Mary and Frances Tighe, Meaney

Interview by Jackie Elger on September 6, 2012

Gender: Female

Area: West Clare - Ballynacally

Parish: Quin

Report date: November 16, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:06:53 FAMILY - Mary & Frances were born in 1934. At their birth the midwife was Mrs McCauley and the doctor was Dr Crowley. There were seven in their family. Mrs McCauley had been a nurse in Dublin. They say she had a 'visiting' hat. Dr O'Brien's aunt were teachers in Ballynacally years ago. He married a Fitzgerald woman from Kildysart. There was a dispensary up near Kelly's in Clondegad. They say their aunt Cecilia (Cis) Clancy helped to rear them. They talk about their maiden name O'Hehir. They are first cousins with Micheál O'Hehir, (the sports commentator). His father was Jim and he came from Paradise, Ballynacally. Micheál would visit the area.
0:06:54 - 0:09:45 THE POST OFFICE - They were brought up in the post office. There were four postmen. One was Martin O'Grady and he walked his route of Lack & Tonlegee. Another postman, George Chambers, did the islands by boat. The postman, who did Lavalla, Tomas Lawlor, did so on horseback and Jimmy Dundon did Lisheen and Clonmore by bicycle. On payday the postmen would give them a penny or two pence. Mary and Frances remember going out on the wren.
0:09:46 - 0:20:52 UNDERTAKING BUSINESS - Their father died aged 52. He was a carpenter by trade. They recall pretending to be hairdressers with his hair. He was an undertaker. The workshop was alongside their house. Carpentry and undertaking went back generations. His father was Jim O'Hehir and his mother was Ellen Brady. Their maternal grandmother was Hennessy from Lissycasey and she lived in Glencanane, Kildysart. Their father had a horse drawn hearse. He would get Harry Chambers and Tom Toole to help him. Their father had a very large area to cover. They recall people waking them in the middle of the night to get information about funerals. He would make a coffin overnight. They would often help by holding the candles for him. They would have fun by climbing into the coffins. Their mother would print the nameplate on the top of the coffin with a horseshoe nail and a hammer. James O'Dea's father in Kildysart was another undertaker Mary and Frances speak about wakes. They remember going to Murt McMahon's wake. Their father was waked in the county hospital. James Corry carried on making the coffins after he died. Frances' son Kevin carried on the business after his own father, Des Tighe.
0:20:53 - 0:31:18 POST OFFICE - The post office was in the family about a hundred years. They often had to mind their cattle in Paradise Wood. Their mother would start at 7am. The postmistress had to sort every letter. Frances reads from a piece she has written about her life working in the post office. In it she says they had a thriving shop selling groceries and hardware. She says community spirit was alive and the post office was an important part of the community. The telephone kiosk and exchange was also in the office. She says it was very sad sending out telegrams informing relatives of deaths. At Christmas turkeys, geese bacon, butter etc would be sent to relatives abroad. She says these days people don't want to go to the local office to collect their pension as they don't want to look old. They both say how much the post office is missed in Ballynacally. They talk about the parcels of meat going to UK/America. They recall a parcel coming with meat for the postman from his son. This same postman loved sugar on tomatoes.
0:31:19 - 0:39:25 THE SHOP - They describe the grocery shop they had. They speak of the things like tea/sugar that had to be weighed. They sold bluestone and washing soda for the blight. Their aunt Mary lived in Clonmore. She spoke a lot of Irish. They speak of their uncle Hugh. The O'Hehir family originated from Paradise. The Brady's had a house there too. They describe their house above the shop.
0:39:26 - 0:42:45 SINGING - Frances & Mary loved to sing. They sing 'The Old House'. It was one of their father's songs
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:06:42 CHRISTMAS - The ladies say their mother made lots of fruit cakes for Christmas. They would have a goose and a turkey. They would bring the dinner to O'Grady brothers in the village. They recall what Santy would have brought them. They would go to Glencanane for some Christmas days. They recall going around with the wren boys in Glencanane and their mother made them give the money they made back. Their uncle Hugh in Dublin would send them books. They say he was a great Irish republican. He would send them toys. They speak of the Christmas candle. They say their mother was very charitable. They recall a time when her mother gave groceries to a family in need. They speak of giving credit in the shop.

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