Paddy & Mai Neylon

Interview by Anne O'Brien on March 2, 2010

Gender: Male

Area: North Clare - Killinaboy

Report date: September 20, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:01 FAMILY AND DAILY ROUTINE - Paddy talks about how times were harder when he was growing up. His father worked on the roads with the County Council. This would be the only type of work you could get at the time. You would be assigned 3 or 4 miles of road to maintain. His father had a bit of lad which he used for cows and growing potatoes, carrots parsnips. They would have two pigs, one was or killing while the other was for gambling. They used to play the card game combs.
0:04:01 - 0:09:00 SCHOOL - Paddy went to school in Killnaboy national school which had a total of 105 students and two teachers. Tess McNamara was the name of the teacher and the Headmaster was Dennis Kelleher. Paddy talks about a classmate that wasn't able to spell or write. When the teacher heard the inspector was coming he sent the student home but the teacher came into the school to find out why their son was sent home. Pencils were used for writing during those days. They didn't play hurling, football or any other games of school. Paddy left school when was 14 years of age.
0:09:00 - 0:16:48 ENNIS & LISDOONVARNA & OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE - Paddy states that when he left school he started to do a bit of work for farmers which included saving hay during the summer. After this he started to work in hotels as a porter. He first worked in Lisdoonvarna and then later in the Queens Hotel in Ennis. When he was working in Ennis cars were very scarce and the main form of transport was donkey and cart. Paddy goes on to tell a funny story about one experience with a donkey and cart. Paddy says Ennis was a busy town and there use to be a forge where the Abbey Street car park is located today. This use to be a busy spot because there farmers used horses instead of tractors at that time. The Old Ground Hotel was up and running when Paddy was working in Ennis. When he was working in the Queens Hotel he got no wages. He was supposes to live on his tips and he would his accommodation and food. He ended up living there and going back to Lisdoonvarna. All of the visitors coming to Lisdoonvarna at that time were from Ireland. The Christian Brothers were the first to arrive, school teachers would be next and the shop keepers with the farmers coming last. There would have been a bit of match making at that time. He spent some time in Cork working in a Hotel. It was an old hotel and he talks about the rats that were there. He also worked in the Imperial Hotel in Kilkenny leaving Lisdoonvarna in September of 1939. After four or five years he returned on sick leave but ended up going back to Lisdoonvarna. He met his wife in 1954. His father died in 1950
0:16:48 - 0:20:35 DANCES AND MUSIC - Dances were a big part of free time in those days. There was a ball room in the Queens Hotel and most of the hotels in Lisdoonvarna had one as well. Sunday night was the main dance at the Thomond and Mickey Hogan and his band use to come all the way from Ennistymon. Paddy's father used to play trumpet and the flute with the Kilfenora Brass Band. He learned to play these instruments from his parents. The used to be dances at the crossroads on Sundays which the priest started. This was mainly an event for younger people and would begin at two in the afternoon.
0:20:35 - 0:24:03 LANDLORDS - Paddy talks about Luba Kaftannikoff. Her mother was Irish and her father was Russian. She bought a car and Paddy use to drive it for her. He used to bring her into town. Paddy says Ballyvaughan was a quiet place and nobody was living in Leamanagh Castle at that time. Lord Inchiquin used to be a landlord in the area. All the land was divided between the farmers by the Land Commission. James says that Dromoland in Newmarket was his house and Inchiquin was originally O' Brien. Most people would have been farmers for landowners until the land was divided in the 1930's.
0:24:03 - 0:26:58 ELECTRICITY, THE BURREN - Oil Lamps were widely used before the introduction of electricity in the mid 1950's. IT made a big difference for house keeping because before electricity all they had was an open fire to bake, cook and wash. Paddy use to visit the Burren occasionally. He wouldn't visit Mullaghmore because there wasn't much talk about it at that time. It wasn't really known of unlike the Cliffs of Moher. Paddy use to visit Lahinch but never learned to swim.
0:26:58 - 0:30:31 FISHING, CUSTOMS AND BELIEFS - Paddy use to go fishing in the river Fergus and would catch trout. When he was young he would fish which would bring food into the house. Ann asks about any 'pisreógs'. Paddy talks about May Day. He says the May Flower was done in Kilfenora but not in Paddy's area. Paddy talks about when a neighbour had something against you they would bury eggs in your garden. This would bring bad luck and your crops wouldn't grow. If it was put on the road you would have an accident. Paddy says that if you were getting milk from someone. They would put a grain of salt into the milk before the milk was given so you wouldn't take the luck from them. If a stranger came while the butter was been churned he/she would have to put their 'hand in the churn' and make the churn. Women would always make the butter.
0:30:31 - 0:32:35 CURES - Paddy says there was a wart well, Kilvoydan, outside Corofin located beside the old burial ground. Another well in the locality was used for curing eyes and it was named after St. Inion Buí. St. Bridget's well in Mullaghmore was supposed to cure diabetes. James talks about another treatment for diabetes that he heard of at the seven streams of Teeskagh. Note: James leaves Interview. Paddy tells a story about a man who turns his wife into a hare. Whenever he wanted a bit of excitement he would turn his wife into a hare and set the dog on her.
0:32:55 - 0:33:51 CUSTOMS - The May Flower was put over the front door in Kilfenora. Holy water that was blessed on Easter Sunday used to be sprinkled on the cross on May Eve. Paddy says there was no connection between the May eve customs and animals.
0:33:51 - 0:38:07 WWII AND WAKES - Paddy was 25 when the second world war ended. He remembers how things were scarce during the war such as tea and cigarettes. Public Houses would have there own supply of cigarettes so if you went there to have a drink you would get a smoke. Guinness was the main drink people had at that time. Alcohol was served at dances and wakes. For a wake a half barrel was brought to the house. Paddy talks about a time when he was working for the Council when he came across a wake and was asked to tap the barrel. During the wake the body would have been put in the bed. The neighbours would be the ones to dig the grave.
0:38:07 - 0:47:30 CHRISTMAS; ST STEPHENS DAY; STRAWBOYS AND WEDDINGS - There used to be a Santa Claus when Paddy was growing up. The Christmas dinner would consist of a Turkey or a goose. The presents were basic enough and there would be a tree. Paddy talks about St Stephen's day and lads going out collecting money by doing the wren. Paddy explains the Strawboys would happen for weddings. Paddy got married in Kilnaboy in 1954. They had a wedding breakfast in Ennis. Paddy goes on to talk about his wedding and said they went to Galway after. When Paddy and Mai got married there was still no running water in there house. Animals were brought for water washing was done in a wash board.
0:47:30 - 0:51:43 PREGNANCY - Paddy and Mai had seven children. Mai says that some of the children were born in the hospital with the others been born at home. The first was born in the hospital and next three at home. The reason for this was Mai's hatred for hospitals. Mai talks about cutting ferns to make bedding for cattle. She also says that they were harvesting in the autumn. Mai said she left school when she was 11 years old.
0:51:43 - 0:57:02 CURRENCY; FAMILY; TB - Paddy says he worked for a shilling a day but at the same time things were cheaper. Cigarettes were a shilling for twenty, half sachet of flour was 8 shillings and a pint was 10 pence. Paddy says there was a bit of bartering done. When asked about meat, Mai says they would kill their own pig on their land. Mai says she was an only child and her mother died from meningitis when she was 26. Her father died when she was 11 from TB. There was a sanatorium in Ennis, out the Kilrush Road. Paddy had two sisters and four brothers. All except for one immigrated to England. His twin brother died in England. They went to Bradford.
0:57:02 - 0:59:42 GAA, SOCIETY - Paddy says he followed the GAA a little but didn't really have the time because of work. Even do times were tougher in those days you would always have good support from friends and neighbours. This would include turning the hay.
0:59:42 - 1:02:14 ST JOHN'S NIGHT - Paddy says that St. John's eve every Parish would have a bonfire. This would happen on the 23rd of June. You would be gathering wood in the weeks building up to St. John's eve and these days the bonfires happen on Halloweens eve which didn't happen back in those days.

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