Mary Rickard

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on August 27, 2010

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1934

Area: East Clare - Feakle

Parish: Feakle - Feakle

Report date: August 31, 2010

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:42 EARLY LIFE/FAMILY - Mary explains about her birth in Rossanure Feakle. She speaks about her mother who was expecting her when she came home from America to Feakle. Dr. MacDonough who was the Doctor in Feakle at the time arrived in his 'motoring car'. Her father was still in America. He had to stay in America as part of home defence, even though he didn't fight in the war (World War II). Mary speaks about the first time she met her father at Limerick railway station at the age of approximately twelve.
0:04:42 - 0:07:00 SHOP AND PUB IN FEAKLE (BRIDGE HOUSE, FEAKLE) - Speaks about the shop in Feakle. They had a grocery shop and a pub. Her mother also attempted to develop a bakery at Bridge House in Feakle. She got the help of a baker from Ennis and later three men from Kerry to help her set up the bakery. Mary speaks about going back recently to the spot where Bridge house was and her surprise at seeing it had been demolished.
0:07:00 - 0:12:13 WORLD WAR II AND THE PLANE LANDING IN LAHINCH- Speaks about an American plane landing on the strand in Lahinch during World War II. Mary was on holidays with her mother and brother in Lahinch and ran out to see the plane when it landed. The America pilots who were on the plane were brought to the police station in Lahinch for interrogation. The men stayed for a few days in Lahinch.
0:12:13 - 0:14:27 WORLD WAR II AND RATIONING - Mary discussed the effect of World War II on the people in Feakle. She speaks about her mother (Benry O'Grady) travelling to Ennis during World War II to train the nurses in case the war broke out in Ireland. Her mother had been a nurse in America. Mary states that there was a fear in the area that the War would come to Ireland.
0:14:27 - 0:23:02 MARY'S GRANDPARENTS - Mary speaks about her mother and grandmother. Her Grandmother Mary Moloney from Clonrush, Whitegate had twenty four children. Only one (Thomas) died. Mary speaks about smoking with her grandmother when she was a young girl. She says how her grandmother was told that smoking a pipe was good for her. Mary speaks about saying the rosary at home and finding money for sweets. She states that every Thursday the bar would be closed for a half day as was the law. They would go to see their grandparents at the cottage in Rossanure every Thursday afternoon. She speaks about always calling to a house on the way to their grandparents for a glass of water. Mary describes the cottage that her grandparents lived in in Rossanure including the open hearth fire, the dresser and paintings on the wall.
0:23:02 - 0:25:39 HOUSE DANCES - Mary speaks about house dances in Feakle. She mentions Johnny Allen who was a great fiddler from Feakle. The Rochfards who lived in Rossanure would play music at the house dances. Her mother and Katy Rochfards were great friends.
0:25:39 - 0:29:05 THE WAKE - Mary speaks about her Grandfather's (John O'Grady) wake. Mary recalls filling out port wine for the people at the wake and drinking some of it herself. She was seven at the time. Mary describes how the men were separated from the women at the wake. The men would go out and drink in the shed outside. The women would be in the room with the corpse. She describes a big table which was full of food for the people at the wake.
0:29:05 - 0:34:08 TRANSPORT - Speaks about travelling when she was younger. They went on a horse and cart from Feakle to Newmarket. Speaks about going on the train to Lahinch. Mary speaks about the first cars in Feakle. Johnny Rogers was one of the first to have a car in Feakle. He would bring people to Limerick and other places for a fare. Dr. MacDonoagh also had a car. Mary remembered Dr. MacDonoagh's mother who was called the rancher, who had a shop in Feakle.
0:34:09 - 0:37:09 LOCAL CHARACTERS - Mary speaks about the local Garda Malachy Doherty who would always come into to Bridge house for one pint. She speaks about a man called the 'Scelp' Donnellan, who worked at Loughnanes making coffins. The 'Scelp' would always sit by the fire and have a few pints. She speaks about her brother and his friend who would play tricks on 'The Scelp' by spraying him with watering pistols from behind the door. Mary states that Jim ? died young. (CLARIFICATION) This in fact was Flan his younger brother who died.
0:37:09 - 0:39:10 A CHILD'S DEATH IN FEAKLE - Mary speaks about the death of a young boy (O Donoghue) in Feakle.
0:39:11 - 0:43:11 PLAYING TRICKS/PASS TIMES Mary's brother and his friend Jim Donoghue was always plaing tricks on Mary. They would pretend that people who they saw were already dead. Paddy used to trap birds as well by building a trap that they would fly into. He would always let them fly off again. They would also play fancy dress at home. They would set up a mock stage with a curtain in the house and have a concert. .
0:43:11 - 0:48:00 LOCAL CHARACTERS - She mentions Sarah 'The Pounder' Moloney who was 'great craic'. She was called 'The Pounder' because her husband had only one leg and one wooden leg. Sarah was always fascinated by the 'Movie House' (Cinema) in Tulla but she never went to see it. Mary states how her life was taken up rearing her sons.
0:48:00 - 0:51:50 THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE Speaks generally about the War of Independence and the Black and Tans in Feakle. Her father was on the run around Feakle at the time. The Black and Tans would call regularily to the cottage in Rossanure looking for Benry O'Grady, who they thought was a man. Benry O'Grady's was Mary's mothers. Benry was short for Bernadette. Mary speaks generrly for a time about how much of her family immigrated to America including herself and her mother.
0:51:50 - 0:54:29 IMMIGRATION - Speaks generally about her family members who immigrated. She went for a time herself with her mother. She speaks about a plane trip with her mother when the engine blew up while they were flying. Her mother insisted that they come home by boat. They were forced to land in Newfoundland.
0:54:30 - 0:59:02 BLACK AND TANS - She states how her mother would hide under the bed when the black and tans arrived looking for her. The Black and Tans thought that she was a man because she used the name Benry. Mary states that the house of an old widow Mrs. Considine was almost burnt by the Black and Tans in Feakle. The house was close to Lena Hanrahan's home. The Black and Tans set fire to the house but she got on time.
0:59:02 - 01:01:21 APPENDIX OPERATION - Speaks about getting her appendix out in order to get sweets. Her bother Paddy had got his appendix out and had gotten lots of sweets as a result. Mary decided to pretend she needed her appendix out and fooled the Doctor in Feakle. Her appendix were removed in Limerick even thought she was fine.
FILE II 0:00:00 - 0:03:57 File II ends DEATH BEDS - Mary speaks about the death of old Bill Loughnane. Bill would send down for a bottle of Guinness every day. Mary would bring the bottle up to him. Bill would always call her Máire Gleoite (Lovely Mary). When he was dying, Mary's mother went up to him. When he was drawing his last breathes, Mary's mother heard a knock on the door. After a time, she went down to answer the door but no one was there. There was an old belief that some people don't want people around when they are dying. Mary speaks about the death of Flan O Donoghue who was only six years old. Mary was there with her mother and Flan's mother when he died.
FILE III 0:00:00 - 0:03:50 FATHER IN THE IRA - Mary speaks generally about her father (Patrick Conway) who was in the IRA. There was a feeling that the Black and Tans would shoot people on the spot. She states that her father didn't speak much about his involvement. She would hear him from time to time around the fire about the Black and Tans She states that 'everybody and his brother' were in the IRA in Feakle. She states that her father left the country during the War of Independence because the Britsh forces were looking for him. He immigrated to Australia.
0:03:50 - 00.10.06 EAMON DE VALERA AND LOCAL CHARACTERS Eamon De Valera used to use their house when he came to visit Feakle. They were not allowed to go near the room where De Valera and the men were. De Valera went to the Fair Green near the church to make speeches. She recalled big crowds at the speeches. Mary stated that there was lots of divisions between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil but that she doesn't remember much trouble. She recalled a man who would come into the put and would always fight for De Valera.
00.10.06 - 0.11.53 THE FEAKLE FAIR - Mary recalled the people coming in very early in the morning around 6.00pm for the Feakle Fair. She recalled haggling that would go on at the Fair. People would gather around to watch the haggling.
0:11:53 - 0.18.21 SCHOOL DAYS - Mary recalls how her brother Paddy would walk with her to school. She speaks about her teacher Mrs Toughy who would put them standing near the heat of the fire as a punishment. Mary recalled calling to Malachy O Doherty's house for their supper on the way home from school. She speaks about Master Harrington who came from Tipperary to Feakle. Mary and the children were told that he had a stick in a press that he would use but she states that he never used it. Mary didn't like school at all. She went to school in America for a while and found it different.
0.18.21 - INTERVIEW ENDS LIFE IN AMERICA - Mary speaks about her time in America (New York) She referrs to an old Irish man who her mother tended to in hospital. He would always ask for his Rosary beads because he couldn't sleep until he said the Rosary. She speaks about her own time in hospital when she hurt the cartilage in her knee. She remembers Yangan Azowa (sic) who was Japanese. He didn't want to charge her because she was there in Ireland on her own. She met a lady who was in the same hospital as her who had been on the Titanic. She recalls travelling by boat from America.

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