I grew up in the Rath, Windmill area of Churchtown. I didn’t mind going to school. I started smoking form an early age. I was able to get two and a half cigarettes for one penny at Simcox’s shop long ago. One of the earliest jobs I had was cleaning the river. There was a dragline on a platform. It was one of the first of the type. This was the be-ginning of mechanized drainage. There was about three years work done on the river. For the people around today, the river was chocked up with silt and weeds. The banks needed to be built up and this operation opened up the flow of water.
When I finished on the river I went to work for Andy Kiely in Rath. He repaired pumps. He also did repairs on houses, plastering and fixing roofs. I next went to work with Tom Culnanws, now Carrolls of the Windmill. This was a fine big farm with plenty of work to be done. I went working for Crofts after a while. This was agricultural contracting work. Sewing grain with tractors had just began. When I left this job, I went to work for Con Fitzgerald in Mount Brigid. There were twenty-one in that family. I remember when I was working there, there was a sister of Con’s, who was a nurse in England and when she used to come home on holiday, I got the job of driving her around the back passage. She was sick at the time and she made a recovery afterwards.
I remember meeting the late Jimmy Barry years ago. I said: ‘Good day, Jimmy’, and he said ‘Did I go to school with you?’. I can tell you that I didn’t dispute with him. It was all because I did not call him ‘Sik’.
I came down here in 1939. There was a little mud house beside the burnt house across the road from the railway gates. I lived a quiet happy life. I never did go to dances or matches. I have enjoyed good health. I was very fond of Churchtown and its people. I have a little story about Mary Shanahan. It was the time of the Boer War, when Frank went to bed one night, he said to Mary ‘I am a Boer’. ‘Indeed, you are not!’, she said, ‘You are not even a barrow’. Jacky Murphy and I are great friends for years. He used to call at Christmas time here. He still rings me up quiet often.