Mickey Vaughan

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 23, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1950

Area: North Clare - Ballyvaghan

Report date: December 9, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:20 WINTERAGE BACKGROUND - Speaks about Frank Cahir's winterage. Cahir owned most of the winterage in Mickey's area (Ballyvaughan). Speaks about the Cahir's winterage activity. Speaks about Michael Cahir who his grandfather was a herdsman for. Speaks about the fertilisation of winterage and the natural growth in the area. Speaks about the 'Moonlighters' in the 1930s who ploughed up the land which affected it badly.
0:04:21 - 0:09:28 LOVE AND VALUE OF THE LAND IN THE BURREN - Mickey speaks about the importance of the land and winterage. Speaks about the care of cattle that were put out on the land. Speaks about issues with cattle from outside the local or limestone region. Speaks about the treatment of cattle that had murinn (Red Water). States that cattle were usually brought down to the shed to be cared for. Speaks about the buying cattle from outside the Burren area. Refers to Paddy McGann who used to buy from the Brutons who were owners of Winterage in the Burren (These Brutons are related to former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton). Speaks about the way the general benefit of winterage and how cattle reacted to winterage. Refers again to the Brutons and describes their farm activity.
0:09:28 - 0:11:38 CATTLE BREEDS - Speaks about Pat Finn who was an engineer with the council. He bought some land and cattle in the 1930s. He states that the Roches in Kells, Corofin were the first to buy a white head bull. States that the McCartans from the north of Ireland used to be interested in Winterage cattle in the Burren and used to buy Whiteheads. Tom Costelloe worked with them.
0:11:38 - 0:14:44 GENERAL WINTERAGE - Speaks about the Collins (Artie and Joe) who had a winterage in Athaglin, (Aghaglinny). States that Joe Collins would often get blisters on his feet coming home from the fairs. State that there had been a structure in Athaglin whereby each person was supposed to have the same share. This changed over time as people added more stock. Speaks about the different breeds of cattle that throve in the area. The Aberdeen Angus cattle would thrive very well. Pat Colley would go to Connemara to buy Angus cattle for the winterage.
0:14:45 - 0:19:34 COW DOCTORS AND CATTLE DISEASES - Tom Fitzpatrick, Tommy Reidy and Martin Keane were cow doctors in Ballyvaughan. Explains who Tommy Fitzpatrick (Nicknamed Kildea) set broken legs of cattle. Speaks about animals slipping shoulders and how it was treated. Speaks about general diseases in cattle. Speaks about 'Black Leg', 'fluke' and other ailments and how they were prevented. States that a mare ass was a good preventative measure for red water. States that buying locally would prevent a lot of these issues.
0:19:34 - 0:23:09 DRIVING CATTLE - States that there used to be big cattle drives that used to go from the Burren to Ballinasloe in the 1870s. The Nagles were involved in this. States that it was required that you would have 100 cows to get into Ballinasloe. Speaks about the inequality in society at this time. Speaks about the changing from bigger populations with smaller farmers to smaller population with larger farms. Speaks about the British creation of ranches in Burren. Speaks about movement in the Burren and the Terry Alts.
0:23:10 - 0:28:25 CHANGE TO FARMING AND RURAL LIFE - Speaks about the change to community. Refers to the more collective way of working in the past and how people are more independent. Speaks about 'reeking' the hay and the thrashing. Speaks about thrashing in Newtown. States that MacNeil O'Loughlin got one of the first reaping binder. Mickey Davoren and Seán Flanagan in Cullaun. Speaks about the change from the horse drawn way of working to mechanisation and tractors. Speaks about the positive effects of these. Speaks about the Corcadels from the UK and the hotel, Gregan's at the Corkscrew Hill, they bought in the 1960s. They used to bring the older people together once a week.
0:28:26 - 0:30:10 THE FAIRS - Speaks about the fairs after the winterage and the profit farmers would make. Refers to the increase when Ireland joined the common market (EEC). Speaks about fluctuations over the 1970s and 1980s.
0:30:11 - 0:34:29 FUTURE OF WINTERAGE - Mickey outlines his hopes for the future of winterage in the Burren. Refers to the current position of winterage and how much easier it is now. Refers to the change in structure of farming now as a result of Burren LIFE and its effect on farming. Recalls how difficult it was to find cattle on the winterage in the past.
0:34:30 - 0:34:56 KILLING OF THE PIG - Mickey recalls the killing of the pig. States that Tom Howard was the 'butcher' in the Faunrusk area. He used a spear to kill the pig. Mickey describes the process of killing and curing the pig.
0:34:57 - 0:44:39 WORK LIFE OF MICHAEL VAUGHAN (FATHER OF INTERVIEWEE)/ THE BOG - Mickey speaks about his father Michael Vaughan who was born in 1916. His father worked during the compulsory tillage period and also on the tarring of the Corkscrew hill road. He also worked for the Land Commission in the creating of bog roads for the division of the bogs. Every farmer got an acre of bog. Michael describes how the roads were made into the bogs. Speaks about Gregan's bog. Mickey describes the process of cutting and saving turf in detail. Speaks about the early use of lorries to bring turf to farmers. Pappy Colley was one of the first to have a lorry. They would charge £1 for drawing the turf. Refers to the drawing of turf in creels and ass baskets. Speaks about Pollnacapaill a local placename near the Corkscrew hill. Speaks about St. John's well which is also near this location. On June 24th, there was a tradition or ritual practice in the area associated with this well. Speaks about the fairs in Ballyvaughan and speaks about the trade between Ballyvaughan and Galway.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:07:48 MARKETS AND FAIRS - Speaks about the Irish Civil War. Recalls hearing about the Donoghues (Connie and Mattie) used to escape the Free State troops. Speaks about turf coming from Connemara and Gleninagh people buying it. Speaks about the way in which local people traded and bartered for goods. States that Ballyvaughan used to be the market town in the 1920s and that Ennistymon took over in the 1940s. Speaks about his own recollections of going to Ennistymon market. Recalls going to the Fair in Ennistymon on May 15. Describes the journey and the sounds on the way. Speaks about walking sheep to Kinvara. Speaks about Paddy Coyne who was a buyer for people on the Aran Islands. Speaks about the Coynes. Speaks about the transaction of money at the fair. Speaks about 1947 and the harsh weather that effected farmers at that time.
0:07:49 - 0:10:23 FERTILIZER - States that little fertilizer was used in his father's time. Phosphate was introduced later. Recalls going to Tipperary with Tommy Colley in the 1970s and gradually increasing his stock. States that he would rear the calves on the goat's milk and sell the cow's milk to the creamery. Speaks about the maintenance of stock and the farm economy.
0:10:24 - 0:12:49 FERTILIZER - States that little fertilizer was used in his father's time. Phosphate was introduced later. Recalls going to Tipperary with Tommy Colley in the 1970s and gradually increasing his stock. States that he would rear the calves on the goat's milk and sell the cow's milk to the creamery. Speaks about the maintenance of stock and the farm economy.
0:12:50 - 0:15:12 THATCHING - Mickey grew up in a slated house. There were only three thatched houses in the area. Mickey names these houses. Speaks generally about the thatching. Paddy Callinan, PJ Keane and Tom Howards were all able to thatch. Speaks about how solid and secure thatched houses were. Describes how warm they were and how they kept all sounds out. 'Thatched house would be like a 'Wren's nest', there wouldn't be a puff in it'
0:12:50 - 0:15:12 TRADITION OF CUAIRD AND STORYTELLING - Mickey recalls men sitting around the fire, smoking their pipes and telling stories. Recalls an American librarian Miss Swift who came to the area in the 1950s and took photographs of the older people in their rural houses. These photos are in the Keane house in Faunrusk.
0:15:13 - 0:17:52 THE IRISH LANGUAGE - Martin Linanne, Tom Evan,Tom Donoghue are named as Irish speakers from Gleninagh. States that Marty McGann started Irish classes in Ballyvaughan. Tom Deely in Corkscrew got a Fáinne from this class. Speaks about the trading with fish from Gleninagh.
0:17:53 - 0:23:40 REFLECTIONS ON CHANGE - Speaks about his life and the change he has seen. Speaks about how the 'old people' viewed change. Refers to the way that people seems to become greedy in the recent decades. Speaks about how the droppings of sheep were used as fertiliser for potatoes.

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