Moira Hannon

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 10, 2009

Gender: Female

Area: East Clare - Tomgraney

Parish: Tomgraney/Tuamgraney - Raheen

Report date: August 11, 2011

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:02:43 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Moira is from Corofin and her mother is from Ballyvaughan while her father was a farmer in Kells. Moira's mother travelled 22 'Irish Miles' in order to avoid inbreeding. Her aunt travelled 16 miles to marry her uncle. Moira talks about her mothers two brother cycling down to visit. There were seven in the family. She attended Kells National School which was a one roomed school but could be partitioned into two. It is still used today for seasonal masses because their parish priest was from Tubber and he wanted to keep in touch with his parishioners.
0:02:43 - 0:14:37 SCHOOL - When Moira was in School there were sixty students and two teachers who were Mrs Smith And Mrs Clancy. Mrs Clancy was from Boston and she cycled out from Corofin. Moira's earliest memory from school was learning the ABC's and she goes on to say the poem they used for learning the alphabet. In those days they learned all about wool, cotton and steel. They also learned a great deal of history. In third class they would learn a short poem for Bishop Fogarty. Moira says that she was so afraid that he would break her jaw when he left his hand on her face. At that time the Bishop would put his hand on your face to indicate that you had been confirmed. In those days everyone walked to school with no shoes. Moira use to take her shoes off and leave them in a hedge until she returned so she wouldn't be different to anybody else. School started at 9 am and ended at 3:30 pm but sometimes you would get off a hour early to go picking potatoes, bringing cattle to water or other jobs like that. You wouldn't require a note but instead just ask the teacher if you could go home in Irish. Everything was learned in Irish even though Geography was written in English it was learned in Irish. Moira had a good understanding of the Irish language because her mother was a native speaker. She was also Fr John Donoghue's aunt. Her father didn't have any Irish and Moira said this is because this area had a nice landlord during the Famine so there wasn't as much suffering when compared with East Clare. Along with their lunch students would bring a bottle of milk which was heated up on the hob so they would have warm milk with their food. The fire in this school was made from coal and the school arranged the coal so there was no need for students to bring it in. She left National School when she was 14 and then she went to the Colaiste for a further four years. During this time she stayed with a woman that provided board for 8 students all together. The house was located St Francis Street and was belonged to Mrs Griffin. She never had to buy food for her Children because the student's parents would give enough food to feed everyone.
0:14:37 - 0:16:01 ENNIS SHOPS AND CURES - Moira's says Griffins and Kennedy's were the main shops in Ennis at that time. There was Collins in the market and Tierney's Bicycle shop was also there at that time. Besides this there was Ruckel who was the chemist and he had the cure for Ringworm which was in his own family.
0:16:01 - 0:29:03 CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS - Moira talks about St Martins Evening which happed on the 10th November. St Martin was crushed by his enemies in a mill and no mill would operate the day after St. Martins Evening. Also, a cock was killed and the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts. This was believed to keep diseases away for the year. Moira wasn't allowed out on May Eve. The older people in the town would have brought in the may brush. Her parents would have also followed the traditions of May Eve. Her father would pile up a load of straw and set it alight. This was believed to keep away badness. Moira talks about some Pisreogs that she knew of. You would have another fire on St. Johns night and most farmers would light one on this night. Moira explains the tradition of going on 'cuairt'. People would call over to the house and if everyone was saying the rosary you would join in and if not you would sit down. Mickey Howard use to come to the house on 'Cuairt' every night. Moira's father would general go to her uncle house on 'Cuairt' and people use to go the same houses all the time. The scene of the Cuairt was the open hearth fire. Moira says ghost stories were told and she tells one she can remember.
0:29:03 - 0:32:48 CURES AND BELIEFS - Curtis from the killinaboy area used to have a great sure for horses. He was a big believer in what Billy Early who was a white witch. If you ever went to her for her a cure and didn't have illness you would have it when you left her. Moira doesn't remember what the priests would saw about her but she does remember there been seven priests at the funeral. She remembers two lads that were very good for cures for horses but she can't remember their name. Horses were very important at that time because there were used by the farmers as tractors and also as transport.
0:32:48 - 0:35:44 FARM LIFE - Moira remembers coming home England on a holiday and going up to Hegarty's field and picking stones for the day. One of her sisters developed Polo so she wasn't able to help while the other was too young and assigned a different set of tasks. Churning the butter use to occur every Tuesday and Thursday. Her mother would then divide up into pounds so they could sell into different customers wrapped in butter paper. Unsorted was generally sold to Liam. Moira then talks about a lad that was helping out on the farm for a little while.
0:35:44 - 0:43:00 NURSING - After school Moira was thinking about been a nun but a priest told her she would never be one so she became a nurse instead. The four years in Colaiste was to do the Leaving Cert. Moira had a few aunts that were nuns and a handful of the nuns at school were very nice to her. This is where the interest to become a nun began. A Neighbour brought her over to England so she could study to become a nurse. She talks about working in England and meeting her first coloured person who was a nurse working with her. She travelled to England by boat which left from Dun Laoghaire. She spent three years in England before returning to Ireland. Moira says she was working in the children's ward one night when there was thunder which she was afraid of but she wasn't allowed to show fear. When she returned to Ireland she looked for work and ended up doing a bit of private nursing in Dublin. Moira went over to England in 1949 and said she was very well looked after. She said you would get your food in the hospital and when you were off you would go to Woolworths for a cup of coffee.
0:43:00 - 0:45:19 DANCES - The nurses weren't allowed to mix in those days. She was only able to go to the dances when she came home could she go to the dances. These use to take place in St. Patrick's Hall in Corofin and Paddy Cons (Con Mac Mahon). There use to be big crowds at these dances with the girls at one side and the boys on the other. The dance would last until three in the morning. There was no alcohol at Paddy Cons.
0:45:19 - 0:46:16 RELIGION - The Churching was done to a woman as a thank you for getting through child birth. Father Flannery was one of the latest priests that would carry out this blessing.

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