Tom Roughan

Interview by Geraldine Greene on December 3, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1934

Area: Ennis

Report date: December 5, 2015

Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:08:00 INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAND, NEIGHBOURHOOD & HOUSE & SOME LOCAL HISTORICAL INFORMATION - Tom was born in present house & has always lived there; Roughan farm is in Fountain, 3 miles from Ennis near the main Ennis-Corofin road in the parish of Ruan-Dysart bounding the parishes of Kilnamona-Inagh, Doora-Barefield, Kilmaley-Inch-Connolly & Ennis; he says the name Fountain derived from a fountain at McMahons - it was a lovely building; the Poles family lived there before McMahons but he is unsure of further information; there are many Roughan families locally & may have originated in Crusheen area; he gives more information on neighbouring townlands & families; Jig's Forge gave its name to a local crossroads; Morgan from Kilfenora was the blacksmith there to possibly 1970s; he gives some information about big house landlords Cullinans in Kilquane & Shallee; he tells a story about the dividing of the land; he describes the good shale & limestone land in the locality; not many local people moved to farms in eastern counties through the Land Commission scheme; he describes the “coldstone” strip of rich farm land which extended from the sloblands estuary to the local area; the 3 local castles, Dysart, Magowna & Shallee are in a line; he refers to the Glas Gaibhneach. House: the original single story house was built in 1916; most houses in the area were thatched but theirs was slated with Killaloe slates by Clancy, Newmarket-on-Fergus who also built 2 other Roughan houses; they re-roofed & extended it some years ago.
0:08:00 - 0:08:47 PERSONAL & FAMILY INFORMATION - Tom was only son & second youngest in the family & had 5 sisters - two went to England, one in Dublin & one married in Dysart; many locals emigrated to England & America; Tom never knew his grandparents.
0:08:47 - 0:11:21 SCHOOL DAYS - Tom went to the old 2-storey stone school in Toonagh (now the local hall); he walked about 2 miles by road; he recalls two Keatinge brothers from Kilnamona who went to Toonagh school; it was built in 1845, it was a mixed school; Infants to 2nd class were downstairs & 3rd to 6th were upstairs; he recalls subjects, Irish, hurling, picking “cippins” & bringing bottles of milk & a block of timber daily for the fires in both classrooms; many went on to to secondary school mostly to the Tech in Ennis; Tom only lad & had work to do at home so not to secondary school; he has good memories of school; Tom left school at age 14 in 1948.
0:11:22 - 0:36:02 FARMING & RELATED TOPICS - Tom's parents had a mixed farm; they milked cows & received a good income by delivering churns of milk by pony & car to the Industrial School at the Convent of Mercy in Ennis; they had this contract from 1914-1963 before the creameries; he describes his farm jobs when he was young - milking, keeping the fire, cutting hazel for firewood, bringing creels of bought turf; he mentions some field names in Irish & English - his children still use these names; they kept pigs & fowl for their own use, maybe sold some eggs; he says the 2 big days were washing sheep & threshing (by hand in earlier years before the threshing machine) - 10-12 neighbours gathered together for the threshing meitheal; they looked forward to it & had a day off school; no celebration after it; he describes washing the sheep annually in May; they got more money for washed V greasy wool which was collected at Erinagh Bridge by Coffeys from Ennis; they kept 2 horses; he gives the dates of the fairs held at Ennis, Corofin & Clarecastle before the marts were set up; they went from Clonroad to the Fairgreen in Ennis; butter-making was for their own use & not sold; he recalls many neighbouring farms had labourers/farm hands; he recalls local men who moved to other parishes to work; the walls are stone & he describes how he cleared & improved much of his land with compressors; Whelans Quarry started in 1950s; the land from in Cairn and Frank Roughans to O'Briens farm was Burren land; he tells a story about gold hidden at Bushypark at the Battle of Aughrim & Biddy Early's comments; he recalls walking there on Sundays & milking tame goats in the mornings before school; they kept their own goats for milking & for food at Christmas; nuts hazels eaten by goats; he recalls lots of goats & kids in the past on Cairn Hill, the nearby limestone land, an outcrop of the Burren - he says the kids were hard to find; he says people forecast the weather by their presence: they were out in the open on fine days & in the bushes on wet days; his family grew crops for own use; they tilled corn & got it crushed at McInerney's in Ennis. He recalls his family using the creamery in Kilnamona which served the hinterland from the 1960s; milk was collected by truck after the creamery closed down; few farmers milking now; big changes: he cites changing from horses to tractors, making silage as main changes; he recalls the first tractor & first silage; the biggest change was getting piped water in the area water was v.scarce with few wells & streams so they had to drive cattle to water at Pole's Bridge & the river near JJ Hegartys; no wells on Roughan land. He describes the old road from Ennis to Maurice's Mills before the “new line”; he comments on the photo taken locally of 2 men coming from Kilnamona creamery in Dorothea Lange's book of photos (taken in 1950s); he recalls names of milk suppliers in town & where they got their milk cans from; he recalls the older women wearing shawls & the small houses in old Mill Street in Ennis; he recalls makers of carts, breeds of cattle, cattle with horns & the Dunne brothers. He remembers the piggery in Kilnamona which some locals were involved in setting up but is unsure when, maybe 1970s; effluent went into the nearby stream. Cures: Tom explains how some local men fixed slipped shoulders in cattle; he talks about Owen Hegarty, Kilnamona who was known for cures in past years - he used poultices for cancer in people. IFA and Macra na Feirme: Tom was a member of the NFA (IFA in later years); he recalls the national farmers march to Dublin in 1967; Tom walked from Shannon to Limerick & then took the train to Dublin; some walked all the way; a group slept outside Leinster House for 21 nights; Tom sings a song about the event - he isn't sure where he got the song; Tom was involved in Macra na Feirme in Kilnamona (see next section). He tells a yarn about a man mowing hay who got diarrhoea.
0:36:03 - 0:47:08 MUSIC, DANCING & SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENT - Tom recalls house dances in Toonagh at Barrys & parties at Kitsons big house with great floors & big kitchen; he recalls the sound of dancing at fireplace; he remembers strawboys & he went on several strawboys in disguised; there were strawboys for his own wedding; he thinks the custom is more or less gone; he names some local musicians - Martin Mullins Dysart, Pakie Barrett Kilnamona & Tom Hegarty Kilfenora; he recalls some local characters; he recalls occasions such as Fr Mulqueen's ordination; he recalls just a few sets at Roughans; he recalls hunting the wren as youngsters. Tom enjoys songs & singing; he enjoyed listening to the CAC recording of Seamus O'Donnell (given to him by Geraldine Greene); he sings songs got locally; he enjoys singing nights at Whelans in Shanaglish; he recalls hunting the wren & attending a wren dance in Kilfenora in 1961; he recalls marquee dances at Fountain Cross; Carl McTigue was owner of one at Loughville; he names marquee & ceili dances he attended; he learned to dance a set at home Caledonain only but had no interest in other sets; he heard of Paddy Barron, dance master but never met or saw him; people travelled by cycled to dances; he got his interest in singing from his father who had lots of comic songs, many got from halls & local parties in Ennis & Miltown and English comedians in the 1900s; he recites a few lines of a sing which he failed to source; he always liked poems & rhymes at school. He & Madge dance a set on Sunday nights in an Inagh pub; he goes to an occasional Friday night session in Toonagh; he recalls some great dances & concerts in Toonagh in past years; Tom & Madge say that going on cuairt is seldom done now & dying out V “big” when Tom was young; they recall “Gompers” Whelan & Lott O'Halloran coming to their house; Tom likes to visit others & Madge says he whistles as he enters the house; mostly men went on cuairt; people had a fear of going to bed after hearing fairy stories; men took part in gambles mostly at Christmas while woment chatted in a different room. He recalls Kilnamona Hall being built in 1960s with stones from Griffey's house; dances & meetings held there; he had some involvement with Macra na Feirme; he recalls locals' involvement in stock-judging, etc; he recalls Joe Keatinge, Kilnamona who wrote plays.
0:47:08 - 0:53:51 FOWLING, HUNTING, FISHING, SPORTS, SPORTS DAYS, PASTIMES & ACTIVITIES - He recalls setting snares for rabbits & selling them to Willie Ryans, greengrocer & Lanes in Ennis to get the price of a dance; he recalls eating rabbits in his 20s during the war years; he recalls setting snares/traps for cradle birds with hazel & cords in 4 corners scallops during the big frosts of 1947 & 1948; they did not kill birds but let them off again. He recalls tug-of-wars good team in Dysart & Kilnamona; he recalls Sports Days held at Gort na G... near Toonagh NS; he recalls some dances at Sports Days, eg Gortagannive in Kilmaley & Kilnamona in late 50s; the well-known accordion player Joe Cooley played at Kilnamona sports days; athletics, weight-throwing & adults senior & youth cycle races were popular; he names Gerdie Commane as a good sports man; he heard of sports at Taltys Hill but was not there; he heard his Roughan uncle was good at road bowling; Tom speaks about St. Cronan's Club, the area if serves, Lott O'Halloran, a principal man; some of Tom's family competed; his daughter Paula won 5 All-Ireland titles in cross-country; they travelled to the North many times, especially to Rostrevor; running was strong in Kilnamona in the past; races on Talty's hill, Lickaune/Drombane were revived for a few years in the 1990s; he mentions matches played at local area “fuirseog”. He didn't fish much but remembers the stream by the piggery had great trout in past days.
0:53:51 - 0:55:26 TRANSPORT & TRAVEL - People walked, cycled or used horse/donkey & carts; he got his first bike, a Raleigh for £12 at Bakers in Ennis after he had left school; he recalls the turf being taken on wagons on the West Clare Railway; Tom ocassionally travelled on it as a teenager on Sundays from Ennis to Lahinch & Kilkee; Ennis to Lahinch cost a shilling; Corofin to Lahinch cost 9p; it closed in 1967. First car: Tom recalls the parish priest had the first car Tom saw when he was in school in the early 1940s; he recalls himself & other lads looking at neighbour Jimmy Morgan's parked car in a shed when they were young (it was not used during World War II).
0:55:26 - 1:03:15 CHURCH, MISSIONS, STATIONS & HOLY WELLS - Tom & family live in the parish of Ruan-Dysart though they usually attend Mass in Ennis; he was baptised & confirmed in Ruan; he didn't serve Mass; he recalls house stations held in houses every 2.5 years up to 1960s - 1 house for each townland 2 Masses; he describes the preparation Mass 2 rooms kitchen parlour 2 priests Tom's Erinagh at October & Easter; he recalls Eucharistic processions at Ennis & Clarecastle up to 1960s; he recalls bonfires on their own land on St. John's Night; he mentions Kilcross graveyard & gives more info on family names & graves, flags. stone crosses, graves, present condition & location; he intends to be buried there; no headstones & last person buried there was in 1979; locals now buried at Drumcliff or Templemaley; he says Lent was strict & black fasting; he mentions the Cnoc na Cille cillín from Famine times in a field near the grotto; Tom & family built the Grotto in 1993; neighbours gather there nightly at 8:30pm & every night during May to say the Rosary; Tom & Madge continue to say the Rosary at home.
1:03:15 - 1:04:34 BUILDINGS & LOCAL SERVICES IN KILNAMONA/FOUNTAIN AREA - There was a Post Office at Fountain since the 1880s - run by O'Keefes & later by Danny O'Brien - it closed many years ago; he recalls local sm all shops, the cottages & owners in Kilnamona.
1:04:34 - 1:04:46 CLOTHES - Tom got his clothes in Ennis & his boots were made in Ennistymon in past years. He mentioned the old women with shawls in Ennis.
1:04:46 - 1:06:00 ELECTRIFICATION - Tom recalls electricity coming around 1957 & the changes in having lights & plug v lamps; his sister brought the first tape recorder/radio transistor he saw - scarce then.
1:06:00 - 1:06:40 WAR YEARS, RATIONING & BLACK & TANS - Tom & Madge recall rationing of flour & tea during war years; Tom recalls “War Flour” written on the sacks of flour; they bought some things at Glynn's in Ennis.