Jay Murphy

Jay Murphy was born in 1923. He lived with his two parents and ten of his siblings. At the age of six, he started in Tinryland National School in Carlow. His class had exactly three students up to Sixth Class.

For his first two years of school, he was taught by his dad. The teachers would slap children for being late, writing with their left hand or any other reason they could think of. To get to school, he would walk a mile and a half.

For lunch, he had sandwiches, salad and milk in a carton. During lunch break, he would play tip and chain tag. His school began at 9:30 and finished at 4:00, so he got half an hour of time outside.
The most popular sport was cricket. Soccer and Gaelic were not played as much as they are now.

He shared a classroom with three other classes. Altogether, the school had forty to fifty students.

Jay and his friends finished school when they were 13 years old. He went to secondary school but nobody else from his class did. When he was seventeen, he left school to work in the army.

Now, he is ninety two years young and he’s still friends with his National School friend, Brendan O’Leary.



My Granddad

My granddad was born in 1944. He was born in a part of Keelogues. He went to school in Keelogues National school and St. Gerald’s. He is seventy-one now.

When he was nineteen he went to New York in 1962. He stayed there for 13 years. He met my granny Maggie, in 1964. My granny lived in Donegal. In 1966, they got married. He met my granny in the city centre of New York.

He was in a family of eight boys, two girls and his mom and dad. The boys are Jimmy, (My granddad),Brendan, Kevin, Paddy, Willy, Vincent, Richard, and Seán. His sisters are Kathleen and Maureen.
He started work in New York telephone. He came back to Ireland in 1975 and worked in the Irish telephone company eircom. He retired in 2004.

When he was in school, he was taught by brothers. If you were late, not paying attention or wrote with your left hand, you’d get slapped. He walked to school every day, two miles to school and back. In the summer, he’d walk without shoes. He’d walk seven miles to school St. Gerald’s and back. He didn’t get slapped in St. Gerald’s.

My granny and granddad live in Spencer Park now. We go to them, or they come to see us every two days.



My Granny

My Granny was born on the sixteenth of December 1932. Her first name was Nuala Gilmartin but here maiden name is Nuala Ruane. She is eighty-three now. She had six siblings seven including her. She came in the middle. Her family owned a shop in Kiltimagh where she grew up. Her Father was chairperson of the County Council and her youngest brother, Joseph was named after the pitch in Kiltimagh.

My Granny was and is one of the kindest women that I have met. When I was young, I used to visit her all the time. We would walk down the town and, as she used to say “get the messages” and then, as a treat afterwards, she would bring me to different coffee shops. When I was younger, my Granny would let me sit beside her in her chair. She would show me all of the old pictures of my family when they were younger. As I got bigger it was harder to squeeze into the chair with her and then she got a new bigger chair. Everyone said her other one was getting to old but I secretly thought that she got it because I couldn’t fit into the old one.

My Granny loved the sea. Sometimes the family would rent a house by the sea.  We would all go in for a swim and she would paddle, I remember once or twice she would go in for a swim. My auntie told me that, when they were younger, they would get  the loan of a house by the beach from some relation or friend. Everyday they would go to the beach and she would sit down and relax and let all the children play. It must have been great for her because, when she was at home, she would have been cooking or cleaning for the whole day.

My Granny is now in Cuan Chaitríona Nursing Home where she has Alzheimer’s disease. She is very forgetful and doesn’t know my Mothers name or my name now. The type of Alzheimer’s that my Granny has doesn’t go down in the family so I’m very lucky. My Granny is a great woman. 



    Alacoque Sweeney

My granny Alacoque was born in 1943 in Claremorris,  Co. Mayo. She is the eldest in a family of five (my great granny and granddad) owned a shop; my granny said that she had no ration books because of the shop.

When my granny was twenty, she married my granddad John Joyce. Two years later, my dad was born. A few years after that, my auntie Annette was born.

Now at seventy two, my granny is lively and caring she helps my dad run the family business by doing the lodgements and cashing cheques and all that sort of stuff.

My granny never got a chance to finish school. In her school, there was corporal punishment and, if you got a question wrong, the teachers made you put on a hat that said “dunce” on it. Then you’d sit on the school wall with the hat on so everyone that passed could see that you got a question wrong. My granny has always wished that she had got a chance to finish school.

My granny is amazing and I wish that I could be as lively and nice a she is at her age



My Grandmother 

My grandmother was born on the 27th of July 1959. She was born in Castlebar General Hospital. She lived in Killaiden until she got married. She had five other siblings, three sisters and two brothers. There was eight altogether in her family.

She started school in September 1963. The name of the school was called Liss Marane. She would walk to school from her house every day. Her siblings also did this. They would get slapped from second class onward if they did not do their homework or if they were bold. Her favourite subject was art. She also liked English. Her least favourite subject was maths. The school had electricity, but no central heating except for a stove. She enjoyed school and made lots of friends.

When she grew up, she got married and had four kids: one boy and three girls. For a while, she took care of my great grandparents. My great granddad died before my younger  brother was born, but my great granny is still alive.




My Granny

My Granny’s name is Margaret Doherty Scollan. She is eighty-one years old and she is from Mohill, Co Leitrim but lives in a small village called Fenagh. Margaret lived on a small farm and helped her Father with the animals every day. Her mother on the other hand was a seamstress. She made all of Margaret’s and her siblings’ clothes. Margaret was one of six children names, Tom, Séan, Lily, Bernadette and Mae.

She found her family very normal. They lived in an average-sized house at the time. There were four rooms in their house: the kitchen/living room, her Mother's and Father's room and one bedroom for the girls and one for the boys.

She attended Eslin National School Co Leitrim from five years of age until she was twelve. There were only five girls and three boys in her class. The classroom was very small as they had to share it with three other classes. There was a blackboard at the front of the room and thirteen desks of two. The only heating they had was a fireplace and each pupil had to bring in turf to keep the school heated. Light was provided by oil lamps, usually paraffin. In the winter the children ate their lunch around the fireplace to keep warm. They were outside during the summer. For lunch, Margaret would usually have homemade brown soda bread with a bottle of milk. All my granny’s teachers were very strict, especially the headmaster. If you were late or forgot your homework you would get corporal punishment.

After my Granny finished school, she helped her Mum and Dad on the farm until she was eighteen. She left Mohill and travelled to see her sister in Linchon, England. She helped her sister with her children for two years. She then travelled to New York and lived with her two sisters there. For the next two years, she worked as a telephone operator for the NYTC which is now called AT&T. She returned to Ireland and married my Grandad and settled in Fenagh which is ten miles from where she grew up.




Grandparents are to some families the most important people in their lives. They help to look after us children whenever needed and are there to support our busy working parents. They have our best interests at heart and want us to grow up into decent young adults by enforcing the good family morals and values that they instilled in our parents.

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I am one of the lucky children out there to have been gifted with both sets of living grandparents. Even I do not live directly close to them I am within an hours drive away. They are always in contact with us by telephone.

In most families it appears to be the maternal grandparents who have the majority of involvement in their grandchildren's lives and for me it is no different. My mum’s parents are the ones who are there for us to look after us when we are sick and cannot go to school or crèche, who mind us during the summer holidays and who take us to our swimming or football when our parents are working.

From the day I was born,  I have formed a huge bond with my nanny and granddad on my mum’s side. Mum always teases me that I am their golden boy. I often hear the story of how I would get so excited as a baby in my buggy when they walked into the room. They always had the treats with them for me. When I stay with them in Achill, they look after me like a son, getting breakfast, lunch dinner and a light supper before nanny’s kitchen closes.

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Over 4 years ago, granddad was diagnosed with cancer which was a tough battle. Thank God he fought hard and is still part of our lives. He loves to see us being active in our hobbies and sports. Each summer, he enrols us in summer camps and different water sports and activities. He’s so thankful to be able to bring us to all these activities. I know in my heart they will not be here forever but I hope they will have as long life as my great granny had who lived to 94. For now I will cherish them and be grateful to be given the gift of grandparents in my life.



My Grandad Francis

Francis was the name of my mom’s dad. He was born in 1941 in County Sligo. He was born and reared in a small house. He was the second oldest in his family.

He went to a small school in County Sligo.There were six people in his class, and 45 in his school. His favourite subjects were Maths and English. He did not like Irish. His best friends were Jim and Pat. There were three teachers in his school. He used to walk to school over the fields. There was no heating in the school so he brought a sod of turf with him for the fire.

Francis liked to play football. He played football in goal for his local club and, when he was 19, he played in goal for the Sligo minor team. He was well known for his athleticism and he could jump so high he could save a point.

He went to secondary school for two years, and then went to work on the railway with his father. His father was the stationmaster and when his father died he became the stationmaster. He used to get all sorts of exotic fruit like bananas, pears and oranges. When the railway closed, he went to work as a postman. He used to drive around on his motorbike. When he dropped off the post, he gave people haircuts, made their breakfast and give the children sweets.

Francis died when he was fifty-two from cancer, so sadly I didn’t get to meet him. But I’m glad to have heard so many stories about him, and to be called after him.


My Granddad

My granddad’s name is John Patrick Reilly but he is known as Seán Reilly. His family were wealthy and they owned a shop and a dancehall. He went to Glenisland National School, and his teacher was Mr Deffely.

He started school at age five and finished school at age twelve. At fourteen years of age he left secondary school to work in his parents shop. For lunch he had homemade brown bread with butter or jam and had milk for his drink. His favourite subject was Maths and his least favourite subject was English. There were around fifteen to twenty pupils in his class.

My grandfather enjoyed going to school. He started school at 9:00 and ended school at 3:00. At break time he always played football or marbles with his friends but they only had a small football to play with. After school, he worked very hard in the shop or on the farm. When the dances were on, his job was to look after the bikes or pump the tyres of the bikes if they were flat. He enjoyed listening to the music of the show bands that were there.

At home, his mother would always bake homemade brown bread or cakes and my granddad’s favourite was apple tart and it still is! When he was a young boy the weather was hot and sunny. Sometimes he would take off his shoes and walk on the sandy roads home from school. He would swim in the nearby lakes after school if he had a chance. Later on in my granddad’s life he got married to my granny and had four children.



My Granny

My Granny is a kind, gentle and loving person. She was born many years ago in Cork. She had a large family with three brothers and two sisters. There were no cars back then, so she had to cycle in and out from school each day. She grew up in a garda station because her dad was one of the many head guards. She also lived by the sea, so every Friday she her Mum and her sisters would walk down. There were six pupils in her class and two teachers. When my granny was eleven, she went to a boarding school in Carrick on Shannon for three years.
When she was 16, she went nursing in London, England, for a few years and enjoyed it very much. When she was nursing in London, she had a two-room apartment where she spent most of the time.
When she was 29, she got married to my grandfather, Fonce, who passed away when I was seven. They had five children together. My granny had her first child when she was 34 who was my dad, Tom. She also had four other children who are Michael, Mariosa, Par and Nicola. They lived in a three-storey house with four bedrooms, three toilets, one kitchen, two living rooms, a shop and a laundry room. My granny lives in Lisatava, Co Mayo. She has lived there for 40 years now
Every year, my granny celebrates her birthday. Usually for her birthday, the whole family gets together and goes to a fancy hotel for a night. Her five children take turns to pick out a destination to stay in for a night. This year it was my Aunty Mariosa’s turn. We went down to some posh hotel in Clare for one night and had a lovely meal. The next morning, my cousins and I went down to look at the donkeys. The next thing we knew, it was time to go home.
This was my essay about my wonderful granny.



My GrandParents

My grandparents are great and were great. One pair lived in Delvin, Co. Westmeath. The other pair were born in Castlebar, Co Mayo. I’m going to tell you all about them in this essay.
My granddad on my dad’s side was a vet and was quiet a good one. He used to go all over the country looking after all sorts of animals, big and small. He was also no stranger to cars and always used to be involved in car crashes: seven of them to be exact. He was tough and fortunately he never suffered any serious injuries. He used to always be kicked by bulls and horses and one time a cow fell on him! That’s my Granddad Liam!
My Granny on my dad’s was a stay-at-home mum. She had her hands full with three mischievous boys. One of them was my dad. She used to make loads of delicious pies and tarts. She was a brilliant cook. That’s my Granny Eileen.
My Granddad on my mum’s side is great. He always buys me loads of sweets and nice things. He was born in on the 4th of May 1939. He went to St Patrick’s National School in Snugboro. He went to St Gerald’s, Secondary School, Castlebar and he sat his Leaving and Inter Cert there. He started work as a delivery man for three years before going to work as a psychiatric health nurse in St Mary’s Hospital for forty years. He then worked as a bus driver for ten years. That’s my Granddad William.

My Granny on my Mum’s side was born in Bucka, Newport. She went to Treenbeg National School. For secondary education she went to Westport. She met my Granddad in the year 1961 when my Granddad was driving a delivery truck and they’ve been together since. That’s my Granny Nora.

Brian Mac Gamhna.



“Tattie Hoking”

My Granny was born on Arranmore Island Co. Donegal in 1945. She was one of seven children. She started her primary school education when she was five or six years old. At the time, there was no secondary school on the island. She left primary school when she was fourteen. At the time, only four people out of approximately twenty had the chance to go to the mainland to secondary.

When my Granny was fifteen, she went to Scotland for six months to pick potatoes with a group of other young people. This was known as “tattie hoking”. They went from June to November and they worked hard. They went to Glasgow on a boat. It was a lonely journey for young people who’d rarely stepped foot off the island.

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When they arrived in Glasgow, they were moved from farm to farm on the back of the lorry. When they arrived on a farm, the cattle were moved out of the barns and the “tattie hokers” were moved in. Girls and boys were separated. They cleared the barn out and made their own beds from seed boxes. They had sacks and straw to make their own mattress. They got one black woollen blanket each. They worked long days from six in the morning until late in the evening, but they were happy. They had potatoes cooked for them but they had to buy any other food they wanted.

My Granny remembers getting paid £4:10s a week. She kept 10 shillings and sent the rest home. They had a day off on a Sunday and usually went to the funfair after mass. About once a month, they held dances at the farms. They took turns hosting the dance at their own farms. The Donegal groups met up with the Mayo groups.

Usually they moved back home in November when the season was over. They always had the latest new clothes when they went home and the younger kids were jealous.

Thankfully nowadays the children on the island have the same chance at education as everybody else.

Cathal O'Shea


Grandad’s Story

I was at my grandparents’ house when I asked “What was your birthday like Grandad?” I was curious to find out what my Grandad’s birthday was like because my birthday had taken place a few days before.
Grandad replied with:

It was a Saturday, I think December 11th, 1939. It was my birthday and I was given one whole shilling to go the shop and buy a treat. It was a rare occasion so I knew to make the most of it. I was 10, so mam let me go alone. It was better that way or else my pesky siblings might take the money from me.

I made it to the shop safe and sound. The shop was only a five-minute walk. I walked into the shop. I picked out a sweet and I went to the cashier. I put the sweet on the counter. The cashier appeared from behind the shelf. She gave me a weird look. It was almost like she was asking for something. The, I remembered to hand her the money and then she asked “Can I look at your ration book please?” I gave her a strange look. Then, she asked again “Your ration book, can I see it?”. I couldn’t understand what she was saying. “The war has begun; every family has a ration book now,” she explained. The cashier told me to go home and ask mam for my ration book. I asked mam for our ration book and sure enough she was at the door waiting. She handed me the book and said “You forgot to check the post”.

I walked back to the shop and bought some Reese’s peanut-butter cups, my favourite.”
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 Séamus Balaski



 Pat Tuohy

Pat was born in Castleconnell, Limerick. He was the third of four children. He was the only child in his family to go to secondary school. He didn’t go to college, but he did go working in Bristol, England as a labourer on a bridge. He came back to Ireland and started working for meat factories in Waterford. After that he moved back to Castleconnell and got married.

On his way to school one day, he saw a pond full of tadpoles. They were still in their eggs so he ran home got a jar, ran back to the pond and scooped up a dozen of them and closed the jar. He brought them to school and for that day Pat was the most popular kid in school. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse at these tadpoles. Every morning he watched them grow for eight weeks. Then when they were big enough he had to set them free. He walked back to the pond were he found them. He knelt on the ground and opened the jar, as they hopped off through the reeds he started bawling crying. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. Every morning he came back to the pond but the frogs never did.
He wanted his first car so he started working longer hours. When he had enough money he went down to the car shop and bought himself a new Mini. He was so excited about his new car. He drove home and while he was reversing he crashed it into the stable. The boot on the car had a dent in it and the one of the rear lights were cracked.
Pat had a lot of interesting jobs, for example he was a bee keeper. He had four hives and one of those really cool suits with the face mask. He also has a beautiful garden with flowers and loads of vegetables. Every time we go to see him he would have a bag of potatoes and carrots for us. He has a small orchard to. At spring he goes up to the bog and cuts a bag of turf for us too.





I will recount for you the famous family story that my grandmother told me. Her eldest son (who happens to be my dad) went missing. He was only a mere three years old and hadn’t even started school yet. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and liked nothing better than a game of football. But if there was one thing he didn’t like, it was Irish dancing. Every week he would go to Irish dancing lessons. Not just did he dislike Irish dancing, but he didn’t like the teacher either.
It all started on a sunny April day when my father was supposed to go an Irish dancing class. He hated the teacher and decided to leave. Nobody saw him leaving even though the room was full of students. My Granny says he didn’t like the teacher because she was always smoking and giving out about his poor dancing. It was about three miles from the class to his house. On his way, he stopped at a shop even though he didn’t have any money. He was annoyed that he couldn’t buy anything and left with a disappointed looking face on him. He continued his journey through fields and back roads. When hi parents found out he was missing, they hopped in the car and looked for him. When he had about a quarter of the way left to go, they found him walking up the road.
When his parents found him, they went to the Garda Station and told them they had discovered my dad. On the way to the station, his sister told him he was going to prison for skipping his Irish dancing lessons. At Christmas time, my granny always tells that story.



My Grandad!

My grandad’s name is Seán. He had seven siblings but unfortunately they all passed away before him. His mother’s name was Mary and his father’s was John. He went to school in England. After a couple of years he moved to Ireland to go to school here In Ireland, they lived on a farm with lots of cows, some pigs and two sheep. Seán and his brothers Michael, John Jr, Marcus and Darragh liked to help look after the animals by feeding, grooming and exercising them. But, the girls Susan, Maggie (Margret) and Áine preferred to stay inside and help their mother to prepare the very little amount of food they had.
At school, there were high windows, twelve desks (so that two people sat at each desk as there were twenty four in the class) there was also the teacher’s desk, a fireplace and a big map of England on the wall at the back of the classroom. Most Irish schools were the same. Anytime you were naughty, you got a slap just at the “tips of your fingers where it hurts most”. The teacher did this so that there wouldn’t be any bruises when you get home but it hurt badly enough to teach you not to do it again. My grandad is left-handed so he got enough slaps because of his writing! “Ya see when I do be writin’ the ink does get all smudged and I got a big ol’ wallop for it! The toilets were normally outside back then. The ones in my grandad’s school were only small holes in the ground with four walls and one badly built door! My grandad left school at eleven to help at the farm. Most children left at around that age at that time.
Later on in his life, my grandad Seán married my granny Patricia. They got married on the 5th of July in 1969. He was 24 and she was 22 when they got married. All their relatives came over and they all celebrated together! A couple of years later, they had five children. Of course, one of them was my mum Christine. She has four siblings Martin, Patrick, Neil and Siobhán. Today they all have children of their own and are living a happy life. So are my granny and my grandad........ Seán!




             My Granny

My granny Janie Davey was born in Ireland in the year 1935. She had five brothers and sisters. She grew up in Killmovee, Co. Mayo. They had cattle, Sheep and hens. Her job would be to milk the cows and collect the eggs.

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In the morning, she would do her chores and then walk two or three miles to school.
At the school my Granny went to, they had a simple uniform. The girls wore a long dress and the boys a grey jumper and trousers.
In the classroom, every child had a desk and a wooden chair. There was an inkwell in every desk and the children used pens. If you were caught writing with your left hand you were hit with a stick.
The children brought a sod of turf to school each day for the fire. Sometimes they would bring bring a coin or a bottle of milk for their teacher.
She was taught most of the subjects we do today: English, Irish, Maths, History and Geography. She also did Algebra and compositions, which are like essays.
My granny liked compositions and disliked Maths. She didn’t mind Algebra though.
My granny didn’t exactly love school because she thought the teachers were cruel. You got slapped any time you were late, bold or got an answer wrong.
I think my generation are very lucky because the teachers aren’t cruel anymore and it’s against the law to smack kids.

Jennifer Ní Dháibhí



My Grandparents’ Lives

My grandparents are very nice. They were alive for WW2. Thankfully, they are still alive today.

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My granny went to Killala National School and my granda went to Carrowstalaun. Both of them had bread and jam for lunch, but my granny only got some if her brothers didn’t eat it all. There were twelve in both of their classes. There was a large fireplace in the classroom. The teachers didn’t slap them.
My granny left secondary school when she was 17½. She then became a nurse in Mayo General Hospital and that is where she met my granda in 1962. They got married in 1965 and, a year later my uncle was born.
My grandparents had seven children. Meaning I have two aunts, four uncles, two uncles in law and four aunts-in-law.
My granny has about seven siblings and my granda has about four.
Thank you for reading about my grandparents.

Aisling Ní Thiarnaigh



My Granny and Grandad

My Granny’s and Grandad’s names are Elizabeth and Seán. They live in a small village called Porturlin, situated in North Mayo near the town of Belmullet. It is near the infamous Corrib Gas field. It is a small village with 25 – 30 houses. They live right beside the coast. Anytime that we go down there my Mum always says “Next stop America”.

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I love going down there. There are loads of boats down at the pier. My grandad was a fisherman and my granny stayed at home minding the five children. Most men in the area are fisherman, but there are some farmers. The village is twenty miles from the nearest town, and five miles from the nearest school.
My grandad went to Carrowteige National School and my Granny went to Porturlin National School. My Grandad’s school was an all–Irish school and my Granny’s school was an all-English school. They were only five miles apart.
My Grandad caught fish, crab, lobster and lots more. My mum had fish for her dinner every day. When my mum was small, she wanted grandad to get a seagull because she thought it would be easy to catch. Granny and Grandad went to England for a few years, but then moved back to Ireland.
My Granny and Grandad still live in the house that my mum grew up in. I love going down to visit them. There is a lovely view. My Grandad speaks Irish to my brother and me. I love my Granny and Grandad.




Mary Lavery

My granny is 82 years old. When she went to school, things were very different !

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She went to school at Mainistir Aodhain which was a one-mile walk from her house. There were ten children in her class. She started school when she was five and she finished at the end of secondary school. She never went on a school trip. The class room was heated with an open fireplace. The children brought in turf most days to heat the room. She had a very strict teacher and she got a lot of homework. For lunch, she had brown bread, cheese and milk. Her favourite subject was maths.
She had six rooms in her house: three bedrooms, one bathroom, a sitting room and a kitchen. It had a slated roof and she got water from the well.
On the farm, they grew potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips and onions. They kept three cows and a few horses. She helped on the farm and in the bog. They named their fields “Long Meadow” and “Ponies Field”.
In her free time, she liked to play games like cards and conkers. She also read any book she could get her hands on. She listened to the radio. She never fished, but there was a lake nearby. She liked to play with her doll she had got from Santa; she also got clothes from Santa.
Being one of three children, really enjoyed her childhood

Aisling Breathnach



Eamon Jennings

My Granda was born on the 15th of March 1930. He grew up with one brother and one sister. His parents were called Mary and John Jennings. My granda went to Ballyheane National School. My granda finished education when he was twenty-one and then became a teacher in Ballintubber National School.
My granda went to Ballyheane National school. He started school when he was five years old and finished when he was twelve. He then went to secondary school and college. He had eight good friends in primary school. To school, he wore a cashmere jumper and shorts with shoes and socks sometimes. My granda used to get corporal punishment with a cane. To walk to school, my granda just had to cross the road so he never got in trouble for being late.
My Granda’s family was small for the time. They were a family of five including his parents. He was the middle child he had an older sister and a younger brother. For lunch, my granda had potatoes and other vegetables sometimes. For a snack, he would have bread with butter or jam.
When my granda  grew up he married my granny Kathleen and had four girls: Tricia, Geraldine, Cathy and Attracta. My granda's career was as a teacher for thirty years in national school. Now he is 85 years old and still living in Ballyheane with my granny.
My granda has five grandchildren: Emma 14, Matt 11, Rian 8, Daniele 5 and Aaron 1 and me,12. My granda is really friendly and intelligent.



My Nanny

In 1943, Bridget and Denis Ó Donaill had their first child, my nanny. They called her Winifred. After my nanny came eight other children.

Her home in which she grew up had three bedrooms. They would cook on a stove that they fuelled with turf. Her chores were to help out with the younger ones and on the farm. She would clean her clothes at the nearest river.

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She went to primary school in Ballycroy. She started when she three as the school needed the numbers. She would walk to school for a few miles. Her least favourite subject was Maths and her favourite was English. The classroom was heated by a big potbellied stove. At lunch they would play skittles, marbles and cards.

As her dad was a farmer, she would have to help. They planted crops such as potatoes and oats. They had many animals such as cows, geese, sheep and a few other animals. They had to plough the fields by horse and plough. They would even say prayers for success of the crops.

Her favourite game was 25 but she liked marbles and skittles. Sometimes she would go watch the Gaelic.

In 1961, at the age of nineteen, she married Michael Shevlin. He was thirteen years older than her, making him thirty-two. One year after that, they had first child out of eleven. My mum was their eighth child. In 1979, they had their last child. They have nineteen grandchildren. The last was born in 1990. My nanny means so much to me.

Onagh Bairéad



My Grandfather

My grandparents were born in Scotland in the same town. They never met each other until they went to the Isle of Man and that is where they now live. Grandad Reg is a bit of a scatter brain sometimes, because he does not think before he does things. Here are some of his sillier moments!!!!
My Nan and Grandad used to own a B&B. They had this thing called a dumb waiter. It’s a lift for food. It led from the kitchen to the dining room. One time, my Grandad was pulling up some smoked kippers for a man’s breakfast. He pulled them up so fast that they flew off the plate and on to a shelf in the shaft. He had to climb down the shaft and put the kippers back on to the plate and serve them up to the man. Let’s just say, good thing they were smoked!!!!

My Grandad was a plumber. One time his sink cracked in the bathroom and started leaking! He likes to recycle parts for parts for plumbing. So he had a spare sink from a job in a hotel. He fitted all the pipes and fitted the new sink into place. My dad came in to see what he was doing. Then he noticed something and he asked “Where are the holes for the tap!”  It turned out that the sink had no holes for taps because it was a hotel sink which meant that it only had a place for a foot pedal!

My Grandad was doing a job in a man’s house. He had to fit a shower above the man’s bath. He couldn’t reach so he put a stepladder. Big mistake! As he was fitting it the weight of him on the stepladder cracked two holes in the bath. My dad wanted to be a plumber when he was younger so he came along and he said maybe you should fill them up. He thought that they would not notice. In the end, they ended up having to buy them a new bath. 
Grandad was a plumber for 40 years and he’d have had to have done some silly things in that time. But the good thing is he always saw the funny side of things.




My Granny


My Granny, Mary Delia Mongan, was born on the nineteenth of August in 1928. She was born into a farming family and was her parents’ first child. In 1935, her brother Paddy was born on St. Patrick’s Day and her youngest brother John was born on the twenty sixth of May 1938. They lived outside Ballindine on a small farm in a small three-roomed house.

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My Granny went to the local school where she learned much of the same subjects that we learn now. She told me that her favourite subject was Maths but her least favourite was definitely was grammar: English or Irish. She started school at the age of five and finished when she was twelve. School went on from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon. She also mentioned that only the boys learned Latin (for serving mass) and that they were usually kept home to help with their father on the farm.

My granny’s family lived on a farm so that meant she always had work to do at school or not. She’d often feed the animals, and told me that her favourite, were the lambs. Sometimes she would help her  mother around the house or picking or planting vegetables. In 1953, she married her husband Jimmy Fallon (my Grandad), and to have nine children including my dad.

Her two brothers still live on the small family farm and she has a house not far from it. She is now living in Hollymount nursing home where I visit her regularly





My grandparents went to school barefoot. It would really hurt going to school on the road, when the grass was wet. You also would have to bring in a sod of turf for the fire, or a bottle of milk for your lunch.
If they spelled something wrongly or made an ink blot, usually they’d get hit or have to start again and, if you misbehaved, you’d get pulled on the ear or get a ruler across the knuckles.                           
My granny said a banana or an orange was a big treat and she’d only get them if she was very good at school and got all of her maths right. However she only got one a week, and sometimes only once a month.
My other granny went to Parke N.S. and, at that time, there were only eight in the whole entire school. They always used to play tag.
They also had chores to do at home like milk the cows, collect eggs, cook the dinner and many other tasks because they lived on a farm.
My grandparents had lots of brothers and sisters except for my dad’s dad. He was an only child.



My Grandad

My grandad was born on the 17 of April 1945 in Mayo Abbey. He has four sisters: Nancy, Betty, Chrissie and Marian. Marian died, aged 32. He started school aged five. He would walk a mile and a half to and from school. There were about 12-13 in his class. Back then they were usually very big classes. He often brought turf into the school because an open fire was the only source of heat in the classroom. He used a pen with a nib and he had an inkwell in his desk. He said if you didn’t learn your lessons, the teacher would hit you with a stick. He finished school at 13 to help out on the farm. He told me once that the teacher brought him and his friends to the hospital to get their tonsils out. He also told me he got Communion shoes, and they were left in a corner. The house was dark and smoky at the time, so somebody thought his shoes were pieces of turf and they went into the fire.
When he was seventeen, he went to England to work. He got the train from Balla Station to Dublin and travelled on a boat to Manchester. He once queued up to see the Beatles. He said he got a glimpse of them going into the building where they were playing.
When he went home to Ireland, he married Anne Sylvia Comerford in 1970. He was twenty-five at the time and my granny only twenty-one. Both of them were very young when they married. A year later, my mum was born, the first of five children. The other four children were Ailleen, Siobhan, John and Joseph.
He is now seventy years old and is still working as a farmer and lives in Ballyglass.

Roisin I


Martin Grady

My grandfather’s name is Martin Grady. He was born in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.  Martin lived with his mother Julia, his father John and seven siblings: Mary, Sheila, Helena, James, Michael and John. Martin was the youngest in the family.

They lived in a little white thatch-roofed cottage in Gurrane, East Killorglin. The house was heated by a turf fire. There was no electricity back then. So the house was lighted by candles and oil lamps. They grew potatoes, barley and most vegetables. They bought the seeds at mart days and Puck Fair. Martin and his brother John would sell sheep, pigs and cows on mart days and Puck Fair.
Martin went to Douglas National School, Killorglin. Martin would walk to and from school. His teacher’s name was Tadhg Reilly. He was very strict and cruel. Most children would not wear shoes to school so, as a punishment, the teacher would draw a circle on the ground and beat the children on the feet with a stick.
After primary school, Martin went to a technical college in Killorglin. He got married in 1957 to Susan Grady. He then moved to England to start a family. He sadly passed away in 1996 after a road accident.




My Granddad

My granddad Malcolm lives in Scotland. He is 80 years of age and lives with my granny Libby who is an artist. He lives less than a stone’s throw from the sea in a place called Tayvallich. My granddad owns a catamaran called the Wandering Star and I have sailed on it. He sailed to the Scilly Isles on it. When my mum was young, her dad made a boat called Sweet Thursday. It took him 15 years to build. My mum used to help him when she got home from school, he planned to sail around the world. It took him all of my mother’s childhood.
Once when he was building it, he covered it all in fibreglass but it didn’t stick; he felt like blowing the whole thing up. Another time he was sawing with a circular saw and he cut the top of his finger off.
He was alive in the Second World War. His dad built runways for planes and he was an engineer. He died when Malcolm was just 11. Malcolm was evacuated in the Second World War, and he remembers the blackouts. He used to collect frogs, now he has a pond of his own.
When he was 30, he saw an advert in the paper for volunteers. He was accepted as a weather reader. The team spent two whole years there, with only letters as communication. They had huskies and sleds which have now been replaced by skidoos. They were doing a British survey. One of the teams that set out never came back and just vanished! Malcolm did a lot of amazing things in his life. He is also a very nice man and I am proud to have him as a granddad.

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