Posted in Posts and podcasts

Food in olden times – 1938

Collected by Peggie Regan, Clochar na Trocaire N.S. from John Joe Conneely, Kinvara, Co. Galway

There is a vast difference between the food the people have nowadays and the food the people had in olden days. Long ago the people never heard of a four course dinner or a lunch or they never heard of an hotel or a restaurant.
The people long ago used to eat three meals a day but they could hardly be called meals because, they were very scanty ones and they nearly always consisted of the same food. They used to call the meals breakfast, dinner and supper.
The people of long ago used to get up at daybreak and they used to have nearly a day’s work done before they ate any breakfast. The breakfasts of the people at that time were very poor ones and they only consisted of a few boiled potatoes with salt. In lots of cases the working men who used to work in the gardens used to dig up a few potatoes out of the garden and roast them in a fire which they used to make. This used to serve as a breakfast for the poor people. Before potatoes were ever heard of the people used to eat stir about made from indian-meal.
They used to have their dinner at about four o clock and they used to have potatoes for dinner also. Often times they used to drink a mug of very sour butter milk. Some of the people used to eat boiled “nettles” and “dock leaves”. They used to boil yellow flowers called “braisce” which grow in cabbage gardens and eat them for their dinner.
If the people ever got a herring for dinner the mother used to boil a big pot of potatoes and fry the herring. She used then throw the potatoes into a thing called a “scib” and they used all sit round it on the floor. She used then put the herring on a plate with gravy on “dip” as they used to call it. The mother used then say to the children “dip the praties in the dip and leave the herring to your father”.
For their supper then they used to have potatoes sometimes and boxty bread which was made out of raw potatoes. Other times they used to have oatmeal porridge and milk. They used to drink the milk out of vessels called noggins and there is a man living in “Crushoa” by the name of “Thomas Quinn” who has a few of these noggins still.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0049, Page 0337, Duchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD.

Posted in Posts and podcasts

What an American Journalist saw – 1919

Excerpt from The Workhouse or Gaol in Galway. What an American Journalist saw by James M. Tuohy (Staff Correspondent of the ‘New York World’). Freemans Journal (Sydney) 9th October, 1919 p.14

It is not surprising to find that Galway is a strong Sinn Fein centre, and during the Easter rebellion of 1916 there was a futile rising there. A score of men were taken from Galway City and deported to English gaols and internment camps, including Dr. Walsh, bursar of the Galway branch of the National University, where he
also holds two important medical professorships. His experience may be taken as a fair sample of the treatment accorded to men against whom no charge was ever preferred, no evidence offered, and to whom no trialwas ever accorded.

In Galway I listened to the stories of a number of men of culture and refinement, professional men and others, who had been arrested not once but twice and even three times, had spent long periods in gaol or internment camps without ever being brought to trial. Space does not permit me to give the details of these statements, of which no one who heard them could fail to be convinced of the truthfulness. They have no desire to advertise the ill-treatment and injustice to which they have been subjected, but their indignation was roused by Mr. MacPherson’s impudent misrepresentations.

As I have said, D.O.R.A. (Defence of the Realm Act) is all powerful in Galway and throughout the west of Ireland. Hardly a night passes that a police raid is not made on some house either in the town or the surrounding country ; searches are made and men arrested without charge, some being taken off into confinement, no one knows whither. These raids are preferably made in the dead of night, the police being accompanied by lorries full of soldiers, fully armed. The victims are handcuffed, placed in the lorries and taken perhaps to the large military barracks at Renmore, across the river. The next that is heard of them usually is that they have been sentenced by court martial for being in possession of ‘seditious’ literature or some similar crime.

Then there is the ‘Customary display of force by the army of occupation — squads of soldiers marching hither and thither with their trench helmets on to overawe people. But the people seem to be unconscious of these provocative demonstrations which, strike the newcomer with amazement. Apparently familiarity breeds contempt.

Note; Mr Lloyd George sent Mr Ian MacPherson to Ireland with ‘the Coercion Act in one hand and the Defence of the Realm Act in the other.’