My Grandad Jimmy

My grandad Jimmy was born in nineteen twenty-one which makes him ninety three years old. His name is James Reynolds or, to the family members, Jimmy. He is my mother’s father. He went to Derrygorman Primary school.

He left school at twelve to help his dad. When he was fourteen, he worked as a farm labourer with Mr Kilcoyne. When he was sixteen, he worked on the Westport House Estate before going to England. He worked on farms in Manchester and Chester.

After the Second World War he worked in construction, as England was devastated after World War II. He spent a good few years after that making tarmac and tennis courts.

When he went back home to Ireland he met the love of his life Mary Browne, who is twelve years younger than him. In 1964 they got married that same year they had their first child Frances in nineteen sixty-six they had my mom Martina but he did not stop him working. Oh no: he worked on his last job in the textile factories.

Jimmy had eight children, but one died in a car accident. Now Jimmy has seven children and eighteen grandchildren. The latest was born two months ago called by the name James Reynolds.

Pearce Ó Muirí



My Grandfather’s Time

William Poland was born on the first of March 1917. He grew up on a farm on east Galway. He went to the Convent Primary School Eyrcourt, Co. Galway. He walked 2 miles to and from school.

The children were expected to bring a sod of turf each to school daily. An open fire in the Classroom was the only source of heat. There were no school books at the time: just a pencil and a slate. They were taught by nuns. Two of the nuns were called Sister Catherine and Sister Concilio. He started school at the age of five and finished at the age of twelve.
William wore short trousers, a shirt or a jumper, and no shoes. He hated Irish and loved History. He got bread and jam or bread and butter for lunch. He played skittles, marbles, conkers, cards, hurling and hopscotch.

There were two bedrooms and a kitchen in his home. The kitchen was also used as a sitting room. They cooked on the fire, and got water from the pump in the well. They had no floor covering: just concrete. They burned turf and wood in the fire. The fire was big and open, with pots hung on a crane. William’s mother, Ann Poland, handwashed their clothes. The roof was thatched, and later replaced with slate. The only lighting they had was a paraffin lamp and candles.

When he got older, he used to listen to James Last, Joe Locke, Val Doonican and traditional music. He loved detective stories and murder mystery books. He enjoyed watching GAA sports on TV. He married my granny Annie Mc Loughlin in the year 1964. They went on to have six children: five girls and one boy. My mum Josephine Poland was the youngest. William Poland later died on the 24th of October, 2001.




When my Nanny was young, she lived on a farm with lots of animals, like cows, goats, geese, and they had a hundred hens. There were 8 kids in my Nanny’s family and they would go out every morning and collect all the eggs. They also had horses, donkeys and ponies that my Nanny would ride. With the eggs and the milk my Nanny’s mum would bring them to the market sell them and buy tea and bread.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
For Christmas, my nanny said they would get an orange, an apple and sweets. My Nanny said she or her class mates never got slapped. But they loved to knit and they knitted socks for the teacher. No wonder they never gotslapped.                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Back then my Nanny read a lot because they had no tv to keep them up .Instead, they had a radio. My nanny’s Dad would listen to the news and my nanny and her brothers and sisters would listen to Dinjo. Dinjo was the children’s radio show back then. My Nanny did a lot of cycling. When she was in her 20’s, she fished a lot. Those are some of the things my nanny Tess Collins did when she was young.

Rút Ní Choileáin, 2014