Micheál Falsey

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on January 6, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1929

Report date: January 10, 2012


Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:06:05 File 1 Placenames and the Irish Language - Micheál explains some of the placenames in the Seafield area. He says that his father's generation didn't speak much Irish because they were not taught it in school. He states that the older people would have Irish names areas around the sand hills. Michael lists a number of these Irish placenames. He speaks about some of the older Irish speakers who he remembered from his childhood. He mentions Catherine Cunneen whose maiden name was Egan. She was a native Irish speaker. Her mother's maiden name was Falsey. Matti Joe Sheamus from Radio na Gaeltachta recorded once. Michael recalls in Irish their conversation. Michael speaks briefly about the older Irish songs and states they were similar to Connnemara songs. The Brews were the local landlords in Seafield. Speaks about some of the families that lived in the Seafield area and names them.
0:06:06 - 0:11:42 End of File 1 World War II - Michael recalls hearing when World War II broke out. He was cutting hay when a man came from another field and told Micheál's father John Falsey that World War II started. Michael speaks about recruiting officers from England looking for workers to replace the young men who had gone to war. Michael speaks about his brother joining the Royal Air Force. He states that this was a way to get to England. Michael recalls seeing some crew from a plane that went down in Cree during the war. Michael speaks about conscription to the regular and Local Defence Forces (LDF). He had worked on Bishop Fogarty's farm before joining the Free State Army. Michael's father had been in the Free State army and so became an instructor in the LDF. Speaks about the LDF and outlines some of the training they did locally. His grandfather Jimmy Falsey and four Kemmy brothers were in the British navy during World War I. Note: File one ends when Micheál's daughter Margaret calls to the house.
0:00:00 - 0:04:53 File 2 LDF and World War II - Michael speaks more about the LDF and explains where they trained locally in Seafield. Explains that Group A (LDF) were the reactive group and Group B (Regular Army) would keep a watch out for anyone coming in by sea. Michael's father's mother got a free radio because one of eyes was knocked out during the troubles (War of Independence/Civil War) from the blind widow's pensions. Speaks about hearing Lord Haw Haw over her radio. States that there were only two radios between Seafield and Quilty. Speaks about going to England in 1949 and the rationing in that country.
0:04:54 - 0:23:56 Leon Rescue - Says that he didn't hear the old people speaking much about the Rescue of the Leon. The older people seemed to 'take things for granted'. Michael McInerney, Michael Moloney and Tom Boyle were the last three rescuers from the Leon Rescue.
0:23:57 - 0:09:25 War of Independence - Speaks about man going from the bog with a genet and cart when he was faced with the Black and Tans. He had a load of turf he had brought six miles from the bog. The Black and Tans forced him at gun point to load the road which had been cut but the local IRA. His name was Peter Boyle.
0:09:26 - 0:11:10 Grandmother Bridget Boohan - Speaks about his grandmother Bridget Boohan who was a native of Kerry who married Micheál's grandfather Jimmy Falsey. Speaks about some of the songs she sang including 'My Home in Castlemaine'. States that his grandmother would talk in Irish to their neighbours when they didn't what him to know what they were saying.
0:11:10 - 0:12:20 Tillage and Sugar Beet - Michael speaks about the compulsory tillage and the production of sugar beet locally. They used to get a four stone bag of sugar as part of their payment.
0:12:21 - 0:21:34 Seaweed - Micheál speaks about the local seaweed industry including the Kelp which was burnt in long pits near the sandhills. The fire was kept burning all night until all the seaweed was burnt. Michael explains the process of producing the kelp. He also speaks about the Carrageen (Seaweed extract) and explains the process of collecting and processing same. States that Glynns in Kilrush were the main transporters of Carrageen. Says that you could drink Carrageen as a cure but you would have to put lemon juice through it. It was sometimes made into a blancmange (blamange) for desert. Michael also speaks about Sleabhacán and states that he collected it himself from Mutton Island. It was better quality out there because there was no sand to take the quality from it. He speaks about the sea rods which were locally called Fouim(sic.) in Irish . They were transported to Scotland. Paddy Cleary in Miltown was one of the agents for this. States that he once collected and sold a canoe load of carrageen which was taken to Kilkenny for the Smithwicks brewery.
0:21:35 - 0:29:01 Mutton Island - Michael speaks about Mutton Island. He recalls going into the island several times. Refers to the Martello Tower. Speaks about Ger Sexton who lived there as a herdsman for the Casey's cattle. Speaks about material being washed ashore from sea wrecks during World War II. Speaks about the Casey's who were merchants. Recalls timber coming in from the continent. Locals would be employed to load the material on to Casey's lorries. States that Ger Sexton would hoist a red flag on a pole when something unusual would wash ashore. Michael recalls a magnetic mine washing ashore on one occasion. Michael and his family were evacuated. Sexton had spent years in America before he came back to Clare. He was moved in when he got too old and died in Quilty. Speaks about the people who lived in Mutton Island briefly and says the Griffins were owners for years. He says there were seven houses on Mutton Island. He states that he once saw a grave of a man in Kilmurry called Michael Kelleher. It was dated 1907 and his place was described as Mutton Island.
0:29:02 - 0:40:29 Johnny Doran - Michael recalls seeing Johnny Doran playing music locally when he was a child and reflects on the impression this made on him as a young musician. Refers to John Kelly from West Clare who was a friend of Johnny Doran. Doran had an almanac outlining all the fairs in Ireland. They would travel to these fairs and play music. Recalls seeing Johnny Doran at a sports meeting in Miltown. States that Willie Clancy often spoke about Johnny Doran and the effect he had on him when he learnt from him at Sullivan's Forge. Michael spent six years in England with Micheál Falsey. Refers to John Kelly who arranged to have Kevin Danaher record Johnny Doran. Kelly played the fiddle and the concertina. Doran told John Kelly that he thought he was going to die so Kelly arranged to have him recorded. Speaks about seeing a notice of the death of Johnny Doran in the Clare Champion when he was working in the mid-lands.
0:40:30 - 0:46:05 Sports - Michael speaks about the sports days that would be held locally in Casey's field. Speaks about his uncles the O'Dowds and Marty Falsey who played for the Clare Football team. He was once picked to play for Munster with fourteen Kerry men. He got a job the day he was to play and didn't go. A Scanlon man from Mullagh played instead. States that it wasn't easy to play football because of how busy they were working.
0:46:06 - 0:50:16 Calender Customs - In his parent's time, local people would walk to St. Bridget's Well and spend the night praying and doing the rounds of the well. Speaks about St. Bridget's Well. Michael also speaks about Chalk Sunday, St. John's Night (briefly) and states that there wasn't much about May Day in the area. Speaks about St. Lachtín Naofa's well and explains how the céíle band of the same name got his name. It's now called St. Joseph's Well but the older people called it St. Lachtín Naofa's Well. States that people visited it on the 19th of March. States that Tomás Ó hÁodh wrote a poem about the well. States that the Priest put a stop to people going to the well.
0:53:17 - 0:55:17 Tomás Ó hÁodh - Speaks about Tomás Ó hÁodh who was from Miltown on the Ennis road. He was a poet and an Irish language enthusiast who wrote a number of books and wrote songs including 'Farewell to Miltown Malbay'. Michael speaks about Donie Garrihy who had been writing a history of Miltwon when he died.
0:55:18 - 0:57:30 Wakes and Funerals - Michael speaks about wakes locally. States that there was a custom of carrying the coffin all around the church at Kilmurry graveyard before it went into the grave.
0:57:31 - 1:06:42 The big freeze of 1947 - Speaks about a local woman dying during the big freeze and having to put the coffin on a horse cart and walk the coffin to the graveyard because it was too dangerous to try it with a horse or to shoulder the coffin. He states that he would see birds dead along the road from the cold. Speaks about the difficulties in getting fuel during the big freeze. A load of starlings were found in a chimney to find the heat and died. He recalls about a hundred dead starlings being thrown out when the weather thawed. Michael explains that the older people had a number of words for weather including lofornach(sic.) for clammy weather (as before Christmas 2011). He lists a few other words that were used locally. He also speaks about two older men (twin brothers O'Connors, who had been involved in the Leon Rescue) he remembers working beside when he was a young man speaking Irish. Michael speaks about Catherine Cunneen and recalls a day bringing her in his car and her speaking Irish. Michael recalls in Irish their conversation. Speaks briefly about local fishermen and the geansaí that they wore.

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