Maisie and Bea Fahy, Dangan (R.I.P Maisie 2002 and Bea 2004)
Interviewed by Eileen O'Connell and Mary Mullins in 1988 for Young at Heart
Pps 455 - 456 Killererin - A Parish History
Maisie and Bea
Maisie and Bea Fahy were 2 single ladies who lived all their lives in Dangan. These are just a few of their memories of what life was like for them growing up.
For the Stations, furniture would be cleared from rooms and beds put out, and the good china taken out. The rooms would be wallpapered or painted; the table had to be lifted up to say Mass as Fr. Jennings was a tall priest. Fr. Burke was the parish priest before Fr. Jennings.
They had a mission in the church every Lent. There would be morning and evening mass and sermons.
St. Brigid’s day
On St. Brigid’s day, 1st February, St. Brigid’s crosses were made out of rushes and blessed in the Church. They were put in the cow sheds and houses, to keep stock and people safe. On this day, a special currant cake was made and Brideogs would call to the houses. There would be music and dancing and people would give them money.
They remembered people would play records of Irish singers in their homes. They had a gramophone in the house, and wireless or radio. They listened to English and American singers and remember John McCormack singing. They recall hearing about the atomic bomb in Japan on the wireless; the wireless ran on a wet battery, which had to be recharged in Comers, Barnaderg. They had no camera.
They talked about Santa; they remember neighbours would keep presents for each other in their houses away from children, as there was no room in the houses for people to hide them. They also remember people card playing and visiting each other’s houses. Women would visit and men would play cards.
The lake at Horseleap cross had lots of swans and men would fish with a line. They mentioned a lot of water in winter, and when the ice came they would skate on it. There was a spring in the middle, so it was dangerous at times. This passed the time, and there was a lot of snow then.
It was a time of good summers when the hay was cut with a mowing machine, rowed and turned with rakes and made into small cocks of hay. They would bring home the hay with a horse and cart. They kept hens, geese and turkeys. Eggs were sold to the shopkeeper and the bus inspector would also buy eggs from them. He used to check the buses going to Galway and Tuam. The bus going to Tuam came from Athlone and the bus to Galway came from Longford. There were no grants for land or dole.
Getting married and Pregnancy
The average age to get married was 25-26 years; there could be 8 or 10 children. They would be born at home without painkillers. Pregnant women would take Black Jack, cascara, and they would also take castor oil. The nurse would be there and they had to stay in bed for ten days.
The local dance hall was Comers hall; the Derreen Inn was the nearest pub for the men to have a pint. There were dances in peoples houses, Jack Higgins was the musician. The first car they remember was Sonny Dermody, followed by Fr. Curran and Pake Nicholson. They would cycle to the Rosary and devotions every Sunday. They felt it was a good reason to go out.