Paddy O’Malley

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 9, 2010

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1920

Area: East Clare - Feakle

Report date: September 20, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:13:46 BIDDY EARLY - Paddy speaks about his knowledge of Biddy Early. He states that Biddy used to live in Aisle, Feakle and when she moved to Kilbarron to where the Biddy Early cottage is located now, his grandfather (Martin O Malley) brought her down. Paddy speaks about a landlord (Sheehy) who lived in Limerick. The landlord put the rent up on the tenants in Feakle and when they could not pay he decided to evict them. Paddy explains how he would stay in a thatched cottage near Gorteenreagh Bridge. When he came with the eviction order, he first met Biddy Early and told her the eviction would take place on Monday morning. Biddy told him that there would be no trace of him on Monday morning and that he “would go like the froth of the river”. Two men later burned Sheehy to death in the cottage and there was never a trace of him again. Paddy heard a lot of stories about Biddy Early from his Aunt (Bridget O Malley) who was brought to Biddy as a baby with measles. Paddy met Daniel Minogue who was the only person to see the famous 'magic bottle' of Biddy Early. He dug a haggard for Biddy Early and she showed him the bottle. Daniel Minogue would never speak about Biddy Early. He would say that “she was a nice little lady”. Paddy states that his aunt and the older people around Feakle believed in Biddy Early. Paddy states that Biddy Early is buried in Feakle graveyard at the far left corner. Paddy speaks about men being drunk from the 'poitín' that Biddy would get as payment for her cures. He also states that Biddy used to get letters from America for cures and she would write back with cures. Kitty O Malley's grandfather (Moloney) from Ballymacdonell, Clooney went to see Biddy Early. She new the colour of every cow he had when he arrived. Paddy speaks about a man from West Clare who came for a cure for his son. Biddy told him that if he could carry the bottle she gave him safely home, his son would be fine. The bottle got smashed on the way home and the son died.
0:13:46 - 0:21:27 GOLD IN GORTEENREAGH - Paddy speaks about his memories of finding a collar of Gold in Gorteenreagh in 1948. He mentions an old woman (Nora O'Donnell), who used to always say there was gold buried between her house and O'Malleys. Paddy recalls working in his field in March, 1948 with blasting powder to clear the rocks. He recalls digging with a spade and finding the collar. He first thought it was the colour of copper. He didn't even bring it home for the dinner. His father (John O'Malley) spoke about a huge rock that had been in the middle of the field which had been blasted years before. The collar was found beside where the rock had been. Mrs. O Donnell had heard of a man who was being chased by robbers and hid the gold in the field beside her house. Paddy states that a lot of people came to see the collar but didn't know what it was. It was in Paddy's house for two weeks until Paddy Purcell, a local councillor was the first to identify what it was because he has seen a similar one in the National Museum in Dublin. The field that Paddy found the gold collar in was called 'The Long Garden'.
0:21:30 - 0:35:16 FAIRS - Paddy speaks about life on the farm and describes the various activities and in particular going to the fairs. He speaks about getting up a 4.00am to the fair in Tulla or Scariff. There was a cattle and pig fair in Feakle every month. He says that you would sell a 'bonabh' for 30 shillings when he was younger. Paddy recalls the first time that he took on the job of going to the fair on his own to sell cattle. He was 15 years old when he was sent to the fair in Tulla with two cattle. Paddy describes how the sale would be made and how they buyer would use a 'raddler' to mark them. He would then be paid outside the bank in Tulla. He speaks about men whose job it was to walk cattle to places like Gort or other places. Paddy speaks about the effect of the Economic War on the price of cattle locally. He describes bringing cattle to the fair and who men would go together in groups so as to be able to control the cattle better. He mentions a Pat Donoghue from Feakle who drove cattle from Kerry back to Feakle. He also mentions Miko McMahon (Magherabawn) who drove cattle as far as the Burren from Feakle. He describes the haggling and bargaining that would go on at the fairs and the different tricks that people would use to get the price down. He tells a story about a man (George Liddy) who had a great horse but you could not put a car on her. He went to Spancill Hill to sell her but he was worried if they tried to put a car on her. Paddy describes how he fooled the men into not trying the car on the horse. He remembers going to the Fair Green in Ennis for the Fair. Paddy talks about the change that occurred when marts were introduced. He states that a lot of the older people were very sad to see the fairs dying out. He also states that the dealers found it harder to make money when the marts came in. They were against the fair in Scariff.
0:35:16 - 0:37:16 THE FARM - Paddy describes the type of cattle they had on the farm at home. He talks about his father's time on the farm and how they had no machinery to work with.
0:37:16 - 0:40:27 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Paddy speaks about what he had heard about the War of Independence in Feakle. He talks about the ambush in Feakle village where two 'peelers' were shot. The Tans burnt Thady Kelly's and Rochford's (Furnacetown). He states that the area was a very Republican stronghold and that lots of men were in the racket. The Tans came into their house a few times looking for a barrel of turf or a goose when they were staying at the barracks in Feakle. He states that they didn't talk much in school about the War of Independence.
0:40:27 - 0:46:10 SCHOOL/ IRISH - Paddy went to school in Glendree. The teacher there was a Master O Connor. Paddy states that he liked school and in particular he liked Irish. Paddy states that his father (John O Malley) spoke a good lot of Irish. A local guard, (Cashman) went to his father at one stage to help him with his Irish. Paddy talks about some of the Irish words that would be used in every day English. He mentions the 'grogán' of turf and the 'greesach.' Kitty states that this was the word in Clooney too. Paddy mentions the word 'conheen' to describe a piece of dirt or dust that went into your eye. Paddy also mentions a 'skee' that was used to collect potatoes. It was made out of hazel rods and most people were able to make them.
0:46:10 - 0:48:17 TRADESMEN - Paddy speaks about handy men that would be able to mend horse carts and harnesses. He mentions a Durack man who had a forge in Feakle village and Patrick Moroney who was a carpenter in Feakle. He speaks about tailors who made clothes for the local people. There was a tailor Noonan in Feakle who would make clothes for the locals. Tailor Noonan's father was also a tailor.
0:48:18 - 0:49:29 BRIDGE HOUSE, FEAKLE - He explains that his grandfather built Bridge house for Paddy's Aunt. She only lived in it for a while and came home to live with the O'Malley's for the rest of her life. He believed that the house was haunted and would not stay in it.
0:49:29 - 0:51:21 SUPERNATURAL - Paddy speaks about haunted houses in Feakle. He mentions Walshes in Ayle being haunted. A number of people saw an old Walsh man who had been dead for 50 years. Pierce Howard told Paddy that he has seen old Walsh himself. Paddy speaks about the banshee and that some families would hear the banshee if a family member was going to die. Different men told Paddy that they had heard the banshee. Kitty states that there were stories about the banshee back her own way in Clooney also. Paddy heard a story about the 'cóiste bodhar'. He was told by a man (Dan Ryan) who saw it in Knockjames, Tulla. He describes it like a hearse 'tearin mad'.

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