Maureen Synan

Interview by Carmel Meaney on May 24, 2011

Gender: Female

Birth date: 88 years old

Area: West Clare

Report date: July 21, 2011

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:09:25 FAMILY BACKGROUND AND EARLY SCHOOL DAYS - Maureen explains she spent the first 12 years of her life in Letterfrack, Connemara, County Galway. Her father was principle teacher in a school. He applied for a position in Scrappul nation school and got it. It was around 1933 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress. Her entire moved to Scrappul and lived in the School resident. Then they moved onto a farm in Cahercullen and her father kept teaching until the early 1950's. She talks about going to England and meeting her husband. She talks about Scrappul School and how it has changed over the years. Miss Murphy was the teacher when she attended the school. She tells a story about her days in the school. Nora talks about one of her favourite books while at school and continues on to say History and English were her favourite subjects.
0:09:25 - 0:12:11 PASS TIMES - Maureen talks about Talty's Cragg which was located next to the school and that was where everyone us to play in their free time. Games that she use to play as a child included football, rounders and tennis. Maureen tells a story about learning to play the fiddle.
0:12:11 - 0:23:54 RELATIVES, NEIGHBOURS AND FARM WORK - Her Neighbour was Jack and she explains how neat his house was. She goes on to talk about Jack's house burning down. She then talks about a friend's grandmother. A couple lived across the road of the school. You were able to hear everything that happened in the house and Maureen was younger she use to go over and listen in to what was happen on inside the house. As a child she had a pet dog and his name was Jimmy. Other animals on the farm included cows and horses. Everyone use to have to do a bit on the farm. Maureen always preferred to do outdoor work on the farm rather than cooking.
0:23:54 - 0:25:30 TRANSPORT AND MARKETS - Maureen never went to the fairs or markets. The means of transport when she was younger was a pony and trap. On the first Saturday of every month her father went to town. She talks about what he would bring back and tells a story about meeting a student's mother when he was in town.
0:25:30 - 0:26:58 TRADITIONS - Maureen talks about bringing in the first bush on May Day. They used to be celebrations for St. Patrick's Day in Mullock. People used to go 'trick or treating' for Halloween and they also had the PUCHA. The wren wasn't done when she was younger in her area.
0:26:58 - 0:27:23 THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - She remembers people talking about the Black and Tans and hearing when someone was shot.
0:27:23 - 0:30:30 CUSTOMS FOR CHRISTENINGS AND WEDDINGS - Customs were very low key. Christenings were generally held a few days after the baby was born. Weddings were a bit more elaborate but they wouldn't have big dinners or big breakfasts. They would go to mass and get married and then have a meal in the house. Not everyone had a honeymoon. The ones that did, when they returned they would have a night with geese and turkeys prepared. Before a couple got married they would be the 'picking of the gander'. She goes on explain what would happen for this and talks about her cousin and her match. She explains that the gander wouldn't be produced until the 'Hauling Home' after the wedding.
0:30:30 - 0:36:22 KILLING THE PIG AND CHURNING THE BUTTER - She explains that a butcher would come to house and kill the pigs and it would have been hung up of night. The following evening it was taken done and salted. When that was done it was put into salt water for a month. Her family used to make a bit of their own butter. Churning the butter was a big event and she explains the procedure that was involved. The 29th June was St. Peter and St. Paul's day and there was always a show/fair in Miltown
0:36:22 - 0:41:55 ELECTRICITY, ENGLAND AND WORLD WAR II - She was living in Cahercullen the time electricity was introduced. She was living in England at the time so she had already seen it. She went to England near the end of World War II. When she arrived it was during the 'Black Out'. She went over there to work in a hospital as a children's nurse. When the 'Black Out' finished she used to go to the pubs. She talks about a time when the pub was raided and one of the girls was underage. At the time this was a major offence in both Ireland and England.
0:41:55 - 0:42:52 JFK - Maureen remembers watching President Kennedy's visit to Ireland on television. There was no television allowed in her house during exams so she had to go down to a friend's house to watch his funeral.
0:42:52 - 0:46:07 HOLY WELLS - St Joseph's in Miltown was the main well in the area. They would go there on the 19th March on St. Josephs Feast Day. She goes on to explain the location of the well. She mentions several more wells that are located in the area which were St. Michael in Kilmihil and Our Lady's well in Kilmacduane. There was also located at the back of her house called St. Senan. She goes on to talk about this statue which Eddie Lenihan had visited.
0:46:07 - 0:50:40 TRADITIONS AND CURES - Her own house was a rambling one. She talks about the visitors that would come to the house. Maureen talks about the cure for sore throats which included Bran been put into a silk sock then warmed by the fire and put on your throat. There was a man from Leitrim that had the cure for ringworm. Pains and aches would mean the person would go to the doctor as they wouldn't want to talk a chance. Farmers had cures for the animals. She talks about a cure that was used for baby cows
0:50:40 - 0:51:21 GAA - Maureen talks about listening to matches on Sundays and explains it was her husband was the one that enjoyed the GAA. Note: Interview splits here.
0:51:21 - 0:54:45 CONFIRMATION - Maureen talks about her confirmation and how she would have to study the bible in the build up to it. She goes on to explain where St Senan is from and tells his story of banishing the devil. Confirmation would occur every three years and Bishop Fogerty was the one that confirmed Maura.
0:54:45 - 1:01:13 SCHOOL DAYS AND TURF - Maureen tells some stories that she can be remember from her School days. The parents of the students would send turf into the school during the winter.
1:01:13 - 1:01:51 CONCLUSION - Interview ends

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