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Interview 2

JOHNNY MAGUIRE

(born 1924)

Johnny is a native of Kells who, notwithstanding a spell at Moynalty, has lived in the town most of his life. Born at Climber Hall and grew up in Maudlin Street. Resides at Blackwater Heights since 1982. Married to Teresa who has passed away. Johnny is a former long-serving member of Kells Urban District Council of which he served a stint as Cathaoirleach

 

Interview with JOHNNY MAGUIRE (1)

 

Kells 15 July 2010

 

 

DC:     This is Danny Cusack on Thursday 15 July 2010 at 9 Blackwater Heights in Ceannanus Mor, Kells, talking to Johnny Maguire on behalf of the Kells Oral History Project. Thank you Johnny for talking to me today. I’ll just start by asking whether you grew up in Kells and what is your family background in the town?

 

JM:      Born and reared in the town. Born in Climber Hall. Father a Kells man. Mother’s side goes back … possibly the oldest family in the town, the Rourkes.

 

DC:     Plenty of Rourkes still in the town.

 

JM:      Plenty of Rourkes and plenty of Maguire’s. Maguire is originally a Fermanagh name. Rourke then would be into Breiffne and into Roscommon.

 

DC:     Any idea how long the Maguire’s have been in Kells?

 

JM:      Or around about it. My grandfather is buried in the graveyard at the back of Killua Castle. It may have been over Fordstown area. He came here as a baker.

 

DC:     Do you want to say a wee bit about your schooling, your childhood memories in the town?

 

JM:      I was born in Climber Hall and I was around about three, when we got a house down in Maudlin Street and I remember coming down with my mother and at Harry Hamilton’s window, there was a bar around it this way and it was a kind of crush against cattle on a fair day and I swinging out of that and my mother in a panic trying to get me down because I think she wasn’t rightly in the house in Maudlin until my brother Noel was born. So you can imagine the panic that she was in.

 

DC:     So you spent the rest of your childhood from the age of three in Maudlin. And you went to school from there?

 

JM:      I went to school at three-year-old in the convent and carried on there until I got my first holy communion. Then you had your breakfast in the convent, and then you went up to the Christian Brothers.

 

DC:     Any memory of your time in the Christian Brothers School? 

 

JM:      Ah, well, I found it a happy time … playing with the lads there and playing handball and football and trying to do this that and the other. I remember one particular teacher, a Brother O’Driscoll and I thought that he was a wonderful teacher and that he had a way with pupils. And one thing he done was when you went back after lunch – you went home for a bit of lunch each day – you had to do ten subjects and depending how many subjects you got certain high marks, say 90, you didn’t have to do exercises for the week if you were successful. But if you dropped back, say to 50, you had to do a whole week’s exercises. Everyone was breaking their butt trying to achieve because it was very disheartening to hear fellows playing in the street and you inside struggling with books.

 

DC:     So you had an incentive to do well.

 

JM:      That’s right, yes. 

 

DC:     You went to school to a certain age, then what sort of employment ….?

 

JM:      I went to school until I was a little over 14 and I was in third year and I left then to start work with my father training as an apprentice painter. We cycled as far as within two miles of Mount Nugent and within five miles of Collon and had to be there by 8.20 in the morning. You worked five days a week and you worked nine and three fifth hours per day and that brought you up to the 48 hours. And I had the princely sum of 2 shillings and 6 pence per day. Tyres were 35 shillings each for a bicycle after the War. In fact one of the boys heard me telling someone about that and he said: “Did your father never think of bringing you to see a shrink?” And I [?] and he was on a bike the other side of me and that was quite common place .

 

DC:     People in those days cycled enormous distances just to go to work …

 

JM:      Oh yeah, yeah.

 

DC:     So two miles this side of Mount Nugent would be around Kilnacrott …

 

JM:      No, it would be this side of Kilnacrott.

 

DC:     It’s still some distance. But you were young and you were fit and you knew no other.

 

JM:      Well, we used to consider ourselves home when we topped the mountain at Oldcastle. It was falling ground then until the Ball Alley

 

DC:     Then it was downhill all the way. So you started off working as a trainee apprentice for your father. Then did you carry on from that to something else?

 

JM:      You carried on for seven years at that before you were declared a competent painter. But then the job finished up as a direct labour unit and I did a bit of contract work here and there then.

 

DC:     And after that …

 

JM:      Well, I carried on at that and then [son] John had his accident and that finished that … well, I had bouts of unemployment in and out if you know what I mean.

 

DC:     So you spent your whole working life at painting or some aspect of the building trade …

 

JM:      Yes, building and repairs.

 

DC:     Were you always employed or did you employ yourself?

 

JM:      Some of the time I was self-employed.

 

DC:     Is there any particular outstanding memory of your working life? Perhaps people who stood out … characters... or influential people...? 

 

JM:      Now, that’s without working for me?

 

DC:     Yes, yes. It could be anyone.

 

JM:      Oh yes, sure there were lots of people. A lot of people don’t realise … I think it was in 1934 …Erin’s Own won the Senior Hurling Championship here and two members of the team played for Leinster. And one of them was badly injured in the Second World War – Larry Geraghty. And then Jack Gibney, he played for long time after with Offaly. Of course we had great handballers here.

 

DC:     It struck me the last time I was in the Handball Club looking at all the photos and letters on the wall that there is a fierce amount of history in the Handbook Club in Kells. It obviously played a major part in the sporting and social life of Kells for years … would that be true?

 

JM:      It would, yes. Someone told me that my grandfather beat some Spaniard that was a world champion up there in Tom’s Alley as they called at the time. Then you had the Salubrian [?] Reilly. All these famous people playing handball. The Starman Bell played handball and football … countless people … then McCabe’s played county football. Eamon won an all-Ireland Junior. And then of course we had Kevin Smyth, the famous Meath goalie.

 

DC:     Were you much involved in the handball club and other sporting activities yourself?

 

JM:      Well, I was secretary of the minor footballers and of the handball club.

 

DC:     Any other groups in the town you were involved in?

 

JM:      I was chairman of the Northern Aid Committee, I was chairman of the Tidy Towns, I was chairman and vice-chairman of the Urban Council several times and delegate to municipal authorities. I was chairman of the North Meath Disability Group, Chairman of the [Association for the] Blind … and several others too.

 

DC:     So you led a very active community life here in Kells?

 

JM:      A lot of that time I was living out at Moynalty. I was there a good few years. After I got married we lived at Moynalty, from 1955 until I think 1979.

 

DC:     Moynalty of course has gone from strength to strength with its various Tidy Towns awards.

 

JM:      Well, we won 13 category awards here in Kells. We won it 13 times n a row and I spoke briefly at the presentation below in the Climber hall. One year we lost marks and we were told that it was account of a lack of colour in the town … flowers etc. But we won the category award and I think it was £12 or 13 hundred we got. So we spent it all on colour the next year and we lost it because we had too much!   Then we lost marks for rubbish at Headfort Bridge and at the spire of Loyd which was outside the town boundary by miles. So it was a complicated thing as for what you got marks for and what you didn’t and where. There could of course been a little thing because Cavan was doing very well and the man … the architect ... was a Cavan man … so you can draw your own conclusions. 

 

DC:     Any other things in terms of the Kells Community activities, really outstanding events …?

 

JM:      At the moment I’m trying to get a memorial erected to the Kells men of the Old IRA. I’m hoping to get permission to erect that, hopefully at the Garda barracks because that was the old RIC barracks. I was trying to get information but there seems to have been a clampdown on information regarding the period 1917–22. Because bridges were blown, trains were stopped, various other things happened. Someone from Limerick – now my father was in it – my uncle Benny and my uncle Jack were in jail in Ballykinlar. They held up the post office to strip it of all telephone communications, wireless, everything. They did all that and were under machine-gun fire when they left it. And that material ended up down in Cork on the flying columns and the field communications. There’s none of that mentioned. All that is mentioned is that one man was got in the post office with three letters and five bullets. And I take it to be that the letters were for the barracks around about, or the military. Then the time that some of the IRA men died in some of the jails everything stopped in the town here … it was unbelievable ... the unions and everyone … and it was an enforced stoppage to rally in solidarity.

 

DC:     You’re talking about the early 1920s now …

 

JM:      Yes.

 

DC:     Would I take then that you’d be fairly nationalistic and republican minded?

JM:      Yes, very much so. I have two boys just home from Kosovo. They’ve done several trips to the Lebanonas well. Pat did, I think, three or four trips to Kosovo.

 

DC:     I know that you worked most of your life in the building trade. Do you have any strong memories of the businesses and trades that are now gone from Kells?

 

JM:      Well, at one time there were three bakeries: Kiernan’s, Looseby’s and Fitzsimons’. And James Fitzsimons founded a brewery and had the first lager in Ireland called Regal. He was doing quite well but something arose between him and the government over imports and exports and one thing and another. But that was a most useful industry to the town because the farmers used to be bringing in the loads of stuff for it and after what ever was done to it they got feed back for their cattle. And I know that you got some of that stuff and feed it to a pig it would sleep all day …because there was probably an amount of alcohol in it. Then the gasworks were in Maudlin. I remember the gaslights where Daly’s garage was. And oftentimes you could gather a bucket of coal on the street when the carts would be bringing the coal from the railway down to the gasworks. And it would fall off because they would have it heaped up on it. Then you had a big factory here where Supervalu is now – a meat factory. Quite a lot of people worked in it. In fact, that’s how Paddy McKenna came to the town. He was a county councillor, an urban councillor.

 

DC:     And it was he who got the meat factory up and running …?

 

JM:      No, no. Ownie Rourke and Ownie Sheevers were the people that had the meat factory. Paddy McKenna came to town to work there.

 

DC:     A lot of these businesses would have helped sustain the farming community in the wider area around Kells.

 

JM:      Yes. On the Carrick there was what they called a loading bank - an elevated thing and a ramp - and the Lorries would back in let the cattle and sheep off and whatever they were killing.

 

DC:     Has that factory been gone long?

 

JM:      It’s gone quite a while. First and foremost there was Doyle’s garage and then you had Breslin’s.

 

DC:     Are you old enough to remember the fairs at the fair green?

 

JM:      I remember them – and the horse fair on the 16th October. There’d be horses from the top of Maudlin across to the railway. Then of course you had the fat stock show. That used to take place in the park. And you had the hunt where it would be coming through the town. They still have a bit of a tradition there …

 

DC:     Stephen’s day.

 

JM:      And of course you used to have the races in Loyd and any horse fit to win any race in it was fit to win the national. And then there was the story about the rivalry between Headfort and the Napers. Seemingly they used to have wagers on the horses but on this particular occasion it’s said that the Marquess of Headforts horse won. And the Naper man or whoever he was there said: “I’ll be down to see you tomorrow”. And when he went down … I’m sure they had a drink or something … he said: “Well, what do you want?” and he said “Come, I’ll show you “and about thirty yards from his door he drew a circle on the ground and he said: “A mason will be down to build a rim around that; that’s what I want off you”. So it must at least have been irksome for your man to come out and look at the bit of Headfort ground. Now that’s the story. Then you had the Spire that was built there. That was built by the first Marquess of Headfort for Baron Taylor, his father. And when you went up into the dome and let it back there was a table. And they used to have picnics whenever they wanted. Well, they looked at the races of Loyd but someone also said that they could see the tall ships coming at Carlingford. You see the Headforts were merchants. In fact Lord Headfort told me a story about the house that back in the penal days they used to shelter priests and that they were reported to the Castle in Dublin and that a captain and a troop of cavalry left Dublin to search and apprehend all the Headfort family to see if anything would be found. Now when you came from Dublin you went in the Dublin Gate. The Dublin Gate was where the roundabout is now and you came down and came out at the bridge on the Headfort Road. And they said that when the cavalry was coming across the bridge the Marquesses’s coach was leaving by the Drogheda Gate – above up where Ryan’s lived. When you cross the bridge and go for Oristown there’s a place up there where the Drogheda Gate [was]. And they always had a ship standing by at Drogheda.  But they were decent people the Headforts.

 

DC:     And the Spire of Loyd. And the Paupers’ Graveyard opened during the Famine.

 

JM:      I thought that I met you on a Famine walk.

 

DD:     Yes, you did, in the early 90s. The Mullagh-Kells walk. I was one of the organisers.

 

JM:      I remember that time because I said a few words down at it. Joanna Tall Tree [Oglala Sioux Indian from USA] was there. And Archbishop Diaz [from Brazil]. I said that it was rather peculiar that one of the greatest of the Indian chiefs …they were environmentalists … spoke of the God of the sky and earth and how he created it and it wasn’t for commercial purposes. And wasn’t it rather curious that his name was Setanta. And the greatest of our folk heroes Cuchulainn, his name was Setanta. You know how he got the name Cuchulainn? He killed Culainn’s hound and he said I’ll be your hound until you can train one.

 

DC:     Thanks for reminding me of that. I was there that day. It was 1992. Your must have been chairman of the urban council that year.

 

JM:      I remember showing Máire Geoghegan-Quinn the direction of her homeland; the Geoghegans down Westmeath way.

 

DC:     Anything else about Loyd and the Spire?

 

JM:      Well, it was a disgrace the way it ended up. And Aidan Carry is to be congratulated for the work he did. He got very very little help from the urban council; in fact every hindrance that could be put in his way was put there. In fact, even when he set up the safety thing in the Spire, that was condemned and only that he got down a man that was the former chief engineer they have wanted it pulled out of it.

 

DC:     You couldn’t have re-opened it without it. It was too much of safety risk.

 

JM:      Yes, the rail in it was gone.

 

DC:     And the Town Crest:

 

JM:      I had the Town vested in a coat of Arms, I done that work with the Chief Herald, and I remember being beyond in London, inquiring about the Crosier, and the Curator came to see us, and I don’t know who was the Chairman at the time, I forget…and she looked at the medallion and she said to me explain the significance, and she could not. I had to go up and explain the significance of it. Do you know the significance of it!

 

DC:     Tell me.

 

Looking for Coat of Arms:

 

JM:      We searched for a long time…when we went up to see the chief herald, and we a bit of a chat..look he said, that town suffers from an embarrassment of antiquity, and he said we will have a think on it, so we went back again, I had mentioned the Round Tower, High Crosses, High Kings, do ya see, and he came along then and from the angels gospel, another contradiction in the Book of Kells, he said what probably would be ideal, would be the eight rounded cross, eight circle cross.. no one knows anything about it, the significance of it, so we used that as the centre piece, and we agreed to put blood in the centre of them, sangria, the blood of Christ, and gold around, and that white background for the purity of Christ, and we had this shied effect, masonry, to represent our round tower, high crosses…and here we have the title granted to the town in the sixth century… the Joy of Ireland…and that was that.

 

DC:     And that’s all registered with the official crowd in Dublin.

 

JM:      Ay yea, with the Chief Herald.

 

Talk about Iona.        

 

JM:      I have a letter there from Frances Shand Kydd. She was a terrific woman. She bought a place on Ionaand had it done up and they can cater for a couple of people to stay in it.

           

            Interruption….. and a bit of rambling

 

            For the first time in 400 years the Blessed Sacrament is on exposition. Frances was [Princess] Diana’s mother. It was an independent house. I just can’t think of the name of it.

 

            More rambling…

 

DC:     Are there any other places around the town that are particularly dear to you?

 

JM:      Well, you have Colmcille’s Well. And of course recently a few wells have been done away with. The Malthouse Well has been done away with. I believe it supplied the commandery of St John’s. You see there were lepers down here and they had some kind of place for making ale. But that [Malthouse] was done away with. And Hatchy Duck’s well was done away with. It was sited behind St Colmcille’s Villas. That’s where Pitcher Lane got its name. People went down the lane and came back with their buckets of water. And it was a swampy area around it though it was elevated and the wild ducks used to hatch on it. So they called it “hatchy ducks”. Maybe there were even tame ones that hatched there.

 

DC:     So there must have been some kind of pond there...

 

JM:      There was, yeah. The town is sitting on water.

 

DC:     You would have seen big changes during your time. What are two or three – whether for good or bad – really stand out in your mind?

 

 

JM:      Well, I did my best to get the council to buy the Lis lands. 140 acres was bought for £140,000 [by someone else]. That’s on the Navan road opposite the golf links and they wouldn’t do it. And the Marquess told me that if they had he wouldn’t have wanted that [much]. All he wanted was enough to pay his grandfather’s death duties. Then I tried to get them to buy the Headfort Estate. And [the Headforts] owned Virginia and Maghera – they owned 1250 acres there. Now it turns out that it’s one of the twelve most important heritage sites in the world and the most important in Europe and there’s a group in America – the last I heard they had $35-40 million to spend on it. And I tried to get them to buy Butlin’s. No, they wouldn’t do it. The manager said: “You want to give jobs to people in Drogheda and Balbriggan”. And I said if there are jobs filled there they have to be backed up and if the council owns it, it can set up criteria. Here was whole town, a complete town, railway station, swimming pool, you name it and it was bought for less than a million and a half. And I think there was 60 acres that I didn’t realise they owned as well and in the space of a few months the man who bought it sold a painting out of the church for £375,000. How would you get a town with railways through it for less than a million and a half? And then how money was spent foolishly in other ways!  

 

DC:     Do you think the loss of the railway was a big blow to the town?

 

JM:      It was the height of madness. That’s all I’ll say now. It was the height of madness. And that man was lauded for his accomplishments. And I can’t understand why a track wasn’t laid along with the new road.

 

DC:     You obviously witnessed economic ups and downs over the years.

 

JM:      Well, what I remember growing up was that when Fianna Fáil came into power I don’t remember a shilling being taken off the old age pension which it was during the Cumann na nGaedhael government. When Fianna Fáil came into power within a short while they brought in social employment schemes. And I just speak for the town, married men were the given the preference of doing I think it was four days work for, shall we say, the council. And they dug ditches and grips and all at Loyd. And then on Friday they went down to the town steward who was Owen Gilsenan at the time and he gave them a cert. or something of that nature. And then on Saturday they attended the home assistance officer. And I remember the queues being way up round … well, I’d only have been small at the time sitting on the steps of the door … and the queues went up right up Carrick Street. They were like the queues at the Passport Office. That gradually brought things together. They did roads. I remember the men sitting on the roads out to Carlanstown about every 250 yards. And what I remember is that the man was sitting … and do you mind (remember) the big brown sugar sacks? … with one of them tied around his shoulders. And he had a small little hammer … the head of it wouldn’t be any bigger than that … and he breaking big stones. And a man came with a horse and cart and dumping another load of stones and that was for metalling the whole road to Carlanstown. And then they came in and put the concrete on it. I remember that. And there were your changes, you know. And then the allotments came in. I heard a story see … you applied for the allotment … and you paid half a crown and you got half a hundred of British Queens which was an early potato, 200 of Kerr pinks, 100 cabbage plants and various seeds. You got 200 of bone manure and there was a horse load of farmyard manure left on the plot. The plot was ploughed and harrowed and all the rest for you. So you went down then and you planted. Well, I heard this story one particular man was going … and all you had that time was a little buggy with wheels on it that you pulled … and he had his stuff anyway and he saw this fellow standing at Conlon’s corner and he said: “Did you get a plot”. “No, what’s that?” was the reply. So the first man up and explained everything about all he got and this and that and the manure and the spade and shovel and grape. “What is the spade and shovel and grape for?” “To plant them”. “I knew there was a bloody snag in it!”  … But they got enough potatoes to do them the year if you brought them home and pitted them. And there was always as far as I know an Angling Club in the town. And Bob Crosby I think and Willie Sheridan were top notchers in it. Sheridan’s used to own the area where the library is and across the road from it where George Collier was. But there was an old shoemaker down in Maudlin you see and he was a member of the Angling Club in the day time and at night time he’d go down and set night lights and go down before daybreak and pull them in. So some of the good boys knew this and they bought a dozen of kippers and they put them on the line and when he pulled it in he had kippers and he was going around shouting: “The only man that ever got red herrings in the Blackwater!” They had all these kind of tricks, you know.  We used to come along and get a dog and bring him up Carrick Street. And in those days, women would be sitting with children at the door. And we’d get a little can and we’d put pebbles in it and a hole in it and pull a cord through it and tie a not in it and then put back the cap and tighten it and then tie it to the dog’s tail and give it a few rattles and the dog would start barking and away back to where we got him and we running after him shouting: “Mad dog! Mad dog!” The woman would be grabbing the kids. But we used to play cops and robbers. And there was a fellow called Briany Finnegan, he used to show pictures. They used to be shown in Dunne’s henhouse during the day when the hens would be out. Dunne’s was at the top of Maudlin Road. And Brian Farrelly’s, which was a big hardware, place. And he used to get the cut of a glass you see and we’d be smoking the glass and then he’d draw little designs on it. He had a thing … I don’t know if it was a cinematograph or what … he’d put it through it and show it through on a sheet and that was the cinema. And you had to pay either two coat buttons or four shirt buttons to get in. And that was our entertainment.

 

DC:     Growing up were you conscious of extremes of poverty or wealth in Kells? Or class distinction? Or has that improved over the years?

 

JM:      I’d say that has improved. There was something here that further back in time they recognised these people that had money. They were the controllers. That has changed a lot, for the better. 

 

DC:     Any else before we finish up?

 

JM:      No, not really. We had a happy childhood.

 

Interview 1 End

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Interview 2 with Johnny Maguire

Audio 2

 

Hello, this is Danny Cusack reporting from Johnny Maguire’s house here in Kells in Blackwater Heights on Thursday 2nd September 2010 and we are going to take on from where we left off the last day a few weeks ago ….thanks Johnny for agreeing to talk to me again….

JM:         You’re more than welcome

 

DC:     Before I move on to some new topics Johnny…I wonder if I could just run a few things past you to get rough dates …now when I say I’m looking for a date …I don’t want year or month just the decade would do ……1970’s to 1950’s or whatever….when you talked about your memory of the fairs and the horse fairs in the 16th of October and the fat stock show ….what time did you have in mind……

 

JM:      They were all through my whole life right up to possibly twenty years ago...

 

DC:     So from your early childhood……

 

JM:      You used to look forward to them and there would be a little gate across the door and we would be looking out at the cattle going up and down the street and in fact one time some one forgot to put up the gate and the next thing was we had a bullock in the kitchen …….

 

DC:     You wouldn’t forget that in a hurry…

 

JM:      Me mother grabbed which ever of them was small ….was afraid of her life that we were all going to be killed …

 

DC:     And she got rid of the bullock anyway…

 

JM:      And the people who owned him came in and got him …

 

DC:     And the all live to tell the tale…….you still see some of the old shop fronts around Kells or indeed any Irish country town and you know the guards against the metal ….you know from the old days ……the horse fairs were a big thing ……

 

JM:      They were a big thing on the 16th October ……I was wondering would it be possible to reintroduce them in some shape or form …you know because it was one of the highlights of the year.

 

DC:     Sure look what they have done down in Mullagh ……they have their annual fair don’t they ……

 

JM:      They have the trashing in Moynalty….they have various other things around …..we seem to lag behind here and I don’t think there is enough of a community spirit…….this is my opinion ..In here ….because we have everything that is needed to make it what it once was ….no one had the joy of Ireland ……

 

DC:     To use the phrase you mentioned the last day “an embarrassment to antiquities”  you quoted your man Slevin  ….so its all there if only Kells could use it …….That s right ….that involves people pulling together rather than pulling in different directions

 

JM:      I often………… inscribable !  

 

DC:     Oh right say no more ….we will come back to that…… I just quoted your man Slevin an embarrassing antiquities you had a discussion with him with regard to the coat of arms of Kells

 

JM:      I spent several times above with him ……in fact it was reported in the chronicle in his letter to the council, he presented the council with the heraldic parchment …

 

DC:     And when was that…… roughly what decade

 

JM:      You would be talking coming into the 80’s...79…on to the 80’s around that time you know …..

 

DC:     Yes will I can look up the Meath Chronicle on that just to get the reportage…….then you mentioned some of the wells around the place that have disappeared  like the Malthouse Well.....Hatchie Ducks…..again do you remember them from your childhood or your adulthood

 

JM:      Well I remember them all my life...we used to go to the Malthouse Well to get a bucket of water when we lived in Maudlin and then the other one here Hatchie Ducks Well…do you know when you leave Carrick Street opposite where the Motor Cycle

 

DC:     Pitcher lane

 

JM:      That’s where it got its name…..people carrying pitchers of water up there ………

 

DC:     How recently did those wells disappear?

 

JM:      As soon as the developments started on those houses

 

DC:     That put an end to them …they were covered over ……..

 

JM:      Well I don’t know what they done with them ….in fact I told a lady there... what was her name she was doing a history of the town and the poor woman looked at me…… and said there was no such a well…..but there was such a well….I told her I would bring her up and show it to her at the time and she didn’t come ….I have a book there that she done…….

 

DC:     Not Catherine Simms… I know who she is alright….

 

JM:      One of the Simms is right ……I don’t know if the Malthouse well…..was it servicing a Malthouse with the commandery or whatever was down in the colony…..

 

DC:     The monks……St Johns …brewing ale you suggested the last day ….it makes sense anyway….St Colmcille`s well of course is still going strong …its just being refurbished.

 

JM:      Then there was a well that seems to have dried up for some reason or something happened it on the Headfort road ….we used to call it the Lady’s well….that was supposed to be haunted…well now I never seen anything out of ordinary there …do you know what I mean….I think that might have been feed from coming through the bottoms like…a big flow of water comes from the bottoms through the factory…. or what was the factory ….it was McKeon’s

 

DC:     ah yes. I know where you mean…

 

JM:      Have you ever heard it….if you stand on the forecourt there in McKeon’s and walk around you will get a fierce flow of water under you...You know…in fact that’s what broke Cooney’s, don’t know wither I told you that …..

 

DC:     You didn’t no…….

 

JM:      Cooney’s built that garage where McKeon’s is it was the old factory ….

 

DC:     Yes the Tara Shoes

JM:      If you look at it ….there is a carpool… At each side of the main door…that was to assemble I think four cars and they got broke building that garage…they couldn’t coup with the water. ..and the same applied to the Savoy….as far as I know there is still a pump operating what was the former Savoy cinema….there was a flow of water there …this town is built on a hole …there is an aqueduct there you see…

 

DC:     So there is no surprise the wells were spreading out all over the place……

 

JM:      And if you left here I don’t know if I said it to you before…… I don’t think the houses should have been built there …..first and foremost about one hundred and twenty people put in an objection and we weren’t heard or listened to ……..and if you stand there just at the little wall there outside…….there is three steps ……there is a step down maybe six or eight foot into the next field and the same again and its quite possible that the river during the ice age or else ...do you see that this is what do they call it …they have a name on it a something feature….

 

DC:     A glacial feature…whatever the term is……

 

JM:      There used to be about 3 or 4 acres of water just in front of those houses there ….every winter you see….

 

DC:     And the concern would be if there was mass flooding or whatever happened it could be doomed….

 

JM:      Well you never know what is going to happen……looking at the world today with all these strange events …there is very very heavy rain in China and winds again…I think it was a geomorphic feature was the name of it …

 

DC:     Geomorphic …that makes sense alright…

 

JM:      Planners and all seem to not want to know about these things …that’s why a lot of people are now in problems ….problems with insurance and everything ….do you know

DC:     I did hear someone comment quite recently on all the building that was done behind where McKeon’s, is having an effect on the water level which has had a knock on effect on other parts of the town ….that’s precisely what you are saying as well…….

 

JM:      That’s where the cover of the manuscript now called the book of Kells was got ….the bottoms..

 

DC:     A very historic document altogether…that’s interesting….you mentioned one of your regrets was the refusal of the council to purchase Lis lands, And of course the Headfort estate again when was that roughly……was that in the 70’s or the 80’s…

 

JM:      Well it was during my period on the council do you see ’74 to ’99….it should be in the chronicle do you know what I mean …..I even tried to get them to purchase Butlin’s…

 

DC:     Yes you mentioned that the last day…were you on Meath co council as well….

 

JM:      No.

 

DC:     Just on the urban district council …you wanted to get the Meath County Council or the Kells Council to purchase Butlin’s……

 

JM:      Actually I wanted the Meath Co. Co.

 

DC:     To purchase Butlin’s…I figured as much…..because Kells wouldn’t have been able to…..you told me the last day its all there on the tape what the consequence that was and how ….what could have been something was lost…..should we put it that way….

 

JM:      The same with Headfort ….its amazing to think that some, I don’t know who the group are in America about three or four years ago …..I think it was 36 million pounds to spend on 12 most important heritage sites in the world and Headfort was the most important in Europe….

 

DC:     Yeah and it didn’t get a Guernsey…..

 

JM:      It didn’t ….no….

 

DC:     Which is a shame cause it has been broken up since for housing and stuff …..

 

JM:      And what I was really annoyed about was as I claimed about in my argument ….there was 400 years of written town history in the Headfort Estate…..I think that….the marquees told me that they are in Trinity college….I’m not just sure …..

 

DC:     Some are in Trinity college and a lot more are ….I’ll tell you where they are …they are in the manuscripts room of the national library….cause I have looked at a few of them and recently… they have started to do up a catalogue or an index of just what’s there… and its tremendous amount of stuff and if someone could get there hands on them and write them up as you say it’s a history…in its self

 

JM:      Oh yeah….well it’s genuine

 

DC:     Of course it is yeah.

 

JM:      They really dotted there I’s and crossed there “T’s……all these estates and that ...for the particular period of the time……

 

DC:     And you can see the individual names of the tenants over the years they are all recorded and listed

 

JM:      I don’t know did I tell you about the Marquees……I was pretty great with the Marquees cause my sister Kathleen reared his families children…he met me one day and said I see where you were on for getting them to buy the Lis lands …and he said if the council had to show an interest it would not have cost 140 thousand pounds … would have given them what would have paid my Grandfathers debt duties and boy the boy he said…….he knew that I was dipping into history  and like that kind of thing ….he said I would like the priests hole to be upgraded if possible in the house …he told me a story that …they used to hide the priests …..during the particular days …the then marquees was reported to the castle and a troop of cavalierly and a captain left to come and search Headfort house and apprehend them all if anything was found…..but the Marquees had his man in the castle and he beat them by twenty minuets to Headfort House….now do you know where the roundabout is on the road now …

 

DC:     I do yes

 

JM:      Well that was the way into Headfort estate ….you came across by the Golf links and out at the gate before you went on to the bridge… and across the bridge then that was known as the Dublin gate and when the troop of cavalierly before they got to there …the marquees coach was leaving the Drogheda gate which was further up the road towards Ryan’s…you see up Rosmeen direction and his ship was always standing by I think in Drogheda and were whisked away before the others got in to see….its quite a bit of a tale…

 

DC:     It is ….

 

JM:      You know and then the site ……now we are celebrating the fifty years in the Church this year this present Church and they presented that site and two hundred and fifty guineas to the clergy ….to the people of the parish when that church was being built….do you know…..

 

DC:     And they had there own individual places in the church I believe…..

 

JM:      That’s right ….they had there cushions there ….well of course a lot of people didn’t like that but at the same time if they were ….they were kind people I believe were good benefactors and that was rare among their class……

 

DC:     Sure sure….and you were glad to have them and glad to do what they did …

 

JM:      Yeah well I mean during the famine times that whole wall was built around the estate ……I think it was a great grandfather of mine for one worked in it….I think it was a penny a day or something like that and they had to be above in the yard in Headfort at daybreak to get a meal of Inga buck, I think they called it…

 

DC:     Yes that is what they called it….

 

JM:      And work till sunset they would probably have some to bring with them……and then come back again and have another meal….. I seen that above…I spoke one time about the wall and that you know it was needing to be done up and I think it was Kruger  ….that owned the estate at the time …he just sent up a bloody machine and pulled it back into the field on the back road …..what I’m hoping now in the latter end of my days ya may say…. that we would get some kind of a group together cause ….I do not agree with this being termed the Boyne Valley …..I believe that we should have a Blackwater historical and promotional society and I always claim that the river Blackwater was more important than the Boyne by virtue the fact that it has a headwater ….it has Lough Ramor and that of course was owned by the Headfort Estate….

 

DC:     It was……

 

JM:      As well as Maghera Bog and the Park Hotel do you know……

 

DC:     Sure he had twice as many acres in Cavan as he had in Meath at one time…..

 

JM:      Yes and he had a Hugh land holding …..I think it was 15 or 20 thousand down in Kerry…..

 

DC:     That’s right….phenomenal…..

 

JM:      But I would hope to see that happening and that everything …cause I wish to god that I could find out …..its quite possible I believe that if Tony Robinson wanted to come in here to go through this area he wouldn’t be let ……I think there would be an obstruction I don’t know for sure…..but I have that feeling and the men here are not prepared to come in and tear that place asunder and find out what went on here …….I think I may have said to you before…. that I’m glad to see that things on  Slieve Na Callie are now being promoted because they were in use as a crematoria  thousands of years before Tara or before Newgrange…

 

DC:     Yeah …there certainly a big tourist ….

 

JM:      This is a Hugh potential ….hugh

 

DC:     Yeah enormous ….and its only really being realised in the last few years ….they get  big number of tourists up there now and they have organised guards and so on…

 

JM:      That’s right yeah……

 

DC:     Your right there is enormous potential there ……Just ….you mentioned last day briefly the social employment scheme…..(interruption)……such as the road building at the Carlanstown road ….is that memory from your childhood or would it be the 1930’s…..

 

JM:      It could be around on the 40’s …..

 

DC:     And of course the allotments you talked a good bit about them the last time….when did the Allotments ….it seemed as though a lot of food was growing there and fed people

 

JM:      You were feed during all the war years ……I think it only tapered off about the sixties or in the Seventies…

 

DC:     Yeah that was my next question…..when did it taper off….

 

JM:      I think now…they would be able to tell you that in the town hall…..

 

DC:     yes they should ….they should ……and why did they suddenly dry up….the allotments what brought them to an end do you think…

 

JM:      I think people were on the verge of this… what do ya call it……bust ….the Celtic tiger ….

 

DC:     The supermarket culture …

 

JM:      They were afraid to go down to be there…….on their own in the fields…

 

DC:     I know……that’s right…I know what you mean…and probably with more affluent people buying in Supermarkets and so on…… and now we are gone full circle people are growing their food again out in the allotments which has to be a good thing…that’s about it … all by way of clarifying a few dates …I’ll just mention a couple of topics and you can say s few words if you want to and if not it doesn’t matter …Heritage centre for Kells…..we had the town hall of course now that’s closed down ….now we don’t have a heritage centre or a tourist centre

 

JM:      We have one...it was the former courthouse…

 

DC:     That’s right and of course that’s closed now…..

 

JM:      It is yeah it’s a disgrace…I think that…they came along and they started off …and they started to sell below in it and it shouldn’t have been done in my opinion…that’s not my interpretation of a tourist centre….I would bring the tours here and there and I would bring them around and show them this that and the other  and I would bring them up the town and let them browse around the town after……high lightening this that and the other because the people in the town are paying the rates and suddenly here you have them all gathered down here and sure what did they want to see around the town when they could buy this that and the other below there …it turned it into a commercial premises …

 

DC:     And that to your mind was the downfall.

 

JM:      That to my mind was not what it should be …

 

DC:     Its an actual inclination for people to call there first not necessarily go any further ……if they got everything they wanted there……..which was a problem……..and then we had the problem during heritage week which is just recently finished ……if people came on Saturday or Sunday when the Council office was closed there was no where for them to go and ask questions or queries or get directions ……so that has come up in discussion as well…..so there is a problem there as is said……Kells has an enormous heritage to trade on it just needs to decide  how to do it the best way ……..so your time on the Council I think it was twenty five years on the urban district council….you said a little bit the last day ….do you want to say a little bit more about it of your experiences of being a Councillor you know the good bad and indifferent ….

 

JM:      Well I don’t know, I think the managerial act I think in a lot of cases it didn’t do any good…..I think it harmed…..it harmed the ability of the elected members and I know that from experience, there is many things that I tried to get done and it was just knocked on the head or wouldn’t be done….you see and that’s I think against our conception of the democracy…

 

DC:     And do you think it was that you just got a bad manager or a bad town clerk…if you had a good manager or a good town clerk….

 

JM:      We had one manager here a short while …Paddy Donnelly…when I went to him to …that we needed a new town hall instead of an upstairs room…he went to the bank and was refused and he came back to me and we had a chat and then …well it worked out anyway that we got the money for the town hall ….just like that…he was told to shift all the council accounts away from it …

 

DC:     Right …I see…

 

JM:      He was a good man and went on to Kilkenny and he proved his worth in Kilkenny.

 

DC:     There you go….

JM:      If you seen the park …were you ever in it…

DC:     I was yes…

JM:      Did you see the park around the place and all…

DC:     It’s a lovely city….

 

JM:      Well he done all that in there ….has viewing galleries and all that ….I don’t know what the name of it is ….is it the castle……

 

DC:     Kilkenny castle …that’s it…

 

JM:      And then do you see they came along and the done all this and then across the road from it you can go and get all the various items that are manufactured there locally …handcrafts of every shape and form……and that’s what I could envisage ….do you know what I mean.

 

DC:     For Kells…..yeah…..if done the right way….do you have any outstanding memories of your fellow councillors who were particularly easy to work with or those who were difficult to work with …those who had strong personalities or stood out…you might not want to say anything!

 

JM:      I don’t want to say anything like that…

 

DC:     Off the record for sure…

 

JM:      It was very hard to get them to come and train with anything……progressive to a degree…..

 

DC:     You got a lot of resistance did you… from your own side as well

 

JM:      Both sides and no one maybe worse than the next…..

 

DC:     You started off as a Fianna Fail Councillor and you became an independent…so you went your own way ….

 

JM:      Yeah.

 

DC:     Was that over a particular issue.        

 

JM:      It was yeah…..it was over a very particular issue ….I was secretary of the Fianna Fail Cumann…..now I didn’t hold grudges because…..when was it in 1969 I was selected as a Fianna Fail candidate and three councillors left the town and went up to the Chairman of the Fianna Fail in County Meath and said they wouldn’t stand with me and I wouldn’t get the nomination…I stood anyway and I think I lost it by about 9 or 10 votes……and then there was a big inquiry into it because …..Basically it wasn’t me they wanted to get at …..it was Paddy McKenna that was the Chairman of the Cumann here and a county council Councillor…..they came along anyway when the election was over the Fianna Fail party was met about an hour and a half  before the inaugural meeting of the then incoming council and discuss various things and Paddy McKenna was in the  town hall at the time it was their in Castle Street waiting for the others and they held a private meeting and only landed on the stroke of the meeting starting and walked in and proposed another man for the chair and the opposition voted Paddy McKenna into it……and that’s what was going on you see …there was one particular ….I will not mention any names …..I don’t think he had high aspirations….the president would be the ultimate one ….but it didn’t work out ….well anyway there was a big meeting and I was still secretary of the Cumann and then it went on ….I think it was ’79 and I was still secretary…. and a directive came out that where and whenever possible Padraig Pearce was to be honoured in his centenary year of his birth ….we were after acquiring the town hall ….now that’s the time I was tell you about when we got it …

 

DC:     That’s right...Yeah

 

JM:      I put down a notice in motion that we would name it… Padraig  Pearce….that was opposed by the opposition Fine Gael and Labour and two of our own  Fianna Fail Councillors…..abstained and it was defeated….and as I told them that night Padraig Pearce was not a political party  ……he wasn’t a politician….he was a patriot and his mother was born over there about seven miles ….

 

DC:     Nobber…

 

JM:      And she lost her granduncles ….two of them were killed in the ’78 rebellion…..

 

DC:     Brady was the name from Nobber ……

 

JM:      So they tried then down the year then…..it was simmering on then for a year  …and at the end of the year they tried to force me to vote for one of those men and I said I wouldn’t and I resigned from the party…

 

DC:     And that was the end of that ……..you sailed your own canoe after that and went your own way…..Brian Curran has said once that he thinks everyone on Councils should be independents and there shouldn’t be party politics ……do you think that’s right or do you think that’s unrealistic

 

JM:      I wouldn’t agree with that at all …because you can go nowhere …

 

DC:     This is it its unrealistic… the reality is you are going to have parties…..the other the Fine Gael and the Labour Councillors and the other independents you were able to work with reasonable well….you found that across the party lines…..I mean individuals would be different ..of course you might get on with that person and not that person but overall you could work with them…..anything else you want to say about your time in I suppose the political aspect of your life on the council and the law in Fianna Fail or anything in that regard……

 

JM:      Ah sure from when I was able to carry a white wash brush ….I used to go with my father and the other men around there was no posters or much at the time but you wrote it on the roads…..it would be great to get out and you only about five …in the darkness of the night…sure it was an adventure to go around the town looking at them writing the slogans ……you know

 

DC:     Not much of that done these days …

 

JM:      NO, none of that done……

 

DC:     Its all television and high powered stuff ……you possibly regret that ……the loss of that aspect of politics the sort of more personal touch is gone hasn’t it….

 

JM:      It has and in one sense I have to admire Brian Lenehan going down to Beal na Blath….its time that wound was healed…..long after time but  …its time

 

DC:     The Civil war the politics…..

 

JM:      Families were torn asunder with it…do you know …we here cant ….well you just cant know what it was like….no Matter how vivid a imagination  you have ….you don’t know what that was like when houses were split asunder ….do you know…..

 

DC:     And you saw examples of that, did you …

 

JM:      I seen street fights with the blue shirts as they called them this that and the other ….you know what I mean…that’s when the Brown Harriers were brought in do you know…...and then there was a threat with the guards ….mutiny and the like of that…

 

DC:     That’s right I have read all about that….The blue shirts were an interesting phenomenon were they very active around Kells...

JM:      Oh they were yeah…their was a few of them around ….do you know ….I have seen fist fights in the street….they used to wear the blue shirt …the Italians…..do you know…

 

DC:     Mussolini …the equivalent ….there is a museum down in Clonmel and there is a blue shirt on display …you know in a glass case ….just to show you what it looked like …

 

JM:      Did I show you …I’m trying think I’m going to get it …permission to put up a monument…not a monument but a tablet….to the men and women of Kells Co…..the old IRA…

 

DC:     You mentioned that the last day…..you done a lot of work on it…

 

            (Johnny shows photographs to Danny)

 

JM:      I’m going about this since 2004…..yeah I didn’t find Willie O Dea very simple…..he wrote and told me that wouldn’t give me permission in case I’d leave someone out …..I never intended to put anyone’s name in it …

 

DC:     The idea is an old IRA memorial isn’t it …that’s basically …

 

JM:      A plaque about the inside of the fireplace on the old barracks wall…that’s McHillard’s back to you in the photo (Johnny shows Danny another photo)…

 

DC:     Oh, the TD…

 

JM:      He was Minister for defence…and one is Bernard Carolan…Benny Carolan he was one of them that was jailed after the raid on the post office and the other is Pat Reilly from Moynalty…

 

DC:     I have heard of him…

 

JM:      Now he would be Fr Paddy Reilly and Fr. Mattie Reilly…Johnny refers to some photographs again)

DC:     I can look this all up in the Chronicle……

 

JM:      There is dam all in the Chronicles or any of the  papers about the whole thing…..well my father was at the taking of the Bailieborough barracks and that’s not recorded but this was some chap down in it ….he was a Liberian his office below and he said I am after buying a book …..hold on a minute and he went and got me this and that showed it there….my father is in that somewhere I wouldn’t know him but do you see this man here …..He was former Paddy Smith 

 

DC:     TD

 

JM:      Minister for agriculture and local government…

 

DC:     I have heard of him……they are great photographs …aren’t they 

 

            (Interruption)

 

DC:     Please God you will get your approval for it eventually…the fruits of your labours…

 

JM:      Well I was down with them in Galway too…

 

DC:     So that’s your time on the council…..anything else you wanted to say about your time on the council or the politics or that …

 

JM:      I don’t know.

 

DC:     You mentioned the blue shirts and the fist fights and they were quite active around Oldcastle too I believe ……

 

JM:      It was really the 21 or 2 split showing up again ….do you know what I mean …..

 

DC:     Its very interesting how conscious you were of the way that was reflected in family , family split down the middle…..political devise right up to the present day ……

 

JM:      It never healed till today ….that intervention of Brian Lenihian’s might help to cure some of that

 

DC:     The right step in the right direction…

 

            Interruption

 

DC:     We can finish up in a few minuets if you like ….just moving on from the politics of the council is there any other little stories or things you would like to mention…

 

JM:      I used to have an odd chat with Donacha O Doolin and that, and then with the famine walk 

 

DC:     Oh yes you were up in Loyd a few times …..

 

JM:      Yes, it was very interesting there …I don’t know if you remember it …Do you remember a lady called Joanna Tall

 

DC:     Yes.

 

JM:      Did I tell you or did you know that she left Mullagh and went up to the Sheridan’s in Killinkere.

 

DC:     Yes I was at all that ….I remember all that…..where Sheridan became the general, where he was born…

 

JM:      And then as well as that too I just spoke…..said a few words down at the spire and I thought it was …well just on account of she being there it just brought it to mind that …one of the Indian chiefs at the singing of the treaty of the Black Hills of Dakota, His name was Setanta….and then we had Setanta ….Cuchulainn….I thought it rather strange …do you know what I mean I just mentioned it….the few words…..

 

DC:     It was good you made those connections…cause it would have made a lot in the context…as you say with Joanna Tall being there and the Brazilian fellows as well ….

 

JM:      Then you see I was just standing there with the crowd …..the next thing was this man beside me hopped up to speak to the two Brazilians and he was a Fr … what was his name……from over there beyond ….near Killallen…and wasn’t he a priest down there and he said to me…that fellow is from that river and someone is from that river ….they have no townland as we have …it’s a river area …the name….but seemingly he knew the two of them …that was Archbishop Diaz…

 

DC:     That’s right I remember him alright ….and the priest got up and made that point didn’t he ….

 

JM:      Yeah Fr Fagan I think was his name..

 

DC:     Fagan……

 

JM:      Now I’m not just sure but I think that was his name…..Fr Fagan and he had taught there …

 

DC:     it’s a small world isn’t it ……a very small world..

 

JM:      I did tell you of course that a Patrick Maguire was the first man ashore from the Columbus…..

 

DC:     You did tell me that the last day …..

 

JM:      That’s recorded in Madrid university…..he should have claimed it for us….

 

DC:     Should have done…..absolutely……Patrick Maguire….that’s a great story…I have forgotten about Donacha O Doolin being there at Loyd, do you know ….you jogged my memory there…..you used to come along to a good few of the famine walks actually and he did some great radio programmes when he started……Donacha Sunday….so anything else…….

 

JM:      Ah sure lots of things but sure they are just not to mind…..

 

DC:     They just cant come to you like that can they….,.Well I think we might just finish up there Johnny and just to say thank you again for speaking to us again today and its great to have all these memories recorded as part of the history of Kells……so thanks a million……

 

JM:      That’s the reason I would be liking for going back in time…..

 

DC:     Back to ancient times you mean…..

 

JM:      I don’t know …….did I tell you I read it somewhere ….where they were occupying the coast like pockets and that they were subjected to pirates and they moved inland where there was a warrior named, Nemedias moved into the plain of Misareth, and set up a stronghold if you like at Doon Collis of which is done there from Maudlin Bridge and that’s reckon about 4000 years BC….you know and that’s way ahead of Tara…

 

DC:     Of course it is…

 

JM:      And there has to be ….there has to be evidence in fact I think the fort is still there inside the wall in Headfort on the look out you know…then you come on then to St Patrick…well I hope now during the what ya ma call it…the Congress…I have spoken to Fr. John and Monsignor Hanley about having a mass on the new bridge down there that straddles the Blackwater…..I don’t know whether I told you about the Blackwater……it been called the Sele…

 

DC:     I don’t think you did ….no…

 

JM:      The river Sele, and St Patrick came and erected a church to Mary Magdalene and said that some petty chieftain threw some of his servants into the river and I take it he touched it with the crosier  and from now on you will be known as a Abhrainn  Dubh…..the Blackwater…..you see when you look at it …in the olden days ……have you ever been to that ….where Quinn is ……what do you call it ….what do you call that place where Sean Quinn is…..I can never think of it….but you know where I’m talking about…

 

DC:     Yeah I do…

 

JM:      Well before you go to that ….did you ever see a sign pointing to Teemore.

 

DC:     NO…

 

JM:      Well in olden days a church was known as a T and then you come along…… and up there you have Mullaghea and what’s the translation… Mullagh is the hill of the Church and then you had the walk along the river… and I did get on to the thing and they were to put a place way under the bridge …..the national roads authority….the wrote back pretty quick do you believe…..seemingly  there were others and they didn’t bother with them ….Ronnie McGrane was telling me that they couldn’t get anything out of them but I got it by return…..if you look at it the parish ends at the river and then you have St. Carnac from Mullaghea and Dulane comes  the other side of it …so I thought it would be an appropriate place to have a mass and maybe name all the bridges they have now put up around ……I mean we have a lot to go by ……..if you take the one on the Oldcastle Road…..well there you have Oliver Plunkett and you have Brian O Higgins from Crossakeel…….and when you go on to the Athboy road you have another O Higgins….its Ambrose….Bernardo……

 

DC:     I think he ended up in South America in Chile

 

JM:      I read where he worked on some estate at Athboy…..and then of course you have O Growney and when you go on then across to the one on the Gardenrath road ….you have St. Cuthbert cause I think that end of Cortown parish was St Cuthbert’s, but then its also recorded that St Cuthbert was born on the hill of Loyd….you know

 

DC:     You could have a name for every bridge …..Yeah a name for a lot of them …….that’s a great idea have you perused it with the council or the National roads Authority…

 

JM:      I just spoke to that man ….whatever you call him….you know who is over it...

 

DC:     Malone from Dundalk.

 

JM:      I, that’s over it….it would be the Council end ….if it works ill get there……

 

DC:     Yeah you will please God……

 

JM:      I think it will be something to have …

 

DC:     It would …and it preserving the history in the place names in the Bridge names…..

 

JM:      And then we can start looking up and see what the connection is with Kilmainham and Kilmainham in Dublin with the Knights and of course there is the corner of that Abbey or Commandery ….that is still there and nothing being done about it…..and I believe a lot of stones in Headfort Wall …the wall around the estate came in from that…..do you know and its time that something was done…

 

DC:     Oh of course it was …I know a wee bit about that from writing the history of Kilmainhamwood…12 years ago cause that’s where my Grandfather was from Kilmainhamwood….Kilmainhamwood was called Kilmainhamwood……Kilmainham in the wood to distinguish it from Kilmainham outside Kells to prevent confusion but both places had Monastery which were sort of out ….how should we say outhouses of the main Monastery of the Kilmainham in Dublin…that’s how it happened……

 

 

JM:      They were Commandery…

 

DC:     Commandery, exactly St. Johns hospital ….

 

JM:      It was the spread around …but I’ll tell you a good one …Moybolgue Is closely associated here do you know.

 

DC:     I know the old Graveyard very well.

 

JM:      And then you have Drumlane…do you know the Monastery…no not Dublin, Drumlane down in Cavan

 

DC:     OH sorry …I know of it …

 

JM:      Well this was the seat of the sea of Bréifne up to the time of the pale…and then it moved to Drum lane down in Cavan….

 

DC:     I must go and visit the Abbey there …I haven’t been to Drumlane…I know of it …yeah

 

JM:      If you come down some day please god I’ll bring you cause me daughter, she is married to a chap there…they have the land and the land is surrounded on three sides by the lake they are not living on that land …it was left to them…..but the Abbey is just across the corner beside the lake ….so if you come down some day …we will drop down….

 

DC:     It would be good yeah.

 

JM:      But its time to tie up all these things

 

DC:     It is I know……

 

JM:      There’s a man that wrote to me some time ago and I didn’t get back to him yet…..from Mayo about Colmcille and I couldn’t find anything Colmcille …he is on one of the islands now...What the hell is the …..

 

DC:     Iona…

 

JM:      No..no… in Mayo..

 

DC:     Off Mayo, Didn’t know there was a Mayo connection now…

 

JM:      I couldn’t find it anyway …you know……but there could be….

 

DC:     There could be a connection….I didn’t know there was but incidentally the well had just been refurbished and its open again, I was down there it looks quite well ….they done quite a good job….

 

JM:      Well you see I wanted was I wanted to build a kind of a thing there…….for the well itself so they could say mass or rosaries and have four seats going down two on each side……..you see you could say a decade a decade, a decade, a decade ……a seat and build it with mud and wattle ….do you know what I mean and thatch roof it and that ……

 

DC:     It would make it realistic alright …

 

JM:      Realistic do you know…I have something there if I could get it….

 

DC:     It’s a good idea…..

 

            (Irrelevant chat)  Johnny shows Danny a photo of his mother and his uncle Paddy……

 

JM:      Do you see the grimace  that’s  on him….well Maria has a lad that is the dead ringer……well he has a grimace  on him cause at that time gawsuns only wore petticoats and when the lad,  when that was taken, the chap lifted him up and put him down …..do you know the little bench out on the side of it…… he put him sitting on a bunch of nettles…….

 

DC:     Its no wonder he has a grimace….what year would that be ….that, must be about 19…

 

JM       Gosh that year would have been 1908 or 1910.

 

DC:     That’s a great photograph……

 

JM:      That one there is just in Edinburgh Cathedral with Cardinal Kilpatrick, Brian and Bishop Smith…there from Theresa

 

DC:     Great photograph too…….

 

JM:      We had a bit of a gathering of the Maguire clan there….a while ago ….

 

DC:     You did.

 

JM:      Yeah in Maguire’s…

 

DC:     Oh in the pub…no better place.

 

JM:      Well,  Not for me…….that’s a cousin of mine there meeting Pope John ….I have to try and raise funds for her because ….they lost two priests ….six sisters and eight students and their families …..as well as the school for the deaf and as well as their primary and secondary school in Haiti……so I told her I would raise a few bob for her and send it please God…….No there was a family connection home from Australia and then another from Leeds and then another from the west……the brother and sister hadn’t met here since 1968….

 

DC:     42 years….amazing ….so you had a clan gathering…

 

JM:      We sort of had a clan gathering …

 

DC:     The Maguire clan…the Maguire’s of the pub …they are no connection to you

 

JM:      No.

 

DC:     No I didn’t think so…

 

JM:      Well no you don’t know…

 

DC:     Well if you went back far enough……but they aren’t a close connection….those Maguire’s are there for generations …their father was there…

 

JM:      Id say they came in the 50’s or 40’s or something like that….it used to be McEnroe`s

 

DC:     Before it was Maguire’s…right

 

JM:      My father was telling me that Hugh McEnroe was one of the first to have a car in the town and they had the football club ‘What’s Wanted’ …..do you see…them all loaded onto the car anyway and I don’t know where they were going to play…going out the Oldcastle road….you see and they were sitting on mudguards as well as everything else and the car was only shuddering up the hill and Pete Rogers, Lord have Mercy on him…said pull over Hugh there is a lad on a bike trying to get by you…..wait to hell till I get over to this side of you

 

DC:     I can believe it.

 

JM:      And, whereabouts did you live at Kilmainhamwood…

 

DC:     Well I never actually lived there but my grandfather grew up there a townland called Shancor…it’s a mile outside the village up Lismean hill…..do you Lismean hill……do you know Keoghans pub …..I’ll tell you now who has the land Gogarty’s….

 

JM:      The printers …..

 

DC:     His brother Bob…….he owns the land that was Hugh’s …

 

JM:      They lived in a cottage above on the top of the hill….

 

DC:     That’s where they grew up in Newtown…correct……

 

JM:      I painted them houses…..for the Meath Co. Co. …..I used to cycle their night and morning

 

DC:     It’s some distance…yeah

 

JM:      I used to know nearly everyone there ….then there was Maguire’s further down the hill

 

DC:     There were Maguire’s!

 

JM:      Cassidy’s…

 

DC:     There was a lot of Cassidy’s…

 

JM:      And then there was …

 

DC:     There was Mc Gee’s as well.

 

JM:      There was Mc Gee’s and there was another cottage there what the hell was that ……a nice girl living in that cottage there…above Maguire’s …

 

Tape interrupted…. End

 

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