A Sticky Problem: I didn’t know too much about Cushendall people. My only recollection of Cushendall as a child was Grandma Brogan taking the trap and the pony and Grandma would take me with her and we would go into Cushendall once a month and we would pay the bills in Stevenson’s. Mrs Stevenson always gave me a little bag of sweets and I carted this home to share with my sisters and I thought this was wonderful because as kids we didn’t get much in the way of sweets. Country children didn’t.
One time something funny happened. Cousin Denis was working in Agolagh for Grandfather Brogan. Everything revolved around grandpa and he took Denis to stay in Agolagh for some reason. So anyway Denis was there and we were sent down to the beach one sunny day and Denis was to come and fetch us for Mrs McAllister the housekeeper, and we were to be home for six o’clock. Denis was busy with whatever he was doing, feeding the pigs.
When Denis collected us the whole yard was covered with treacle. The barrel of treacle had spilled. The pigs got treacle in amongst their food and he had forgot to put the bung back into the barrel. Well we died a thousand deaths. We started with a hose and a yard brush and before anybody came home we managed to get rid of most of it. We scraped it up into anything at all and put it in the burn and my grandfather wondered what happened to his barrel of treacle. It was all down in the river and days afterwards we were afraid to look at each other in case we would burst out laughing and Denis was always worrying about it.
Grandfather always wanted everybody to do what he wanted but Denis eventually shook off grandfather Brogan’s clutches and joined the British Army and distinguished himself very well during World War II and died there a few years ago. He was a lovely boy. We were very fond of him. He was like a brother, our little brother.
Anyway we never forgot the treacle. Nothing was ever said about it. Whether we managed to disguise the whole thing or grandfather just thought it was a mistake or an accident he let it go. The whole yard glistened a lovely yellow, with it rolling down gently. (Bunty McAuley)
There was two Masses on a Sunday. I knowed a family and one had to go to the first Mass and change his clothes for the other one to wear them to go to the second Mass.
The priest I think was most looked up to than anybody. Well, they really thought the priest had a lot of power. And if he missed you on a Sunday at Mass, “Where were you?” Oh yes you would have to tell him where you were. (Alex McKendry)
On Sunday at Chapel, there used to be a whole row of traps, and then traps began to disappear and the motor cars came in. (George McCullagh)
On Sunday morning down at the Chapel there it wasn’t a big row of cars that was sitting along the ditch it was a row of bicycles. There was nobody stole anything then, or vandalised anything, you know. Och no! Whenever we went to bed here, the door never was locked. Well, you see, we were going in and out at all times. There was twelve of us in it, you see. (Francis Quinn)
Work and Play
We had a swing out there. There was big bush in front of the house there and there was a swing on it and we went over to the cousins over there you know but we had to work.
I remember, the morning John Mooney was born, we were digging spuds in the field below the house there. At that time there was two adults or thereabouts went along with a basket and throwed the saleable spuds into it and then somebody else came along and he gathered up the refuse into a bucket for the pigs and that was our job when we were small.
You gathered up all the leftovers for the pigs and the hens and the ducks and the geese. The potatoes were boiled. There was a big boiler that was outside which held about two hundred weight and then it had to be boiled you know every other day. Me and my brother, when we come home from school, we used to have to fill it and boil it for the pigs and hens. Before you went to school you had to feed the hens and ducks and that. (Francis Quinn)
“Neither cold nor hungry”
I don’t think I’ve ever went bare foot unless it was on my own wish. We would always have had shoes. I do know of my father maybe having to take a calf and sell it to get money to buy somebody shoes you know maybe before he wanted to sell because money was scarce. I often say that I never knew what it was either to be cold or hungry because of want. If you were either cold or hungry it was your own fault it was because you didn’t come for your tea or because you went out in the rain or something but you know not because of want. (Anna May Wharry)
Talking in Irish
Mary McKeegan and my mother would be in there and some of the rest of the cousins of her age and this old Mary McKeegan. They talked only in Irish, and when her own sister would come down to visit and they would be having their conversation it was all in Irish, and the wee ones used to get pushed out, if the grown ups was having a conversation. They were put outside, but they got duked in and they didn’t think that the children knew what they were talking about but mother said we children knew all that was going on, you know. We were able to listen and know all that they were at and they never thought so, or we would have got chased out if they’d known we were picking it up, you know. You used to get hunted out if they were going to have a yarn, not that there was anything that you would think was very important. (Annie McKillop)