Paddy O’Donoghue

Interview by Carmel O'Dea on July 15, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1928

Area: South Clare - Newmarket

Report date: September 21, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:00 SCHOOLDAYS - Born in Ballinahinch, Bodyke on March 31, 1928. Went to Bodyke National School. (Three teacher school - all teachers were members of the one family). Paddy loved school. Teachers had respect for pupils. Music and hurling were favourite subjects. Pupils came from all over Bodyke, including places such as Caherhurley and Inchedehogue. Great camaraderie there.
0:04:01 - 0:05:08 FAMILY - Mother, father, five siblings - three brothers, two sisters. He is both the youngest and the last surviving member of his family. His father Michael came from Glendaree, Tulla. He played concertina and fiddle. His mother was a good singer.
0:05:09 - 0:08:08 MUSIC - Paddy started on the Clarke 'C' tinwhistle at age 4. He moved on to timber flute at 10. He had an uncle who played it too. Brothers Jack & Jim played, sisters Mary & Bridie played and sang too. Lots of house music. Local fiddlers Martin Rochford, Jimmy Long & Miko Doyle used to call. Any occasion would call for a house party & music. Simple way of life.
0:08:09 - 0:09:38 RADIO - Paddy's family had no radio for a long time. They would call up to Whelan's nearby to listen to broadcasts from the likes of Paddy Canny & Leo Rowsome. Concerts at courthouse in Tulla. Paddy played with his father & Martin Rochford at them.
0:09:39 - 0:14:32 TULLA CÉILÍ BAND - It began at Paddy's home - known as Ballinahinch Céilí Band then. Tulla band name gave it more notoriety. Original line-up: PJoe Hayes, Paddy Canny, McNulty (fiddles); Teresa Tubridy (piano); Jack Murphy, Paddy's brother Jim, & Paddy himself (flutes); Martin Rochford also played. Seán Reid became manager. Authorities didn't approve of guards, council workers etc. being involved in any musical band. St. Mochulla's Ceili Band existed prior to Tulla band. John Sweeney & wife (accordion & fiddle) Dan Moriarty (drums) etc. were some of the members. Disbanded. Paddy Canny (fiddler) would come to visit. He'd help out on the farm and stay for up to two weeks. Paddy learnt a lot of music from him. He believes that it is very important to have one's own musical style.
0:14:33 - 0:17:45 THE FARM - Parents had 75 acre farm. Land Commission Division received by Paddy's dad when he moved from Glendaree to Ballinahinch. Rent and rates were to be paid to the commission. A rent collector would call a few times a year. Had to sell bullocks/ turkeys etc. to make money. Levy on amount of property. Rent on dwelling/ outhouses. Some people evicted in Bodyke in Tan times (1916 - 1921). Collectors had ram rods to prod people to get them out. Sometimes houses were burnt down. Paddy had to help out on farm too, cleaning cabins, sorting hay, ploughing etc.
0:17:46 - 0:22:09 EARNING A LIVING - They had a big wood on the farm at time - 4,000 trees. During the war years they would cut down the timber manually and sell it to make money. Horses were used to transport wood. Limerick Steam Company used to buy the wood to make the charcoal to run the trucks. Paddy's dad set up a saw mill worked by horses. There was a thrashing pot - Paddy's job after school was to stand in middle of pot and drive the horses around the pole in the middle. Spindle connected the pole to corn thrashing machine. Belt going from that to the saw bench. Timber was cut into one foot blocks. Paddy's Dad got lorry and carted timber into Limerick to sell. Old ladies used to come and take chippings from back of lorry to start fires - no firelighters then! Types of trees: Spruce, Dale. Quicker to light than beech or oak. His dad chopped it into blocks, tied with wire, sold for sixpence to the ladies in Limerick. He also delivered wood to Scariff on horse and cart (6 miles). He provided well for the family, They grew their own potatoes & vegetables.
0:22:10 - 0:24:53 HOME HOUSE - He lived in a game-keepers house. It had bullet marks in the walls from the Black & Tan times. Three bed, cut-stone house. It came with the land. He later sold it, but those that bought it couldn't get planning permission for a septic tank (one had to be 60 feet form the middle of a main road at time) and so knocked it.
0:24:54 - 0:28:24 TULLA CEILI BAND - In 1946 it was formed overhead John Minogue's Hotel in Tulla. No high opinion of traditional music then. You'd be cleared from a pub if you started to play. Bookings were got for gigs. Wages: a pound a night. PJoe Hayes kept a kitty. 1948 broadcast in Raidió Éireann. Seán Reid got booking for them. Only one microphone suspended from the ceiling in RTE. No money for accommodation. Reid brought the band to the Salvation Army - they stayed there for night. Great honour at the time to be broadcast
0:28:25 - 0:32:00 DORANS - In 1933 travelling Doran pipers (Felix and Johnny) came to Ballinahinch. Martin Rochford brought them. They had horses and caravan & would set up on land and cut wood for their stove. Paddy would go down to them & eat 'bubble & squeak.' They were brought to different houses for a session. Hat would go round and they could earn up to 12 shillings which was a lot of money then. They were well-respected in Clare - there wouldn't be as many pipers in Clare only for them. Willie Clancy learnt lots from them. They were descended from the Cash's of Wexford (so were the Rowsome Family). They stayed a few weeks. They loved the hospitality - called to houses for milk & sugar - everyone shared, no one was refused.
0:32:01 - 0:35:45 COMPETITIONS - Tulla Band entered Féile Luimní & won. Bobby Casey, Willie Clancy & Paddy also won a trio. Paddy played pipes for that. Sean Reid got him his first practice set at 15. Seán was great to buy instruments for young musicians. He devoted his life to it. Leo Rowsome made the practice set. They would've cost 65 guineas in the 1930's. Trio win was in 1948. Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan was held in Cork. Tulla Band entered and won. They travelled in a baby Ford with no brakes.
0:35:46 - 0:38:00 DANCE HALL SCENE - No electricity then only tilly lamps the length of the marquee. The amplification was run off the car battery! The battery was taken from Seán Reid's car as he was the only one with a car. Dances from 9pm - 3am They were held in marquees and halls. Band was popular in Ennistymon, Killanena etc. Reid drove the band in a V8 van sitting on orange boxes going to Dublin for broadcast. Great camaraderie between band members.
0:38:01 - 0:42:45 THE KILFENORA CEILI BAND - Paddy played with them also. Kitty Linnane would ring Paddy to fill in for Paddy Mullins. He was presented with a plaque by John Morgan for the Kilfenora's centenary celebrations. Healthy competition existed between the two bands. All local musicians. Nowadays people drafted in from all parts of the county. Band members didn't drink much. The Astare and Commericial ballrooms in Galway city were where the lads played several gigs. Astare 9pm - 3am; Commercial 10pm - 4am!
0:42:46 - 0: 46:25 FIRST JOB - Paddy was 18 when he got his driving licence. Martin Rochford taught him how to drive. First job was driving for a merchant in Ennistymon. Paddy had a friend leaving for America from Kilbacanty (Galway) in the late 1940's. They held an American wake to send her off in style, Seán Reid brought him. That's where Paddy met Bridie, his wife. He played for a set with Joe Cooley that night. Bridie (eldest of seven) wanted to move to Clare. She worked in Galway regional hospital. Paddy got her a job as cook in Ennistymon. Paddy then drove for merchants in Ennis and got Bridie a job in Ennis. After 5 years they got engaged.
0:46:26 - 0: 50:00 ENGLAND - They decided to go in 1955 - they got jobs in same factory - Meltonian Shoe Cream. Bridie worked on the belt and Paddy on the packing in Cricklewood. They had separate digs. After 5 months they got married. They flew from Shannon to London for 11 pound 5 shillings. They had 50/60 pounds in savings. They married in Saint Agnes' Church, Cricklewood. Paddy's brother & sister were there. They had 6 guests at the wedding. First son Michael was born there a year after wedding. Bridie wanted to leave. She didn't want to raise children there. Notices in windows - no Irish need apply. Eventually they got a flat together. When Michael was ten months they came home. They got flat in Ennis, then council house.
0:50:01 - 0:54:35 WORK IN ENGLAND - 3 pound 17 wages. 2 pound digs. Hard work bagging flour, meal, coal etc. Never afraid of work. Paddy used to work as trolley bus conductor from Collindale. On his days off he would get a pound for cutting the local hedges. He also worked on buildings in Bedfordshire. Paddy played very little over there. His life was built around working. Bridie had 3 jobs - working factory making buttons, making chewing gum, etc. There was lots of work in England - no hassle changing jobs, no paperwork. They returned in 1958.
0:54:36 - 1:03:00 CAREER - Got job back in Ennis as lorry driver with the council. Then delivered ground limestone for McCarthy's Limestone Company. Worked as a salesman for Ranelagh & O' Briens gas & electrical company. He installed cookers. He installed bunsen burners in science room in Coláiste Muire secondary school in Ennis. Piping had to be done before floors could be put down. A 'water leak' test had to be done - you had a thermometer and if there was a leak the level rose, if not it fell. He was 4 years in that job. He delivered for spectacle factory in Ennis called 'Angers.' Then worked for mineral water company, travelled round Clare delivering soft drinks and Guinness, etc. 1970 - Applied for job in De Beers factory in Shannon (called Shannon Diamond Car Buy) in car maintenance. Paddy worked there looking after transport. Starting wage: 16 pound a week. After year & half, he changed to security dept in same company. Worked there18 years. Great perks - free clothes, house, telephone, kids parties at Christmas, etc. 1986 heart attack. Retired one year early. Good pension. Health setbacks - seven operations over the years.
1:03:01 - 1:11:32 MUSIC - Shamrock Céilí Band. Sean Duggan, Kilkishen was member. Tour of England with them. Paddy formed a band when Kennedy was assassinated - Kennedy Memorial Band - did English tour in early 60's. Members: Jack McDonnell (bass fiddle & piano); Kieran Donnellan (accordion), Gerard Griffin fiddle; Dan Moriarty drummer. They won Clare County Fleadh against the 'Golden Star.' He also played with the 'Golden Star' band for a few years. He left them because his job entailed shift work & his security job in De Beers meant he received a free company house in Shannon. Paddy had a rent-to-buy lease on a house in Cloughleigh at the time; he sold it and moved to Shannon. It took time to settle down with kids etc. Immigrants have integrated well in Shannon over the years. Shamrock Céilí Band was before that again. He moonlighted with the Gorey Céilí Band, playing with them for an All-Ireland competition. He played with Sean Norman's ceili band from Edenderry on a tour of England 1981. British Fleadh on same time in Hammersmith high school. Paddy judged the junior bands with Norman & Vincent Tighe.
1:11:32 - 1:17:00 COMPOSING MUSIC - Paddy couldn't play flute after heart attack so took up fiddle. He wrote most of his music on the fiddle. He would be walking the fields, some music would come into his head & he would hold it until he got back home. Bridie would tape it then. He doesn't read music. Geraldine Cotter transcribed his music. The book 'Ceol an Chláir' was published in 1997. Frank Whelan & Cois na hAbhna published the book. it was launched by Séamus MacMathúna in Feakle. A lot of modern compositions are less heartfelt. In 2008 Paddy brought out his first solo cd. He has since recorded one in 2010 with Seamus Bugler, Pat Costello & Pat Mullins entitled 'Life in the Slow Lane.' All proceeds go the Clarecare charity. Recorded in Shortt's pub in Feakle. Some compositions of Paddys are also on it - waltzes, hornpipes and reels.

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