Millie Enright

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on December 16, 2008

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1914

Report date: September 19, 2015

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:02:05 LOCAL FAMILIES AND EMIGRATION - Talks about families that lived close to her when she was growing up as she looks through the 1901 Census records for Kilmihil. She speaks about the Pilkingtons, many of whom immigrated and how when one had immigrated, they saved money and brought out others from their family. Millie speaks generally about emigration from the area.
0:02:05 - 0:07:04 HOBBIES AND READING - Speaks about her own interest in reading since she was very young. When she was young she was told to clean rooms with a goose wing (for a brush) and she cleaned the rooms at the time. She would always get in trouble for reading when she was supposed to be cleaning. Millie read books that were bought at the missions. They included religious books, stories of the saints, hymns etc. Millie talks about how the stories of the poor in the books would link to the local poor and how the local children would pray for God to send them Santa Claus. Millie speaks about the generosity of the time, when some of the more well off would give the poor clothes and toys.
0:07:04 - 0:14:03 CHRISTMAS - Millie speaks about how a packet of raisins were given from Christmas and that it was a real treat to get them. They also got prunes which would do you for a half an hour. Raspberry juice was also bought at Christmas and was given in cups. The glasses were kept for visitors. Tins were made by the tinkers, and were used frequently in the home. They were easy to clean and when the tinkers would come around they would fix them. Talked about the washboard and how the tinker would fix that when he would come around. Describes the tins and how they were used. Talks about using the washboard briefly. Talked about making a Christmas cake and how there was more fruit put in for Christmas. Speaks about the week before Christmas when the men would go and cut holly trees for decoration and discusses the fertilization of holly trees and in general how the fertilization of plants occured.
0:14:03 - 0:15:14 THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE - Millie speaks about her constant thirst for knowledge. 'I always wanted to know more than I knew'. She describes herself as an 'óinseach' and a 'shreel'. Someone who has everything where it shouldn't be.
0:15:14 - 0:29:43 CURES AND OLD IRISH WORDS - Millie speaks about who you could use a cobweb to heal a cut and to stop bleeding. If you got a sudden cut on your hand and had no dressing, you could clap a cobweb on the cut and it would stop the blood coming by coagulating. It would never leave a mark on the hand. She mentions that she read this was done in America and that the tradition of using cobwebs to heal cuts came from Ireland. She tells how you only went to the doctor for serious problems. Speaks generally about prizes that she got as a younger woman for collecting coupons. If she had a cough she would boil an enamel teapot and put in a fist of raisins. This was described as a 'glám' of raisins (as much as you could fit in your hand). Millie gives an explanation for a 'glám/glaum'. She also speaks about 'a gabháil' which was as much as you could fit within your two arms. Returns to the cure for coughs. She was sent up to the chemist to get licorice ball. It was sold in chunks. She would come home with 2 or 3 ounces into the boiling water and raisins, which would cure the cough or the cold. If you got the measles, they put a spoon of whiskey with a spoon of sugar with boiling water (punch) it would draw out the measles. This was the same cure for 'plucima' (mumps). Millie states that they used to use the Irish words for these ailments. The doctor was out on more important cases usually at night. Millie felt that more people called the doctor out at night as they felt they were more likely to die at night. She tells how the doctor would often be out all night on calls. Speaks generally about how hard it was on priests and doctors who were called out most nights. The nurse would be the primary person to deal with childbirths but the doctor would be called if it was a difficult case. You would have to be careful how you spoke to the nurse as she was a 'very important' person in the community. Millie explains that the women of the house might ask the nurse 'Do you think we should ask for the doctor?' The nurse often replied.'Doctors my arse! I've forgotten more than they have learnt!'
0:29:44 - 0:33:52 POITÍN - Speaks about 'poitín' and how it was used to rub on some babies. She also speaks about how the first still of the 'poitín' was kept for cures. This 'poitín' was brought in from Quilty and may have been from the Islands (Aran Islands). She explains briefly how 'poitín' was made. As Millie ran a small shop in Kilmihil, some people came to her asking her for poitín. A Clarry Quinn from Galway who used to deliver goods to her shop, brought her poitín from Galway. It cost her £1 (30 Bob) for the bottle. States that the 'poitín' was kept in a whiskey bottle so as not to arouse suspicion. The 'poitín' was kept for visitors and the wife would hide it from her husband
0:33:52 - 0:34:27 GRIDDLE BREAD - Talks about the woman of the house making a pancake or a griddle of scones. Describes how a griddle cake was made briefly.
0:34:28 - 0:35:53 THE TOWNLAND - Millie mentions a Martin Keane who she felt should be interviewed. Talks about the importance of the townland and how it was like your own family. Millie was often asked to trace people in the locality. Millie states that she has sent information to America, Australian and Canada to people looking to trace their roots in Kilmihil.
0:00:00 - 0:04:55 MASS AND CHURCH GOING - Her mother would go to First Mass (8.30am) and her father would go to second mass. Millie describes people coming to mass from the Knockalough side on horses and cars, pony and cars and back to back cars. People always came to mass early and did the stations before mass. Families bought seats in the church and this would be reserved for them. The poorer people who couldn't afford a seat had to kneel on the stone floor. She was never put out of a seat even though they didn't have a seat themselves. Mentions that her great grandfather had been a convert. Speaks again about her interest in always knowing more.
0:04:56 - 0:08:45 PERSONAL DISPOSITION AND PHILOSOPHY - Millie explains who when she was a young girl at a party she would be happy to be reading while everyone else was enjoying the party. Describes how you would have a 'shuroos' on someone. It is described as having dislike or disdain on someone or not wanting them around you. It could also mean putting on airs or graces. She never tried to insult anyone she had shuroos on. Millie also states that you should 'love all but trust few' and quotes an English poet about the importance of not damaging someone's name. Millie quotes a poem she learnt many years ago written by Wordsworth to illustrate this
0:08:46 - 0:11:49 GENEROSITY AND HOSPITALITY - Millie speaks about money 'filthy lúchar'. How people who have accumulated money by causing pain and suffering on other people cannot be happy. She also says that people who did damage by words were as bad as people who physically harmed people 'You cannot recall the word'. Speaks about how people's generosity will live on after them. Describes men walking home in the cold from the fair and how they would be welcomed into people's home and let sit by the fire until they were warmed up. Millie used the word a 'counge' of bread, which was a good square of bread from a griddle cake.
0:03:34 - 0:12:55 LOCAL SOCIO-ECONOMICS - Millie speaks about the local levels of poverty and how people survived. She speaks about people hunting rabbits locally. She speaks about the tradition of 'comhar' (helping). Describes making hay and grass cocks and how 'comhar' happened in this regard. Millie speaks briefly about the 'Meitheal'. Millie speaks about the change in young people over the years.
0:12:56 - 0:20.18 ADVICE FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE - Millie gives advice to the younger generation. She states that there's more wisdom in the Our Father than in a thousand books of theology. She outlines the various parts of the prayer and its meaning for everyday life. Millie states that 'you can't deal with today tomorrow'. Millie speaks about the cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
0:20:19 - 0:25:16 WHAT'S MY SOUL MILLIE? - Millie outlines her definition of the soul which she likens to a box of chocolates. She states that each individual is the box for their soul and that it doesn't matter how ornate that box is if the inside (soul) is good
File 4 0:00:00 - 0:07:24 MORE ADVICE - Millie gives more advice for younger people including helping your mother at home and learning some useful housework, which she equates to thoughtfulness. She outlines her support for the Littleway Association in London. Speaks about the people of Burma and the negative impact of the white man on the people there.

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