PJ O’Donoghue

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on May 27, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1938

Area: North Clare - Fanore Beg

Report date: September 20, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:06:06 FAMILY BACKGROUND AND THE PUB - The interview begins with the topic of O' Donoghue's bar which turned a hundred years old in August, 2011. It was built by PJ's granduncle in 1911 who had recently returned from America. It was then left to PJ's father who ran it until PJ took over. PJ was in charge of the pub for fifty years. During this time the pub scene has changed significantly. PJ's granduncle was called Anthony O' Donoghue who is described as a great scholar and made his own violin. Throughout the generations, O' Donoghue's were generally carpenters building currachs which were used for travelling to the Aran Islands. PJ says that the every carpenter had their own identifying style and design at the time. Shipwrecks were a great source of wood as the wreckage would come ashore and then be used by carpenters. Before the pub was built in 1911, Billy Quinn had a shibeen on the site.
0:06:06 - 0:08:53 THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE CIVIL WAR - PJ says that Garda Tomas Dowling was shot just across the road from the bar during the Civil War. PJ continues to talk about his event. PJ never heard any stories of the Black and Tans entering the pub or the locality. Martin Howley was an active IRA member in the area. PJ's father was involved with the dispatches for the IRA during the war.
0:08:53 - 0:12:01 CHILDHOOD - PJ's father took over the pub around 1930 and PJ talks about some of his earliest memories in the pub. He remembers him travelling down to Liscannor to buy rubber during World War II which was very scarce during these times. PJ's father was a carpenter by trade and kept this going despite having the pub. While growing up both PJ and his siblings were expected to help out in the pub Note: PJ shows a picture of the last Garda in Fanore. PJ talks about this man briefly.
0:12:01 - 0:15:49 HOUSE DANCES - PJ talks about the bachelors that would drink in the pub and mentions one of the songs they would sing. Houses dances were very popular around Christmas time and PJ talks about attending one. People would generally dance a few sets at these events. Musicians that played would receive only small bit of money which was left over from the 'mummers'. PJ talks about some of his favourite musicians while he was growing. These included Mick Linnane who played the tin whistle and Mrs Kilmartin, a concertina player.
0:15:49 - 0:21:08 THE IRISH LANGUAGE - PJ states that Glenina village was the last Irish speaking one in County Clare. Tom Byrnes was from this fishing village and was brought up speaking Irish. June was once a popular month for people from the Aran Islands to come to the mainland. The purpose of their visit was mainly fishing. They would come wearing their pampooties and stay in Joe Quealy's. These people would only have a small bit of English with Irish been their first language. Note: Interview takes a break here as someone visits the house.
0:21:08 - 0:24:28 CURRACHS - Fishing was always a big industry in Fanore and PJ can remember a time when there was up to twenty currachs operating in the community. PJ's granduncles were carpenters and would also build these boats. PJ talks about some families that would travel to the Aran Islands from Doolin in the 50s. The purpose of these visits was generally recreational.
0:24:28 - 0:26:53 TOURISM - The road located outside PJ's house is recognised as one of the most scenic drives in the world. During the 50s, it was very common for the English to visit however this ended when the Troubles began. The Cliffs of Moher was always a very popular destination.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:04:38 GAA - PJ's mother was Linnane from Doolin. His parents met when his father, Paddy, was building Considine's pub in Doolin. His father was always a good footballer and even represented Clare in the 1917 All-Ireland Football Final. This was the only time Clare was in the All-Ireland. He would always travel to Kilkee where training would take place. PJ remembers hearing that Eamonn de Valera and Micheal Collins where in attendance. Kerry wasn't in the Munster final at that time as several players were on the run from authorities. Clare instead met Galway at this stage. Peter O' Loughlin, a politician at that time, would frequently travel with team as his younger brother played with them.
0:04:38 - 0:06:31 POLITICS - PJ's father was a strong Fianna Fáil follower and there is a picture with him and de Valera. His father's sister was married to an RIC man. He was told by Republicans to vacate the area. He failed to comply with their demands so they shot them.
0:06:31 - 0:10:33 THE IRISH FOLKLORE COMMISSION - PJ spends some time discussing his mother who would talk fondly about her home in Doolin. He remembers the Irish Folklore Commission and the visits of Séamus Ó Duillearga in the 1930s. Another man travelled with him, Jack Carly (Donoghue) who was great for story telling. O'Duillearga was from the hills of Antrim and had one son. Other folklore collectors included the Tomas Howard and O'Duillearga was very keen to meet this man. Note: Interview breaks here as the phone rings.
0:10:33 - 0:14:40 ABANDONED VILLAGES - - PJ says that the last family to Leac an Uisce 70 years ago were the Quinns. He proceeds to list several other families who left the locality. PJ tells one story about the abandoned village that is based during the famine times.
0:14:40 - 0:19:32 CHANGES IN SOCIETY - PJ talks about some of the characters that would visit the pub. The biggest changes in Fanore, according to PJ, would be the increase in tourism. Whenever someone was emigrating from Fanore they would generally go to England.
0:19:32 - 0:21:18 WAKES - PJ remembers people been afraid of cats attacking the body at wakes. He also remembers clay pipes been a feature of wakes and he heard of them been referred to as 'dúidíns'. When it came to burial customs, PJ says that no grave would be opened on a Monday.
0:21:18 - 0:23:40 CALENDAR CUSTOMS - PJ refers to May Eve as 'Pisreóg Night'. He remembers one man ploughing potatoes. Some people decided to put duck eggs with the potatoes as a joke. According to PJ, the belief in these 'pisreógs' was only evident in the minority of Fanore's population. PJ remembers hearing about both the banshee and Jack o' the lantern.
0:23:40 - 0:25:53 ELECTRICITY - Before the advent of electricity, PJ remembers making lamps for the bar. His father had a wind charger which he used for the lights and charging the battery for the old radio. Their pub was the first structure to get electricity and a radio. People would visit on the day of a match so they could listen.

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