Interview with Patsy McKay

Interviewer: The house was built on a well.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Why?

Patsy: The water used to come in, in our kitchen.

Interviewer: Oh on purpose.

Patsy: No, no, no.

Interviewer: Oh not on purpose.

Patsy: Whenever it rained. My mother used to have to take it out the back door.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: Probably it would … (laughs) I don’t think so, no.

Interviewer: So is that where that shed is?

Patsy: That’s where the shed is.

Interviewer: And is the well still there then?

Patsy: It is, it’s at the back. You can see the water coming up in it.

Interviewer: And is it a spring water well?

Patsy: It would be spring, yes.

Interviewer: God.

Patsy: And we used to play in this field here.

Interviewer: What do you call this field?

Patsy: Big … ‘the big field’, and Peggy McNeill who lives across there, she used to come over and we used to play camogie and have goal posts up … (laughs).

Interviewer: Is that … is that a separate field or is that just a kind partition.

Patsy: Do you see the hedge?

Interviewer: Separate.

Patsy: That’s separate, that’s the meadow.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: We used to have hay and all in it and all and it was great.

Interviewer: It’s quite wet.

Patsy: It was but when I was young it wasn’t, we had hay there.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I was just telling Mark McAllister and he couldn’t believe it that we could cut hay in that meadow. It’s not as bad now as it was.

Interviewer: Wet?

Patsy: Wet, even the tractor has gone down in it.

Interviewer: Well, why did that change, why did that happen?

Patsy: With the wet weather and then you see it wasn’t em … after my father died, it was let, that was ’62 and then the rushes got growing you see the rushes will grow and it just got worse over the years with this grazing on it.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But the McDonnells have it now and Martin is spraying the rushes.

Interviewer: Och right, right.

Patsy: And eh it’s greener now than it has been for years.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And there’s this other side of it.

Interviewer: Is that another house coming up?

Patsy: Yes that’s McAllisters, John James and Rose. They wanted to build in that field, you see the one in front?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: On this side of the road?

Interviewer: Hmm, yes.

Patsy: And couldn’t get the permission.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: But they wanted them to build down in the hollow next to the burn, the wettest part .

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: But originally they had wanted them to build there and the McAllisters didn’t want them to build there so eventually they had to … so they didn’t want them to build beside those bungalows because it would be ribbon development … so, (laughs) oh they went through … it cost them a fortune.

Interviewer: Kept re-applying.

Patsy: Re-applying and they had no … Brid Rodgers was down and all sorts of dignitaries were there one day, I wasn’t here. It was Brian said there were eight cars there and then they thought that they could make it … go out where I go out but they wouldn’t allow them either. You see, you haven’t much of a view there.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: But they got those two up and that second one where Rose and John James live now.

Interviewer: On this … on the right?

Patsy: Eh, the one on the … our left. Coming out, I would have had the baby and I went over and had parked the car because I was going on down to the home. I was scared stiff going out because it’s right on the bend and the cars come up so fast.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: So I think they come out the upper entrance.

Interviewer: Och that’s right aye because you come round there and aye see the car parked outside, it’s half on the grassy bit and half on … see sort of pulled in and it’s lucky there just wasn’t an oncoming car.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: But you don’t see it until you’re round the corner.

Patsy: You don’t see it because some mornings when I go out that gate and look in the mirror there’s a car right on my back bumper and there hasn’t been a sign of anything when … you know when I’ve started to cross the road.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: They come round there so fast.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Yes and that’s what we called ‘The Fort’ do you see where the trees are up … on the bend above there.

Interviewer: Och yes, yes.

Patsy: But it’s really a … what is it you call it?

Interviewer: A ‘Barrow’.

Patsy: A ‘Barrow’ that’s what it is but we always called it ‘The Fort’.

Interviewer: Yes, I think that’s what Susan called it too.

Patsy: Yes eh the locals all called it ‘The Fort’. We used to go up there and play.

Interviewer: What was that road like … you know, how … in how many years recently have you noticed such a big difference in traffic?

Patsy: Oh a really big difference in the last … I would say in the last 20 years it has increased. When we were at school it was a novelty to see a car, of course that was 60 years ago, (laughs), and there was a lady from Cushendun, Nora McBride, Nora had a car and if she was coming along when we were coming from school, she used to give us … lift us all and it was the greatest thrill to get into a car. There were about 7 or 8 of us (laughs) the McAllisters next door and us and the McAllisters down the road. But now …

Interviewer: You went to Cushendall School?

Patsy: No I went to Glenann, no I went to Glenann School.

Interviewer: Oh that’s right.

Patsy: And it was lovely.

Interviewer: Could you not cut across … I suppose it was too mucky or whatever to cut across.

Patsy: No eh because it was fenced and the fields … well that’s the McSparrans and the McAuleys, Archie David McAuleys own the ground, you see our fields didn’t … but I go across now. I’ve been right across at the school and I wonder why we didn’t but we were told not to and we didn’t. You see if …

Interviewer: You did what you were told in those days.

Patsy: We did what we were told in those days but at the back of the house was a Hostel at some stage was called the Hostel. It was an orchard …

Interviewer: Where?

Patsy: Do you see where all those trees are?

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: There was a house, an empty house there.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And that belongs to the Archie David McAuleys and they used to live there. Then they built their new house and they moved out and during the War there were two families in it, Siloes and …

Interviewer: How do you spell that?

Patsy: I think it was S-I-L-O-E.

Interviewer: I never heard of that name.

Patsy: And eh the daughter was Mrs Sheeran and they were in it. They were nice. They got their milk from us and eggs and things. And then after they left it became a Youth Hostel but the orchard was at the back of it and had beautiful apples.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And some big boys from the school used to go over the meadow and steal the apples (laughs). We were all there waiting for them to come back with apples. But there was one of the family, Dan, he died last year, Dan McAuley and our Nora said, whenever she was … (she was younger than I am), when she was coming home from school with Eileen McAllister and different ones, Dan would be over there, and he would say, “would yous like an apple girls”, (it was great to sort of get an apple) and he would give them apples. And she was telling me the last time I was out in America, she never forgot that. He was so nice, you know, because none of the rest of them would. I suppose they didn’t think you would appreciate an apple.

Interviewer: An apple, like.

Patsy: They were sweet eating apples because we had … where the bungalow is, there was an orchard there, but they were cooking apples.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: And when we built the bungalow the trees went.

Interviewer: So what … what kind of house … what did the house look like that was there?

Patsy: It was a storey and a half and there were two pieces. (Do you want a tissue?).

Interviewer: I think have a tissue, I just put one in my pocket there on the way out.

Patsy: You don’t need it?

Interviewer: No I don’t need it.

Patsy: I’ve a new box in the house.

Interviewer: It’s just in case I cough myself to death.

Patsy: No it was rather nice. It was built by a man, McDonnell, who made his money out in the ‘Gold Rush’ at California in 1849 and that’s where he made his money and he had two ships and I don’t know what not and he came back … he was from down there, Drumnacur or from the … I think it was Drumnacur he was from. And he wanted a place here that would have reminded him of where he made his money and we heard this when we were growing up.

Interviewer: Hmm..

Patsy: It was a place called Greenvalley and he bought this out here from the landlord, freehold. It was all landlords and he bought it out and he had a house built. It wasn’t a very good house. You went in the front … the front door, there was a nice door on it and a garden at the front and there were just 2 rooms and then the stairs went up but the back bit was built on and there was a valley in between and it was never successful, it always leaked.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But he didn’t live here very long. I forget what year the house was built but anyway he came back and he bought it out and he called it ‘Greenvalley’. Well, my sister Rachel, that’s the one that’s coming now on Tuesday, her and her husband. She went out to Chicago, she was a nurse, and she married Bill McNally and they moved to Cleveland and after a couple of winters there, Bill said “he was sick digging himself out”, and moved to California, well it was his firm moved him anyway, and they used to go out when the boys were small and they went out every Sunday for a run away up into the hills, and my sister couldn’t believe her eyes, there was an old sign post lying sort of down and it said, ‘Greenvalley’. You see all these old abandoned gold diggers you know were up there, and she said she had told this to Bill, and he’d laughed, and she said “Bill, there’s the proof”. Now whether it’s right or not but she said …

Interviewer: Gosh, did she lift it?

Patsy: No, she just left it, it was lying there, she didn’t want to lift it

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: She’d have got arrested (laughs), she would have (laughs). ‘Greenvalley’, so that was how it got it’s name.

Interviewer: God.

Patsy: It’s really the Townland of Gruig.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: So then what happened, he … his son … they were called ‘the Greenvalleys’, the McDonnells’. There’s still some descendants of them about Belfast.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: There were three daughters and a son and the son either was shot by somebody or committed suicide; I could never get the right way of it.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: I was trying to get … find out from Aunt Brigid but she’s the sort that wouldn’t say because suicide … ‘Willie Greenvalley’. The three daughters, one is married … was married to O’Neill of the Rock Bar. Do you know there at the bottom of White … the Whiterock Road or …

Interviewer: Och yes, yes.

Patsy: Do you know along there’s a … the Rock Bar’s along there somewhere and em …

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: I know there was a Mrs Moore, the Hopkins’. Do you know Maureen Scally?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: She was Hopkins to her own name.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: They are descendants of them and the others were … is it Sheridan or some name like that because one of them turned up here say about twenty years ago, a lady, she’d been drinking in Johnny Joe’s and she’d … Johnny Joe took her out there … Do you remember Johnny Joe? I don’t know if he was dead when you got here or not.

Interviewer: No, I never met him.

Patsy: Johnny Joe took her out, and the old house was in a terrible state, and my mother insisted …

Interviewer: You weren’t living in here at … you were living …

Patsy: We were in the bungalow …

Interviewer: You were in the bungalow.

Patsy: But then the other house was still there.

Interviewer: Och right, right.

Patsy: And she’d a bottle of sherry for my mother (laughs) with her and she was ‘three sheets in the wind’.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: But she was rather nice and she worked about the ‘Royal’. And she came back to see where her grandmother was born and she …

Interviewer: So, did he marry somebody local?

Patsy: I don’t know who … I forget who his wife was or whether he was … he must’ve married somebody local, that’s one thing I don’t know I must ask John O’Neill again who was old … old ‘Greenvalleys’ wife. Aunt Brigid might remember and on the other hand she mightn’t have known.

Interviewer: You know to keep him here or something might have kept him here and then children …

Patsy: Well, you see, he was born here and went out to America and got into the ‘Gold Rush’.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And made his money there. So, anyway that was ‘The Greenvalleys’. But the one that came, that lady, she remembered …they had … there was … they had no well, what her granny had told her. They got their water … there was a spout over there. I remember it but we had a well because when the McAuleys … my grandfather moved here in 1911, they got Water Diviners to get them a well.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Yes, and they got them a well. It’s still there.

Interviewer: Where? Oh, away over …

Patsy: I’ll show it to you if you remember when we come down. It’s there where we got the water from where we were growing up. We’d no water in the house; nobody had then. (laughs).

Interviewer: You had it coming up through the floor and you didn’t want it (laughs).

Patsy: No, we didn’t want that (laughs).

Interviewer: So, see when you say there was a spout, what does that mean?

Patsy: Oh it’s where the water comes out at.

Interviewer: Is it man-made, no?

Patsy: Yes, of course, it’s man-made. It’s a … a stream comes down and then they put a piece of em (what do you call it) it’s round the house …

Interviewer: Plastic or metal or something.

Patsy: No, but it was metal in those days. For getting the water.

Interviewer: Och aye the corrugated iron, no.

Patsy: Aye, well it was eh … it was just iron I think, and it’s pushed in you see and the water comes out and then you can put the bucket in and get the water.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: It was pure spring water because it comes from a spring up there.

Interviewer: Lovely.

Patsy: So she told my mother that was where she got the water … they got the water when they were living here. They didn’t live here very long, they moved away. They had a house in Belfast and …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I think it was just a bit of nostalgia that he wanted to …

Interviewer: Och, aye.

Patsy: Come back seeing he was born up in …

Interviewer: So did your daddy buy it off him then?

Patsy: No, my grandfather bought …

Interviewer: Your grandfather.

Patsy: My grandfather bought it off … I should know who she was, old Mrs ‘Greenvalley’. You see my grandfather’s brother, the youngest of the family, was born here because their father took this on a lease, they lived in Glendun, the McAuleys up in Glendun, and they had it on a 15 year lease. Now if he was in the gold diggings in ’49, I don’t know what year he came back, but my Grand Uncle John was born in ’73 (1873) and he was born there, because John O’Neill’s mother had said to me one time, she said “that my father and you had the privilege of being born there” because I was the next one because my sister Mary was born in America and I was born here.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And my Grand Uncle John was, and she said that they had it on a 15 year lease. Well then they bought Lubitavish where they … my grandfather lived after he got married, that’s over in Glenann where my cousin Mary lives.

Interviewer: Is that eh Neil, Neil Blaney’s mother, no?

Patsy: No, it’s the same Townland as Neil Blaney’s mother.

Interviewer: The same Townland.

Patsy: She’s Mary McNamee, she’s no family.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: And eh they didn’t need it anymore and it was let out to different people and in 1910, Mrs ‘Greenvalley’ went to my grandfather and she said “I’m going to put it on bushes”, that was saying, “I’m going to sell it” and she says “if you want to have the first refusal, you can …” you know if you want to buy it, “you can have it”.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: So he bought it and they moved over here from Lubitavish which was a much better drier house but I suppose the house in those days looked better, it was a better residence I suppose, however, I don’t know why.

Interviewer: Aye, I wonder what in those days, the attraction was.

Patsy: Well it was … it was nicely laid out and it had a big sitting-room and a small room downstairs and the kitchen was at the back with a loft above it and then there was upstairs, there was 2 bedrooms.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: And em …

Interviewer: More sheltered, maybe.

Patsy: It was more sheltered and there was water. You see, you need water.

Interviewer: Oh God aye.

Patsy: And Lubitavish, if it was a dry summer, you had to go to the river and carry the water for the cows and that.

Interviewer: Aw.

Patsy: Whereas here there’s piles of water because that burn never goes dry, the one that runs down there.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And then there’s one runs down there, that’s the back burn and the big burn.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And there’s wells and there’s water everywhere that you never have to carry water, in fact, the neighbours used to … the McAuleys of Tavanaghdrissagh used to have to come over to our burn. I remember one dry summer, the old man, and my mother sent us out to help him to carry the buckets of water up that field , you know (laughs).

Interviewer: Gosh.

Patsy: To fill up a big barrel or a trough or something.

Interviewer: You can understand then why you would want it handy.

Patsy: Yes, it was and there’s a big … it’s bigger … it was bigger than Lubitavish too and eh …

Interviewer: Although the other one was closer to the school, that was the only thing.

Patsy: Well, I suppose it was but the older ones, my father and that had all started school. Uncle Charles was only 13 or 15 months when they moved here but he would’ve … they were all born in Lubitavish and eh the older members would have been at school, but the people didn’t think anything of travelling to school in those days (laughs) for everybody walked.

Interviewer: Aye, everybody walked.

Patsy: Yes. It was … it was nice. It’s a pity the old house … there was a big barn beside it, but …

Interviewer: Is the old, old house still there, the original house?

Patsy: No, it … it was knocked down, there was no one else.

Interviewer: Och.

Patsy: There was … the roof was falling in and it would’ve taken too much money to fix it.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: Yes, we’d better head on up the hill, com’on Bailie (laughs).

Interviewer: Well … how did you get his name?

Patsy: Well I’ll tell you how we got his name. His name … Archie and Nicola got it … I wonder what that is? Old Mickey McDonnell … He was called Jailie and that’s what he was looking at.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: J-A-I-L-I-E or something he was called.

Interviewer: I never heard of that.

Patsy: And, you see, the wee dog that I had, Scoobie, the postman killed him, the relief postman. The other Postman knew about him, and I had let him out just about 5 minutes before the van came up and it nearly broke my heart.

Interviewer: Och.

Patsy: So they decided I needed another dog (like a hole in the head) and eh … (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: They went to the Shelter in Carrickfergus (they were living up in Glengormley then) and they got … well my sister fell in love with this wee black dog, he was tiny then,

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: He was born in August and this was November I got him. He had been thrown out of a car on the motorway and somebody lifted him and took him to the Shelter and they had to operate on him to save his life.

Interviewer: Och.

Patsy: When I got him first … well I don’t know which side it was, now you could see where the scar was. Then a lady in Carrickfergus got him and she took meningitis.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And here he was put back in the Shelter and they went in and they got him. I say to him when he’s misbehaving “you don’t know how lucky you were (laughs) to get me”.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Now, this is into McAllister’s fields. The McAllisters, they were the longest residents in the townland of Gruig.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: How long have they, non-stop residence.

Patsy: They have been non-stop residence. We’re the newcomers, the McAuleys and the McKays.

Interviewer: Do you want to leave that until we come back, tie that.

Patsy: I’d better tie it now in case Alex or somebody would come.

Interviewer: Right, I’ll hold that sure.

Patsy: And wonder what we were …although he would … he owned this here but my father before he died sold it.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: That’s mine up there.

Interviewer: Where the cows are?

Patsy: Aye where the cows are. The cows are the McDonnells but eh he hasn’t time to deal with the farm as well as his job so it was left to Martin McDonnell.

Interviewer: What eh … what do you call that field?

Patsy: That’s Doonetha.

Interviewer: Doonetha

Patsy: Doonetha. Do you know what it means?

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: I don’t either.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: I’m trying to find out. I even asked Pat Clerkin and he said, he thought it could be …maybe we’re not pronouncing it right, you know it could’ve been … over the years.

Interviewer: Och I know, I know it changes.

Patsy: And this is ‘the back field’.

Interviewer: ‘The back field’.

Patsy: It belongs to the McAllisters and the one above it, is ‘Donnell’s’, ‘Donnell O’Lynn’. My grandfather bought … now I’m not sure about this field here, but he bought these other fields off the O’Lynn’s.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: Because the McDonnells who bought Greenvalley hadn’t … those weren’t included and one was ‘High Donnell’ and ‘Low Donnell’ after ‘Donnell O’Lynn’.

Interviewer: (Laughs) Right.

Patsy: (Laughs). Do you see what I mean about the grass?

Interviewer: Yes, it’s very high.

Patsy: And it gets very rough up a bit. Come up here, you.

Interviewer: Would he go ‘buck mad’ if you let him off the lead, would he?

Patsy: He would. He would … he would just leave and he would go right over there.

Interviewer: Oh.

Patsy: … or McDonnells

Interviewer: And you don’t want to be running through the field after him.

Patsy: No, indeed I don’t, no.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: Watch your feet.

Interviewer: I know it’s very … it’s very …

Patsy: You see that’s what I mean about it up here, it’s very uneven ground.

Interviewer: Uneven, yes.

Patsy: But you see it was left for so long.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And the animals make … It’s all uneven because the cows are in it and.

Interviewer: Yes. It’s very sheltered, Patsy.

Patsy: It is, isn’t it. This field was ploughed. I remember corn growing in it.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And potatoes during the War.

Interviewer: Where the crops different in the War?

Patsy: Oh definitely, there was far more tillage and ploughing during the War.

Interviewer: Hmm. Was that straight away or did it take a while for that to happen?

Patsy: Well it was always. You see this was pig farming and meat farming.

Interviewer: Hmm..

Patsy: But you had to kill more during the War to feed the troops and things and right up there, there’s a big stone and I’m often wondering what it was, if it was a ‘standing stone’ or part of something.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Because …

Interviewer: Is it still there?

Patsy: Because when my father was ploughing it, (no it’s gone), he had to blast it.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And shortly after that he took a thing called a ‘whitlo’ on his finger and a neighbouring …

Interviewer: A what?

Patsy: ‘A whitlo’, it’s on the bone.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And I had one too later on, it was very painful and I remember somebody said it was because he did away with that stone… the fairies were …

Interviewer: Oh God.

Patsy: Come over here, Bailie. Oh, he’s doing his ‘poo’.

Interviewer: Oh, he’s doing both.

Patsy: Oh, oh.

Interviewer: Oh, for goodness sake.

Patsy: He’s already done some over in the other field. I think you’d better go round that way.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: I sometimes go up along that. He wants to go up there but he’s not going.

Interviewer: Strong, he looks like he’s …

Patsy: He’s very strong.

Interviewer: Strong.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: (Laughs)

Patsy: No.

Interviewer: Look at the views.

Patsy: The view is fabulous from up here.

Interviewer: Maybe I’ll take a wee photograph.

Patsy: Denis …

Interviewer: You did.

Patsy: Aye, I had photographs taken up at the top there (laughs).

Interviewer: Och, lovely.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Do you appreciate where you grew up, Patsy?

Patsy: Oh definitely, for I wouldn’t leave it …

Interviewer: Well, did you ever?

Patsy: Well not really, I was in Belfast but I came back home. Well then Denis had a … he had a house and farm up there but then he never moved up.

Interviewer: Up there?

Patsy: No, no up in Cushendun where my husband was from.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: ‘The Tops’

Interviewer: Where was that?

Patsy: Em, on the …

Interviewer: Oh the road to Ballycastle?

Patsy: Eh, no the road to Torr. You know where the Milltown is?

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: Just outside Cushendun. It’s away far in. Mary McFadden lives in it now.

Interviewer: Och aye.

Patsy: But it’s higher up than Mary’s, Mary’s my cousin but she wasn’t living there then. I used to go up in the summer time and that but not on a permanent basis. It’s handier living here.

Interviewer: Further up than Mary again.

Patsy: Oh aye right on up. John McKay and Kelly lives up there. …

Interviewer: So, how did you meet your husband?

Patsy: Oh I met him at the dance. Well I knew him for a long time before. I met him at the dance at Castlegreen. Castlegreen was a great place for dances.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: … Manys a one met their husband at Castlegreen (laughs).

Interviewer: What type of dancing was it?

Patsy: It was fox trots and waltzes and quicksteps and old-time waltzes.

Interviewer: He’s a wee character (laughs).

Patsy: C’mon (laughs).

Interviewer: Does that push in and out, that lead?

Patsy: Oh it does, you see I can stop him, you see by putting my thumb down.

Interviewer: Oh aye, a good job.

Patsy: Heavens when I got him first, this was a short lead.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I didn’t know about these long leads … so em I was over in York with Josephine.

Interviewer: Sorry.

Patsy: I was over in York with Josephine and we were walking along and there was a Pet Shop.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And she says to me “there’s what you need for that dog” and away she went and got the lead.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: This is about the third one I’ve had since that

Interviewer: York’s lovely, isn’t it?

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: It’s a nice town.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: Aye. Do you remember your first day at school?

Patsy: No, I don’t because I was at school when I was only 3.

Interviewer: Why? Gosh!

Patsy: When my mother took my oldest sister over to school, the numbers had dropped, and Master Donaghy, and he said to her “what age is your next child,” and … “I mean Patsy” and he said “will you send her over and we’ll look after her”.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: So, I have no memory of going to school.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: None.

Interviewer: Em what age?

Patsy: Three years and 9 months. And he put me down as 4 because when I was subbing in Glenann School I looked up the old registers, and my birthday’s June and I was put in as March, falsified.

Interviewer: But I mean … you know somebody might look that up in time to come.

Patsy: I know.

Interviewer: Isn’t that interesting but how many old records were … something was done to them for other reasons.

Patsy: Yes, well that was why.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: Whether … so I was there and I don’t think I liked it very much.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: Miss Duffy, was Eamonn Duffy’s aunt.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Oh gosh!

Interviewer: Not good.

Patsy: Ah … well she sort of … my oldest … Mary was older than me and she could do no wrong.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And Dan McAllister over there was the oldest of the McAllisters, Dan could do no wrong, John O’Neill … because John was … I was up here one day with the dog and I met him away out there and he started talking about Glenann School and he said “will you ever forget Miss Duffy”.

Interviewer: Oh I know.

Patsy: I said to him “Oh” I says “God”. She’d a habit of poking you there with a pencil and John says to me “I can still feel it” (laughs) I said “well so can I”.

Interviewer: And what did you do wrong, where you bad?

Patsy: No, she expected … I think maybe she wasn’t trained or anything. We couldn’t write.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: You know, good handwriting, because you see we were too young to have that.

Interviewer: Och aye.

Patsy: You know, we weren’t just old enough. Och she wasn’t that bad. That’s enough ridiculing the day (laughs).

Interviewer: Och know but I mean …

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: That’s your memories.

Patsy: But then … my Uncle Francis (that’s Mary McNamee’s father) he got married and they lived in Lubitavish, and one day I took it into my head I would go up there. I don’t know why or what and I can only vaguely remember going up to it and her name was Anna and she took me in and said, “did I want some soup”? And I was sitting at the table having the soup when Nellie McAuley … Nellie … do you know the McNaughtons? They live there at Tavanaghan. They’re all good hurlers and there was a very big family.

Interviewer: Och yes, yes.

Patsy: Their mother, she was the one that came up for me. And I can remember going down and she’d me by the hand and she said to me ”don’t cry, Patsy, don’t cry” (laughs) “do you want to go back to school”?

Interviewer: How did you get all the way from school, away up …

Patsy: There was a flood in the river …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And there was no bridge and how … you see that’s what they thought I was lost on the hill. I’m sure there was panic all over the place but I didn’t know that.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And I don’t think that my mother ever knew that I had absconded from school. (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: and then Nan was the one next to me.

Interviewer: Ann?

Patsy: And Nan, my sister Nan.

Int Hmm. Keep going, c’mon.

Patsy: Nan could do no wrong.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And Rachel … had a terrible time.

Interviewer: Gosh.

Patsy: And you know Rachel, of all of us, was one of the cleverest and I can remember Rachel crying and not wanting to go to school and my grandmother was alive then and she tried to keep Rachel home and …

Interviewer: Did your grandmother live with you?

Patsy: She did, yes. And Rachel had curls and that was from her side of the family, the McIlhearns. She’d curls, you know tight curls.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And Rachel reminded her of her own family – you know they had great hair – unlike me. So, one day … what was it, oh granny said to Rachel “if she slaps you again, you just come home”. So, anyway Rachel got into trouble and the next thing she got up and ran out of the school …

Interviewer: Oh gosh!

Patsy: And Rachel ran (laughing) and on to her bicycle …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And eh couldn’t overtake her anyway.

Interviewer: Oh she didn’t.

Patsy: No. She came back to the school and as Nan had said to her, Rachel wasn’t going to go and Nan said, “granny said you were to go home and go” and she came back, she got nervous, and Patsy McCormick (he died there recently) he was in Nan’s class and he said “Nan told her to go” and she slapped Nan and that was the end of her.

Interviewer: The teacher?

Patsy: Yes the teacher, yes.

Interviewer: That was the end of the teacher?

Patsy: No, no the end of Nan’s friendship with the teacher.

Interviewer: Oh right, oh she liked her.

Patsy: Oh yes she liked Nan.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: But she didn’t like Rachel.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: She didn’t like me.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: And I don’t know about Nora (laughs).

Interviewer: Geez! Was Miss Duffy … Was it Miss Duffy?

Patsy: Miss Duffy yes, she was Kathleen Duffy … but most people would take care of … but probably we were rather obnoxious children.

Interviewer: No, probably just unlucky.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Did she ever marry?

Patsy: No, she didn’t.

Interviewer: No. Wow! Look at that!!

Patsy: There you are. I’m puffed, I arrived before you. There’s the school over there.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: They’ve got a good wee school.

Interviewer: It’s not really that far.

Patsy: Not at all. When you were there, you could go anywhere. You know you weren’t confined to the playground.

Interviewer: Really.

Patsy: Yes at dinner … at lunch time we ran all over the place, sometimes we went as far as Ossian’s Grave.

Interviewer: Gosh. So it’s so, so different now.

Patsy: So different and we played on the road because there were no cars.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: You couldn’t play on the road now and we used to run races ….

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: On the road outside the school.

Interviewer: The games … where they just sort of improvised games or did you have toys as such

or …

Patsy: We hadn’t toys at all.

Interviewer: No skipping ropes even or anything?

Patsy: Not a thing, not a single thing.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: You could have got a rope from home. It would be rope that was used for hay, tying hay or a horse or something.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: No, when the evacuees came, the wee children that were evacuated out of Belfast, they brought games with them, you know, they knew all those skipping songs and everything, it was great.

Interviewer: But yous didn’t know that down here?

Patsy: No, not at all we didn’t, not that I can remember, we didn’t. Just didn’t approve of children playing in the country.

Interviewer: Oh right

Patsy: No, I remember that there were the Mitchells and the Canavans and the Lawlors.

Interviewer: Where did they all stay?

Patsy: Mrs Murphy, you know Ita, Ita’s mother. She had 10 or 12 evacuees.

Interviewer: Is that Ita Whinfield?

Patsy: Aye, Ita Whinfield, her mother …

Interviewer: Ten or 12.

Patsy: She had, she had … and Joe Mitchell and Helen, Helena and Mary and then they’d another boy, that was the Canavans and she’d Annie Lawlor and Kevin and a small one, Sally …. yes she had … she’d a big crowd and she looked after them well.

Interviewer: Gosh that’s unbelievable.

Patsy: She was a very good woman, Mrs Murphy.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: She really did … they still would come back to see her but the Mitchells went away to New Zealand and they were here a couple of years ago and they called there.

Interviewer: Is she still alive?

Patsy: No, Mrs Murphy’s dead but they called at the house, yes.

Interviewer: And what … when the eh evacuees came did it affect anything in any way?

Patsy: Well it put the numbers up in the school, we were overcrowded. Och look you probably need more tissues.

Interviewer: No, no, it’s away.

Patsy: Take one. No it … that was about all.

Interviewer: Where they a bad influence?

Patsy: No, they weren’t, they were a good influence, most of them really, you know they were a benefit, I would say.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: They were very nice families that were living over there with Mrs Murphy. The Mitchells and …

Interviewer: Actual families or just children.

Patsy: No the children of the families.

Interviewer: But the parents …

Patsy: Well the parents used to come periodically to visit them.

Interviewer: Right, Right.

Patsy: The Mitchells were from Elizabeth Street off the Grosvenor Road.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Now where the Canavans from, I can’t remember. Now Helen Canavan came back and worked for Mrs Murphy, Mrs Murphy used to do ‘Bed and Breakfast’ or it was full board. People didn’t … Bed and Breakfast wasn’t … This was in the ’50s, the early ’50s of course. And there’s one of the Canavans now round in Portrush or Portstewart round the coast there somewhere.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And as I say, the Mitchells went to New Zealand. I would say that they were … the ones that we had out here … down at Tromra, that they were, you know.

Interviewer: Did your mother take any?

Patsy: No, she’d seven of her own (laughs). When the woman came around to see if …

Interviewer: She was maybe looking Mrs Murphy to take one of hers (laughs).

Patsy: She was maybe looking Mrs Murphy to take one of hers (laughs). And when the woman came around to see if she could take any, and, when my mother said, “I have seven” (laughs) or she maybe had 6, not 7, Josephine was born after that (laughs). She’d no room.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: Well Mrs Murphy … and there was a lady in Cushendall had quite a few. We used to know them, there were the McCanns and that.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But it’s funny how I met up with one of them in Belfast at some stage, you know that had been here.

Interviewer: Did you recognised them?

Patsy: Not until she told me who she was.

Interviewer: Aw.

Patsy: You see, we were all children. And then she said, “Cushendall, I was in Cushendall when I was an evacuee” and I said, “where were you staying?”. Then she said “I was staying (what do you call her) with Mrs McAteer. Nora Scolly, do you know Nora, she comes to the lecture sometimes …

Interviewer: Maybe to see.

Patsy: Her Aunt.

Interviewer: Right. No, maybe just to see.

Patsy: Yes, you probably know her to see. I’m trying to think … there was the Callaghans down at Tromra. Depending on the house they got into … a lot of them …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I know Mrs Murphy was more than good to them.

Interviewer: Hmm and they all went to Glenann.

Patsy: They all came to Glenann School and Glenann School, you see, was always very popular with people because they had a teacher in Cushendall and they used to have the refugees from Cushendall that would come out to Glenann; and there were a crowd of them came out one morning, I remember, we were coming down the steps, we went to school and Master Donaghy had closed the door and he said “take your bags and go back where you came from, because I’ve got no room”. You see the school was … there was only one room, you see, we were all taught in the one room.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: And it was full to overflowing.

Interviewer: It must’ve been popular, but.

Patsy: It was, it still is, people come to it from …you know they … well now they come in cars but they used to walk from Tully, you know Tully.

Interviewer: Oh, yes.

Patsy: They used to walk from Tully to Glenann School. I remember we … Dan McAllister, ….

Interviewer: God, aye you’d be falling asleep before you even got there, wouldn’t you, or when you got there.

Patsy: Well we were alright. I don’t know maybe we were stronger and healthier then, yes.

Interviewer: Yes. What is your earliest memory then?

Patsy: What?

Interviewer: What would be your earliest memory?

Patsy: My …?

Interviewer: Earliest?

Patsy: My earliest memory. I really think that episode of me coming up to Lubitavish and Miss Duffy … I don’t really know what my earliest memory would be but …

Interviewer: No … like major things, like funerals or …

Patsy: I remember when the War started.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And I also can remember, when we were talking about the evacuees coming in, I didn’t know what the evacuees were and I remember saying to my sister, “are they some type of foreigners" (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: Oh she laughed. But I’d never … it’s a word I’d never met.

Interviewer: No, you wouldn’t.

Patsy: Yes. So eh I can remember that and I also can remember the War being declared, I think it was announced in the Chapel. I would have been about seven then. I don’t remember that far back.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: Maybe if I … maybe I do and have sort of closed my mind to it.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: So many people lived around and they’re gone, you know.

Interviewer: But, is it … I mean do you … are you happy or sad or what do you … how do you feel sometimes when look around and you think all those things and all those people are gone now. What do you think?

Patsy: I’d say, I’m happy enough, yes.

Interviewer: Are you?

Patsy: I am. I miss some of them you know, I’m sorry that they’re gone like Mrs McCambridge over there in Laney and Rosie McCambridge down in Gorteen.They were the older people. Mrs McCambridge of Laney was a lovely woman, that’s Pat’s mother.

Interviewer: Och, right.

Patsy: And we would see her probably coming down the hill, that there lane there.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: And we would be out playing and I can remember we we’d run in and say to my mother, Mrs Laney’s coming (you called her Mrs Laney because that’s Laney Townland) we saw her coming down the hill and sure enough she’d come over for a chat. She was very good to you and there were no houses there and no houses here …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It was all just fields.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: No we had a … well I suppose in our own way, we had a good childhood. We were free to go everywhere.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: We used to go every Sunday … we used to go away up there to the top and we’d duck over to McAllisters and roam about and never any fear of anybody.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And we used to go over to Peggy McAuleys over there at Tavnaghdrissagh and Johnny Pat that owned the Mill, he had a donkey. We’d let the donkey …

Interviewer: Where was the Mill?

Patsy: You know as you turn at … the wallsteads are still there, just above the school.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Do you know where the trees are?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: That was a Corn Mill and a Flax Mill.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: It was worked during the War, they … he’d grind corn.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And he had a donkey. Well the donkey just grazed round everywhere and most of the fields belonged to the McAuleys, the ‘Willie Davy’ McAuleys you called them to distinguish them and we used to go to play with Peggy and our whole thing was to get this donkey and ride the donkey (laughs). Peggy still talks about that. The donkey would go to a hen house with Peggy on it’s back and you know a door … and she says, only she had the wit to duck, she’d have lost her head.

Interviewer: Oh my God.

Patsy: Oh it was a wicked old thing, it would try to throw you off and then it would turn round and try to kick you with its back hind legs.

Interviewer: Lovely (laughs).

Patsy: Oh dear (laughs) yes.

Interviewer: But there never seemed to be many accidents or you know terrible things that happened to children.

Patsy: No, that’s what people … Rachel now … now Rachel has four sons and every single one of them has broken a limb (now this is in America).

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Archie broke his arm once and a leg. Denis broke his ankle and eh Rachel said to me, “we grew up and we climbed trees, we swung off branches, we were everywhere and we never broke anything”. None of us, there were seven of us, none of us had a broken limb, and we fell off horses and we fell out of trees and ah … because the swings then were on the branch of a tree, you put the rope over it. It used to break and the branch would break and you would just …

Interviewer: Och aye.

Patsy: And another caper was a ladder, we had no sledges or anything and my father made us sort of a one – a ladder coming down that field there.

Interviewer: That one over there?

Patsy: My cousin, Tony … yes, where the green one now is, nice and green.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Down the side of it’s very steep and my cousin, Tony, you know Tony McAuley?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: He used to come down here for his holidays and he stayed over with Mary because Mary had plenty of room there, Mary was an only child. But he used to come over first thing in the morning, over here, because my sister Nora was his kindred or whatever, just like him, and they got into more trouble the two of them.

Interviewer: Oh.

Patsy: But they got this ladder and Rachel was on it and Nora (I was older, of course, I would be in the house maybe minding a baby or something) and came down, well they had came down quite a few times but this particular time the front of it dug into the ground and they all went flying off it (laughs).

Interviewer: Like a catapult.

Patsy: And if the whin bush hadn’t been there they would have been smashed in the field and they were all scraped and everything but they didn’t want anybody to know.

Interviewer: My God.

Patsy: And then … and then they also … another thing they’d went up there, ‘the Packer’ McLaughlin (Susan’s grandfather).

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And he had all these iron rims of carts collected, he was going to make gates out of them or something but he never did, and they thought it would be a bit of sport to set them up from the house, and they came down and they jumped over every fence, right down to the bottom of … some of them would arrive down there … my father, he wasn’t half furious, and he says to my mother “that wee black lady of yours” he says “and that other hooligan” (laughs) this was Tony. Of course by this time, Tony had gone back …

Interviewer: My God.

Patsy: And Nora took everything in her stride, it didn’t bother her in the least and my father was frantic and Nora just … she’s still the same.

Interviewer: Geez.

Patsy: Nora (laughs).

Interviewer: But they just … eh things just seemed to be luckier or something. I mean it could’ve been such a disaster.

Patsy: It could’ve been, they could’ve been … I suppose they could’ve been killed.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: But they weren’t hurt or anything, they were just …

Interviewer: Would you let your … would you have let your children do things.

Patsy: Oh God, I’d have been a nervous wreck. But, of course, Archie did some things like that, he broke his arm up the burn when he was …

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: And when we did that too, we never broke anything (laughs), and that was so simple the way …

Interviewer: So, what do you mean, he deserved it? (laughs).

Patsy: No, well I didn’t really, I took him down to the hospital and he had to get a plaster on.

Interviewer: Oh God.

Patsy: No, you see nothing like that ever …

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: Because we didn’t … you see to go in … Over at the school, at the Flax Mill, you sort of see a red roof, can you see that?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: That was a Mill and there was one further on for flax.

Interviewer: Where? Where is that actually at?

Patsy: That’s at em …

Interviewer: Sort of in the middle of fields.

Patsy: It’s behind … it’s close to the river.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: There’s a field between it and the river because they got the water from the river to turn the wheel and they had a dam there for catching the water.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And it used to be frozen in the wintertime and a boy called, John McKeegan, who was older than me, he’s older than our Mary too. He got caught in the wheel one time and he had his whole knee … but he got over it.

Interviewer: God!

Patsy: You know it was … people did things like that then.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: They never …

Interviewer: Was it because there was less machinery?

Patsy: It could be. There were horses and you grew up with them and then … you know, the horses would’ve knew you, you know, and if you fell off they’d stop and things, most of them. No, nobody ever was really seriously …

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: Not that I know of. There must’ve been some. But when you’re born to it, it probably makes a difference. City children … because I remember our burn down there; my cousin Desmond came from Canada, he’d four or five wee girls but they’d two boys since that, and other ones that came and they all fell in the burn and got all wet. Archie and Denis never fell in that burn, and I remember Desmond coming in, his wife Mary was sitting there, she’s very easy going, talking to me and Desmond was coming in with all these socks and she says “what happened and he said he fell in the burn. And I said “what was he doing?” I said, “Archie never fell in that burn”.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: You see, there was never … none of us ever did either.

Interviewer: God.

Patsy: You know we were used to it.

Interviewer: How easy … I mean, how easy is it to fall in?

Patsy: Oh you could fall in or unless you hit your head, you wouldn’t drown in it, there’s not that much water.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: It’s quite easy to fall on stones if you didn’t watch where you were going. With us being up here we could fall into a hole (laughs).

Interviewer: This is true.

Patsy: … across here. Yes, no I must say that on the whole it was quite good …

Interviewer: When did work … when did sort of house-workie things start?

Patsy: What do you mean now?

Interviewer: What age, you know?

Patsy: Maybe when you could hold a cloth (laughs).

Interviewer: God.

Patsy: Oh, everybody sort of helped then. There was no such a thing as … whichever one was able to do it had to do it.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: The older ones usually, the younger ones got off with ‘blue murder’ I suppose because there was older ones.

Interviewer: Yes.

Interviewer: So, where you … what where you the third oldest?

Patsy: I was the second.

Interviewer: The second oldest.

Patsy: Nan was third, then Rachel and Nora and … he was the youngest.

Interviewer: God that sun’s warm, isn’t it?

Patsy: Lovely, isn’t it?

Interviewer: Great.

Patsy: This is Donal O’Lynns.

Interviewer: Hmm. Does he own it or rent it?

Patsy: No, he’s dead. Seamus ‘Biddy’ is a descendant.

Interviewer: Ah, right.


Interviewer: There’s really nothing to stop the sheep getting in and out.

Patsy: … across there, there’s an old lane …

Interviewer: Is there?

Patsy: Goes right up.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: Through that fushcia hedge, is Alec’s house. That goes right up, you can see it, it goes right up to that house and right across.

Interviewer: Oh right. Is that the one that goes right round to Knockban?

Patsy: It probably was. There’s bits of it’s gone now. It probably did.

Interviewer: I notice there’s … there’s a bit of a lane there.

Patsy: I think there’s a dead sheep.

Interviewer: Is there?

Patsy: (Laughs) I really can’t stand …

Interviewer: What?

Patsy: The stink of dead sheep.

Interviewer: I know. A motorbike.

Patsy: Hmm … go round this way

Interviewer: See the ‘foot and mouth’ Patsy, do you think it was a good thing or a bad thing.

Patsy: I think it was a bad thing really, all that slaughter. But then on the other hand, for me, and this dog, I walked all along away over there up to the high road and parts of Daley’s ground and all, there were no animals.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And Laney and all that. It was, it was horrible, I don’t know, it was like a nightmare.

Interviewer: And what …it … because it first started here, I mean what …

Patsy: It started over there just.

Interviewer: Just over there.

Patsy: You see the roof of Sean McCambridge’s house.

Interviewer: Aw yeah.

Patsy: And that green field there with two sheep and the black thing.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: That’s where they were burning at the bottom of that field.

Interviewer: Right. Where that wee mound …

Patsy: No, it was … wherever it was, they covered it all over. There’s none there. They didn’t want to look at it.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Just near the burn too.

Interviewer: Well, what did you think, when you first heard?

Patsy: …

Interviewer: Oh God.

Patsy: Everybody remembers where they were when Kennedy was shot.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: Well I remember where I was when I’d been by told about … Josephine heard it on the radio and … but she didn’t know where it was, she said, you know it was just on the news and it said ‘in the Glens of Antrim near Cushendall, there’s an outbreak of foot and mouth’. Well then I’d just put down the phone from her when Mary McNamee phones about Sean and also up there, they were shooting them up there. This poor dog didn’t know what was wrong with him.

Interviewer: Och.

Patsy: He ran back and forth because he was in shock … It was … it really was, it was just horrible and then, you see McAllisters they had a sheep and two lambs; you see in that field where the black bales are?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I think it was the one that had lambed early or something and the lamb got free and it ran right up to our house, well I just couldn’t look and the men after it, to kill it, a healthy lamb. It was awful, I’d better not think about it.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Although we had … there was no … nothing on our land at that time because Martin McKay, Archie’s cousin, had sheep on it and he’d taken them away at the beginning of February and there was nothing here at all.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And I think it was a good thing because they would have killed them on the property. You see we were so close to Sean there at Gortin.

Interviewer: Oh aye, that’s right. But looking … you know nowadays, is it better for farming, is it better for the farmers, do you think.

Patsy: I don’t know.

Interviewer: More beneficial.

Patsy: Yes. I don’t really think so.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: I haven’t heard any of them talking about it.

Interviewer: I just wondered if they would learn lessons and you know things would improve afterwards or …

Patsy: Well I think they’re going to …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It was all that killing that went on. I know Alec over there, Alec said he didn’t want it, the money didn’t matter to him, it was his animals, you know, he just … you know somebody said to him, think of the compensation you’re going to get, but he didn’t care.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Because farmers do … you know like that.

Interviewer: Och aye.

Patsy: Even though they’re going to end up being killed anyway, but still it’s a different thing. Oh it was terrible, you couldn’t get in or out of here hardly.

Interviewer: That’s right. Did it happen before? Was there an outbreak before?

Patsy: There was. I had thought … but I must’ve been away but Rachel said to me that she remembered. But they isolated the animals, there wasn’t as many then and I could hear them talking about it. They isolated the animals for six weeks or something and they did all right.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: But I don’t know why they had to go and kill them.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It was awful.

Interviewer: And it’s hard to believe it was only …

Patsy: It was only last year.

Interviewer: Last year … that everything was getting burnt.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: Do you remember eh … do you remember the … the eh …

Patsy: Look at that (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs) Is that how you got overturned?

Patsy: Oh, indeed yes, I twisted both my legs (laughs).

Interviewer: God. The first eh car, wireless, television … do you remember all … any of …

Patsy: Oh sure, I do. My first car was a … was it a Morris Minor. I got it second-hand.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And then I got a Ford Anglia and I remember the first radio too.

Interviewer: Who had it?

Patsy: I think I bought it actually.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: In Belfast and we had television. When we got electric light, my mother’s first thing was to get …to hire a television (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: We were all away. My mother loved the television.

Interviewer: Did she?

Patsy: Yes for the cinema and all that sort of thing and that was about the first television. We hired it from Joe Lynn.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Mrs Lynn, he rented out televisions.

Interviewer: In Cushendall.

Patsy: Yes, in Cushendall. Where the shop is now, that was Lynns.

Interviewer: What do you call this field, Patsy?

Patsy: This is ‘High Donnell’.

Interviewer: High Donnell. Oh yes.

Patsy: High Donnell. And I don’t know what you call that one there, but the one down at the bottom on the other side is ‘Crooknacreal’

Interviewer: ‘Crooknacreal’.

Patsy: ‘Crooknacreal’ the hill of something or other.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Yes. And that’s ‘Dover’. That’s the McLaughlins, do you see where the black cows are?

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: That’s ‘Dover’.

Interviewer: ‘Dover’.

Patsy: It’s ‘Dover’. It comes from stubble, I think I read that somewhere.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Susan … but Susan probably wouldn’t know not being reared up here in that house.

Interviewer: Aye. I have to go and speak to her father, I sort of said to him.

Patsy: Neil, he wasn’t well there.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: But he was reared over at Mount Edwards you see.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Yes, he wasn’t reared here at all.

Interviewer: (Trying to open gate). Watch your foot.

Patsy: His mother died when he was a baby.

Interviewer: Oh God.

Patsy: Bailie (dog) will you hold on there.

Interviewer: I’ll hold that with my foot so it doesn’t … maybe I’ll lift it up, no. Oh, it’s tied. (Laughs).

Patsy: It’s tied. For goodness sake, oh watch yourself. (Laughs)

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: You’ll hurt your foot.

Interviewer: Where are you going, Bailie? No, ah, ah, come here, come here.

Patsy: Bailie can’t wait to get in.

Interviewer: Geez.

Patsy: Cm’on.

Interviewer: Cm’on. He’s not going to … how are you going …

Patsy:You come on in and I’ll get the gate closed. Oh, he’s all right there, just watch yourself.

Interviewer: Okay. I suppose you’re used to this?

Patsy: Oh, I’m used to this. No, Neil and Alec … the mother died and Sean … after Sean was born, she took a clot . I remember her well, Bella.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And she was Bella Delargy of Mount Edwards. It was very sad and their Uncles, Pat and Dan took Neil and Alec and reared them.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Over in Mount Edwards.

Interviewer: No girls.

Patsy: No, no girls. The family before that, a very a big family of girls and two boys.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: A lot of them went to America.

Interviewer: That was quite common, wasn’t it?

Patsy: It was. Well there was nothing else for people.

Interviewer: How did they manage to get the money up to go?

Patsy: Well I think at some stage they had an assisted passage.

Interviewer: Assisted passage?

Patsy: Yes, it was. Probably a grant or something, I don’t know. My mother went and my father went too.

Interviewer: separately?

Patsy: Oh yes, my mother was from County Mayo.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And she went out from there and my father went out from here.

Interviewer: And that’s how they met, over there.

Patsy: Yes, they met over there, yes.

Interviewer: Otherwise, God knows what would’ve …

Patsy: Aye exactly.

Interviewer: You wouldn’t be here.

Patsy: … Pennsylvania.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And …

Interviewer: How long did they … did they get married over there?

Patsy: They did and my older sister was born there.

Interviewer: Right, right.

Patsy: My father was always … he wanted back. My mother was very homesick and when she got here, she said she could’ve walked back, (laughs).

Interviewer: Oh!

Patsy: She lived here for over 60 years.

Interviewer: What?

Patsy: She lived here for over 60 years.

Interviewer: And she still missed America?

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Gosh. Och, that’s a pity, isn’t it?

Patsy: She was in America 9 years.

Interviewer: And she didn’t even miss Mayo?

Patsy: Not really, no, because her mother died … you see, women died young then. She

was 17 when her mother died.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And she was the second in the family and then her older sister went first and then when my mother went, there was Aunt Nora and Aunt Nora’s still living at 99.

Interviewer: Aw!

Patsy: And when she was 3 months old she had the whooping cough and the measles.

Interviewer: Geez.

Patsy: And they thought she wouldn’t live.

Interviewer: At 3 months.

Patsy: And my mother was 3 years older than her and she’d a better memory than me. She remembered these women coming in and saying to her mother “och Mary, she’ll not do” and Aunt Nora did (laughs)

Interviewer: For just a year or two .. more.

Patsy: And she lived on till ’99; she’s 99 now and still living.

Interviewer: My God.

Patsy: So.

Interviewer: It’s amazing.

Patsy: This is Mary McCann’s up here.

Interviewer: Right. Is this the wee row of … is this the one that you …

Patsy: This is the first of the houses.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: The wall’s there.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: It’s called Mary McKays but it’s really John McAllisters.

Interviewer: Are we going on over this way?

Patsy: No, we’re going up to it …

Interviewer: Gradually.

Patsy: We couldn’t go across there because of the burn and it’s all … McLaughlins.

Interviewer: No, that’s dead on. I’m just wondering whether to take a picture here or wait till I get up.

Patsy: C’mon here, c’mon Bailie, up. He’s going down there.

Interviewer: You must have strong arms, Patsy.

Patsy: I have, I must have muscles developed.

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: Actually when the thing is loose …

Interviewer: Yes that, that’s the best way.

Patsy: Yes. This was eh … this here belonged to Seamus Biddy’s father, John.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Seamus, sold it there.

Interviewer: Oh right. Imagine having a house up here. I know you wouldn’t be able to get up to it but imagine having a house up here.

Patsy: But people did live up here.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: And reared big families up here.

Interviewer: So, did they basically stay around about the house or where they up and down … They must’ve been up and down visiting people and doing things.

Patsy: They’d ceilidh.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: And visited each other’s houses, but, you see there were houses all along the Brae, on the same level along there. They would’ve gone from house to house and they probably went down because my grandfather minded Seamus’s granny, she was living on her own here because Seamus Biddy lived with Mrs McAllister, coming up with a bag of groceries and walking up this … to the house over there, so.

Interviewer: Geez.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: But the Mary McKay that lived here … was John McAllister, and her husband … you see it’s impossible for them to live up here …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: He went to America.

Interviewer: And left her.

Patsy: No, he took the oldest of the family with him.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: And then he sent for her and the rest of them.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And they went out to America, I don’t know whether you were around or not but two men came into Vera and they were the descendants of Mary McKay.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: I showed them where to go up here, they wanted to see it and I forget their names, they were McAllisters.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And one was the Head of some University, and the other was a Nuclear Physicist.

Interviewer: Geez.

Patsy: And the older … it was a man and his son, and the older man says to me “I’ll get down on my knees, and I’ll thank Mary McKay for having the ‘guts’ to get out of that place and go to America”. She did and took the younger ones with her.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And then she was … the night before she left, it was John McLaughlin, he would be an Uncle of Susan’s, or a grand uncle, John Patrick he lived over there, he was McAuley and he came over and he shook hands with her and he says “goodbye Mary …. ” meaning he hoped she’d make it without …

Interviewer: Dying.

Patsy: Dying (laughs), yes. So …

Interviewer: It’s amazing.

Patsy: I think the two men when they saw where she’d come out of …

Interviewer: But did they not also think that it was just … you know lovely and all that too. Would they …

Patsy: Well, of course, but as somebody said years ago “the scenery is lovely, but you can’t eat it”.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: (Laughs – you can’t eat it). Well then you see they had to pay rent to a Landlord.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And the whole year was geared up to getting the money for the rent.

Interviewer: Who was the Landlord?

Patsy: The Landlord here was Cuppage at a time, I’d need to check that up somewhere, I’ll ask John …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And they bought it all out from the Landlords.

Interviewer: And how would they … what would they have done to get the money? What …

Patsy: They usually had pigs, they sold pigs.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: A pig was kept for the money for the rent.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: Or maybe calves or something but generally it was pigs.

Interviewer: But they wouldn’t have had much land, would land have come with the house?

Patsy: Very little with the house. Also very little with this house here.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Because it only went down to there, there would’ve have been anything below that.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: This field … well that one wasn’t theirs. This one and whatever’s next to the burn and up there by the mountain, the sheep.

Interviewer: Aha. It’s quite steep but too, isn’t it?

Patsy: Oh it is. When you think in the wintertime. I know when we were small …

Interviewer: Just picture it.

Patsy: Mary and me, our grandfather took us up here, he was looking at the sheep or something and we had a farm over there in Tavnaghoney and he left us sitting down at a whin bush and said “don’t leave till I come back” and away he went and then he forgot about us (laughs), and we thought it seemed the longest time and I remember saying to Mary “there’s Neil’s house”, Neil McLaughlin, “we could always go across there”. But he came back from Tavnaghoney and my mother says “where’s Mary and Patsy”? “Oh God” he says, “they’re up above the whins, they’re up in the whins”, and somebody came up and got … I can’t remember who came up and got us but I can always remember that bit of it. I was asking Mary about it and she’d forgotten that. I said “do you not remember we sat there and we sat there, and we didn’t move because he told us not to”.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: So … (laughs). I’m rattling on here.

Interviewer: No, you are not, you must’ve been very obedient children.

Patsy: Bailie! You were in those days probably. When you were told to do something, you did it.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And we were told to stay in a place, we did stay. We called him Grandpa. (Shouts for Bailie). If he gets to chasing sheep he’ll be in trouble (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: If Alex sees you up chasing the sheep.

Interviewer: …

Patsy: (Laughs, yes).

Interviewer: This is fine on a day like this but I cannot picture it in the winter.

Patsy: It’s lovely on a day like this. Now if the sun was still beating down on us … I’d be exhausted.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: But it’s nice and cool.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But yet in the winter, you wonder how they ever …

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Got by.

Interviewer: Because the clothes … they wouldn’t even have had the clothes that we have now or the shoes. Like we …

Patsy: No, it would have been all leather, and the clothes would have been all woollen.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And eh you know for washing them.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Patsy: And all that. It was hard to survive.

Interviewer: What about the end of the War, or even during it, any troops or anything like that.

Patsy: Oh I remember when we were children lorries coming down Glenann Road a plane had crashed up at Orra.
Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I remember Frankie McCrannick, Frankie is dead, he was in my class at school. …

Interviewer: _______

Patsy: Frankie was telling us that he was at the crash and he found a bar of chocolate and took a bite out of it you know, chocolate was something that we never would have seen in those … because of rationing and … I always remember that bit of it.

Interviewer: And, did he eat it?

Patsy: That was all he didn’t get …

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: … (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs).

Patsy: He was telling us this in the school in the desk, the Master wasn’t looking. Aw!

Interviewer: Good God.

Patsy: They’d nice gardens, and all the way up here.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: They’re all gone now. There was a gooseberry bush here. We used to come up and eat the gooseberries, now it’s gone and there were daffodils.

Interviewer: But I suppose … but I suppose none of those … those things don’t last forever, do they?

Patsy: No, they die out. They’d a wee house here for there’s a garden.

Interviewer: Och God.

Patsy: Yes. And then there was an old lane, there was another house further out.

Interviewer: There was.

Patsy: I haven’t been able to find it, I tried several times to see but they took the … they took the stones to build dippers and things for sheep.

Interviewer: But even how the … the people got the stuff up here to build them. I mean would …

Patsy: They didn’t, they cleared them off the fields.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Mostly and I suppose it would be lime or maybe mortar.

Interviewer: Did they have to build them, themselves.

Patsy: Well there were men that would build for them, you know, that was their trade. Like, nowadays, somebody would’ve been …they’d have a farm of something, two of them would come and eh help.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: But there wasn’t much …. That was where they lived there.

Interviewer: That’s a modern bit in there, isn’t it?

Patsy: Aye, well that’s … John got a roof on that. How are we going to get in there?

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: Maybe we’ll go round the back and see if we can get in that way, if it’s easier. It’s a while since I was up here.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Patsy: You see the roof has … and you see over there at McLaughlins, there were none of those sheds or houses or …

Interviewer: Nothing.

Patsy: Anything there. C’mon, this way you. There’s Knockban, you can see the ruins.

Interviewer: Och, yes you can. I’ll take a picture.

Patsy: Oh, it’s lovely up here, it’s a great view. That’s Mary McKays.

Interviewer: How long did they live there for?

Patsy: I don’t know what year she went to America. You’ll find that out … somebody will know. You see, Jim was … I spoke to Jim McCambridge.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Jim was full of knowledge.

Interviewer: Och he was, I know, I know.

Patsy: He’d talk away but then he never liked …

Interviewer: No, he didn’t.

Patsy: …John O’Neill, do you know John, John’s a Solicitor, he’s a cousin of mine. He would have an awful lot of knowledge too.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And his mother had as well for it was John that told me that McKays … he does research in Dublin. He goes up to the … what do you call it … in Dublin and looks up all these old records in …

Interviewer: Four Courts.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And it was him that told me that the McAllisters were the longest residents here in Gruig.

Interviewer: Hmm. Where are you going now (laughs)?

Patsy: For God’s sake watch him (laughs). I’m glad I took him with us because it will tire him out now.

Interviewer: No, but I mean … actually he’s no bother.

Patsy: He’s no bother at all except when he’s got something maybe a rabbit or something.

Interviewer: Yes. Oh, a rat.

Patsy: A rabbit.

Interviewer: Oh a rabbit.

Patsy: Oh I nearly lost my feet.

Interviewer: Did you?

Patsy: He pulled me. He could kill rats, he’s good at that.

Interviewer: Would he?

Patsy: He killed one a few years ago when I was down … it started to rain and I took him up into the sheep house …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And there was a (what do you call those … oh what’s the name it) and he wouldn’t come in … away and I couldn’t get him off it, and I took him into the house.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It was a short lead I had on him and I says don’t do or I’ll go away without you and just as I gets out the door, a rat had come out and the rat was dead just instantly and I ran screaming for Bridie.

Interviewer: And you growing up in the country and you were scared …

Patsy: Oh crikey I’m scared of rats, they’re not nice.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: You can get along the back here.

Interviewer: I’ll take a wee quick picture of it.

Patsy: I hope you’re not taking all this rubbish … you are (laughing).

Interviewer: But it’s all in … you know it’s hard to get it … when you’re actually in a place … it’s in context.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: And it’s sort of leads on in here.

Patsy: It does, indeed.

Interviewer: It’s more natural.

Patsy: And this is Mary McKay’s. Those men never … they were back, they stayed in the Thornlea.

Interviewer: Oh aye the grand … the grandchildren.

Patsy: There would have been a grandchild, a grandson and a great-grandson.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: But there were some other members of the family, Kathleen … in Tully, she was McAllister to her own name. She came over and other came too and then there were Lynns.

Interviewer: Is that the same family as Lynns now that just took …

Patsy: Well, you see, the McAllisters …

Interviewer: That took the ‘O’ off.

Patsy: John McAllister was married to Mary McCartin and James McAllister was married to …

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: And Seamus is either known as Seamus Biddy which comes from Biddy Lynn.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: And his father was known as Tom Biddy.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: To distinguish them from the other McAllisters.

Interviewer: Yes. Biddy, what is Biddy?

Patsy: Biddy is Bridget.

Interviewer: Bridget, right.

Patsy: Bridget Lynn. Well they came with … a man and his wife and a teenage girl came … and Seamus took them out to me. Well, it was wet and that and I looked at the lady’s feet and she’d on sandals and there’s no way I could take them up here, so they says to me “would Alex …” but as Kathleen said to me “Alex probably could”. To get up there was an old lane, they got up and I watched them and saw them out in the field up near the house …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And I knew they’d made their way up; they wanted to see where their ancestors came from.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: They were descendants of Hugh Lynns, the name was McNulty.

Interviewer: McNulty?

Patsy: McNulty, was their name. Bailie don’t …. (laughs)

Interviewer: So, this … this was a ‘wee’ like path.

Patsy: Oh yes, it was a lane.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: This was the way they went and they still use it.

Interviewer: God.

Patsy: Yes. We’re going to get splattered …

Interviewer: Oh right, pallet things.

Patsy: My hair …

Interviewer: Yes. Oh look! A fireplace.

Patsy: Why don’t you stand down there. This would’ve been the room because the kitchen was here, there was a fireplace there. I remember we were …

Interviewer: There’s another hole.

Patsy: Oh God.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: Mary and me coming up. It was nice and tidy and neat.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Alecx has … of yes he’d put the sheep in here if she was sick or anything.

Interviewer: There’s the wee old door.

Patsy: Yes, that was a window there.

Interviewer: Oh, a window. Och, a half-door.

Patsy: Well that’s the half-door, yes we had those in the country, yes.

Interviewer: It’s just so weird to think isn’t it?

Patsy: …. roof of slates.

Interviewer: No. It would’ve been darker, would it?

Patsy: Well, I suppose it would. I think there was another window over there.

Interviewer: Bailie, where are you going? (Laughs)

Patsy: Bailie, what are you doing? Are you trying to tie Caroline up in knots.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Another window over here, do you think?

Patsy: I think so, you can more or less, see there, aye there’s still …

Interviewer: Yes. Oh yes.

Patsy: Yes, it’s hard to think big families where reared up here.

Interviewer: This would’ve … well this would’ve been the living room, would it?

Patsy: Well I think this is what would’ve been what they called ‘the room/the parlour/the sitting room’.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But nobody ever sat in it. I don’t know …

Interviewer: But nobody ever sat in it?

Patsy: Except when visitors came or the priest. Most houses had a parlour.

Interviewer: The ‘good room’.

Patsy: The children weren’t allowed into it. No this might probably would’ve been … no usually you came in from the outside, right into the living room.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: There’s a kitchen where everything was done and everything … this was probably Catherine’s bedroom. I tell you what she took everything with her … You see somebody coming from America …

Interviewer: What?

Patsy: Somebody coming from America, from well-off and well doing and came up …

Interviewer: God knows what’s gone.

Patsy: And they’re sort of rich, well they seemed to be where they came from but that’s what the older man said.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: Got down on his knees and thanked God that Mary McKay got out of there. (laughing).

Interviewer: It’s awful hard to get a picture of it really.

Patsy: It would be in the dark there.

Interviewer: It’s just on the angle, you know, the angle of it, very difficult.

Patsy: It was a nice day for coming up.

Interviewer: Oh, perfect.

Patsy: Tomorrow … is getting married.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And the Reception is …

Interviewer: Oh you’re going away to babysit, you’re not babysitting in …

Patsy: Oh aye, it’s over there.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: In Ballycastle.

Patsy: Yes, everything happens at once.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: And then at other times there would be nothing on.

Interviewer: Oh, aye.

Patsy: And then Rachel’s coming on Tuesday and the christening’s on Sunday.

Interviewer: Is that what she’s coming over for?

Patsy: No.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: She was supposed to come in September but she says she got her twins to do the booking on the web site or whatever and they booked it in October.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And it just would’ve been just right eh so she’s not coming to Tuesday. I thought she would have been here for the christening.

Interviewer: Is there twins in your family?

Patsy: Well, Aunt Nora … there’s twins in my mother’s family and Aunt Nora herself has twins but my mother never have twins.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: And Rachel has twins but I think there were twins in the McNally’s, twin boys. We all had boys. My mother had six daughters and never had a granddaughter, we all had boys, she couldn’t believe it (laughs), yes.

Interviewer: Out of all seven of you?

Patsy: Yes, they’re all boys. Richard has …Richard says “the law of averages”, she’d already had two boys, you would’ve thought that one of the twins would have been a girl.

Interviewer: Gosh.

Patsy: So … (laughing) and Josephine has two boys. Nora has one boy and a grandson.

Interviewer: And you have a grandson?

Patsy: And a grand … but I have a granddaughter.

Interviewer: Oh, have you.

Patsy: Yes, Brianna, my granddaughter.

Interviewer: Och right. Well that’s not so bad.

Patsy: Yes Brianna, my granddaughter.

Interviewer: Do you think that was the wall, just an ordinary wall?

Patsy: It could’ve been another wee house, I think there was another house there.

Interviewer: Hmm because of the way it comes round there.

Patsy: Brothers married and they stayed on the land, you know … that could’ve been a byre or something. My memory of that particular dwelling was that there was something there, I wonder who would know.

Interviewer: Do you remember when it was lived in?

Patsy: Not at all.

Interviewer: Not at all.

Patsy: No, no it wasn’t lived in, in my memory. Oh, away back, it probably wasn’t live in it and eh … You see, they all immigrated and the house would’ve been empty after that and I don’t think John McAllister … maybe they did live in it for a short … but it would’ve been away back early in the nineteenth … twentieth century … you see, there were thirteen families in the Townland of Gruig away back and across from the bungalow there’s … we still call it ‘McKeegan’s House’.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And she was married to a McAllister and when ‘Greenvalley’ got this … there were quite a few evicted out of Greenvalley down there.

Interviewer: For not paying?

Patsy: No, he wanted them cleared out and they were just cleared out and one of them was Mr Uxton in ‘McKeegan’s House’, they were weavers, I think, and then they got the wee house over there built for them. That’s where Alex McAllister lives.

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: But Alex’s father, who was the weaver, that’s it over there.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: He told me that em one family that was evicted … it’s where the bungalow is now had been a house.

Interviewer: Your bungalow?

Patsy: Aye, and eh, the old woman went down on her knees and cursed seed breed and generation of the McDonnells.

Interviewer: Cursed?

Patsy: Cursed them because she was being evicted and she wanted to stay there and she cried and eh she said “there’d be no luck for this place ever”. Then Willie Greenvalley was either shot or committed suicide or something you know, and people put two and two together.

Interviewer: Oh aye.

Patsy: And eh they say … you know, whether it was right or not.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And up here was a Skeagh Bush and Seamus’ father cut it down or cut a bit off it or something and a few days later he fell off the roof, he was fixing the roof (laughs).

Interviewer: After you saying accidents never happen.

Patsy: And I can remember there was somebody in our house, I don’t know what age I was … because he cut down this Skeagh Bush, there would be no luck with it. You know, it was just a coincidence, because when we … when we were growing up, we used to go up to the ‘Bush’ and break pieces off it and wait to see what would happen and nothing ever did (laughs), but we never really believed it (laughs).

Interviewer: God, tempting fate.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: I’ll take some pictures of that. Isn’t that a lovely view?

Patsy: It is a lovely view. This is about the nicest place.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It’s really lovely.

Interviewer: Do you think that anybody would ever try to get a house or try to live up here ever again?

Patsy: They might, you know, you don’t know but you’d have to put in for planning permission if you have to build your own farm.

Interviewer: Even though there’s a house here.

Patsy: Yes, even though there’s a house here because it hasn’t been lived in; if it was still lived in you would knock it down and build your bungalow or you could build a bungalow in it’s place.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Can you see this field up there, there’s white … that’s corn.

Interviewer: Whereabouts?

Patsy: It was in the paper.

Interviewer: There’s white …

Patsy: Eh Paul Emerson and Charlie Quinn … that field was ploughed and they sowed it with corn in the old way of doing it and the …

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: There’s a picture in the ‘Chronicle’ and it said about it. They’re going to sell it and then give the money to ‘Action Cancer’ or the ‘Hospice’, I think that’s it.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: Hmm..

Patsy: That’s who it is. Do you know John McIlhearn?

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: You do, yes. His father owns that field.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And he gave it to them for nothing and they ploughed it and planted corn and it was cut with the old … you’ll see they’ll probably be threshing it after a while.

Interviewer: That’ll be good to see.

Patsy: Yes, indeed, yes for you wouldn’t see it nowadays.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: They don’t do that.

Interviewer: I’d like to see that now.

Patsy: There’s some fuchsia hedges.

Interviewer: Och, it’s lovely.

Patsy: One time we were up in eh Galway, Brenville.

Interviewer: Where?

Patsy: Brenville, it’s in Galway, it’s near, wait to I see, it would be near Cliffden or some place.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Patsy: And there was a lady in the hotel and they had different things for people could do and one was a walk … a botany to see all about plants and all … and let them go with me on this walk and the lady’s talking about all these plants and this fuchsia and she says “this is the only place where fuchsia would grow” and now she says “it tells you …” and Archie says … he says, right at the top of his voice, he says “where I come from there’s loads of fuchsia hedges” and she says “where’s that”? and he says, “County Antrim”. And you know I don’t think she believed him and I said, “yes” I said “there’s fuchsias all round the place”.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: I don’t know what it is, because my Aunt Bridget … she’s not like me, she’s all into gardening, and she lived at Antrim in Springfarm, (the one that’s down in the Home) and she tried to get it to grow up at Springfarm in Antrim and it wouldn’t grow and my other Aunt lived up in Glengormley and she tried (they were all green-fingered) and it wouldn’t grow, so I don’t know why, because as you can see, it’s all round here.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Now we’ll have to get ready to home.

Interviewer: Are we going this way?

Patsy: Aye, we’ll go along here to the next hedge.

Interviewer: This is like, eh, a TV show or something.

Patsy: It’s like something that’s on the Radio.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: Listen to some programmes and they’re saying “you’ll go along here now”.

Interviewer: Aye, (laughs).

Patsy: Could you climb over that. We could go up there, there’s steps, this lane.

Interviewer: The lane.

Patsy: This only takes you to fields. There mustn’t have been anything on it this morning because sometimes there’s like a tractor up it.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: They cut the briars back. (C’mon this way, you).

Interviewer: C’mon Bailie. Geez Patsy you would need to watch yourself away up here.

Patsy: I would indeed, I often wonder what would happen if I did fall (laughs). Ray would come and get me or Bailie would go home without me.

Interviewer: Or else after about six months you’d smell you like a rotten … like a sheep.

Patsy: We’ll have to get back in there now some place.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: They’re lot further up than I thought.

Interviewer: We are.

Patsy: No, I mean the house the McAllisters are building over there.

Interviewer: Aye.

Patsy: Look at that, it comes down below it, it seems to be just behind that bungalow there.

Interviewer: A good wee bit behind it.

Patsy: It is indeed.

Interviewer: It probably has something of a view.

Patsy: It will have. Bailie but you’re taking me away down the field ….

Interviewer: So, see all the way through school what’d …what age did you leave Glenaan?

Patsy: I left Glenann at age 13.

Interviewer: Where you glad to go?

Patsy: Not really. I went to school at St Louis’ in Ballymena.

Interviewer: Why there?

Patsy: Because it was the nearest school. There was no school in Garron Tower and Ballycastle was …

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: The bus went to Ballymena at half-seven.

Interviewer: Half-seven in the morning.

Patsy: Yes. You had to get down about half-seven or they’d go without you, even though they knew you were going every morning and home at five O’Clock.

Interviewer: Oh, a long day.

Patsy: It was, and you had to go on Saturday.

Interviewer: Saturday.

Patsy: Yes.

Interviewer: Why?

Patsy: Saturday morning, because if you lived in or something to make up hours.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: And you see by then they had a bus on at one 9 o’clock.

Interviewer: So what time where you home at, about two?

Patsy: Aye on a Saturday about ten past two.

Interviewer: Well, did you like that school?

Patsy: I did, I liked it. I was very happy in St Louis’, the nuns were great. Now this is a mucky place, I remember from being here before. Watch, somebody’s put that …

Interviewer: I don’t think it’s as bad as the last bit.

Patsy: (Laughs).

Interviewer: No, to be honest.

Patsy: Now.

Interviewer: Maybe we’d be better to climb over, no.

Patsy: I think I’ll open it. It’s tied. I loved St Louis’, the nuns were nice.

Interviewer: What … what sort of choices were there in jobs?

Patsy: There was just nursing, nursing and teaching.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And if you didn’t get the grades to get in for teaching you went to nursing and one or two might go to the Civil Service.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And that was the choices you had and nobody ever mentioned Universities or …

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: There were just one or two girls that I knew went to University but it wasn’t sort of put up as a …

Interviewer: Option.

Patsy: An option to the ordinary people …

Interviewer: Aha.

Patsy: And for nursing it was the Mater Hospital but my sister Rachel she went straight to the City Hospital.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But that was later on, she was younger than me. It was frowned upon that you might lose your religion or have to carry out abortions or something like that.

Interviewer: Oh for God’s Sake.

Patsy: …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: But that was all .

Interviewer: So why did you … you got into teaching just because you sort of …

Patsy: I just drifted into it. I got the grades to go and got called up for an interview and if I hadn’t have gone then and did what I did …

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: When I think of it now, if I had, had other choices.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: But eh …

Interviewer: What would you have done?

Patsy: I don’t know. I’d always liked teaching especially in later years before I retired, it was all changing.

Interviewer: Hmm. What subject?

Patsy: I just taught Primary School then.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Patsy: I taught, reading, writing and arithmetic.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: The three ‘Rs’.

Interviewer: And what … what was your first school?

Patsy: My first school was in Belfast in Gloucester Street. It was closed down before I left Belfast and I was a couple of years in Eliza Street and then one night there was a crowd of us in somebody’s flat and somebody was looking at the paper and they said they saw a job for teacher in your part of the world, Glenravel and I thought gosh and I hadn’t even thought about it, I’ll apply. So a girl called, Phil McIlroy got me to write this application.

Interviewer: A girl.

Patsy: A girl, Phil and eh I forget who else was there. I always remember Phil. And we went out and we posted it, there was a pillar box in University Road.

Interviewer: Hmm

Patsy: And we posted it and she actually … oh I still see her standing there doing this in the middle …

Interviewer: Oh my God.

Patsy: And I got the job (laughs).

Interviewer: Because she blessed the pillar box.

Patsy: Aye that had nothing to do with it … we did it for a laugh

Interviewer: It’s just because you were so good.

Patsy: Not at all, it was because there was no other applicants. The girl that had it before me died (laughs).

Interviewer: (Laughs) That’s a good sign.

Patsy: Now this was Biddy Lynn’s.

Interviewer: Biddy Lynn’s. Oh right.

Patsy: John McAllister’s and the Lynns had both families lived up here.

Interviewer: A family there and a family there.

Patsy: Yes, I think so. Now I don’t know if there would be Lynns across … you see they fixed up the house.

Interviewer: They’re funny things growing out of the wall, aren’t they.

Patsy: Ferns.

Interviewer: Wee plants! Ferns are they.

Patsy: Hmm.

Interviewer: That’s maybe not a good thing.

Patsy: It causes damp and there’s … wall.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Now this was the garden, this is where the daffodils used to be.

Interviewer: Och.

Patsy: And you see then there was another wee house there, I don’t know, but it’s maybe the one house.

Interviewer: Yes.

Patsy: Look they both stuck together in wee groups.

Interviewer: Hmm. Would you call that a ‘Clachan’ by …

Patsy: No I never heard the ‘Clachan’. There was no mention of ‘Clachan’.

Interviewer: I know.

Patsy: I was saying to my sisters and they said, no, we never heard of it. I think that some the other locals, Peggy McNeill …

Interviewer: Did you call it the ‘Town’ or something, is that what Eileen said that’s what you …

Patsy: The ‘Town’ yes, the ‘Town’.

Interviewer: The ‘Town’.

Patsy: And they called the outside of it the ‘Street’.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: Yes. The ‘Street’ was there just outside the house. I would still remember people talking about in the ‘Street’.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Nellie … Mrs McAllister over there, she was over and she says I’m going to take a walk across the field to visit my mother back at … of course, nobody does it nowadays.

Interviewer: No.

Patsy: And I remember her saying something about out in the ‘Street’ and I said ‘Street’ and my mother said “she means outside the house”, you know, the bit outside … the McAllisters were working up here.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Now this was a lane …that has been a lane up into the back there.

Interviewer:  Oh aye.

Patsy: I can remember when there was a house up this lane, yes, away back years ago.

In God. But it’s amazing to em sort of semi-lanes still survive.

Patsy: Oh they’re still there, yes.

Interviewer: That’s a nice tree, isn’t it.

Patsy: It is indeed, that’s …

Interviewer: Do you know all things like that, that’s something I would like to know.

Patsy: … but the local name is Rowan tree, it’s the Rowan tree.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: It is nice. The local ones call it Rowan

Interviewer: That would be nice covered in snow.

Patsy: Yes. I’ve never been up here in the snow (laughs).

Interviewer: No. Do you not …

Patsy: I never saw that because it was all overgrown.

Interviewer: Would that just have been …

Patsy: They’ve cleared it.

Interviewer: A tree trunk.

Patsy: It was all …yes, it was all scrub and stuff.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: You wouldn’t have known … there was a wee lane there, it came up from here.

Interviewer: Did it turn …

Patsy: It probably did. I use to go up over there ________.

Interviewer: You know what would be good, Patsy, an aerial view of it all.

Patsy: It would yes.

Interviewer: Would they have been … have had the knowledge and whatever to work with bees.

Patsy: Oh yes they definitely had, yes, very much so.

Interviewer: And would they have sold … sold the honey or …

Patsy: They did. In the later years they did, that would’ve been the War, after the War. You could get extra sugar for bees.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: … C’mon you.

Interviewer: What changes did you notice after the War, Patsy?

Patsy: Well I went off just the War, that’s when I went to school in Ballymena.

Interviewer: Hmm.

Patsy: Och, things weren’t … you had to have eh coupons to buy sweets. You only … cinnamon lozenges you could get without coupons.

Interviewer: Right.

Patsy: And everybody would get cinnamon lozenges. You needed coupons for your sweets and eh that was ’45, I was thirteen when the War ended.

Interviewer: Right, and do you remember it being announced?

Patsy: I do in a way but didn’t really …the War …

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