Paddy Tuohy

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on December 12, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1924

Area: East Clare - Whitegate

Report date: September 21, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 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 brothers, (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 bringing plums to them when he was very small.
0:03:21 - 0:04:52 OLD HOMEPLACE - 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.
0:04:53 - 0:09:53 THATCHING - Paddy describes the process of thatching. He states that his family used straw as there were very little reeds on the Shannon. They would use wheat and straw. He describes 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 says that you would do about four strokes (six foot) in one day.
0:09:54 - 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 would bring three creels in the day.
0:11:43 - 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 Spancill Hill. He would leave home at 9pm 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 am or 7am in the morning, as the main buyers would have to have their horses on the train in Ennis before too late in the morning.
0:16:51 - 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 hooves weren't right. Paddy speaks about the importance of not criticising any man's stock.
0:23:23 - 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, good for swelling was an old cure. He refers to a man in Gorteenreagh 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'.
0:28:39 - 0:33:20 WILD HORSES - Paddy recalls John Blake (vet) trying to castrate a particularly wild 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 Mac, who was working at Blakes, for £55. Pa later sold him to a girl for £140.
0:33:21 - 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.
0:34:32 - 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.
0:38:57 - 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.
0:41:35 - 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.
0:43:46 - 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.
0:48:23 - 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.
0:49:52 - 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.
0:56:05 - 0:59:47 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.
0:59:48 - 1:01:18 WORLD WAR II AND RATIONING - Paddy speaks about World War II and the impact of rationing.
1:01:19 - 1:09:35 FARM MACHINERY - Paddy speaks about the changes 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.He speaks about how some of the machinery was used and some of the dangers associated with them. Paddy briefly describes edging the scythe with a drawing hook. He speaks about the arrival of tractors into the area. Says the first tractor he saw 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.
1:09:36 - 0:13:57 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 that 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.
1:13:58 - 1:17:39 HOUSE DANCES - Paddy speaks about house dance at Farrell's 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. (This Margaret Malone taught Michael '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.
1:17:40 - 1:26:29 CUAIRD' & SUPERNATURAL - 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 about the 'cuaird' and that the general hours would be 6pm to 9pm because people went to bed early and got up early. Interview ends as Paddy has to go and put in his geese
File 2 Outside before interview 0:00:00 - 0:05:48 ISLANDMORE - Paddy talked though a map of the area. He speaks about the various locations and identifies the islands and area. He states that there is a dwelling on The Yellow Island used my men from Dublin (for gaming or research). Paddy speaks about Islandmore and names the families who lived there including the Paddy O'Meara, Michael O'Meara and Joe O'Meara (separate families) and Tierneys. He explains the change of ownership of Islandmore. Speaks about Winston, who bought out a lot of the island for £900. Paddy states that the island is the best land in Ireland. State that horses and ponies got Laminitis from the rich land. Paddy speaks about the people being held for six weeks in 1962 when the lack was frozen. Paddy states that the freezing in 1962 was not as bad as 1962.
0:05:48 - 0:08:08 SWIMMING - Paddy explains that he or his brother never learnt how to swim. Their father Tom Tuohy was afraid they might drown as they were bounds by water on three sides. He says that he never learnt how to swim but he was often out in stormy weather in boats. Speaks about two Dublin solicitors drowning off Islandmore when they were out sailing.
0:08:08 - 0:08:14 ISLANDMORE - Outlines the gradual evacuation of the island. Speaks briefly about the background to the Tierneys. Bill Tierney's mother came from Garrykennedy. Says that Tierneys bought the land off O'Gradys. Paddy states that Germans now own the island. He speaks about Winston who bought the island in the 1960s. He gradually bought the island in the early 1960s and bought it all for approximately £10,000. States that Islandmore is a game farm now and they still keep cattle on it. Recalls cutting corn in the 1980s and took 80 tons of corn out of the island. Paddy explains the process of cutting and bagging the corn. He also speaks about taking it back to the shore on the boat. The boat they used was called a float, which they used to bring cattle with.
0:14:39 - 0:17:25 TRAFFIC ON LOUGH DERG - Paddy speaks about the traffic he remembers on Lough Derg. He recalls seeing the Guinness boats coming and remembers hearing them swapping drink from one boat to another when they'd meet near his house on their way to Limerick.
0:17:26 - 0:17:26 THE TWENTIES ISLANDS - Paddy speaks about other islands including 'The Twenties' which are on the eastern coast.
0:17:26 - 0:22:53 TOM 'BOWLER' TUOHY - Paddy speaks briefly about his father being in the IRA in Feakle. Paddy explains where their family got the nickname 'The Bowlers'. It relates to a cattle drive from Kilgorey in O'Callaghan's Mills. Paddy's father took the 303 rifle from an RIC Constable Bowler and became known as the Bowler after that occasion. Paddy states that they had the rifle for years after. He states that an Egan man from Coose buried the gun and this man's son now has the rifle.
0:22:53 - 0:26:20 FLOODING - Paddy speaks about flooding and states that 20 acres was taken off then during the floods on the Galway side of his land. He says that there was a house 80 years ago near Hourigan's Point (Rinbarra). Paddy remembers and old woman living there. This was the last house in Clare. He states that there was a shop in it in the 1800s. Boats would have stopped here to buy goods.
0:26:21 - 0:27:12 CUAIRD' - Paddy speaks briefly about going on 'cuaird' to Farrell's in Tin Trim
0:27:13 - 0:29:11 ISLANDMORE - Speaks about the quality of land in Islandmore. Explains how they travel in to the island now. Speaks about the Clinker built boats used to go out to Islandmore. John Tierney and Jackie Tuohy used to make boats locally.
0:29:12 - 0:32:57 GENERAL - Paddy speaks about being a handyman. Speaks about breeding horses. They would usually use Irish drafts. Speaks briefly about horse fairs. Mentions Jack Malone from Caherhurley. Paddy built the house that this portion of the interview was built by Paddy in 2003

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