Interview with James

This is an interview with James, a native of Glenarm, who grew up in the village and who has many memories about his childhood, and later as an adult.

Interviewer: What school did you go to?

James: Oh the National School, down there, Castle Street School, the boys school. There was the boys school and the girls school and the infant school at one time. The building is still there, but they knocked one down and made the other one into a dwelling house.The original building is still there. The outside they weren’t allowed to touch it.
Interviewer: So what was your school like?

James: Oh very good. Aye the school was good.
Interviewer: How did you get disciplined?

James: Oh, the cane. There was some of them had to get a thump with the cane. I never got a slap, no but then when the farmers were cutting the corn you got off school, you took, well the father and mother they took them off, you know to get the corn and potatoes you know gathering the potatoes.

Interviewer: So where did you live when you were at school?

James: Oh Mark Street, away down, oh they’re knocked down, the house is knocked down. Do you know where the Orange Hall is?

Interviewer: Yes.

James: Down here, well just alongside that. On the upper side where the car park is now. Down steps into it. Oh it was an old house, aye. There was four families in it.
Interviewer: How many lived in your house?

James: Oh my father and mother and nine of a family. That was in one house well then in the other houses. There was a next door neighbour there was a father and mother and 10 youngsters.
Interviewer: Well how many rooms were in the house?

James: Oh just, there was an attic, two rooms up the stairs and two down stairs. The room off the kitchen there was a bed in it, it was used as a scullery. I can still remember it. Two beds. No bathroom, down into the yard as they talked about. Oh they were only knocked down, 1970 something. At that time there was a big lot of houses knocked down. There was a row of houses in Mark Street, Brick Row they called it. Aye it was all built with bricks and they were all with ten families for ten houses. And then farther down a bit there was three rows at the front just facing the sea. Now they were all knocked down.
Interviewer: Then they built the houses out at the Cloney here. Do you know where the Barracks is?

James: Yes. Well they built them. There used to be only two bungalows out there and then they built these other houses. Interviewer: You go up the Tully Road there, do you see where the quarry is here?

James: You can see a part of it there, well that’s the quarry, they quarry the limestone there now. And they are shifting the machinery, you know where you come in the Larne Road well it’s closed down now, just the past two or three months. The Eglinton Limestone Company, it’s been transferred up to the quarry up the Ballymena Road. There used to be plenty of work here at one time. With the limestone, and the blackstone quarry.

Interviewer: Did you ever work in them?

James: I never, no but my father worked in it. My father, well my Granda worked there.
Interviewer: I’m sure it was hard work?

James: Oh aye, that’s while ago, aye and he used to walk to the Black Hill. He walked over that for a six o’clock start in the morning down to the White Bay, over the hill. And he could carry a ten stone bag of flour through Glenarm away up to Glen and never took a rest.
Interviewer: Did your family all come from Glenarm?

James: Aye. Nearly all around this locality they are related some way.
You know, maybe a cousin or second cousin, all mixed up. If you speak of one you speak of the whole lot.
Interviewer: Did you own a farm?

James: No, no well my father, my mother, they owned a farm. My mother’s father they owned a farm and then he went into bad health and they sold the farm and come to live.
Interviewer: Whereabouts was your farm?

James: It was Burnside, away up the Dickeystown Road they call it. And if you look there on the left hand side at the bottom of Mark Street you’ll see a tunnel in there it’s covered over that took you up into the quarry and the kilns, they burnt limestone up there and they shipped it. There used to be wagons and all. Oh aye, I mind that. They used to burn the limestone there during the war. They used to burn it there and if I was home on holidays I used to call up there and have a look round it. Oh aye and the wagons was there, big wagons and they shipped it and they shipped the limestone.
Interviewer: Was anybody ever killed?

James: Oh aye. Well after the kiln… there was three kilns. And after one of them was still empty and one wee fellow he fell in and he was killed you know. They were big lump of kilns. And there is kilns up at the Ballymena Road up there. Up at the quarry there. There’s kilns there but they burn the limestone, just burns, and they shipped shingle, do you know the shingle from the beach, they shipped it and they shipped the flints and limestone. And they used to have an iron ore mine away up, about three quarters of a mile away up, a bit of a road away up. I was in the mine you know when it was operating. My father worked in there a while. I was up with tea. He worked in the iron ore and he went to sea, he was in the army. He was in everything.
Interviewer: Did your family have a boat?

James: No, no never a boat, went working. Aye, I went away to sea when I was 18 and packed up when I was 65. Aye, 47 years aye, oh aye and that time there weren’t much wages. There wasn’t much work round here, there was work but the wages were small.
Interviewer: Did you like being at sea?

James: No, no, but it was a job.
Interviewer: Did you ever get sea sick?

James: Oh aye often enough, often enough but sometimes I would be sick maybe come up and sit and take my dinner you know or tea or anything you know. Well my father, he went to sea, he went in the army in the First World War. Royal Irish Rangers. And he was at sea a while. As far as I can make out I was only… I wasn’t very old then. I heard him saying when he came home he took a notion of joining up, he joined up in Cork, aye. He never got wounded, no but the best of it is he used to work in the quarry and he lost an eye in the quarry. Well he got blown up, you know charging a hole and he got blew up. Aye.
Interviewer: What about sports?

James: Oh gig racing. I used to go and watch the gigs. I never rowed. My brother, my two brothers would when they were young they would be racing in the gigs. They would have started off here and rowed round the black rock and come back up. The band used to go down the quay, a Protestant band and anyone could play a flute or a drum and then when the gigs started off away… and playing the tunes you know. It was all jolly.
Interviewer: Was it a big event?

James: Oh aye a good crowd. Down the quay there, do you know the quay there now well they would be down there, they would be at the iron ore quay and there was a buoy, there used to be the buoy away out along the quay and the rope to take her out to the buoy and then the gigs had to hold on to the ropes.
Interviewer: Did Glenarm win?

James: Oh aye.
Interviewer: Ghost stories?

James: Well there was a boy he used to be a wild man for playing cards you know he would go away up the country and he would play the cards and coming home this night there was a big stone away up at the wee bridge up there, a big red stone. It was a moonlight night and he met this boy and he said what about a game of cards and they started to play the cards and they were playing away and he let one of the cards fall and he stooped down to lift it and here when he lifted it he seen the clove feet, the claws of the clove feet, here was the old devil and he never played any more cards.
Interviewer: Do you remember the older people telling stories?

James: Oh aye that Sandy, he was great. I never can mind, I was only a cub at the time. And he was, he used to live up about the farm to and then he come to the town. Oh he would tell you about the wee men, the fairies and all.