Teasie McCormack (née Foot)

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on October 10, 2009

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1930

Area: North Clare - Kilfenora

Parish: Kilfenora

Report date: September 19, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:14:05 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Teasie speaks generally about the Civil War and how when people spoke about the period and that the conversation would generally only speak about the Irish War of Independence. Tease states that the house in Tullagha was a safe house for the local IRA men. Peader O Loughlin, a leading Republican died in the house of diabetes. Kangaroo courts were also held in the house in Tullagha. She remembers hearing about Micky's mother having to get out of bed and give her bed to the Republicans when they would come on the run. Andy Donoghue's wife sent up a bath of bacon to the house in Tullagha to make food for the Republicans. Teasie speaks about Katie McCormack (Jack McCormack's grand aunt) who was on hunger strike in Kilmainham at least once. Ernie O Malley also stayed in the house in Tullagha and mentioned the house in his book 'On Another Man's Wound'. O'Malley peeled spuds at the open hearth fire and trained volunteers in a nearby field. Micky's uncle (Mikey McCormack) worked in Dublin beside Countess Markievicz for years before the Civil War and speaks about his problems with drink. He used to stay at Tullagha when he was trying to stay off the drink, Teasie lists out the people who lived in the house during the War of Independence when the house was used as a safe house. Teasie states that Ignatius O'Neill stayed in the house and was injured. When he was told that the Black and Tans were coming he told the people in his house to put a revolver in each of his hand. He asked Peter (the man of the house) if he minded If the house went up (set on fire). Peter McCormack replied that he didn't give a damn if it did. O Loughlin's, Torpey's and Markham's houses were burnt in the locality but McCormack's was spared. Teasie show's medal's that were given to some of the McCormack's for their service to the Republican movement and explains the motivation for their involvement. Lala (Mrs. McCormack) explained to Teasie that there was an officer with the Black and Tans, when they raided the house, who was well behaved.
0:14:06 - 0:20:40 PERSONALITIES AND FAMILIES - WAR OF INDEPENDENCE - Teasie speaks about Ernie O'Malley staying in the house and her knowledge of the man. She states that Nora described Ernie as a gentleman and that he was gaunt and thin from being on the run. Teasie mentions and ambush in 'Sheshamore'. She speaks about Peader O Loughlin dying in the house. She states that the Peader died of diabetes. When the Volunteers stayed in the house, the family had to keep an eye out for the British. She remembered hearing about the sacrifices made by the McCormack family in giving their food to their volunteers. When the O'Loughlin's house was burnt, the entire family was brought to McCormack's in Tullagha and looked after.
0:20:41 - 0:25:15 PETER MCCORMACK - Teasie speaks about Peter (Petey) McCormack who had a job as a 'teaman'. He was in most counties in Ireland selling tea. He then went to America and became the head of a chain of stores. He had to come back to Tullagha to take over the farm at home. The Irish War of Independence broke out soon and for the following six years, the house of used as a safe house. Peter's wife (Nora) stated after that despite the danger, those six years were the happiest of their lives. Teasie speaks about Countess Markievicz being attacked in Ennis and having to flee to the convent for refuge.
0:25:16 - 0:27:32 TEASIE'S FAMILY - Teasie speaks about where she heard information and the fact that it was a pity not to find out more information when older people were still alive. Teasie speaks about her parents during the Economic War when they ran a shop in Dublin.
0:27:33 - 0:30:38 SCHOOLDAYS - Teasie speaks about going to school in Glencolmkille and walking through the wet roads and wearing wet boots all day in school. There were only eleven in the school at the time and she was taught by a teacher from Kerry, Miss Flemming. Note: Phone rings and File 1 ends.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:04:55 SCHOOLDAYS - Teasie speaks about her teacher in Cahersherkin (Miss Flanagan). She speaks generally about going to school and how she was very upset when she had to leave at the age of 14. The school was taught predominantly through Irish. Teasie speaks about a young boy who she had the job of teaching when she was in sixth and seventh class. Teasie describes how they would bring brown bread and milk for lunch. On cold days, Miss Flemming from Tiernaboul in Killarney. Every morning Miss Flemming would march the children around the school and have them singing republican ballads like the 'Bold Fenian Men' and the 'Rising of the Moon'. Teasie believes that Miss Flemming's brother had been on hunger strike at some stage.
0:04:56 - 0:07:50 PROTESTANT AND LANDLORD FAMILIES - Speaks about the family of Walter Scales in Corofin and in particular Jessie Russell who was married to a man called Miller by Teasie's grandfather who was a Protestant reverend. Teasie remembers being at the Scales house when she was child. Teasie states that people in 'big' (landlord) houses had a very different life
0:07:51 - 0:12:52 CUSTOMS - Teasie states there was no customs like 'turning the churn' in the Protestant community that she ever experienced. Teasie speaks about learning about customs around making butter. She recalls nursing in Ennis. She stayed at Tierney's in Ennis (Current bicycle shop). The woman of the house used to take the guardian of the Friary for drives. Teasie remembers speaking to the Friar about being asked to come to houses to remove bad luck from houses if a 'pisreóg' had been placed on a house. Teasie remembers people having to go down to the well on May Night to get holy water. You never bought or sold eggs on the first of May. You could be sent down to the well at 5.00am. May remembers woman milking your cow to take your luck away. She also heard of people locally leaving rotten eggs in your garden or rotten meat.
0:12:53 - 0:17:27 WORLD WAR II - Teasie speaks about locals picking blackberries during the War (WWII) and them being exported in barrels. Teasie remembers Jack Lee who would catch rabbits (snaring them) and would get a half crown for each rabbit. Teasie speaks generally about rationing during WWII and people being brought to court over selling on the black market. Teasie recalled a woman who bought tea on the black market and informed on the shopkeeper afterwards. Teasie states that people were frightened out of their wits when they'd see the 'black planes'. She states that this was the first time she say an airplane in the sky.
0:17:28 - 0:22:48 ELECTRIFICATION - Teasie recalls electricity coming into the house in Tullagha in 1959 and describes the impact it had on the house. The house in Tullagha was referred to as 'The Record House' because people would come up to the house to hear Mick read from The Record newspaper. Teasie explains that 'Lala' had 'sheruse' on the lights when they came in first and describes that the word 'sheruse' meant a disdain for something. Teasie recalls 'a crowd of auld men' coming on 'cuaird' on a good Friday. Teasie states that it was referred to as 'cuaird' to describe that social gathering but that it was also referred to as ragairne and lists a number of other Irish words.
0:22:48 - 0:27:54 NAMING THE FAMILY MEMBERS - Teasie speaks about the use of Irish among the older people in Tullagha and Kilfenora. Teasie's mother-in-law, who was from Louisburgh Co Mayo, had no Irish and had no interest in the language. She disagreed with Teasie calling her child Áine. She was then called Ann. Teasie speaks about calling her child (Geraldine) after St. Gerard. She explains the names of her other children and where the names came from.
0:27:55 - 0:28:58 CHANGE - Teasie states that the biggest change she saw over her life was that the current Irish farmer's wife has it a lot easier now. She states that the work of the farmer's wife was very tough but it was not acknowledged.

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