Vincent Flynn

Interview by Mary Morgan on April 6, 2011

Gender: Male

Birth date: 1929

Area: Ennis

Report date: September 19, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:09:38 FAMILY BACKGROUND - Vincent said he was born in Baltard and grew up there. At the age of 12 he went to St. Flannan's and after this he went to St. Patrick's Training College. He was aged 20 by the time he finished his studies here and moved to Dublin for a teaching position. Vincent says he can't remember his grandparents but he does have one photo of his grandfather and knows that he was from Miltown Malbay. His name was Michael Flynn and was a teacher also. He moved to Baltard to teach and married a farmer's daughter called Katherine Green. They had 13 children (8 girls and 5 boys) and she taught them all how to play the piano. Vincent says that when he was younger he was able to milk cows, feed the hens and collect the eggs. This would be a few examples of chores that would be given to him on their small farm. Vincent says that he had three sisters and four brothers. He goes on to talk about them in some detail. His three sisters went on to become teachers and one brother became a doctor with the other three becoming priests. Vincent's father was principle of Baltard school and his mother was his assistant. At this time there was well over a hundred students for two teachers. Vincent talks about the inspector coming to visit the school.
0:09:39 - 0:13:52 ELECTRICITY AND LIGHTING - There was no electricity when Vincent was growing up and wasn't introduced until 1952. Vincent's talks briefly about the paraffin lamps they used prior to electricity and says his father bought a new car in 1923. Vincent says that he always walked to school along with his parents. Paraffin lamps used to give great light states Vincent. After this, his brother, Paddy, built a wind charger and that way they had electric light even through the war. He designed it to do only three to four rotations which prevented it from burning out the dynamo. The propellers were built out of elm timber and spares were built as well in case they were ever needed.
0:13:53 - 0:22:42 FAMILY BACKGROUND - The house where Vincent's grandfather lived was divided into half. One part was the school with the other been the living quarters and it was thatched. Vincent talks about his father's education which ended up with him moving to Baltard in 1904. This was the same time as Bishop Fogarty. Vincent's mother, along with been a principle's assistant, ran the house and lived to be 95. Vincent's brother was very athletic and he talks about a few of the sports he used to play and the medals he won. He goes on talk about a few sports clubs in the area. He then talks about sports in St. Flannan's which he attended as a boarder. Doonbeg won its first Gaelic Football County Championship in 1955.
0:22:43 - 0:25:03 FAIRS - There was a fair held in Doonbeg and Kilkee and there was no school on these days. Someone would always come to give a hand at driving the cattle for a small charge. There was a big fair on in Doonbeg on the 8th February and it was for this fair Vincent first got a chance at driving cattle. Vincent mentions here that his mother also came from a family of 13 also and was from Ballinasloe. Two of her brothers were on the team that won the 1925 All Ireland Football Final.
0:25:04 - 0:28:57 SCHOOL, PASTIMES AND CULTURAL TRADITIONS - Vincent was taught by his own parents and talks about how hard his mother worked. His father was a great teacher of maths among other things. During the summer they used to go to the beach every day. They would also work on the bog and save the hay. Since they weren't farmers they were always asked whenever someone was short a helper. At that time you were always happy to help you neighbours and would get a big feed in return. Vincent talks about the tradition of going on 'cuaird'. He explains the spelling and pronunciation of the word.
0:28:58 - 0:33:31 WORLD WAR II - This first time Vincent saw an aeroplane was during a war when one crashed in the Sandhills in Doonbeg. It was a German plane and was flying around the area all evening until it eventually crashed. The German pilots who were on the plane all drowned and were buried in the cemetery of the protestant church in 1943. Vincent's say that there was a radio in their house and people would be asking his father for news on the war. Vincent talks about one man who smoked a pipe and how careful he was with the tobacco which was scarce because of the rationing.
0:33:32 - 0:36:26 SEASONAL CUSTOMS - Vincent says that they always had they May Bush on May Eve. He goes on talk about getting the May Bush which was considered very bad luck not to bring it in yourself. St Martin's day occurred every year on the 11th November and everyone killed either a cockerel or a pig that day. During the Christmas Vincent would always go out on the Wren. This was a way of raising funds for the football clubs
0:36:27 - 0:43:01 BALTARD CASTLE - Vincent returns to the topic of aeroplanes and Baltard Castle which was a very well known landmark. It was used a lookout point during Napoleonic times and also watched out for smuggling which was very popular between France and West Ireland. The French ships would land into an area known as 'Hubbáns'. Mutton Island was also a very active place of industry. In later years the castle was used as a landmark by pilots that were flying over the Atlantic. The castle ended up been blown apart because an English man purchased the land on which it was built and decided he would get more money from the stones used to the build the castle so he destroyed it. He remembers the day JFK visited Ireland. He was in Shannon the day he was leaving.
0:43:02 - 0:57:28 RTE AND EDUCATION - The lauching of Raidió Teilifis Éireann wasn't a big event for Vincent and he got it in 1962. He remembers watching the news the day JFK was shot and he says that everyone remembers where they were when he was shot because it was such a big event. People always had a picture of the Pope or JFK in the household. Vincent's mother never had any knowledge of cures but she was able to quote every bit of Hamlet and his father was able to quote Macbeth. Vincent talks about Donogh O' Malley who introduced free education. He says that he wasn't afraid of Eamon de Valera unlike other politicians at the time and it was because of this, free education got introduced. One major problem occurred when free education was introduced which stemmed from the fact that Ireland didn't have the teachers or the facilities at the time to carry it out. Vincent became a qualified teacher in 1951 at which time it was hard to get a job. He ended up getting a job in Dublin and talks about his fifth class students during this time. He only had to teach from 10am to 2pm. After this he would play football in Drumcondra. His father rang him up one day saying there was a position in Baltard but Vincent was happy where he was with the football and his wage of £5 a week. After a few days of thinking he decided to apply for the job and got it. He briefly talks about his journey back to Baltard. Vincent talks about some of his children and how a few of them took up some music. Vincent plays a tune on the accordion
0:57:29 - 1:01:10 CONCLUSION - Interview ends with Vincent telling a story about his brother and how he was not able to go to China because he got meningitis which eventually killed him.

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