Miko McMahon

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on April 2, 2010

Gender: Male

Area: East Clare

Parish: Feakle - Magherabaun

Report date: August 28, 2011

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:09:50 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Miko's father was raised in the same house that he lives in today. It was among the first two houses slated in the area. All the others were thatched and lads would come down from Galway to do the thatching. Some people thatched their own houses because it was an expensive job to get down. During the summer time in the dry weather the birds would come and pick on the thatch. Magpies were well known for been particularly bad for this. It would have been the job of the young lads to keep an eye out for that. Miko's family kept chickens and you would always have to keep an eye out for foxes. He talks about one time when a fox got into the house and killed 20 of their chickens. Miko talks about two of their neighbours that didn't get on.
0:09:51 - 0:26:31 FAIRS - Miko had two brothers and two sisters and he was the second born. Miko went to the fair in Limerick when he was eight years old and it was the main Munster fair. He travelled to Limerick with his father on a pony and trap. They left at midnight because you would have to be at the fair at 4 in the morning. There was a lamp on the front for light. The direction they went was through O' Callaghan's Mills. Miko tells a story about buying a suit when he was 14 at a fair. This his first pair of long trousers. He would wear shoes when he was younger because his soles of his feat weren't able for it. Despite this he still took part in cross country races. Miko talks about driving cattle such as the time he did it coming back from Gort fair. Generally, you would team with another group of farmers to drive the cattle home. One time Miko bought a bullock and it managed to escape. It then took four lads to get it back under control again. There would always a good few men at fairs who hope to get a bit of work driving cattle. If there ever met other farmers along they journey they would have to try to keep the cattle separated because there was no ear tags at those times. Miko would have few biscuits in his pocket too eat during the trip. He didn't have any money in his pocket and wouldn't have any until he was 22 years old.
0:26:32 - 0:58:26 BUYING CATTLE - Miko talks about haggling with other farmers at fairs. He started buying cattle when he was 16. He skips on to tell a story about buying three cattle in Gort. He learned how to buy cattle by going to fairs with his father and watching how he did it. Michael finished up with school at the age of 12. All he wanted to do was sell cattle. Miko mentions that his brother used to collect folklore. He then goes on to talk about going up to George Moroney to buy two cattle. He bought the cows for £6.50 and talks about getting the luck penny. He tells a few more stories about buying cows. Next he talks about the time he brought young Joe Mac to the fair. They both got separated and when Miko found him he had a flawed cow with him. Miko says they weren't bringing the heifer back with them so it was left behind. Young Joe Mac ended up going to America when he grew up. Miko goes onto to tell a few more stories about buying cattle.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:12:34 FAIR - There would be a monthly fair held in Gort, Feakle and Tulla. The fair in Tulla was held in the field next to the graveyard whereas in Feakle it was held on in the street. Miko remembers one time in Tulla when the cattle went running amok. They belonged to Harry O' Meara and Micky G. Miko would buy cattle in Tulla and sell them in Scariff. The pubs would be busy during fair day. People would only drink half -pints and in some pubs you would be able to get dinner. Miko talks about the fair in Feakle and tells a story about buying some three year old cows. Tinkers wouldn't arrive at the fairs till later in the evening and would travel with asses. Generally, two tinker families would travel together in those times. There were very well respected in the community because they had a trade. They would call to the house and ask for food and they would do something for you in return. Miko said they only problem with them was that they would ask for too much.
0:12:04 - 0:28:02 1947 AND WEATHER - Miko says that the 1947 was a very bad year. At that time he had thirty cattle on mountains because he couldn't sell them. He talks about the time he cycled to Lisdoonvarna to meet Joe O' Loughlin who had winterage for sale. The weather that summer was very bad and they had no turf to for it. That December they got five weeks snow and Miko talks about the harshness that was felt. Miko tells a story about him getting a lift off a lorry coming from a phosphate mine. On his was back his bike got a puncture and he ended up getting a lift back as well. Miko talks about his parents going on holidays in Lisdoonvarna. There used to be dances held in Miko's house when grew he was growing up. Miko says a little poem about living and working hard for what you want.

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