Paddy ‘The Bowler’ Tuohy

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on December 12, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1924

Area: East Clare - Whitegate

Parish: Clonrush - Whitegate

Report date: January 10, 2012

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:03:20 CHILDHOOD AND EARLIEST MEMORY - Paddy was born on the 22 August 1924. He recalls his earliest memory as when his mother died in 1929. He recalls people coming on the ponies and traps and giving them sweets. He explains how his mother was killed by accident in a shed when she was only 33 years of age. He outlines who was left in the house after his mother died. Paddy had two brother (Tim and John) and his grand uncle and grand aunt (Fogartys) were also in the house with Paddy's father Tom Tuohy. He remembers seeing his mother brining plums to them when he was very small.
0:03:20 - 0:04:52 OLD HOME HOUSE - Paddy describes the inside of his old house, which was built over 100 years ago. He speaks about the Open Hearth Fire and the rooms in the house.
0:04:52 - 0:09:53 THATCHING - Paddy describes the process of thatching. He states that his family used straw as there was very little reeds on the Shannon. They would use wheat and straw. He desbribes in detail how the thatch was repaired on his old house. He states that there were scraws (earth) as a lower layer and then the scallops and straw. He states that it was like slating. He says that birds and rats would cause a lot of disturbance to the thatch. He state that you would do about four strokes (six foot) in one day.
0:09:53 - 0:11:42 WORK AND JOBS AS A CHILD - Paddy outlines the various jobs he and his brothers had to do as children. This included sowing and weeding vegetables He speaks about going to the bog cutting and drawing home the turf from Gortnascreeney. They woiuld bring three creels in the day.
0:11:42 - 0:16:50 HORSES - Paddy speaks about his family's connection to horses. He explains how you would train a horse in detail including 'making their mouth' which was training them. He explains many words associated with training a horse. He states that to break a horse you would need to leave a horse tied up in the breaking harness for a fortnight. This would only be a few hours a day as it would make their mouth too tough if it was left on too long. They usually had Irish Drafts for working. Paddy speaks about his earliest memories of going to the horse fair of Spancil Hill. He would leave home at 9.00pm in the evening and would arrive in Spancill hill around 3.00am. The Fair was at the cross of Spancill Hill when Paddy went first. Paddy explains that it was vital that you sold your horses before 6.00am or 7.00am in the morning, as the main buyers would have to have their horses on the train in Ennis before too late in the morning.
0:16:50 - 0:23:22 HOW TO JUDGE A HORSE - Paddy outlines how horses were judged. He speaks in details about the various faults that people would watch for in the horse. This includes the teeth, the sight, the head, balance, the reign (neck). They also looked to see how they stood and how they trotted. Paddy speaks about curbs, which came at the back leg, spavin which was inside the leg. Sidebones (splints) came on the front leg and if they were up near the knee he would be lame and if it was down farther it was ok. Ringbone was down at the fetlock. They could also be classed as pigeon toed if the hoofs wasn't right. Paddy speaks about the importance of not criticising any man's stock.
0:23:22 - 0:28:38 HORSE AILMENTS AND CURES - Paddy speaks about diseases and ailments that horses got over the years including murmurs of the heart and the wind. He mentions bluestone that you would dissolve in water and rub it on the horse. He also states that goose grease is good for swelling was an old cure. He refers to a man in Gorteeny who had an ointment that would cure a horse's tear or cut. Paddy speaks about castrating horses and explains how they were tied, knocked and castrated. He states that after he was cut there was clam of unsalted butter and bluestone put on the horse for a few days. He states that Patty Hogan. Paddy Farrell and Dan Morrissey were the locals who would castrate the horse. He describes the horse as the tractor, 'the motor car, everything'.
0:23:38 - 0:33:20 WILD HORSES - Paddy recalls a particularly wild horse who John Blake (Veterinarian) trying to castrate a horse. The horse was bred out of a race horse called Killone Boy owned by the Farrells of Tintrim. Paddy describes the incident and how they managed the horse. The horse was later sold to Pa Mc, who was working at Blakes for £55. Pa later sold him to a girl for £140.
0:33:20 - 0:34:31 COW DOCTORS - Paddy speaks briefly about local cow doctors. He states that there was an old man in Coose called the Giant Garvey who was able to set the broken legs of cattle.
0:34:31 - 0:38:56 MAY EVE/NIGHT - Paddy speaks about people placing the May Pole down and general belief in May Eve customs. He states that his father didn't have any belief in May Eve customs but other local people did. He recalls a May Day Fair in Scariff when people would be coming to show off their stallions. He says that locally people used to use the May Poles, which they would stick in their fields (mountain ash). Paddy recalls seeing them placed in various fields along the way to Scariff on the May Fair day. He names some of the families who would use them. He states that some people would put down the May poles but wouldn't let you see them. He recalls seeing people bless cows with the froth of the milk after milking. Doesn't recall any tradition around the 'cleaning' of a cow after calving.
0:38:56 - 0:41:34 ST MARTIN'S NIGHT - Speaks about St. Martin's Night tradition. His father would kill a young cock and use his blood to bless the house and the outhouses. Paddy did not recall anyone adhering to the 'no wheel turning' on St. Martin's Day. He does recall a tradition that you should not turn a scraper or do any ploughing on May Day. He states that people were very rigid about this tradition in the old days.
0:41:34 - 0:43:45 FOWLING - Paddy states that there was lots of fowl in his locality and around his house and fields which are next to the Shannon. He recalls shooting at organised meets in Islandmore. He recalls being at a shooting meeting with President Patrick Hillery. This was organised by Winston who had bought the island.
0:43:45 - 0:48:22 POACHING - Paddy recalls poaching during World War II. He states that you would make more poaching at this time than you would from farming. He outlines the value of various birds including pigeons, geese, pheasants and wild duck. He also outlines the value of rabbits, hares etc. He once shot five geese with two cartridges and sold them with a few ducks in Dublin for £5. He bought a tweed coat from his cheque in O'Sheas in Scariff. Speaks about hunting rabbits and hares briefly.
0:48:22 - 0:49:51 FISHING - States that they never poached salmon as you won't get salmon in still water. He recalls fishing when he was younger. He and his brother would fish for perch, roach and eels.
0:49:51 - 0:56:04 KILLING THE PIG - Paddy describes how this father and his brothers would kill the pig. His father Tom Tuohy would kill the pigs for other people in the area. He describes the process of salting and pickling the pig. He states that it was important that the weather was 'middling cold' when you were killing the pig. He speaks about rearing and selling pigs.
0:56:04 - 0:59:57 CHANGING VALUE OF LIVESTOCK - Paddy traces the changing value of stock over the decades and in particular through the Economic War (1933-39). He states that it was the 1960s until prices really improved. He recalls selling a good horse in Limerick in 1963 for £140.
0:59:57 - 1:01:18 WORLD WAR II AND RATIONING - Paddy speaks about World War II and the impact of rationing.
1:01:18 - 1:09:35 FARM MACHINERY - Paddy speaks about the changing to farm machinery over the years. He names some of the pieces of pre mechanisation machinery they had when he was a child. He speaks about the Swarth turner which you would use to sweep up hay in the 'Lawhers'(sic.). He speaks about how some of the machinery was used and some of the dangers associated with them. Paddy speaks about edging the scythe with a drawing hook briefly. He speaks about the arrival of tractors into the area. Speaks about the first tractor he saw which was at Farrells. Speaks about an old tractor in Islandmore which was built in 1924. The Slatterys from Pucán bought this tractor and restored it. Paddy speaks about bringing machinery onto Islandmore. Speaks about a landing craft that was used to bring soldiers to Normandy. In his younger years they would bring machinery out on a float which was used to bring cattle over. He recalls one being sank and that Winston, who owned Islandmore arranged for Ardnacrusha PowerStation to let down the water
1:09:35 - 1:13:57 LOUGH DERG FROZEN IN 1962 - Paddy remembers Lough Derg freezing in 1962. The people on Islandmore were trapped for six weeks on the island because they couldn't cross the lake. Paddy explains who Winston's mother was a sister of Paddy O'Mearas. Winston bought the island from the Tierneys after the lake froze because they were looking to get out of it after that experience. He remembers being caught on the island one night with a Garda O'Hara.
1:13:57 - 1:17:39 HOUSE DANCES - Paddy speaks about house dance at Farrells in Tintrim. Martin Grace and Paddy Farrell used to play music. He remembers Margaret Malone, who was a fiddler from Gortnascreeney. She taught a number of people to play traditional music. He outlines Margaret Malone music. (This Margaret Malone taught Micahel 'Hookey' Farrell to play music - See Archive). He speaks about a curse that was put on the Malones who were landlords in Gortnascreeney. They died out after this which Paddy attributes to the curse.
1:17:39 - 1:26:29 CUAIRT AND ENTERTAINMENT - Speaks about local storytellers and the practice of Cuaird. He mentions Paddy Kelly who lived close to them and said they were great to trace people. Speaks about hearing ghost stores when he was a young boy. He states that a number of spots around the area would be noted in stories as being haunted. He recalls Kevin O'Meara cutting the ditches under the telephone wires. Paddy Purcell, a county councillor in the Feakle area complained about trees being cut that were Fairy trees. Paddy Purcell believed that a particular whitethorn three was a Fairy Tree. Purcell stated that where the Whitethorn tree was cut they saw a coffin coming out from under it one night. Paddy refers briefly to Biddy Early. He recalls an occasion playing a trick on Michael 'Hookey' Farrell at Biddy Early's cottage. Speaks bout the cuaird and that the general hours would be 6.00pm to 9.00pm because people went to bed early and got up early. Interview ends as Paddy has to go and put in his geese.

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