now - Lil and her sister; her parents from locality “they didn't go far” then, family life - part of big family.
0:06:26 - 0:07:00 MUSIC & DANCING - Her father going on cuaird; family dancing to gramophone music; they loved music and dancing.
0:07:00 - 0:08:08 HOUSE, FARMING & FAIRS - Description of the house, yard and farm; location in the parish - 4 miles from Ennis, O'Connell, her nephew now owns the farm; jobs in the house & farm; fairs in Ennis; family life - part of big family.
0:08:08 - 0:09:32 SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENT - Dancing sets & half-sets; house dances on Sunday nights in Markhams, a local house, gramophone or live music; house dances not held in her own house; walking to houses.
0:09:32 - 0:09:52 TRANSPORT - Lil talks about bicycles and the ass and car.
0:09:52 - 0:11:10 FAMILY - Growing up, siblings scattering around Ireland and abroad - England and US, her sister Therese, the eldest left at 18, became a Mercy nun & only came home once; their Mother's passing away at age 59, their Father died pre-deceased her - age/year not given. Her brother took over the family farm.
0:11:10 - 0:13:05 FARMING & BUTTER-MAKING - Her brother farmed; farm jobs she did - milked cows & fed calves; descriptions of farming, making & selling butter to Jack O'Keeffe who sold it to people in Cork (taken in packed boxes from Ennis station), buying provisions with their money from butter sales; use of separator.
0:13:05 - 0:13:47 SPORT & GAMES - Games played, sport, her brother Joe best of family at hurling - played with Clarecastle senior team. Ballyea had Junior team then.
0:13:47 - 0:13:56 TRIPS TO TOWN - Trips to Ennis four miles away.
0:13:56 - 0:14:33 FAMILY & EMIGRATION - Relations living abroad and information about them; letters home She compares life then & now for women.
0:14:34 - 0:16:12 LEAVING SCHOOL, WORKING AT HOME & TRANSPORT - Lil left school at 14 to help Mother at home; minding younger siblings & story about minding the younger children; ass & car for transport.
0:16:12 - 0:19:17 MARRIAGE & MOVING TO KILNAMONA - Moving to Kilnamona in 1937 following marriage to Tom Monahan 2 years after her made match at age 24; matches & how couples didn't know one another before hand; her grandmother came from Kilnamona; the original thatch house - now a shed; relations and neighbours in Kilnamona; names for female neighbours.
0:19:17 - 0:19:50 WAR YEARS - Few memories of war years; recalled fears of hearing lorries with soldiers in Ballyea.
0:19:50 - 0:20:18 JOYCE FAMILY, NEW HALL - Memories of the Joyce family in New Hall- names & other information.
0:20:18 - 0:21:28 SCHOOL DAYS & BRINGING THE TURF - Memories of school; learning off by heart; often came home at lunchtime; bringing turf to school - by ass load or horse load if her father had a big load of turf & pupils unloading “gabhails”
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:00:56 HOUSES - Description of the old house in Kilnamona; her home house was the only slated house in Ballyea & was a storey and a half, now unlived in.
0:00:56 - 0:02:38 CHURCH & TRANSPORT - Recalls crossing fields to Mass in Kilnamona with the neighbours; prayer & religion; she says “30 days prayer” during Lent; she got married in Clarecastle Church; names of priests in Ballyea/Clarecastle & their transport- the curate cycled, the canon had a horse and side-car and had a driver.
0:02:38 - 0:04:59 FAMILY - Her own family of 5 children- three in Clare (Joe living beside her, Brigid in Quin & Mary) & a son a priest in Sligo & spent 17 years in missions in Argentina; more information about her children; her son Matt died young of cancer; 13 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren at Limerick.
0:04:59 - 0:05:45 FAMILY & BUTTER-MAKING COURSE - Homemaking and bringing up her family, farm work in Kilnamona, milking cows & separating the milk, course in Kilnamona on how to use the churns & make butter (woman paid by the Government provided training
0:05:45 - 0:05:59 CLOTHES - Often made their own clothes; no parcels from abroad.
0:06:00 - 0:06:30 HOUSES & HEARTH - Discussing photo of the hearth in “Cuimhneamh an Chláir” brochure, similar to one in her home house but they didn't have a hob.
File 3 0:00:00 - 0:01:14 CLOTHES - Lads in her brothers' young days often wore “skirts” V shorts or pants without underpants. PJ Greene's story about adult neighbours who wore skirts to save on laundry & when cutting hay in the summer. Lil remembers her the same for her brothers.
0:01:14 - 0:01:34 TRANSPORT & SCHOOL - Lil asking Geraldine about herself; she never went to the school with or regarding her children V present day. No cars then except for teachers & priests. She didn't recall first time they got a car.
0:01:34 - 0:02:44 GAMES & SPORT - Playing games or sport - not much time for play because of hard work, description of skipping.
File 4 0:00:00 - 0:01:00 PLEDGE - Pledge taken at Confirmation & not broken; Lil never drank “stronger than tea, milk or water”; her brothers had porter.
0:01:23 - 0:02:15 BALLYEA - No pub in Ballyea; no shop in Ballyea; travelling shop in later years run by Paddy Markham.
0:02:15 - 0:03:45 VISITING NEIGHBOURS, ST. JOHN'S WELL & KILLONE ABBEY - Recalls visiting neighbouring houses especially for house dances. They did rounds at St. John's well at Killone Abbey (she knew it well); the annual Mass & crossroad dances were not held in her youth (but have been held since 1990s).
File 5 0:00:00 - 0:00:55 HOUSE DANCES - She recalls attending a house dance once in Henry Greene's (Geraldine's grandfather) in Kilnamona. She didn't socialise much at night when her family were young.
0:00:55 - 0:02:17 STATIONS & CHURCH RELATED DISCUSSION - Stations were held at Monahans in the past. Parish now only has one priest for three chapels.
0:02:17 - 0:02:59 TURF CUTTING & FAMILY JOBS - Turf cutting in Kilmaley in her youth by the males; females did the cooking; Lil and her son Joe remember going to O'Callaghan's bog in Kilmaley; Kilnamona people went to bogs in Inagh.
0:02:59 - 0:05:00 TRAVEL & LISDOONVARNA - Little travel outside Clare except a few trips to Lourdes, France on a diocesan pilgrimage; she didn't mind flying; she recalls trips to Lisdoonvarna in Septembers with local ladies and remembers seeing the morning dances; taking the sulphar water in Spa Wells; her husband didn't travel much; he enjoyed smoking his pipe.
0:05:00 - 0:06:42 ELECTRIFICATION - Recalling electricity coming to Kilnamona - she remembers the poles being put down. Comparing life now to past & many changes. People have more money now. 6p in her youth meant lots; 1p worth of sweets!
0:06:42 - 0:09:13 HEALTH & LONGEVITY - Talking about her longevity, life & health now. Her grandmother lived a long life too; recalls a rhyme she said.