Interview with Minnie and Johnny

Minnie and Johnny are brother and sister. They live in Carnlough in the house they grew up in with their family.
Minnie: “Fair Hiring, there was never any Fair Hiring in Carnlough.”
Interviewer: Really.
Minnie: “There was a Fair Day, you know. They cattle, they brought the cattle to that Harbour Road and from Glenarm and all round once every two months but then when there came to be a market in Larne, a market yard and one in Ballymena and one in Glenarm the Fair Days all stopped and there were Fair Days in Cushendall too for my father used to go and buy a cow in the Fair in Cushendall.”
Interviewer: Where did your family, where was your family reared?
Minnie: “Here in this house.”
Interviewer: Right.
Minnie: “Yes and my father was born in the this house and I don’t know now, you could count back, he was born in this house he was 29 years of age when he married and he was married in 1907. And he died in 1960. I remember all that. Yes he was 29 in 1907 and he died in 1960.”
Interviewer: So he was 82 when he died.
Minnie: “Was that what he was, 82?”
Interviewer: And he was born 1878?
Minnie: “Aye, we thought he was the year before. His mother was 100. Yes and his eldest brother was 97, the next sister was 95, the next one was 94 and he was 82 and I of course there was one died, he’d a brother died when he was seven with, it was called in those days scarletena but I don’t know what you would call it now for you never hear tell of it. I can remember the first ambulance that came from Larne to take people that had diphtheria next door and it was covered over, covered over and two windows and it was horse drawn and it came to the house and everybody was out watching and now the ambulance could come up and down and stop over there and we never would look. Isn’t that funny and in those days your door was open and you didn’t knock and everybody just lifted the latch.”
Interviewer: So did your father’s mother come from here as well?
Minnie: “She came from a place they call Cairncastle. Yes. That’s three miles out of Glenarm. And the day they were married… they were married in Carnlough which was a funny thing. I must ask or find out from somebody what… they were catholics, and there must have been no Catholic Church in Glenarm then when they had to come to.
Interviewer: There wasn’t. I think you had to go up to Feystown.
Minnie: “Oh they had to go to Feystown. Oh well that would be kind of out of the way. For I think they must have attended here Mass some Sundays because at the back of the Chapel Great Grandfather and my Grandmother were buried there at the back of the Chapel, the old Chapel. So you see when you’re young you never asked. You never bother your head.”
Interviewer: What about your mother’s family then?
Minnie: “Well my mother’s family… mother lived in a place… she was a farmer’s daughter and there was seven sons and one girl and they lived three miles up the Ballymena Road, as you’re going to Ballymena. You would go up three miles and then you’d branch off. At the head of Glencloy she lived. Their farm was there and oh, what a view only of course they never thought of a view in them days. Their farm was, there was the head of Glencloy and their farm was there and their dwelling house and down the whole two Glens oh what a view on a lovely evening and the sea calm and the Scotch Hills.
Interviewer: Is the house still there?
Minnie: “Yes the house is still there but there’s nobody in it.”
Interviewer: Did your parents or grandparents ever mention The Famine?
Minnie: “My granny could remember it for she was no, she was 100 in 1932 and she remembered it and I have a cousin who lives down in Glenariffe, they didn’t live in Glenariffe, they were Ballymena people and Johnny was saying if she lives to be the 100 she’ll have seen three centuries. She will be 100 in September. She’s great.
Interviewer: So if your family lived in this house and your father had a cow did he have land somewhere then?
Minnie: “Oh he’d a farm.”
Interviewer: Separately?
Minnie: “Yes. We never lived on the farm.”
Interviewer: Oh right.
Minnie: “Because there was no house on the farm. That was his and up the Waterfall Road. That was two fields that belonged to my grandfather. My grandfather had those two fields that the houses are built on. Then my father got them but my father had a farm then up the Waterfall Road. He had a farm between Carnlough and Glenarm, half way between Carnlough and Glenarm.”
Interviewer: So did you have to work on the farm?
Minnie: “Oh no I never had to.”
Interviewer: When you were small?
Minnie: “Aye the boys had to. My father was a … he was a blacksmith by trade. Yes. So was my grandfather but then as it went on my father dealed and he was a great horsy man and he always had a stallion and like for farmers to bring their mares to have big, sure they never had small…Clydesdales. He used to go to Scotland and buy his Clydesdales and then he had another one after he stopped the Clydesdales he had another pony stallion and it was through the Government that he took it, he went to Rathlin Island with it for three weeks to serve mares there and he said he nearly died when he went to Ballycastle it was only a wee boat and hadn’t the stallion’s legs to be tied and threw on to the boat and that’s the way it came off, the same way. Now if he was living now look at the facilities that they have now and he would have had, how many mares would he have had Johnny, would he have had 20 or 25?”
Johnny: “25.”
Minnie: “25 mares and they everyone had a foal and they used to be.”
Johnny: “Ponies, ponies, children’s ponies.”
Minnie: “They were all children’s ponies for there was one of them went to Italy. There was a man bought one of the foals and took it to Italy for his children and he, my father would have went down the street and with those 25 or 50 ponies in front of him. You would have thought it was the circus was coming. But there was an awful funny fellow lived in Carnlough and my father and him was always at other for who could give the best answer and this fellow was standing and my father was behind the ponies and he says to my father, “Alex I thought you were John Duffy” “And you weren’t far wrong” says my father “for I’m looking for clowns, will you join me?” And he bought nine ponies one time in sales in Belfast and he… it wasn’t that brother, it was one that’s dead and another one, I wonder, was there one sitting there when you come in, Sandy and the two of them went with him you see and took them with him to Adams sales for he’d seen in the Telegraph, he went to Adams once a month to the sales and he went to Ballymena every last Friday to the horse fair but he took these two brothers with him, one was eleven and the other was fourteen and he bought… he’d nine, was it nine Johnny?”
Johnny: “No it was eleven.”
Minnie: “Oh eleven he’d bought eleven ponies and they’d walked them to Carnlough their two selves.”
Interviewer: From Ballymena?
Minnie: “From Belfast.”
Interviewer: From Belfast. Oh right.
Minnie: “From Belfast. Oxford Street. Oxford Street, through all the traffic but there was no traffic then and before they came to the tramlines, do you know where the tram lines at Belfast?”
Johnny: “Bellevue.”
Minnie: "Bellevue. Sandy says to Jim “are we near Carnlough?” Jim says, “wait until you see the sea and when you see the sea you’ll know you’ll not be too far from it”. You would be about 14 miles off it; Larne would be the first sea you would sea. But anyhow they left, I think they stopped with a farmer in Cairncastle, did they not, and leave them in Cairncastle.”
Johnny: “Aye I think you’re right.”
Minnie: “And my father then went with a taxi to meet them and that’s the only lift they got from they left Belfast until they come to, sons wouldn’t do that now. No way would they do that now. You talk about the hard times.”
Interviewer: Did your father have a shop?
Minnie: “He blacksmithed out behind there, in a blacksmith’s shop. I only vaguely remember him blacksmithing. He done it for a while you see after he was married but it wasn’t long. He took up the farming then.”
Interviewer: Did he like it?
Minnie: “Oh he loved it.”
Interviewer: Did he?
Minnie: “Oh God aye, he loved the farming. He’d only one brother and that brother was a Captain, a Sea Captain that sailed in the Chinese waters from he was a young fellow of fourteen and he went out. A sailing ship and my uncle when he was 14 went with him, he took him and the first time he came back to Carnlough was 20 years.”
Interviewer: What’s your earliest memory?
Minnie: “Now that was when I was three year old, that’s going back a bit and I swallowed a halfpenny. I was only two year old and we used to have a summer seat, there was an ould fellow there besides us having a grocers shop we had a spirit… it’s called a spirit grocers.They were a pub you know. They would sell drink but not to be consumed on the premises. It had to be taken, as they talk about a carry out. It had to be a carry out but ouch you could have done it if you thought, you could have sold drink to, say for instance if two or three men had have come in on a fair day, if you thought the Sergeant wouldn’t arrive for he would have reported you, you see.”
Interviewer: Would he?
Minnie: “Oh yeah he would have reported you if you’d, there was another place down the street, a first cousin of my father’s and she had a public house on the Harbour Road, it’s still there yet, it’s called Hessie’s, her name’s up, it was Hessie they called her, Hessie McNeill and the Londonderry’s after she died they bought it but they had a café in it for a while but they never sold drink in it but that’s what they called it Hessie’s.
Interviewer: So how did you swallow the halfpenny?
Minnie: “Oh aye. I was supposed to swallow the halfpenny for the ould fellow said he gave me a halfpenny and it couldn’t be got you see. They presumed then that I must have swallowed but I think how, I can hardly swallow the smallest pill. I could hardly swallow it but anyhow the priest that we had then was a Father Burns and he happened to be going up the street and he knew there was something on in here and he came in and he said he knew, she’ll have to go to the hospital he says and have an x-ray, the x-ray wasn’t long established in the Mater Hospital at that time and he says I know a Professor Robinson in it and I’ll get in touch with him and you’ll take her up. So an aunt, a sister of my father and my mother set sail with me to the hospital. I was x-rayed and whether that, like you weren’t showed the x-ray in those days, you would be now but you weren’t showed it you were told what was on it. The man said yes certainly she swallowed the halfpenny for I saw it in the bottom of her stomach and my father said what will happen now, will she have to have an operation? No she’ll have no operation. He says you’ll have to watch for six weeks and if she doesn’t pass that in six weeks in will wear away until it won’t be the size of pinhead.”
Interviewer: Really.
Minnie: “So it never done me one bit of harm. Wouldn’t you have thought now that, that would have made a hole in my stomach but it didn’t? It didn’t do me one bit of harm and here I am at 88. Oh aye he christened me then the travelling money bank. For he was here you see on a holiday at that time and he only come every five years after that. He got his, he could have taken his holidays but he never bothered he let it lapse for five years and then he would have come for the three months and at the age of 65 he got married. He got married at the age of 65, yes and he retired and Johnny was in his house, well Johnny was a sailor you see, he was in the Merchant Navy.”
Interviewer: Oh right.
Minnie: “All the time of the War, never was home and we never knowed whether he was living or dead until the War was over and he went to, he was in Australia, Sydney and he went to see him and he said he’d a most beautiful bungalow overlooking Sydney Harbour and the had no family, well of course with their age. She died and he came back to Carnlough and he bought a house away out on the Bay, Bay Road further out and he died there. Well that was the last of that.”
Interviewer: So that was your earliest memory then when you were 2?
Minnie: “I can remember the carry on and all out looking for the halfpenny. The halfpenny never was got but you see in later years I said that halfpenny maybe was lost and if I had have had it in my hand and maybe dropped it, now that man had it, he was supposed to have it in his waistcoat pocket, likely it was hygienic. It couldn’t have been very clean when I swallowed it. Could you imagine a youngster of two swallowing a halfpenny? If it had have been a farthing I would have thought nothing of it.”
Interviewer: So do you remember going to school then?
Minnie: “Oh God aye.”
Interviewer: What school did you go to?
Minnie: “I was three when I went to school. I went to a school out the Bay, behind the Chapel it was, closed now. The building is still there but it’s not. There was a new school built a long time ago and then there was room, like there was room left, in some man’s day we never thought it would be in our day, there would be a new Chapel built. So there was a new Chapel built it was opened last year.
Interviewer: Did you like school?
Minnie: “Oh I hated it. Oh God I hated school.”
Interviewer: Why did you go when you were three, to make the numbers up?
Minnie: “Oh the infants, I went to the infants and that’s maybe why, maybe, there were no teachers, there was only the one teacher because the other teacher wasn’t a teacher, she was what they called a monitoress and that would be, she was training to be a teacher and I left when I was 14 because I can remember Harry was born in June and I was 14 in March and I left in June. Wasn’t I delighted?”
Interviewer: Were you?
Minnie: “Oh aye.”
Interviewer: Did you learn Irish at school?
Minnie: “No we learnt no Irish. There was an Irish teacher used to come and teach Irish but it was terribly hard I thought. My father said they spoke Irish in Rathlin.”
Interviewer: Have you any sort of nice memories about school or even bad ones?
Minnie: “I would have had more bad ones about school than good ones for she was a most awful hard teacher. She wouldn’t have allowed you to wear a slide, do you know a clasp in your hair, a string of beads nor a brooch. That daren’t be put on and she wasn’t a teacher, a real teacher for her and another girl and an aunt, a sister of my father’s, now the three of them done the training as you would have called it in schools so long and then they went for an examination and the one that taught me and all and my sister, she failed but she got influence and that’s how she got into our school but my Aunt Kate she got a school, she passed along with this other girl and my Kate got a school in Portrush that’s where she taught and I used to hear her say, the other girl that passed never went to take up school she started a shop, a grocers shop and my Aunt Kate said she had to take the choir and all the holidays she got was one week in the summer. She had to back on the Sunday to play and do the choir and the only way she got, she went on the train to Ballymena and my father went on a pony and trap to Ballymena and met her and then left her back on the next Saturday she went on a train then to Portrush to be back for Sunday Mass. So there you are now. They had it hard, hadn’t they? Four slaps you got from her, four slaps with the cane always.”
Interviewer: Why?
Minnie: “Oh well you misbehaved yourself you see and you had to be slapped and I was one of those boys that misbehaved myself very badly very often and four slaps you would have got and they had a worse teacher. The teacher they had before that, he was aged and he just let the school go to the dogs but this other fellow belonged to the Glens and he said he would put his foot down and he would see that there would be changes and if you heard Johnny telling what sort of a boy he was. There was a fellow in here on Saturday night and he happened to say that he was left-handed. I says I thought they put that out of you now. Johnny said he seen that teacher beating the young fellows.”
Interviewer: So the people that were writing with their left hand did they end up becoming right handed as a result of it?
Johnny: I can’t remember but the body that would have wrote with their left hand would have got a bat on the ear.”
Interviewer: “It just wasn’t right. Oh it was an awful affair to use your left hand. And do you still use it?”
Minnie: "Yeah."
Interviewer: Was there nothing done with you at school?
Minnie: No there wasn’t. No they just let you.”
Interviewer: So when you left school then, I’m sure you were glad to get out of school.
Minnie: “I think so maybe. Well you see there was six of us and we had the shop.”
Interviewer: Oh right.
Minnie: “And then you see and then Harry was premature and there was a lot of trouble with him and I had to nurse him.”
Interviewer: You had to help your mother.
Minnie: “And I had another, I had a sister, but then a while after she left school she went to Liverpool and trained as a children’s nurse. She got married and lived over, she’s living over there yet and she had a son and a daughter and funny enough the daughter was a children’s nurse too.
Interviewer: So how long did you have your shop for? Is it just an ordinary house now?
Minnie: “Yes just an ordinary house now. My granny had it as a shop you see.”
Interviewer: Your mother’s mother?
Minnie: “No my father’s mother and I closed it in 1960 when I got the pension.”
Interviewer: Too much work.
Minnie: “Aye too much work and looking after four of them boys.”
Interviewer: You have to get up very early with a shop don’t you?
Minnie: “Well not so early then 30 years ago as it is now. The shop are open now at half eight, eight, it’s opened shortly after eight to catch the children going to school because they always had plenty of money. When the rest of us were going to school we had no money.
Interviewer: Has the street changed?
Minnie: “Well in that house next door to us there was a family of six and their mother and father, their father went to sea. The next house was the same, there were five or six. All, every house was five or six children. Across the street there, there was seven or eight in a wee house. I don’t know how they done it and right on up to the street to you come to the Bridge as we call it, you know where you would go out on to the main road. The houses was all full of children.
Interviewer: It must have been great.
Minnie: “Aye and there is not one now. They would be skipping in the street and the young fellows was playing marbles and you see there was no traffic.
Interviewer: Far safer.
Minnie: “Aye there was an old woman lived across the street there and her family were all away and he husband dead she used to come over, because we had an open door you see and she used to come over six, seven times a day and just sit on that chair at the end of the couch you know and she could see her own door for that one never was shut.
Interviewer: Yeah.
Minnie: “I remember the First War, well I can’t remember this but at the first war she had a son at sea and he was in a hospital ship and it was torpedoed or the Germans blew it to pieces, he was drowned. Yes she had another drowned. That was three. During the war and this war, this last war and she had, one was a Sea Captain and he was drowned and her own husband was going down the street, he used to help this woman that had a cow and he was going down the street with the cow and he dropped dead.”
Interviewer: Had she any children left?
Minnie: “She had three daughters in Australia and I remember the day we knew, the night before this last one was drowned because there was other fellows from Carnlough in the same boat and we knew that Sam’s boat was down but we didn’t tell her and she came in and she was sitting there and I thought I would have got a letter from Sam today she says because his boat was in such and such a place and he always wrote to me out of that port and she saw a daughter-in-law and the woman that owned, they were called the Bridge Dining Rooms up there. Everybody is away out of it now but she owned it and was very friendly with his old woman and her daughter-in-law lived in Glenarm but she heard the night before, it was on the wireless, there was no televisions, and they came to break the news to her and she was sitting there and she saw them and this is what she said “My Jesus”, she said, “it’s Sam”. Something must have told her and she run out to meet them and you would have heard the cries of her and she got over it too. She got over it and she used to say I’ll not die in my bed alone for she says I will throw something out when I think I’m going to die if it’s during the night I’ll throw a bottle over and break one of her windows and she says there will be somebody then here when I die but she died during the night, she never got throwing the bottle out. Now I’m telling you. She brought a good lot of us into this world. There was no nurse you know. Oh no, no such a thing as a nurse. Do you know they only had one doctor and he was in Glenarm, none in Carnlough and he had a dispensary up the street there and it was only opened on a Thursday morning and the only ones that would have been in that dispensary was mothers with babies to get them vaccinated. You wouldn’t, they didn’t know what blood pressure was. Now no matter who you speak to they either have low or high blood pressure. We used to say it was fashionable to have it there was that many had it. But that’s why they took strokes and died, the people didn’t know why."
Interviewer: People probably died of things that they just never even knew what it was really.
Minnie: "Aye and they were eating no sweet stuff. Chocolate, they didn’t know what chocolate was.”
Interviewer: Did you ever have chocolate?
Minnie: “Oh aye we did but we hadn’t a lot but I can remember, my father was a great man for going to auctions. But he was a very jolly man and in the line of giving answers oh as quick as lightning and he was at this auction up the crossroads and there was a box went up and it was full of, he didn’t know what it was in it, but he bid a shilling and there was nobody said anymore and he got the box of stuff for himself and he brought it down home and this family, there was only the one boy and his mother was a Ballymena woman and they had a boot shop, shoes and boots in Ballymena and I suppose they sent him presents at Christmas and his wee presents were in that box and there was, I’ll never forget, there was a wee thing like a creamery can in it. Do you know what they would milk in to take to the creamery? It was full of chocolates. Oh that nearly poisoned us. We were in it that long. We were in it that long I’ll never forget it. I never see tins of sweets but I’ll say.”
Johnny: “They were bad you couldn’t have ate them. They were that old.”
Interviewer: Do you see they got the presents and they had a great big shelf and they were put up on the shelf as ornaments?
Johnny: “He got them when he was child and when this auction was he was a man.”
Interviewer: So you never got any treats?
Minnie: “Oh well we did, now we did because my father knew that many people that when they would have came maybe for a day to Carnlough they would have brought us something. Also gave us money. We got an awful money when we were young. He knew a coach builder in Ballymena, there’s none of them there now they’re all dead and the had like a long vehicle or a trap you would have called it, two could have sat on the front and two on the back, I don’t know whether there was a hood on it or not and it was drawn, they had four wee black ponies oh just that size and they would have brought them, that’s how they would have came on a Saturday from Ballymena and they were put into a stable of ours these wee ponies and the trap, I don’t whether the trap was put in a gateway or where it was put I don’t know, we got loads of money from them.”
Interviewer: Did you?
Minnie: “Aye. Oh they were very good and every Saturday they came in the summer time. And other men when they would have come you know to see my father, he knowed that many, oh it was shocking the people that knew him, well they would have gave us money. And do you know what we done with it? The minute we got it, it was all took to the Post Office. To save it. Saved it up. We would have got maybe a penny. But you’ve no idea what a penny would have bought you in them days. It would have bought you a bag of sweets that you would have been sick before you would had them eaten. Aye a penny. And I see sometimes, I’ll see a penny lying out in our yard, maybe two pennies and I wouldn’t stoop to lift them and I came in one day and I says to these brothers do you know says I can remember when we were wee if we had looked out and saw two pennies in our yard, I’m sure you read the story about the three bears sticking in the door, well we would have had went out that quick we would stuck in the word like the three bears to have lifted to those pennies and there they were lying the whole winter and there was not one of us would stoop down to lift them.”
Interviewer: Do you remember the Second World War, the ’39 War?
Minnie: “Oh God bless me aye, I mind the ’39 War, I mind the day it started, I do.”
Interviewer: Do you?
Minnie: “Aye it was on a Sunday I think."
Johnny: “It was.”
Minnie: “Aye it was on a Sunday.”
Interviewer: Did you hear it on the wireless?
Minnie: “We heard it on the wireless.”
Interviewer: What did you think?
Minnie: “Well you see my mother and the older people knew what was coming but I never knew of a war before and I knew nothing about it coming and then that was in September I think, June there was a fellow from Carnlough and he was working in Belfast and this man he was working to had a café in Newcastle and the fellow he wanted two girls for the café and they asked him you wouldn’t know two country girls that would come to this café and he says now I might, I’ll be able tell you, he got home every weekend, I’ll be able to tell you when I come back on Monday morning. So he come here and he said, he wanted to know would I go and another girl that lived up the street that I was friendly with. So the two of us went and we stayed until October until it closed. Well we had plenty to eat then, of course everybody had plenty to eat in the first, then the rations went on but we weren’t too bad mind you. We done, we’d plenty of milk of our own. There was soldiers stationed and they were up there in the Parochial Hall.”
Interviewer: Oh right.
Minnie: “There was a Parochial Hall up there and there was a good lot of fellows drowned. Sailors, oh aye. I can remember and it must have been before the last war was over, I wonder was there seven coffins Johnny came round the black rock.”
Johnny: “Aye that ship was ship wrecked. It wasn’t during the war.”
Minnie: “No it wasn’t the war done it and I can remember as well, you know we could see, if you went up to the Bridge there you could see away, there’s a big rock on the sea near the shore, it’s called the Black Rock, for you could see.”
Interviewer: Over that way?
Minnie: “Yes, you can see cars coming and I can remember there was seven coffins.”
Interviewer: What ship was that?
Minnie: “Oh you wouldn’t know what they called it. He was a Captain O’Gorman, he was Free State man but he was married to a Carnlough girl. I wonder what they called it. And they put up a plaque this summer there with their names on it.”
Johnny: “There was four fellows in this street lost during the war.”
Interviewer: In this street.
Johnny: "In this street. They were lost foreign. There were four. There was one there at the corner and one across the street, two across the street and one further up the street. There was one ship there was four Carnlough men lost in it.”
Interviewer: In the war?
Johnny: “In the war, 1942 going to Russia.”
Interviewer: So you must remember the start of the war as well?
Johnny: “Oh God aye.”
Interviewer: Were you at sea?
Johnny: I remember the start of the war. The ship I was in, we left Monteral on Friday about Friday evening about 7 o’clock and on Sunday the war broke out. We just had to come on. We were coming to Cardiff and we come on. For we were lucky they sunk all round us. The radio officer used to tell him things you know that had happened. The radio officer he was a Dundalk man and him and I we were the only two Irish men that was in her out of maybe 42 or 3 of a crew.”
Interviewer: Did you make good friends?
Johnny: “Oh aye, oh you made good friends.”
Interviewer: Did you lose any friends in the war?
Johnny: “Oh I lost friends in the war all right. You would have heard about it maybe 12 months or that after it happened."
Minnie: “He lost a cousin in the first war. He was only 17 when he went and he was only six weeks away and he was working in the whitening, do you see there was lime works in Carnlough and the lime was crushed into whitening, it would remind you on flour and it was shipped over to Scotland and it was brought in, they always had a horse and a wagon and he was working with the horse when he got the telegram to come to join this boat. He’d been in touch you see with other fellows that was at sea and got the telegram and he just dropped the horse, dropped the helter of the horse and run home and told his mother I’m getting ready for the 3 o’clock, there was no bus then, I’m getting ready for the 3 o’clock car I’m going to join a boat, I don’t know where in and six weeks he was away. The captain of it, wasn’t the captain of it McCormick them fellows that has the shop.”
Interviewer: So did you do some farming with your father before you went to sea?
Johnny: “Oh aye. Oh I had to work on the farm.”
Interviewer: What are the main differences, do you see before all the technology came in, what are all the types of things?
Johnny: “Everything had to be done by hand. Everything had to be done by hand then. All you had was a horse."
Interviewer: Did you keep cows?
Johnny: “We did. We kept cows and sold milk.”
Interviewer: Did you have any crops?
Johnny: “Oh aye there were crops. There were potatoes and corn. That was the only two crops there was.”
Interviewer: No flax around here, no?
Johnny: “Well there was flax.”
Interviewer: Not a lot.
Johnny: “Not a lot.”
Johnny; “They used to cut turf when they had a different stove to that one. That’s oil you see. There is no turf a cutting now. And if there are any turf it’s done by a turf cutter.”
Minnie: “I used to love the smell of it. Oh aye. You would never, even in the country here, you would never smell it. You could have smelled it you know on a damp kind of a nice quiet day. We had friends lived oh at a place called the Braid, that’s on the way to Ballymena and they had a fireplace on the floor. Would you believe that now? It was on the floor and the smoke went up the chimney and there was a grate and that’s where the ashes went and then in the morning of course they were took out with a spade and oh dear they could have fixed them up, the way they would have fixed them up you know. Then when they would have started to have burnt down. You might get that in the like of Donegal. My father used to horse race.”
Interviewer: Did he?
Minnie: “In… from Glenarm to Carnlough would have been the length of the race but it was, it wasn’t riding the horse, it was on a what you called a sulty. Well it two bicycle wheels and the horse was yoked in, in it and you were sitting on a wee thing between the two bicycle wheels and that was how they raced. They used to race from Glenarm to Carnlough.”
Interviewer: Did they not fall off?
Minnie: “No a real man, a real good man wouldn’t fall off that knowed his job and knowed how to sit on it.”
Johnny:They called it trotting.”
Interviewer: Trotting.
Minnie: “Aye trotting, yes and this was a trotting mare that my father had and he called it Minnie.”