Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 23)
Our plan to suggest each week an article for reading from the Grange Parish Book (2015) was unavoidably suspended from early April owing to the temporary unavailability of this scribe. The last suggested reading (week 22) was posted on 2nd April. Our plan is being resumed now - see the details of week 23 below.
Moira and Maureen Reminisced
This week's (week 23) book article is about two lovely ladies from the Old Road in Lower Grange and their families. Mary Gallagher and Tommy Hourigan had the pleasure of meeting Moira Dillon and Maureen O'Carroll (née Dillon) at Moira's home in 2015 - a great discussion took place, consequent upon which Mary and Tommy compiled the book article Moira and Maureen Reminisced.
Moira and Maureen are wonderful people, well-known and highly-regarded in Grange and beyond. Both ladies had great recall of the past: people, places, events and ways of living, and they shared their memories with great detail and tremendous humour.
The following are extracts from the book article:
"Before Maureen arrived, Moira proceeded to talk a little about herself. Her clarity of thought and recall seemed to deny that she reached her 87th year in February of this year, 2015. Moira has spent her lifetime in Grange, a locality that she clearly loves, and her attachment to the people of her parish became evident as she talked about her life and people. She recalled going to school in Grange and her teachers, Mrs Power, Mrs O’Donnell and Master Lynch."
"When Moira finished school at 14, she went to work for the Hartigan family at the end of August that year. She learned how to milk cows and performed other chores on the farm and in the family home. Pat Hartigan was married to Mary Butler from Bruff, a sister of Jimmy Butler. The Butler family had a public house in Bruff at the time. She recalls, as part of her duties, drawing water by bucket from the pump at Lower Grange, which is still situated across from what used to be the Bulfin residence, though no longer in working condition. Water was drawn for domestic use and also for general use – there was a big storage tank in Hartigan’s yard."
"Returning to her employment history, Moira informed us that after a couple of years at Hartigans, she took up work with O’Donnells of the Yard (where the Wallace family now lives). She worked there for four or five years, milking cows and performing housework. At this juncture, Mary Gallagher recalled how she and her siblings would be “taken down there” to meet Monsignor O’Donnell at the Yard when he visited there occasionally. She recalled the ‘genuflecting’ that was necessary. Mary’s family is related to the O’Donnells. Thomas O’Donnell of The Yard and his brother Michael of The Hill relocated from Lough Gur when they acquired two farms in Grange. Michael was the grandfather of the well-known Mike Barlow."
"Following her period in the employment of the O’Donnells, Moira worked for the Barry family, just over Grange Bridge on the Limerick side. She took over from Biddy Madden of Upper Grange, and she worked for Mrs Barry for many years and loved her time there."
"When Maureen left Grange National School, she went to the Technical School on O’Connell Avenue in Limerick. When she graduated from technical school, she took up employment with Davis Printers, a company still in operation, just off the Ballysimon Road."
"Having worked for seven or eight years at Davis Printers, Maureen retired to take up 'real work', as Moira put it, having married Philly O’Carroll. Maureen met Philly at a dance in Hospital, and she said that it was their mutual love of and ability at dancing that brought them together. Maureen went far and wide to dances including the Fog in Ballysimon, Dromkeen, Hospital, Effin and other dance venues. Moira never went dancing – as she said – 'I couldn’t get a step from a leg'. What Moira missed at dances, she made up for in going to the races. She went to Knockea and Bruff, walking to and from the events. 'You wouldn’t have much money' said Moira, 'but enough to spend a few bob on the Wheel of Fortune'."
"Recalling the characters of the Old Road, in particular, Moira and Maureen both remembered Jim Kirby and described him as a great storyteller and a man with great sayings. Maureen recalled one great saying of Jim’s when he was tired – 'I am not worth two grains of a goat’s s..t'. Moira shared this saying with a local lad who got great mileage from it."
"Maureen’s grandmother, Mam Dillon, was well known for her midwifery services, and she delivered many a child at home in those days. There were no painkillers available. She delivered Moira’s siblings, Joan, Dan and Thady, amongst many. The two ladies recalled when Sadie Kirby’s mother was due to give birth and Mam Dillon was called to assist. At that stage, Mam was advancing in years, probably in her early 70s, and due to difficulty with walking, she had to be carried on a cart pulled by a number of people from her home to the Kirby house. Mam successfully delivered twin boys, Paddy and Tom."
"Moira and Maureen recalled the Doran family who lived nearby. They mentioned Frank and Jack Doran, in particular, neither of whom married. They ran a shop at the house and were expert at making things with their hands, particularly Jack. The shop had a magnificent mahogany counter made by the brothers. Jack made wooden toys and using string he made the figurines jump. Maureen said that Jack was making such wooden toys over sixty years ago. She frequently tidied up the house and shop for the brothers, for which she received a few pennies or sweets."
"In more recent years, when Moira experienced difficulty with her hips, a neighbour, now deceased, used to give her a lift to Mass. One morning, he pulled his car up outside Moira’s gate for her to get in the front seat. Moira was trying to get into the car, feet first, but she encountered difficulty. Her driver observed what was going on and said 'Put your f…ing arse in first Moira' and that solved that problem. Moira laughed heartily as she recited her neighbour’s words."
"As Moira pointed out, in those days gone by, there were no electric fridges and perishables were placed in a butter box with dock leaves or cabbage leaves wrapped around them to keep them cool. Maureen’s father made a fridge of sorts by digging a hole in the ground and placing a ‘burco’ boiler in it with the food to be kept cool. A sod of earth was placed over the container lid. That arrangement was remarkably effective."
"We mentioned Moira’s powers of memory and recall earlier, and Maureen told us that if she put anything away in her house for a future date, while Moira was there, and if subsequently she couldn’t remember where she left an item, Moira would be able to tell her immediately. Maureen seemed to be a little in awe of Moira’s memory prowess. And so we found as we spoke with the two ladies, Moira’s capacity to recall detail, whether names, dates or events was impressive indeed. Mind you, in this regard, Maureen did not play second fiddle. We had two hours of great conversation with the two ladies with more than a good share of jollification and laughter. We are afraid that owing to the timidity and gentle nature of this book’s readership, we couldn’t record all of the stories that we were told, fascinating and funny as they were."
There is much, much more to be read in the full book article.
Next week (week 24) we will suggest another book article for reading.
Kind Regards to All.