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Wednesday 22nd March cont. In this case the
woman in charge was the mother of the dead
woman. Then it was said to me that
the people of the same name who usually
carry out the coffin are in that case the
four White boys –sons of her brother who
has a farm over by the Liscannor.
Mrs Carey said she didn’t hear of four
brothers doing it before. She wanted to
know from John if it was a big funeral
and he said it wasn’t. (about 100 people there).
She’d gone over if she’d heard of it earlier.
That evening no one in (John was
expected to stay longer at the funeral, it seems,
broke away early). Johnnie (old) Carey kept
talking away - told stories and talked
about fishing. For the past three years
no fish have come in to the Bay
(Doolin Bay) - they used to come in
great numbers but you could go down to

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the lakes and pull in one after another.
But they don’t be coming in any more - the
French trawlers are dragging the bottom
and killing everything. Talk of the Muirchú,

Re-commissioned in 1923 the Muirchú was a coast guard vessel under the control of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was built in the Liffey Dockyards and originally named Helga II and involved in the shelling of the GPO in 1916. See Share, Bernard The Emergency.

the government boat - wishing it could be
down here. Aran islanders row out to
the French boats and supply them with
potatoes and potcheen - get the smaller
fish from them - they are not worth anything on
the ship. The Doolin fisherman from
Fisher street don’t go out very much any
more. Should be trying hooks - told
stories of how they used to salvage
boards and stuff from the sea under
the cliffs - going down at night. The
Coast guard warden? watcher? got a
timber of the each house, etc.
Used to have to do it at night
because the coast guard wantedget
to descendto scavenge themselves.

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Told stories of Aran Islands - the first time
they went out there with a football -
a priest organized them into a team
and they went out to play the Aran men.
They had a grand day – and the Aran
men were very laughable - they didn't
know what to do with the ball etc.
they beat them.

He told a story which was a
traditional pattern - a moral? of Cinderella.
And another on how he lost his
hair ( he’s quite bald). He told it to
the three professors from Galway who came
down looking for Irish. They didn’t
do it right - they came about ten o’clock
in the morning and called at the
house of an old fellow there (Cúcú O’Brien).
A great old play boy - he was
just getting up, they told him to get
into the motor and gave him some
into the motor and gave him some

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out of them (city fellows). They went up the roads
as far as Carrigphobail and when they
saw old people they stopped and asked them
if they had Irish - one friend of his was
helping a neighbour put in hay and they
stopped him and he said he hadn’t
any Irish - and he’s one of the best


here. He didn’t know them.
Finally they found Delargy and he got a
lot of stories from them for the professor.
Cúcú O’Brien thought he’d be taken to
the University (Galway) on the trip they
were taken in to tell stories into a machine
up there but they didn’t do if (he held
out for a suit of clothes from Delargy and
was left behind).

The story of the hair losing was this:
He was just a little boy and his father
was in Limerick (for some reason) and
his mother had to send someone down to

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(as something) this hazy. At any rate he thought he
could get to Limerick in a day, and he
knew it was behind Mt Callen so he set
out going straight across the land over fields
and bogs and ditches and drains.
After he got to Mt Cullen top it was dark
and he had no where to go he was
walking along the road and he met a
black man and he was in dread of his life
but the black man told him not to be afraid
and made him walk along with him they
were both going to Limerick. They saw a
light in a house and made for it and
when they got in there was no one there
but a girl asleep in a chair by the
fire and a bit of meat and praties
on the fire - a goose. The blackman
took the goose and aite it, but
Johnnie wouldn’t take any of it. Now
the blackman saw a loft upstairs and
he made of Johnnie go up there with

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him, for they were to sleep there for
the night. Pretty soon After a little the woman of the
house came in and looked into the pot
saw nothing left of? the goose. Waking up the
girl she berated her and then when
the three brothers of the house came in
she told them about it. They said
there must be a robber in it and they looked
up into the loft. But when they saw the
blackman they ran away as fast as they
could out of the house. Later when the
moon rose the two got up and continued
on their walk. Johnnie got rid of the
blackman by hiding from him in a
bog-ditch with only the top of his head
above the water – the blackman
touched his hair of his head but didn’t
find him. Now Johnnie set out again
and came to another house. Here
he told his story to the woman of the house

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and she gave him some praties and let him
sleep in the loft but she told him he was
in a robbers’ house. When the three robbers
came in they were angry and said he was
probably a spy, so they put him in
barrel and carried him away to
quite a time so he couldn’t know where
the house was and left the barrel in
a field. By grabbing the tail of a bullock
out through the breaking hole of the barrel
Johnnie had himself dropped to the road.
A carter walking along into a load
of flour and grain and he stopped to
retrieve the barrel thinking another carter
had dropped - he broke it open with an axe
bar but in the third blow Johnnie cried out and
he ran off in fright. Johnnie got up on
the car of flour and took it home -
they never could find the carter again.
(That story was told with a smile and
was not intended to be truth, of course).

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Thurs. the 23rd March

This day the weather having dried off the fields
the Careys were sowing potatoes. First was the
chore of cutting the seed potatoes and then
the ends not budding being kept for the
pig. This was Mrs Carey’s job and she said
later that she wouldn’t go out sowing them
(spreading them) because she’d was the best
in cutting them. Then they were taken up
and put into the drills - the young wife was doing this carrying them either in apron
or in a bucket or pan – moving backwards
putting them down bud upwards at about
6 inches apart in the trench between between the drills. Then the
men came along heaping the earth up
over them completing the drills. John was
going to plow tomorrow - this was being/hay/long? ?
first some sides of the garden
where the plow couldn’t be effectively

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I might record here that later on this evening when
conservation turned to the subject -
they said that spreading of the potatoes was
always the woman’s work the men
wouldn’t be so good at it - because
the men had longer backs -
a tall woman like Mrs Danaher or
a tall woman like Mrs Danaher or

Mrs Carey went on to describe other
farm work: after the sowing of the
potatoes there was the
turf cutting and making -
they usually begin that in April
or as soon as its dry enough and
can do that right up to the end of
June. Then there is the weeding etc.
and the haymaking in the summer.
she described in detail the turf making
when it was part of the women to knead

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the turf into blocks and to put into the baskets
on the asses backs to take it out to the
road. Then every family joins in the
haymaking togeher the men do the
mowing alone.

News came of the fact that four
poor people in Liscannor had drawn a horse in
the sweep and they were discussed at length.
They were a Mrs Leydon who kept a pub,
a blocker (who lives by trading
horses and is not a tinker), a Carty
who its separated from his wife -
led her a terrible life etc.
and another a young lad of a farmer’s son.
They’ll be going up to Dublin.
Its too bad the young lad got it for
he’ll drink it all up - he’s a drinker.

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In the afternoon I went down to Roadford and
met Danaher in Csd’s

Csd’s= Consideines

shop there.
come down with two beasts and was
to the ?3 acres he got of land,
of the Doolin land, from the land
Commission and got two bullocks
which he’d had out on the land
and on hay there. We walked
back to Luogh behind the bullocks he
and I - he’s going to set out for
the fair at Ennystymon tomorrow at
about 2.30 tonight if the weather holds
good. It will be about 6 miles and
you must walk very slow behind the
bullocks. Cattle so as not to take too
much out of them. We talked:
The prices are terrible these days, he
paid £14 for these two bullocks last
September and he’ll be lucky if he
gets £6 a head for them - a clear loss
over all the year feeding and fattening he’s

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given them. And they expect the farmer to
pay rates and annuities after that. When
too there’s no market for anything and
butter and potatoes and milk and down to
nothing at all too. A farmer has to
buy clothes and boots occasionally too and if
he can’t get anything for the cattle
how’s he going to pay anything.
They all voted for DeValera and look what
it brought them etc.

The Doolan land is said to be the best land in
Ireland alright but it isn’t what its
aid to be and it was sold to then much
too dear etc. These bullocks were out
on it all the winter and look at them
they might to be twice as fat. One of
them is more of a strawberry - you
get the best price for strawberries.
The other is kind of a roan, buyers
don’t like reds.

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Then: going to fairs you might have to go in
the dirtiest and wettest night and
you get only half down the road and
you’ll be drenched - you don’t mind
how cold it is as long as it doesn’t
come wet. Standing round at the
fair for with the cattle from 5 and 6 until
2 or 3 in the evening. Standing around
and then driving the cattle into the
train - you get very cold and
wet and a man has to have a
drink. That’s about the only
time they drink nowadays to
keep them from starving with the
cold - its the only thing sometimes
that will put you through a long
day (John a tee totaller has contested this).

Tee totaller = used to identify a person who does not drink alcohol

You might take a drink or two with
a neighbour for friendships sake -
that’s about all the drink in every
town in the country. But nowadays

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note at top of page:

PS: Danaher said he didn’t know what price to
ask till he got to the fair and heard how
it was going - then he could tell what to make his bid.

prices are so low and liquor so dear that
if you go through three or four or five
shillings taking and drink with into some
friends and that’s all your profit

There are usually three people with the
cattle. You can’t do it yourself because
if you did you’d have a hard time and
you couldn’t drive them on the train
and you there with hundreds of cattle
of everyone else’s. The fair was
great sport though, making the bargain
and getting your money. The luck
money he explained - that’s for luck -
you give that to the
buyer - here its usually 2s or less.
But you can give anything you want
It makes quite a lot for the buyer
out of all the cattle he buys
say 4 or 5th. No you could

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stop it (i.e. not give it) but that would be
cheating the buyer out of their due and
(he wouldn’t like you - might not buy
from you again?? sic).

On the road we passed a carter who
stopped and chatted and wondered what he
thought Danaher would get for them - he
thought about £12 or £13 and Danaher
grumbled at this and at the condition
of the beasts - the fellow said that
they came out of it pretty well as
well as could be expected. This
interchange and comment of the beasts
was repeated several times on the way
home. Questions asked as to who was
going by everyone and it was decided
that most of the families were going -
(I think someone went out of nearly
every house).

I asked Danaher who he was
going to get to go with him to help him

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mind the beasts. He said he was getting a
brother of his wife’s to go - one of the Fitzgeralds.
On my pressing - he said, yes that
he’d help him out anytime he asked
him - “You know you could like make
bold on him”. A little later I tried to
elucidate on this and brought up uncles
and he said that if he
was bothered? and needed a boy or
a extra hand he could get from any
of the neighbors - the people in the
country were very friendly and helped
one another out - leading horses
and sons - and they did it even
when they hadn’t any
“call” on them. (This word used
before , see Extended relatives). Then
he went on to explain that the relatives
were often worse than not - It depends on
if they like you. The uncle might

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say to hell with him let him get on by
himself. For instance he could call
on John Carey any time. Their mothers
were first cousins.

Then he fell back to conversation ho in
how it his surprise and ( pride?) at
being able to talk along with an educated
man like this and apologized for his
ráimáis (dialetical words here)

ráimáis = nonsensical talk, used here as self-deprecation

and poor way
of speaking. Most hits at Yankees

Evening: Sherry the brother of the
wife of John was in - talked at
great length about the baby -
his own? and this one -
(P.S. Mrs Carey had said with surprise
when the baby made up to them.
Thinking that she wouldn’t do that for
her under who came to see her ) Then
he talked about the funeral which
had taken place today and described

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the burial – where she was buried. They
couldn’t fulfil her request to be buried by
her first husband because they couldn’t
find his grave. On the four Whites who
carried her out (he said she wanted them and
himself to carry her out) he replied
to Mrs Carey who said she hadn’t heard of
four brothers before; sure didn’t the
four Sexton’s carry out their mother.
That led to the subject of weeping and
wailing and Mrs Carey asked me if
if there was any there. She said that
they don’t do it for money now like
long ago they used to hire
hire two or three men or women to weep
for the dead person and they used to
weep and wail all the day. It is
allright to hear the (grown people) weeping
that way but she didn’t like it when

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the little Barretts and John weeped and wailed
for their mother who died when she
was being carried out recently. They
cried and cried. Oh mother, mother we
won’t see you again ever – it would
turn anybody’s heart to hear them.
Then old John told some story about
the old keening and a story about the
muintír (an Irish story, also tradtional type with a catch-voice)
(a ministóir, a …a phingin donn, an leanbh a caoinadh)
whose children were all dying and was
finally persuaded that if he hired
an old woman to keen for them, they
would no longer die but he gave her
the two pence for saving the children and
she recited the ‘rann’ (roun) on him.

Rann = verse of a poem or stanza of a song

The conversation on field work
and a very long conversation between
John and Sherry went on about
plowing and the calf they
had and the cow calving etc.

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John snapped at Mrs Carey once - Woman, don’t
interrupt us when we’re talking about
plowing. These two talked about the
Agricultural man, too, and the
aid they were going to get in buying grain
seed etc.

At noon Mrs Carey had done
a lot of talking today about the
numbers of presents the baby got -
she was a first born - (I get on
to this trying to elucidate “call”) and
most of them were from America -
a huge doll and clothes from a
girl in America who was no
relation at all - and lots of
dresses that will be too small
when the child walks or can
wear them. Simon O’Flaherty
gave a sovereign as did someone else,
putting gold away for her wedding etc.