Mary de Loughrey

Interview by Eileen Carroll on July 30, 2009

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1924

Report date: December 8, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:03 HOLIDAYS IN KILKEE - Mary says they would usually come on holiday to Kilkee on the 2nd fortnight in July. There were seven in their family and her father would hire a jarvey-a man had a jarvey on their street. Her mother had all their clothes in a big wicker basket. The jarvey would take them to the station. She describes the journey on the West Clare Railway to Kilkee. Her mother always liked them to stay in lodgings overlooking the sea. She says attendants cooked their food and cleaned up after them. Her father would come down at weekends. They were expected to leave the lodgings during the day.
0:04:04 - 0:08:00 BATHING - She says there were bathing boxes which would be pulled down to the sea when the tide was out and you would pay two pence to go in and change. They were pulled by donkeys. On wet days they would shelter behind the bathing boxes. She recalls her mother taking them on picnics, (milk and bread and butter sandwiches), up into the hills. When her father would come he would go to Byrnes's Cove where the men would swim. She says that when the tide was gone off the east side there were beautiful natural pools in the rocks-the Pollock Holes. The first one was supposed to be for ladies and the one furthest out for men. She says some women barged their way into Byrnes's cove about twenty years ago. They would pick periwinkles and woman of the house would boil them up. She loved a rainy day as it was easier to learn to swim in the sea.
0:08:01 - 0:10:16 LODGING HOUSES - She speaks of the lodging houses. She says the big houses were there since Kilkee was developed and they were the lodgings of people who had big businesses in Limerick or Ennis. She remembers they had big rooms. Her mother was born in May and was brought on holiday to Kilkee when she was a month old and Mary says she lived to be 93. She says her mother would swim off the pier when the men would be swimming there.
0:10:17 - 0:12:02 HALLS - She says her mother had a lovely voice and would sing at concerts at the Town Hall. She recalls the actor Anew McMaster playing in Moore's hall in the 'fit up' shows. There was another hall called the Olympia. Then in later years they had the Hydro and she would go dancing there. She recalls Johnny Mac playing there.
0:12:03 - 0:15:02 LODGINGS - Mary has come to Kilkee every year of her life. She remembers walking to Chimney Bay. Mary's mother bought the food for the lodgings but the landlady cooked it for them.
0:15:03 - 0:17:29 WEST CLARE RAILWAY - She speaks of the journey by train from Limerick. During the war she says the train burnt turf. She recalls the song “Are Ye Right There Michael,” written by Percy French. If they looked out the window they might get a smut in the eye from the coal. She remembers rolling into Kilkee station.
0:17:30 - 0:21:29 SWIIMMING COSTUMES - Mary describes what their swimming togs were like. She has photographs of her mother and aunt in their heavy swimming costumes. They had swimming hats made of rubber. She says the only toilet facilities were a jug of water and a po under the bed. She speaks again of the bathing boxes.
0:21:30 - 0:28:46 HOLIDAY TIME - Mary says coming from the city to Kilkee was their idea of heaven. She recalls preparing to go on holiday. She would love to catch shrimp and cobblers in nets. Her mother would love to meet and chat to people from Limerick. She describes the wicker basket they used. She hated coming home. On the way home they didn't get the jarvey. Her mother had a pram and they walked from the station in Limerick to their home in John Street. She describes again what they would do on holiday.
0:28:47 - 0:33:29 FOOD - She recalls the taste of the mushrooms they picked. They boiled them in milk. She says there would be people selling periwinkles and dillisk on the front. When the currachs would come in they would buy fresh mackerel from them. It would sometimes be hard to get bacon to buy.
0:33:30 - 0:34:30 SEAWEED BATHS - Mary speaks of the seaweed baths near the Victoria Hotel.
0:34:31 - 0:39:31 TRANSPORT TO KILKEE - When the West Clare went out of business they came by bus. Her father or mother never drove a car. She loved looking out of the train window at the sea. Her mother would come to Kilkee by boat from Limerick as far as Kilrush and the get on the 'long car' as far as Kilkee.

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