Mary Whyte

Interview by Jackie Elger on March 13, 2014

Gender: Female

Area: West Clare

Report date: November 16, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:10:11 FAMILY - Mary was born on the 20th Sept 1931. She was born at home in Illaun, Miltown Malbay. Her father was Martin Flynn but as there was another Martin living next-door he was called Bob. Her mother was Elizabeth and was also known as Lily. Her mother's maiden name was Kinnane. She came from Creggane, outside Quilty. Another brother and Mary's grandmother lived in the house. Mary remembers collecting her grandmother's pension of 2/6 pence. Out of the pension she bought sugar & tea for her aunt, a quarter of Clark's tobacco for her uncle and two grinders, (bread without crusts). The children would get sweets.
0:11:31 - 0:10:12 KILLING THE PIG/FARMING - Mary says their food mostly came from the garden and she remembers killing the pig. She speaks of the puddings and how the bacon was salted and hung from the rafters. She describes some of the farm work including separating the milk and making the butter. The butter was emptied out into a keeve, a tub made with timber and two handles. Her mother supplied Mrs Nestor in Miltown Malbay; Mrs Harrison; Dunne who had a chemist shop and the Central Hotel. She also supplied a hotel in Spanish Point and they came to the house for the butter. She also kept geese, ducks & hens and sold the eggs at the creamery. Mrs Darcy went to the creamery with her. They were self-sufficient. Her mother cooked over an open fire.
0:10:13 - 0:11:30 WASHING - Their clothes were dried on the bushes. Her mother would get a woman in to wash clothes two or three times a year. She made her own sheets out of three flour bags during WWII. The flour bags would be boiled then left on the grass to get them white. She describes how she stitched them.
0:11:31 - 0:13:51 GRANDMOTHER GETTING A CHILD BAPTISED/GRANDPARENTS - When her grandmother had a baby while mass was on she wrapped the child in a flour bag and took the child into the mass to get the child baptised and herself churched. Her paternal grandmother had nine children. Her maternal grandmother had ten children. She remembers her mother's grandmother and her father's grandmother lived in the house. They always wore black and had shawls over their head.
0:13:52 - 0:20:30 SCHOOL - Her father got his first pair of boots when he was fourteen. Her father left Miltown school because the teacher, Beaumont, was too strict and went to Rockmount, where the teacher was called Kenneally. Mary had a Mrs O'Brien as a teacher. She also remembers Mrs Moloney and Nancy Hassett. The school wasn't where the school is now. She says the toilet was just a hole and once a week a man would come and clear it out. They eventually got a tap outside. She says they got a bottle of milk going to school. Skipping was one of her favourite games. Sometimes they would have to break turf for the fire. There were two sections in the big side of the school. Mrs O'Brien was the bishop's housekeeper. People didn't get the education to be a teacher. Her mother's teacher said she was fit to be a teacher but she decided to stay with her mother instead. She says that one of her mother's brothers died from measles. She speaks of the death of her brother's wife while having a baby.

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