I was born in the townland of Glenkearney in Rockchapel. I went to school in Rock-chapel. I did not care about going to school in those days. Times were tough for the peo-ple when I was young. My late father worked on the roads breaking stones. I had potatoes for breakfast sometimes. My mother, Lord have mercy on her, never worked outside the home. She looked after her family, baking, washing and doing all the other jobs.
I remember in my house my mother used to play the concertina. There would be house dances every night in the fall of the year. I danced when I was a very young child. It was all set dances, there were no waltzes. The kitchen would be full and my father would smoke his pipe. There would be a big turf fire lighting. There were no trees for firewood. At Christmas time there were no turkeys or geese. We had beef for dinner. My mother made the Christmas cake and trifle. We would go out ‘on the wren’ and go to a dance in the same house that night. There were very few dance halls, it was just house dances.
Before I married I worked in Currans of Newmarket, they had a shop. They were the same family of Sarah Curran, Sarah was the girlfriend of Robert Emmet. Newmarket was the nearest town to us. I also knew Sean Moylan. We would go twice a year to town shopping. We had a ginnett and we would buy a big bag of flour and get meal for the hens. We would also get raisons. We made our own salted butter as well.
I met my husband at a dance in the Legion Hall in Buttevant. He was a great dancer. He was also a great ploughman. He worked at PJ Ryans. He was one of the ploughmen. He ploughed the farm where Cyril Sheehan lives now. He worked very long days. He would change horses during the day for the same man. There was a time when Eileen was a child when she hardly saw him at all. He would be gone early in the morning and it would be late before he finished.There was an old man who used to come to this house called Jim Cahill. He would sit on an old chair and Eileen used to think he was her father. He was very fond of children. He would bring in the ”brosna”. We called his chair”Cahill’s Chair”.
The climate around Churchtown was not as bad as it was in Rockchapel. The amount of snow that falls behind is much greater than we get around here. I remember heavy falls of snow when you could not see the fences with the height of the snow. I am very happy living here in Churchtown. Long ago the Windmill Hill was much steeper. I heard Frank O’Brien (Pat O’Brien’s uncle) saying it was cut to lower the pinch on the hill.
I worked at O’Briens, Churchtown for a while. Tom O’Brien’s mother had rheumatism on the hands and she would show us how to waltz in the kitchen. I remember Bill Hickey would be there. It was there I learned to waltz. I was never a person to travel abroad. I grew up in the time of the oil lamp.