Morgan O’Connell

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 16, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1925

Area: West Clare - Cloondrinagh

Report date: January 2, 2016

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:08:16 CUAIRD/TALK OF WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Morgan says there would also be people coming on cuaird to the house where he was born in Clondrina. Many subjects would be discussed. Patrick O'Neill would be in his house every day. Patrick would be very interested in the War of Independence. Patrick joined Sinn Féin, Jacko Mac's crowd in Kildysart. He them moved around the country as a journeyman shoemaker. He was born around 1881/82. He was blind at the end. He got a letter in 1914 or 1916 to commandeer a boat that would land guns off Carrigaholt. Morgan says the guns then came into Banna Strand in Kerry with Casement. His brother got TB and Patrick came back around 1916. The rumour came around about the Rising and he cycled into Ennis on the Thursday and he contacted another shoemaker in Ennis, who was also a Sinn Féin supporter and he told him they were holding out. Patrick would speak about Peader Clancy and how determined he was. O'Neill disliked de Valera. Marty Melican was involved in the shooting, [of RIC barracks] in Kilmihil the day John Breen was killed. His brother, Jack Melican lived next door to Morgan and would visit on his cuaird every night too. Jack would talk about the shooting but never mention that his brother was involved. He would say that Breen was a very tall man and the policeman shot him over the crowd. Morgan describes what happened that day. Mick Killoury, who was also involved that day, is mentioned.
0:08:17 - 0:15:04 POLITICS - Morgan says that at the time of Clann na Poblachta, Melican got a letter, (around 1945/46), that de Valera had let them down and he then took Clann na Poblachta's side. He introduced Brody Lillis, who was going for election with Clann na Poblachta, to the people of Cranny after mass. Tim Smyth went for election with them too. Morgan speaks of elections in 1946 and 1948. He speaks of Seán McBride and the declaration of a republic in 1949. He recalls peoples' reaction to the first time Fianna Fáil were elected in 1932. Morgan saw de Valera in Kilrush one day in the 1950s. Dev would call to Falahee's for tea. Sean Sheehan was a teacher in Kilrush and he spoke on the platform in Irish. He says Dev came to Kildysart on a fair day and a young lad named Donoghue touched Dev's shoe.
0:15:05 - 0:19:59 SCHOOL - Morgan went to school in Cranny. One of his teachers was Miss Evan from Cooraclare. She was a granddaughter of Conor McDermot. There was also a Blunnie from Kilrush and also Miss McMahon. She married Brodie from Barefield. Mr Mulqueen was the principal in later years. He speaks of the Irish language and how he didn't like it at school. He recalls that some Irish words such as 'strúcán', (stubborn person), would be used in everyday language.
0:20:00 - 0:23:41 BIDDY EARLY/GOWRUE/SUPERNATURAL - Morgan says someone from that area went over to Biddy Early and she told them to mind themselves passing Béal Crann. Morgan speaks of the Gowrue's Cross, [Gabha Rua, the red smith] around Cahercannavan. He says there was supposed to be a big hare that used to attack people there near Béal Crann and the Gowrue was said to have shot the hare. He tells a story of a woman who had returned from England, having learnt spiritualism and was supposed to have brought something back from the dead thinking it was her father.
0:23:42 - 0:29:20 BIANCONI - Morgan speaks of stories told about Bianconi in Kildysart. He says he brought he first steam tractor to Clare. He describes the reaction to it. He says a young lad got crushed under it in Ennis. His workmen would go from Kildysart to Longfield to work. He was 26 stone at one time. He built a railway from Kildysart Quay to Lacknashannagh where the farm was. He eventually gave the farm in Lacknashanngh over to the Land Commision. One man once said “Bianconi was a better man for Kildysart than Jesus Christ!” He gave his men two shillings a day, around 1900.
0:29:21 - 0:31:32 COISTE BODHAR - Morgan speaks of the Cóiste Bodhar and the banshee. He begins to tell a story his mother would tell of the Brooks of Shessive. Continued on File 2

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