Tom Roughan

Interview by Geraldine Greene on December 3, 2012

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1934

Area: Ennis

Report date: December 5, 2015

[bws_pdfprint display='pdf']

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.

Archive conditions of use

Cuimhneamh an Chláir provides access to these transcripts / recordings on the understanding that they are for personal use.  If you wish to use the material in any form of research, publication or presentation online or in person, you will need to specify that use and seek specific permission from Cuimhneamh an Chláir at [email protected]


Your request will then be reviewed by Cuimhneamh an Chláir and will be subject to a licensing agreement (at no cost).


Please enter your email address here to indicate your agreement to the above conditions. We will retain your email in accordance with our privacy policy.


Enjoy the archive!