Tom Cooney

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on March 22, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1916

Report date: April 1, 2011

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Time Description
0:00:00 - 0:03:47 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Tom speaks about his family. He outlines how his brother Michael was reared in Ballybran with his aunts. Michael also spent time in Limerick with another uncle of Toms. He speaks about other members of his family including John and Bridget Anne (Sis). Tom states that his father was born in Kiluran in O'Callaghans Mills and that his mother was McKenna from Ballybran. Mickey, Jack and Peggy Connnors reared James Cooney, Tom's father. Family tradition informs that Peggy brought Tom's father James, on her back from Kiluran to Corrigano.
0:03:48 - 0:28:38 COORIGANO AND CHANGE - Tom outlines how there was seven houses in Coorigano his father was being raised. He outlines forty-two houses that are now closed between Coorigano, Ballymalone and Caherhurley. Tom outlines all the people he recalls in the three townlands and how they ended up. He speaks about many people from the area including Pasty and Johnny Ryan and their sister Mary. Speaks generally about the many families in Corigano and outlines the various circumstances including their deaths and what happened to their homes. Mentions Johnny Brogan who was living on this own in a thatched house. He would be bringing turf on his back and stacking it beside his fire. On one occasion, the turf caught fire and his house was burnt to the ground. He states that his brother John Cooney told him that there were nineteen houses in Corigano at one stage. Mentions a field they could see coming down from Tulla (Mickey Hogan's Garden). Tom explains the boundary between Bodyke and Ogonnolloe Parishes in Corigano. Speaks about all the people who are 'gone'. 'We all hurled together and danced together'. (24 minutes). 'There was one time I saw a light in all them houses' A local man once told Tom many years later that 'The next time you come up here Tom, it'll be all a forest' Mogus Cahill - Sheriff?
0:28:39 - 0:31:53 PASTIMES - Tom speaks about where he hurled as a young man in Caherhurley. He also explains the game 'rings' that they used to play at Timmy Malone's gate. They would also throw a stone to see who could throw it the farthest. He states that Timmy Malone was the only man with a wireless. There would be a big crowd at Malone's for the All Ireland match.
0:31:54 - 0:34:40 HOUSE DANCES AND TOWNLAND ACTIVITY - Tom speaks about local house dances and names the houses where they would take place. He speaks about some of the people who would attend the house dances. He mentions Hogans from Dromid who would come in a Model T Ford to sell Tea and eggs etc. They would blow a whistle when they were coming to alert the people of the townland they were coming. He also states that the postman would blow his whistle when he was coming with post. Tom states that Jimmy Wilson was postman and then his brother Martin took the job. The man who owned the postman was Willie McCord.
0:34:41 - 0:42:14 COUNTRY LIFE - Tom speaks about the simple way of country life. He states that there were no clocks but if you had one it might break down. Speaks about going to Mass in a horse and car. Speaks about travelling in the past and the hardship that people went through. At 37:40 he mentions going across the 'Raise (sic.) to get to Tuamgraney…… He states that Anne Brady, his mother and 'Caimin' used to play music. Speaks about a Philip O'Shea who was at the house one night. Philip's aunt was playing at a house dance one night. Everyone was enjoying it but afterwards a trained musician told her she should learn to play music!! Speaks about the busy nature of life in Ireland now and how this is in contrast to his early life.
0:42:15 - 0:47:36 LIFE IN ENGLAND, BLACK AND TANS AND WORLD WAR II - Tom recalls meeting some people in England when he was working there who had been Black and Tans. They told him 'You were tough men in Ireland'. Tom speaks briefly about his time in Nottingham, England. He spent two years in England during the War. He briefly recalls hearing the sirens and having to run for shelter. He was paid to go down and see was the factory on fire. Tom says that if he was growing up again he'd rather be in America given the reaction Irish people get over there. He says that he found it hard to settle in England as there was always a grudge.
0:47:37 - 0:56:04 AMERICA - He went to American on March 16, 1979. Speaks about celebration of Irishness in America. Speaks about an attempt to meet Joe Frasier. Years later, Tom's daughter met Joe Frasier and he signed a picture and told her to send it back to her dad. This photo still hangs on Tom Cooney's wall.
0:00:00 - 0:02:15 FIle 2 BALLYMALONE AND THE HILLS - Speaks about travelling to Tuamgraney and calling to Hills on the way. He refers to crossing over the 'Raise'.
0:02:16 - 0:18:24 MECHANIC MEMORIES - Speaks about working at Frank Logan's garage (Mountshannon) in the 1930s. Recalls cycling to Tuamgraney and meeting Michael Tuohy who was the ambulance driver. Dr. O'Connor had asked Tuohy to look out for Tom Cooney to help him with his car. O'Connor's house is where O'Meara's house is now. He recalls a Garda Teigue in Scariff who was the local mechanic. Tom recalls the entire process of identifying what was wrong with the car and how he fixed it before it was driven to Mountshannon to Frank Logues garage. He spent six years working for Frank Logan. He speaks about having a motor bike which he had to sell when World War II broke out and rationing took effect. Speaks about his life in England and the work he did. Speaks about doing a test to drive a lorry. Speaks about seeing women and old men driving buses (During WWII). He recalls visiting Moloney's in Sheffield. Mentions Maggie Minogue who was also living there. They met her by chance.
0:18:25 - 0:41:18 VISIT TO ROME - Tom outlines his memories of his first visit to Rome. He recalls travelling by train to Dover and then on to Paris as he could not get a place on the plane. He speaks about a young American girl (Doris) who was also on her way to Florence and their adventure along the way through Paris and Switzerland. He speaks about how long the journey was and his attendance at mass when arriving after a week of travelling. He arrived at the hotel before the group who left from Dublin. Spoke about a man he met from Cork (Dan Buckley) and their determination to visit Rome without the women who would only delay them. Speaks about the sites he saw in Rome and Assisi. Speaks about serving mass in Assisi briefly and mentions Mary Hill (Ballymalone).
0:41:19 1 :15:40 MEETING PADRE PIO - He outlined how the meeting came about and describes in detail how it occurred. He speaks about Fr. Alessio who he got to know very well afterwards and provides and insight through the latter of Padre Pio's personality. He speaks about the aftermath of the visit and the impact on him. He speaks about his general experiences of going to Rome and how he didn't want to go on the first trip. He speaks about travelling through Italy and the challenge he had with the languages. Speaks about his journey back home and attributes a lot of the help he got to Padre Pio. Tom has been in Rome twenty five times.
1:15:41 - 1:31:34 HEALING POWER - Tom speaks about an occasion when he was flown to Dublin to St. Lukes Hospital in Dublin with his relics. Speaks about how Michael O'Donoghue from Tubber attributes his healing from Cancer to Tom's intervention with the Padre Pio Relic. This occurred in 1980.
1:31:35 - 1:33:09 SCARIFF MARTYRS - Tom speaks briefly about the connection of his house to the Scariff Martyrs.

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