In conversation with Bridie Tyrell of Kilcough , July 2022.
I was born on the 10th March 1931 in the family home in Lower Luglass, three miles out from Hollywood. There were eight of us in the Traynor family and I was the youngest.
Imagine walking three miles into school and three miles back, right through Winter with its dark days and cold and wet weather! Well, I did that from six to nearly fourteen years of age. The book “Stone on the Pier” edited by Pauline Devine and published by Donard I.C.A. has a chapter in it of me growing up and what school was like back then.
a saying for the courting
I met my husband John Tyrell at the Hollywood dances, held every Sunday night. He courted me by walking over the way between Church Mountain and the Corriebracks every Wednesday evening for two and a half years to my family home in Luglass. “You either thrash or leave the haggard” is a saying for the courting.
Peg Perry, who lived in the corner house on the turn down to Tulfarris (now derelict) made and fitted my wedding outfit. We got married in Hollywood Church on the 29th September 1954. We went to the Ormonde Hotel in Dublin for our wedding breakfast. Tommy Reilly drove us. And we had our honeymoon with my brother and sister-in-law in Banagher, Co. Offaly.
We were blessed with children, Betty, John and Billy twins, Susie, Nick, Joseph, Bridie, Kevin, Margaret, Paddy, Geraldine and Mary. Joseph, Margaret and Mary died in infancy. Dr. Clancy from Dunlavin was on hand for two of my births and I was in Holles Street too.
I was prioritising the work to be done every day
At home here on the farm I kept a routine going while rearing our family. There were 6 cows to be milked before breakfast, the children dressed, breakfast eaten and sent to school … they walked too… cloth nappies washed, hens and pigs fed, baby and chaps minded, clothes washed, dishes washed, baking bread with buttermilk, cleaning, dinner cooked. I didn’t think about it but I was prioritising the work to be done every day, week and season just like people at work do today.
“sure, they won’t be fighting”.
Leslie Murphy ran the shop in Donard. We bought white sliced pan there on a Saturday so as not to be baking of a Sunday. He sold everything, tea, flour, sugar, clothes, hardware and ice-cream! He served everyone and used to say “There’s Protestants and Catholics gone into that till and sure, they won’t be fighting”. We stocked up with the basics in December for Christmas baking and in case we were cut off by snow in January. We kept a shovel inside the front door right up until April because a big snow fall with high winds could block us from getting out! 1947 and 1962/3 snow falls cut off many farms for weeks.
the greatest difference to our lives.
The E.S.B. set up a campsite beside The Glen Lounge for its workers to bring electricity to the area. In my experience electricity, and with it, the washing machine made the greatest difference to our lives.
Fr Dempsey and Frank Moynihan from Merginstown put on plays in Donard Hall, we loved going. The Field by John B. Keane made a big impression on me. Mary Stanley, Frank and many other local people entertained us. The Deer Fair at the end of May was a great meeting occasion for us all.
The I.C.A. was set up in Donard by Mrs. Whittle and others in 1964. We met in the school on a Wednesday evening once a month. Up to forty of us could be there for demonstrations on all types of craft work. We organised to go to An Grianan, the I.C.A.’s college, in Co. Louth in cars for a weekend in the summer.
I have many lovely memories with John watching Fionnuala and Paddy’s family growing up beside us as we retired from farm work, and I am very well looked after by all my children and grandchildren, but I miss John.