Interview with Annie McKillop

Interviewer: Where were you born?

Annie: At the Milltown, just before you go to the bridge to cross over for Ossian’s Grave, a wee house on the side of the road.

Interviewer: Oh yes.

Annie: There was another house that was also house there as well. It has now been put up to a two-storey, you know it looks different.

Interviewer: A converted type thing?

Annie: Aye it’s been renovated … the other house has been improved on, you know. The one I was born in is still the one-storey.

Interviewer: Yes. And how many of a family lived in that?

Annie: Well my mother and my father they only came back there, they were married in Scotland.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: And my mother always came home for the birth of the children. So we were all born in Ireland until the fourth, aye my first sister was born … they were married in 1916.

Interviewer: 1916.

Annie: And they were married in Clydebank in Scotland.

Interviewer: So your father …

Annie: He was Philip Smyth my father and my mother was Mary McNaughton and they met and married in Clydebank.

Interviewer: Were they working over there, living over there?

Annie: Hmm, that’s right. That was the rule at the time, they either went to Scotland or some went to America. The boys went to sea at that time. All my uncles nearly went to sea on the coast before they went to Canada.

Interviewer: Did they?

Annie: They come and they were living at the Milltown anyway when I was born and they had Mary and Bridget before me. So Bridget was handicapped so when I arrived then that was three of us in close succession.

Interviewer: Gosh.

Annie: My father he was an invalid from the Battle of the Somme from the ’14-’18 war.

Interviewer: Really.

Annie: So I was born in 1920.

Interviewer: So the Somme was ’16 was it? They were married in year ’16.

Annie: It was after the war, it was after that Battle that she married him but my father and his two brothers were all at the Battle of Somme and all survived it but some of them had very bad injuries and my father died from his in 1921 and my younger sister was born a fortnight after he died.

Interviewer: Gosh.

Annie: So I got then planted back to … after I was born they had went back to Scotland.

Interviewer: Did they?

Annie: But then he died in 1921 and my grandfather was over for the funeral.

Interviewer: He was buried over there?

Annie: Hmm and my mother was then just expecting Nellie, the one younger and I was the one that was starting to … the toddler you know and the other ones was still not walking. So it was a pretty hard burden so my grandmother took me with her to Ireland until she would get back on her feet as they called it, get back over her problems. So I was taken to my grandparents home in Cloughs.

Interviewer: Right. And where’s that?

Annie: It’s between Glenann, you know where you cross over from Glenann to Cloughs Road, you know there is a road that goes up by Tievebulliagh there.

Interviewer: You go to go up Gault’s Road and then you go right.

Annie: That’s right.

Interviewer: And how far up that road?

Annie: Ah it’s about two mile.

Interviewer: Is the house still there?

Annie: Aye that’s it there the house.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Annie: The one at the back.

Interviewer: Was it bigger then than your house in Milltown.

Annie: Oh yes, oh aye it was. It was built in 1918. It was a new farmhouse built but now it has went degenerating, all the plaster has fell off it, you know it’s derelict now. There is nobody living in it since, there was nobody living in it, only in it in the daytime from the 1940s so it has degenerated down.

Interviewer: So was it just you and your grandparents?

Annie: Oh no there was all the remains of the McNaughton family there. There was a full house when I got there.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Annie: That was in 1921.

Interviewer: So you were brought up with your cousins.

Annie: I was brought up with my uncles and aunts.

Interviewer: Right, right.

Annie: But I think I told you that before. And there was all my uncles and aunts, there was Pat and Alex and Charlie and Dan, that was four uncles and there was Rosie and Maggie and Sarah, that was three aunts and my grandparents and me and my eldest sister stayed with them as well. She didn’t go back to Scotland when the family was shifting back and she died when she was eight then, in 1925. So I remember her dying.

Interviewer: Yeah I think you told me about her funeral didn’t you.

Annie: She come from school on a Friday and was buried the following Thursday … a pain in her knee and the doctor said it was sleeping sickness. All that young group all round there was no word of any isolation, sleeping sickness is an infectious disease.

Interviewer: Never heard of it.

Annie: Aye and nothing was done about that and she died in pure agony the wee crator. I remember the moans of her. She merely died from blood poisoning of a knee.

Interviewer: Did she?

Annie: When she died her whole leg and her body turned black. She died from inflammation … not her face now, her whole body.

Interviewer: Yeah. How do you get that?

Annie: Well she must have got some cut or injury at some time and then it healed over and it built up inside but that was the closest we could get but she was down as sleeping sickness. There was so very little could be done for children. If they took anything at that time they nearly died. You know there was no antibiotics, there was nothing.

Interviewer: Was there no natural type … did people believe in sort of any type of plants or was there anything that way, herbs or anything.

Annie: There would have been a little of that but it wouldn’t be very effective now on serious illness.

Interviewer: Yeah because you know the way you hear a lot now about Eastern medicine and things that you can do.

Annie: That’s right but they used to have some kind of handy things for … they used to give bogbine for instance to teenage girls to build up their iron content.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: You know that they wouldn’t go anaemic when they were teenagers when they started their young life.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: You see bogbine it was a very hard thing to take for it was very, very bitter.

Interviewer: Was it? Where do you get it?

Annie: You would get it in the mountain. There is places it grows in the bog in the moss and they would have to take it and boil it and then bottle it.

Interviewer: Like a medicine?

Annie: Aye just like taking an iron tonic you know. I never could have it. I had to do without it, I couldn’t take it. That was the family but it is more interesting from the Glenann side for my grandmother she was from Glenann and going back then her mother was, she was McDonnell.

Interviewer: McDonnell.

Annie: And then her mother was McKeegan, married to Paddy McDonnell of Eshery. That’s where the oldest man of the parish is living is up at Eshery in Glenann, John McAuley.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Annie: That’s the eldest man in this Parish. He was born in 1902 and he’s still able to come down to mass on a Saturday night and go to Joe’s for an hour. You’ve heard of him?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: Well I was bridesmaid at his wedding.

Interviewer: Were you? What age were you?

Annie: 18.

Interviewer: You were 18. So when were you born?

Annie: I was 18.

Interviewer: When were you born?

Annie: 1920.

Interviewer: So that was …

Annie: 19 … they were married in January 1930, I would have been 19 in May.

Interviewer: Oh right. Was regiment was your father and his brothers in, in the war?

Annie: That’s my father there and I don’t know … I think it’s the Queen’s Own Scottish Borders. You see being at this other side here of the family in Ireland all the time, I didn’t know much about my father’s side.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: I learned a bit later on for my brother and me went down to Monaghan and that trying to sort of trace up on things.

Interviewer: Did you? My great grandfather was in Royal Irish Fusiliers I think.

Annie: Well now a brother of his was in the Enniskillen Fusiliers, or the Irish Fusiliers, that was the other Regiment and then the other brother he was with the Argyll and Southern Highlanders.

Interviewer: So did they all not want to stay together, no?

Annie: No, no, no they were in different … you see at that time there was some promised by the British that if the Irish fellows volunteered that they would get the independence for the country.

Interviewer: Oh aye Home Rule.

Annie: Home Rule would come to them after the war.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Annie: And they never stood up to that. You see that’s why there was so many Irish men were in the First World War and so many of them never came home you know.

Interviewer: They weren’t even given their own Regiment.

Annie: No.

Interviewer: I think they were originally promised that they would have their own Regiment.

Annie: Aye.

Interviewer: They were all split up.

Annie: Cruel bad laws.

Interviewer: I know.

Annie: Bad, bad and you know in some respects they haven’t improved much.

Interviewer: I know.

Annie: It’s a very cruel, hard world for a whole lot of people still to get justice and things.

Interviewer: Isn’t that right and there’s so much money about too.

Annie: That’s true.

Interviewer: Years ago there weren’t but now there is.

Annie: Aye that’s right. Look at that out in Czechslovakia and that, it’s terrible but Glenann is a Glen of all McKeegans nearly and at the top of the Glen, well McDonnells were there at Eshery. It was McKillops was above that and then there was the McKeegans the Hammishs they lived up above, on the height up, there’s a wee house and I suppose it’s maybe derelict now too and then you come down farther you’ve got the McKeegans, more McKeegans and nicknames had to go them for there was Shoemakers and then there was the Horleys and there was the Wavers and there was Duncans, there was the Curleys and the Pats and who else, an endless number. Everyone of them … they nearly all had the same Christian names, it was all Johns and Jimmys and that sort of names, you know. There was the same names through, John and Jimmy and Pat and that you know. It was very difficult.

Interviewer: To differentiate. Did there used to be an older school on up Glenann? 

Annie: Aye there was, aye it’s away up Tavnadrissagh lonan.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: On the road up to McLaughlins, the Packers was what they called them.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: And it’s up above where Willie McAuley lives.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: And on up. There’s a field there and now I think it’s a sheep house or something built on it but that’s where the school house was. There’s a wallstead there I think.

Interviewer: Still.

Annie: Aye I think there’s a bit of a wallstead still in it but it’s a kind of a … it’s not a square field, it’s a kind of a circular field there and that’s the school field because I remember them you know years ago there used to be flax growing, lInterviewer: growing as they called it then and like looking across you would see the flax pulling, you know the men all out in the field up there and my grandfather had always flax as well. There was always communication between the different ones. You went to the neighbour to their pulling and they come to yours so that you had eight or nine men to attend of a day to pull it all in one day.

Interviewer: Really for a whole field?

Annie: For a whole field, hmm, that was to get it all dubbed, into the dub to ret it. It had to go in evenly, you know you couldn’t put a wee bit in today and a wee bit in tomorrow, it had all to go in at once.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Annie: Or you would get discolouration in your fibre and that.

Interviewer: Oh I didn’t know that now. So when you’re going up the school field, is that what you call it, the school field?

Annie: The school field we always were … the Packer’s school field, that’s where the school was.

Interviewer: On the left or the right?

Annie: On the right. If you’re looking up from, if you look up from beyond that house that has the plaster all off it and monkey puzzle trees in it, when you pass Glenann Road going to Cushendun, if you look up across there, straight up that brae you’ll see that house from the road and you’ll see … I think it’s now a sheep house or a cattle house or something put in, you know an agricultural place but there’s still the remains of what was a wallstead. I know that’s the field, that is where the school house was you know.

Interviewer: Yes.

Annie: For I remember it still a building … I mean the remains of a building there you know.

Interviewer: Like foundations.

Annie: Hmm.

Interviewer: Would it just have been called Glenann School as well?

Annie: I don’t know what was the name of it now. I don’t really know but that is where the school was and then before Glenaan school opened the school was there at that first house on your right hand side as you up Glenann.

Interviewer: Was it?

Annie: Aye that’s where the school was.

Interviewer: Just temporary like.

Annie: No I don’t know how long they were there. They might have been there a good number of years. I don’t know where else … they must have been there from they left the one up in the Packer’s field. I never heard anybody mentioning any other place but I know that’s the school they went to because they run a race for who would be first into the school when it opened and it was an uncle of mine John McNaughton and he went to Vancouver. He went to Glasgow first and worked there in McSparran’s shop and then they were supplying all the things to the ships and that, this store in Glasgow. Then he was in contact with the different Captains and that and then he went to sea on the coast and then the ship he was on was sold to a Canadian Company and they were given the privilege of … they had to go out to deliver the ship, the crew and they were given the option of being paid their fare back home or permission to stay. So he stayed.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: And he never was back for, I forget how many years … 1912 … it was over 40 years, 48 years or something before he was back. His two younger members of his family he had never seen was Dan and Sarah. They were born after he went away.

Interviewer: Brother and sister?

Annie: Brother and sister.

Interviewer: Never seen them?

Annie: Oh aye he came home then but that length of time … they were still alive but then he made two or three different trips like after that, like when he was older and retired. He lived until he was 93. So he got a good long race at it.

Interviewer: It must be the air here, everybody is so healthy you know in their older years.

Annie: The school in Glenann now, the school it’s going to celebrate its Centenary this year.

Interviewer: That’s right, I heard that.

Annie: I went to school there and you know it’s still the same. They’ve taken away the partition in between now and it’s going to be two open … just the way it was. It was all one big room when we were at it.

Interviewer: I noticed that and I thought too that it has an awful high ceiling. Would it not have been awful hard to heat?

Annie: There was no heating any place at that time. Like it was only the open fire at home and if you went to any of the bedrooms or anywhere else … only there was so many people in the house that warmed it you know and there was two or three to a bed you know. The people kept each other warm I suppose when you think about it.

Interviewer: Yeah. What happened when you got into school and you were wet?

Annie: Well I remember I came down through the fields to that school and crossing a bridge there above the school at the mill, what used to be the mill. There is nothing of the mill left now, there was a flax mill there and a corn mill and come across the bridge there to come out on to the road and turn down and I was just beside the school and when I came down through … there was no Wellingtons at that time, you always got a pair of boots for the winter time but boots or no boots when you come down through rushes and grassy places the wet goes on your stockings you see.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: And then as you stand in them it goes down into your boots no matter what you’ve on you.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Annie: So when you went into school the Master used to stand you up at the front of the fire to get dried off and there would come a smoke up out of your clothes you know. I remember it so well. Not a bit wonder we’ve arthritis now.

Interviewer: That’s right and when you’re told that when you’re young you don’t listen.

Annie: I don’t think it makes much odds. I think just you inherit the arthritis. I think it runs in your family.

Interviewer: Did you like school?

Annie: Oh I loved school. I did indeed. I remember a young aunt she was promising to take me. You see my sister died when I was five and I missed her for playing about with you know very much. I can remember that and then I was looking to get to school every day and you didn’t go to school until over six at that time.

Interviewer: Right.

Annie: So I was looking and looking to get and Sarah would tell me I’ll take you tomorrow and I’ll take you tomorrow and then hoping she’d get away in the morning before I would be up you know but anyway I’m up and crying this morning, granny got fed up with it and she says here she says wait a minute take her with you she says. There will be many a day she will be crying to get staying at home you know. That rung clear in my … I never forgot it and I said I’ll never complain about school you know.

Interviewer: And you never did you?

Annie: I never did, no for she said of all she put 15 out to school and I wasn’t the easiest one she ever had to put to school. She never had any bother getting me up for to go to school. She might have had problems with me otherwise but not going to school. School was, well it was company then you know for one thing. Now that … now I was six and a half before I got started school and I suppose with Mary dying they kept me at home as long as possible and as well as that I had learned quite a bit at home for I remember an uncle had bought this calendar, it was like the shape of a calendar and all the figures from one to a hundred on it, there was a clock with the aluminium hands or tin hands, the face of the clock you could change the hands round you know to learn the time and then there was the full alphabet. So I knew all the alphabet and the figures and the clock before ever I started school. Although I wasn’t at school I was always learning something you know. You couldn’t hardly avoid it. It was there in front of you and like he would ask me questions you know and that, put me over it. I got on quite well getting education at home.

Interviewer: Did you learn Irish in school?

Annie: No, no not in my time. In my mother’s time, now she was at Glenann School as well and she was a good fluent speaker of Irish.

Interviewer: Glens Gaelic.

Annie: Hmm. All I had was the Our Father and the Hail Mary. That was all I learned of Irish at school. I don’t even know whether I remember them now or not. It was a kind of a shame because they could still have taught it but they didn’t seem to bother. It come anyway that … aye I suppose it was ____ in the curriculum then, you weren’t allowed.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Annie: Nor no Irish history, not any reliable Irish history. It was the British Irish history you were going to have to learn to be a subject of the State.

Interviewer: That’s what I learned at school too. I didn’t do any Irish history at school.

Annie: No, no. Well that’s what I think we were deprived of that and that I think a truthful history is what you would want to be taught.

Interviewer: Two sides.

Annie: Aye. You know you would need to see a picture that was … there is just not one thing perfect you know and like most of the history is a sad story of mismanagement and mistrust and all the rest of it. When you look back over a lifetime, like … what would you say, more understanding and not as much fixed ideas about things you know.

Interviewer: Flexible.

Annie: Flexible, aye. It’s very difficult to get that where you get started off on the wrong foot at the start. Now I think the history is more correct that they’re getting in all the school, you know now.

Interviewer: More balanced.

Annie: Aye I think so.

Interviewer: Because history, one time and one event it depends on what class you were and all different things and how you saw it.

Annie: Yes of course and it was nearly whatever your background at home thought about a thing.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Annie: It wasn’t what would be educated into you on a fair biased way of looking at a thing or an explanation of why this or the other things happened.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: It was just like whatever your family … you would say that was right, like they couldn’t be wrong hardly.

Interviewer: Yeah. Did yous play any kinds of games or sports or anything?

Annie: They played football in the school yard just but the girls took part in the football as well and we used to play tig and jump over the walls and that when we were playing tig and sometimes hide-and-seek but we’d only half an hour out and down the road there was a shop, Mary Delargy’s shop.

Interviewer: Was there?

Annie: Down beside John Murphy’s house there, out at the end of Glenann Road and down to your right and past David McAuley’s house and then the next one was the shop beside it and John Murphy’s and you went there. We had no money you know but there was some one or two would always have money. Somebody had their father at sea or in America and there was money coming home. Those sort of people had a penny or two but the rest of us wouldn’t have anything but whenever you went, all went, headed that way, you went with your pals and your friends and Mary Delargy when she was weighing out the sweets I don’t know how she had any profit because she made out the ones with the money and then she gave whoever was standing there a sweet anyway. So you got a sweet. Some of them would share all with you know, share it round and others wouldn’t, they would put it in their pocket and try to chew quietly you know and not let it be heard.

Interviewer: Did you have lunches or dinners or anything like that?

Annie: No you took a piece of soda bread with you and butter and when I got up any size I took nothing with me because I couldn’t bear the crumbs in through my books in my schoolbag, I couldn’t tolerate them.

Interviewer: Really.

Annie: So unless I had money I hadn’t anything for lunch until I got home in the evening.

Interviewer: That’s amazing.

Annie: And then Madge McNaughton she was next door, was the one friend … my aunt was left school then I was along with Madge coming from school. She always went down by Ossian’s Grave and down that side going to school but I always went down through the fields. It was a straight run down our field right to the school and then I’d come up with her up the other way. So it took us all evening getting home but we used to … if we had tupence for a currant bun then, you know these big buns and McLarnon’s bakery was working in Cushendall and they were lovely and fresh and then there would be other fancier cakes you know but Madge and me always went if we had a penny each we would split a bun between us. We liked a bit of bun for our money you see. If you ate a half of a currant bun instead of taking any fancier pastry, you know there wasn’t much bulk to them.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: Mary Delargy cut a bun in two for us.

Interviewer: How big were the buns?

Annie: Just the same as they are … you know that size they are yet today, that was the size of them, you know the currant, fruit bun. I don’t know what they call them now but that’s what we called them, a fruit bun.

Interviewer: How far did the children walk that school?

Annie: You know even in those days there was people come from Cushendall to school there.

Interviewer: Really.

Annie: And after my time there were even ones come from Glenariffe to Glenann school. Would you believe that? From Waterfoot and Glenariffe. We always had a very good teacher in Glenann School and then there was a man at Glenariffe school was not up to scratch or something they thought or maybe had some row or something, I don’t know but they come that length but I know in Cushendall then the reason there was a good few up from there, they come up through the years from Cushendall as well and there was a man and he should have been retired, you know the teachers taught on far longer then you know than the retiring age. So this man they were pining papers on his back and that you know when he went past them you know and carrying on and not learning, especially the boys. So there was always Moya Lynn and Cahal Lynn from Lynn’s shop there they come and Mannax McAlister, Mannax Arthur, Donal there in the store his father, he come always up to Glenann school and then there was Johnny O’Hara at the bottom of the street and John Mort. These men were going to go to sea and they wanted to be as well as advanced as possible and that’s why they come to Glenann.

Interviewer: What size was the class, average?

Annie: I just can’t exactly remember the size a class would have been. The roll in the school in my time would be about 63 kind of ways, around about that on a daily basis, 63 and it didn’t vary much during those years, maybe 60 to 63 or that but in my mother’s time it was away much higher than that. It was away up high but she was never in the new school … oh aye she was, she would have been in the new school, that’s right.

Interviewer: So your mother was a Glens Gaelic speaker. Were they taught in Irish in school or …

Annie: Oh they were taught in the school and then as well at that time you see where they were living as children they were first … they weren’t living in Cloughs as a family at the start and the father, when my grandfather Alex McNaughton married Mary McDonnell he was the hired man with Captain McKeegan, he was away at sea and he was Farm Manager in looking after the farm and his work when the man was at sea and then he married Mary McDonnell and she was a niece of the Captain’s you see. So then they were living in a wee house beside Captain McKeegan big house, a wee small pokle of a place and it was from there that they went to school. So you see then she was there beside, her granny was up in Eshery but her great granny was there Captain McKeegan’s mother was her granny, aye so she was in and about there you know. I’m talking about my mother now. It wasn’t her granny was beside her, it was her great granny, Captain McKeegan’s mother.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Annie: 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 spoke … they talked only in Irish and when her own sister would come down to visit and that and they would be having their conversation it was all in Irish and they thought the wee ones … you know you used to get pushed out if the grown ups was having a conversation you were put outside but they got duked in and they didn’t think that the children knew what they were talking about and mother said we knew all that was going on, you know were able to listen and know all that they were at and they never thought or they would have got chased out if they’d known they were picking it up, you know.

Interviewer: They thought they were safe.

Annie: Aye. They 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.

Interviewer: Even when they ceilidhed they didn’t get to sit in, no?

Annie: No. Ah well at night you had to get sitting in because … until bedtime you know. That’s where I got a lot of my folklore was sitting at night with the ceilidhers in and hear them talking but the conversation usually was around Glens people and who was relations to this one and who was related to that and who married so and so, who married somebody in America, all that you know.

Interviewer: The way they sat and talked.

Annie: I think that’s one side of education that today’s youth hasn’t an inkling of and it’s, you wouldn’t have thought it but in retrospect I see it as a great draw back to them because they hardly know past first cousins at the present and the whole thing is I feel that in a short time they’ll be meeting like, well anyway second cousins and they haven’t a clue who they are, you know.

Interviewer: Like older people can sit and go, you’re related to such and such and they’ll go, we’d no idea.

Annie: No they haven’t. Well if they never heard how would they know. They would know maybe the first cousins and there is some of them maybe doesn’t even take any notice of that, you know they are not even interested.

Interviewer: That’s right and you learn so much too from listening to older people talking about things that happened a long time ago, funny stories, you different things like that as well. Those things are passed down. Do you know the way Glenann, I’ve heard anyway, there used to be a lot more families lived in it, when did it start, you know the families moving away.

Annie: Well you see I’m only going back with hearing my grandparents and that era talking about them, you see there must have been something happening and times was maybe buzzing in America at the time or something because there’s awful lot went to America around 1911, 1912, around that time because there was a brother to that Captain Jimmy McKeegan that I was mentioning, a brother of his Patrick McKeegan, he was a Captain as well and he went to America with the whole family in 1912 at the same time there was another man, a cousin Alex McCambridge that lived up above it was Knockban there, there’s only wallsteads in it now and he went with his family to America. He was a cousin to Patrick McKeegan, they were first cousins and then there was another family John McAllister coming down to where you’re looking again as I was talking about looking up at the old school house, a wee bit farther down the brae there’s a wee house, a wee wallstead or something up, I think there’s some kind of a wee shed or something up at it now and that’s where this man John McAllister and his wife and family went from there to America. That was three families inside of a very short time, big families and strange to say there just recently, just about a month ago there was a grandson of one of those children that went out from John McAllister’s daughter Sarah, she married Dan Moore in America and this young man I met him in a cousin’s house, they were related through my father’s side and he was over from America you know and he was wanting to know … I knew about where they lived and that but I never knew his grandfather but I knew of the family of McAllisters with them being associated with these Horleys going away at the one time. I always heard about them and then I met the grandmother because she was back home and come to visit me for I was married and living up Ballyeamon in Glenburn … there’s an old man … I’m McKillop married to McKillop you see and at the end of his life there was this cousin of my husband’s come to stay with us and he was a neighbour of the Moores up Clough so when she come home she was the wife of one of the Moores, Dan Moore you see and Annie Moore still at home the sister and she took her round to Glenburn to visit Johnny but I was there, I was the wife of the house but it was to see this old man that lived with us. So that’s where I met him. This fellow was all surprised that I had met his granny you know, it was funny. Nobody had any idea that, that had happened you know. She just come, this Annie Moore to visit Johnny and she had a son with her and he died a while after he went out again and there’s people now coming back and looking for their roots all the time.

Interviewer: So that’s when you think it all started then, they started to emigrate.

Annie: Well that’s the time that I know of hearing them talking about a big rush at that time but they’d been going from earlier than that you know.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: But they used to go to Scotland an awful lot then, a generation before that like there was an awful lot of them especially the women went to Paisley, there was mills and that and the mill work or that in Paisley and Airdrie was another place they went to. Well then in later times you see with my mother and aunt … my aunt Annie she went to Scotland as well and married there.

Interviewer: Is that who you were called after?

Annie: Aye that’s right I’m called after her that’s right and they went to Clydebank. Well Clydebank was a very flourishing place and they had ship building and they had Singer Sewing Machine factory and exporting to the world you know. It was a very positive …

Interviewer: Industry.

Annie: So there was plenty of work in that. Even the girls could work in Singers you know and that and my Aunt Annie was a dressmaker before she left home. She done dressmaking so she went into Singers but that was the sort of a run they had and the families were so big they depended on the first ones when they left school at 14 they were nearly ready to go away any place and when they went away they always sent their money home to help rear … this is how the big families was reared because they couldn’t have managed only that. They all sent their money home. All those uncles of mine … I can remember always the letters coming and the dollars in it from Canada and that you know and even like in later years when it was past hardship stage you know there would always come dollars at Christmas. I would be looking for the postman as a child.

Interviewer: Did you ever, when you got to listen to your granny or whatever, do you ever remember any stories about the famine?

Annie: No I never heard much. The place in Glenann, the soup kitchens that they had was in Clignagh there, Lubitavish is the townland, you cross over, it’s just as you go up to Ossian’s Grave. It was McCloey’s they had a big consignment of land at that time, the McCloeys and actually we descend from those McCloeys down on my grandfather’s side. His grandmother was Nancy McCloey and they were Protestants you see the McCloeys and then a daughter of Nancy McCloey’s was Ann Martin and she eloped with my great grandfather, Jimmy McNaughton, she eloped with him and then another sister … I’m sort of connected with them two ways for my husband then was connected far in on the same direction to the McCloeys as well. Mary McCloey was his father’s great grandmother. You know it goes back, like we’re like fourth degree or something you know down from it but they both comes from the McCloey’s side.

Interviewer: And they had a soup kitchen did you say?

Annie: Aye they had, aye they were the ones … aye I heard my grandfather talking about that but like I can’t remember any details, you know they were given so much meal or whatever it was to make porridge and that.
Interviewer: Right.

Annie: And then they talked about the soup kitchens. I wonder if there was much soup in it or was it just stuff for to make porridge and that time. I’m not sure about that. You know like in America there they talked about soup kitchens in the depression but I’m sure there wasn’t a lot to make soup of you know at that time but they made porridge and I think that’s what they lived on.

Interviewer: There was politics attached to that too wasn’t there about soup kitchens as well. There was something strange …

Annie: I’m not too well on that now, no.

Interviewer: I wonder how bad The Famine was around here in this part. It’s such a long time ago now.

Annie: Well it’s not that far back because I can go back … my grandfather was born in the 1966.

Interviewer: 1866.

Annie: Aye 1866, aye and I can go back his mother then and I can go back to his grandmother and can go back to 1798 where that line of the family come from, 1798 this is the double centenary of it.

Interviewer: Yeah that’s right.

Annie: And there was some of them, how they come to be going back to 1798 … the rebellion was on and this girl belonged to Torr. She went to work to Antrim as a young girl and when she was working in Antrim she met this fellow Murphy and they got married and the Murphys were rebels and there was three brothers of them and this is the story, I hadn’t that now down to my grandfathers but I know down to the birth of … I know this Ails Murphy as far back as I could go there was Murphy came in there but there was two of them shot and the third one made his escape to Australia, got out of the country and one of those that was shot met this girl McCormick, a widow so she came home to Torr with her children and my grandfather’s grandmother was Alis Murphy and she was one of those children and then the Murphy’s, all the Murphy’s that’s down at Cushleake or that descendant on this area, all the Murphys descend from whatever brothers come with her at that stage you know. So that’s where they come and then Alis Murphy married Alex McNaughton and then all the McNaughtons the whole ____ of McNaughtons in this area all descend or are connected to the Murphys from Cushleake and that. They come down from the Murphys vein as well as McNaughton. So that’s as far back … Ails Murphy.

Interviewer: The children just do not know the connections, they really, really don’t. They don’t even have …

Annie: Where do you come from yourself?

Interviewer: Belfast.

Annie: What’s your second name?

Interviewer: Hughes.

Annie: Hughes, Caroline Hughes.

Interviewer: Funny you were talking about Murphys, my grandfather was Murphy.

Annie: Where was he from, the city?

Interviewer: Belfast, yeah.

Annie: Then on the Smith side there’s Murphys and us again there coming from Monaghan connections. There’s one of my father’s grandparents was Murphy, one was McQuade and my grandmother was Brigid Maguire, one of the Maguires from Kinawley.

Interviewer: Where’s Kinawley now.

Annie: In Fermanagh, close to the border. It’s near the Monaghan border. I think they must have been in two adjoining parishes. He was John Smith and Brigid Maguire and they married in Glasgow. It was a wee chapel at that time, it’s now the Pro Cathedral in Argyll Street in 1871. One was 19 and the other was 21. You would think they would nearly had to have met before they went there.

Interviewer: I know.

Annie: That’s what I’m saying there was an awful lot of going to Scotland in those times.

Interviewer: There really, really is and then people coming over on holidays.

Annie: Later then in the ’30s and then the people started to go more to England. You know they started to spread out and go to England to get over all the political disturbances and that then the people went to England for work. The pay was better, better working conditions. Ones that didn’t go to sea went there whenever the building trade and all that, building the roads.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: And in the ’40s the same even after the war in the ’50s there was a very big number of Irish people went to England then.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you think the people from around Glenann would be superstitious? You know the way you hear things about New Year’s Day you know the way you weren’t supposed to see somebody with red hair, you know things like that. Things you weren’t supposed to bring into the house.

Annie: You weren’t to take holly at Chirstmas but there was skeaghs about. You daren’t take a bit of a skeagh bush in to the house at all.

Interviewer: Really.

Annie: No, it was deadly. I remember this goes back to that sister of mine that died there’s a big skeagh bush, a beautiful big bush up beside McNaughton’s farm where I was telling you I was at my grandfathers and it’s in a circle you know. If ever there was a place for fairies to dance around it’s ideal, it’s a thorn and it’s all covered with beautiful blossoms but anyway Mary as a child, there was one branch and it was great for swinging on you know, it would go with you a bit and I remember whenever she died my grandfather took wire and he tied that branch up and I was cautioned on the peril of my life I wasn’t to go near that bush. So anyway years passed, I never bothered you know, there wouldn’t be much like when you would get past a certain stage, you sort of had a dread of it anyway and the cows used to sometimes be in the garden and all of a sudden they would give a snort in the air you would think they seen something and then they’d gallop like mad from one end of the field to the other, you know snorting but we could see nothing. Anyway then, och I was grown up then and my grandfather just only the week before he died here is these sticks at the fire, you know the open fire and I’m looking and I said where did you get those sticks out of. Och he just gave a laugh. I said don’t tell me you took that off the skeagh. Och what odds about it he says you know, laughed. He died the next week but like he had no … he was just only I suppose convincing himself that superstition was wrong.

Interviewer: You don’t know.

Annie: I don’t know.

Interviewer: Know exactly.

Annie: Know exactly but anyway that was that and all his life he wouldn’t have touched it and there he was it was wee bits just on to the fire and you would know them for there was this ould grey chrotly growth on the stick you know, it was liked aged looking. It was funny for him even to carry the thing you know but I don’t think there is much to that old superstitions.

Interviewer: Sometimes I think you’re better safe than sorry.

Annie: Aye well this is it. It’s like there seeing one magpie, you’d far rather see two magpies.

Interviewer: You would.

Annie: And you’re not supposed to be superstitious but you’re looking to see where the other one is you know.

Interviewer: Yeah that’s right but I’m sure they sat when they were ceilidhing, I’m sure they sat and …

Annie: And all those things aye and oh ghost stories oh they were hair raising and then they told these ghost stories round the fire you see and then you had to go upstairs, there was no lights, you had to go up in the dark to go to bed and the hair standing on your neck, you know, getting banished up the stairs.

Interviewer: And living in the country where there’s no street lights.

Annie: No, no, well there was street lights in Cushendall now. We were the first village in Ireland to have electric light in Cushendall because there was a man organised what was the old mill …

Interviewer: Anthony somebody?

Annie: Eh?

Interviewer: Anthony …

Annie: Anthony O’Connor, aye but he had an engineer then. It was him owned the mill but it was, what do you call him, Jack … I forget his second name, he lived up Layde, he was a red haired man that done the engineer first and then there was an uncle of the McCollam’s there in Cushendall, a Willie McCollam he carried on as the electrician you know looking after it but I’m just thinking back they mustn’t have had any plugs in the houses because I worked in Black Hotel in 1939 and there wasn’t an electric kettle in the hotel nor in Glenville Hotel, two big fancy hotels.

Interviewer: Gosh.

Annie: And there wasn’t an electric kettle or anything like of a hoover or anything like that. You had to brush with the wee pan and the hard brush to do the carpets. The NIE wasn’t here at that stage. It was still our local and maybe it was only a power to do for lighting and not for heavier stuff. It must have been that because the streets were lit for we would always know the time the lights went off at 11 o’clock and there was not a clock you know maybe at the right time and maybe one was kept a bit fast to get people out in time for school. Anyway when we got up then to be going out and had to be in for 11 we’d be coming home Madge and me and we would say, the lights would get out before we would get home and we’d come into the house and say what time is it anyway you know whoever was in was sitting ceilidhing and that, och they would say it’s not 11 yet the lights is not out and then when they would go out we would say it must be 11 now the lights is not out maybe them out half an hour at that time. We were to be in for 11 and if we were slightly behind we fibbed a bit. That’s how simple it was, there was no checking the clock. They used to say Glenann was a Glen you could come in naked at the top and go out fully clothed at the bottom. They had tailors, they had shoemakers making shoes and boots, they had the weavers, these McKeegans the Horleys they were weavers, they wove the sheets and all the linen cloths and that and then they made wool for jumpers, spinning the wool for knitting for those, they used to knit those seamens ganzies for men and they were as good as a coat for they turned the water or anything you know they were that close knit. All that thing … what was the other thing, ould Rosie Emerson used to get this in the old days talking about it about you could come in and go out fully clothed at the bottom. There was dressmakers and weavers and all and plenty of good knitters and then there was some old man used to live up there I heard my granddad talking about him, it was Alan you called him, I don’t know what was his full name, whether that was his surname name or whether it was his Christian name and he used to knit away at socks, that’s how he made a living. Knit away at socks and sold them to these pedlars and them coming about or neighbours. He had them for sale and he was able to make a living at that and then there was the mills for crushing the corn for the meal for the porridge and they were always able to grow potatoes and vegetables, cabbage and turnip and the potatoes and bits of leaks and parsley for a drop of soup. They had a lot within the Glen of tradesmen.

Interviewer: Aye.

Annie: Aye and builders.

Interviewer: I’m sure it was a lovely place to grow up in.

Annie: It’s a very close knit Glen because they’re all related through other but then you see a quarrel in it is a very bitter thing.

Interviewer: That’s true isn’t it.

Annie: The closer they are the worse it is. If there’s an outfall at all you know.

Interviewer: You can’t get away.

Annie: And somebody coming for buying land to bid on you know and put it up, that will cause wild friction, you know bad neighbours for years over the head of that.

Interviewer: Oh God yeah. Aye there’s good and bad about living close together.

Annie: Aye. They got a lot of their food from the mountain, there were plenty of hares and there was rabbits, a lot of their flesh meat that way.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Annie: They all seemed to have an odd, when rearing hens for laying there could always be a few cockrels on them. You couldn’t kill the hens it would have to be a rooster you would kill. You would need them for the eggs you see.

Interviewer: Oh right. So then you didn’t really get much from Cushendall.

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