Maureen Culligan

Interview by Carmel O'Flaherty on January 24, 2013

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1923

Area: West Clare - Doon Beg

Report date: December 6, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:53 SCHOOL - Maureen was born at Whitestrand, Killard, Doonbeg. She describes the beach. She says she was born in 1923. She was christened Mary Agnes. She was seven when she went to school. About 90 pupils were at Baltard school when she started. The teachers were Mr & Mrs Flynn and an assistant Mrs O'Dea. The school opened in 1920 and it was always known as the 'New School'. She says that school will close in a few months' time. There were five schools in the parish, Doonbeg, Shragh, Clohanes, Baltard and Bansha. It was a three mile walk to school. She recalls the boots she wore. She remembers the inspector coming to the school. She recalls him asking questions in Irish including the word for a cocked (snub) nose - 'srón gheancach'. She says her neighbour, Jimmy McDonnell, always called her this.
0:04:54 - 0:10:00 NEIGHBOURS - Jimmy was a brother to Pat McDonnell the great weight thrower. Jimmy would ask Maureen to write to him. She recalls him sending her six pairs of nylon stockings. There is a monument at Whitestrand to him. She says he married Mary Walsh. His mother was Mary Breen. Her daughters went to America and they would send home pictures of themselves. They were fluent Irish speakers. Maureen recalls a neighbour, Kate Noonan, making a cake with duck eggs and big American raisins. One of Kate's daughters married a farmer, Boland, in Mullagh.
0:10:01 - 0:14:30 SCHOOL/MAY ALTER - She speaks of the school master's family. They always had a May alter at school. She recalls knitting at school. Mrs O'Dea was from Inagh and lived to be over 100. She speaks of corporal punishment at the school.
0:14:31 - 0:21:48 FAMILY - Maureen had two sisters and two brothers. Her best friend was one of the Blakes. She speaks of a time when her brother John fell off the roof of a shed. He was taken to a bone-setter but eventually had to go to St John's Hospital in Limerick. She recalls going to Limerick to visit him. The train took her from Mountrivers in Doonbeg. She says it took more than a couple of hours to get there. She met some lads going to a match in Limerick on the train. She remembers having a laugh with them. Her father went blind at age 36/37. He would try to work by crawling on his hands. She remembers bringing him by the hand to the fields to weed the turnips. He knew the feel of the weeds by the feel of them. He got a radio from the blind association and people would come to hear matches on it and have tea.
0:21:49 - 0:25:43 LIFE IN KILIMER - She met her husband at a dance in Doonbeg. She recalls him drinking at her aunt's pub in Kilrush. He was from Kilimer and she moved there with him. They had five children. She missed swimming in the sea when she moved. She recalls picking blackberries and making jam. Tom was her husband's name and his father was John Culligan.
0:25:44 - 0:31:40 PLANE CRASH - She says that during WWII there were planes going around every day. She recalls seeing a plane circling around their house several times and then it came down in the ocean about 12 o'clock at night. She says there were American soldiers in it. Patrick Shanahan's mother heard a knock at the window and her son went out and found one of the men from the plane there and he brought him to life with whiskey. He would visit the Shanahans in Doughmore after that. Patrick found two more bodies. She says they were laid out in the big hall. She remembers herself and Liz Blake walking in their funeral from Doonbeg to Dunmore graveyard and they were told they would have to go to the bishop to confess the mortal sin of going to a protestant funeral. She says it was a protestant graveyard there. The following day someone came and took the survivor up to the Curragh. She says thigs were very strict then. She says there were two more washed up in Quilty and that there were nine altogether on the plane. She thinks there had been a mutiny on the plane.
0:31:41 - 0:32:58 LIFE DURING WWII - Maureen speaks of rationing during the war. They were allowed 4 and a half pounds of flour a week. Her family grew beet - if you grew beet you were allowed 4 stone of sugar. All the neighbours wanted some sugar.
0:32:59 - 0:38:08 POEM - Maureen recites a poem. Her sister Kitty recited it on stage at school. There was a concert every Christmas. She recalls them walking to the holy hour in Doonbeg. That was their entertainment. Her advice to youngsters is “do what you're told and never tell lies”. She says it was an awful crime that time to tell lies.

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