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Aodán O'Connell 

 

‘Mo shean-athair Sean Ó Criothain agus a bhean Éilís, tháinig siad anseo go dtí an Mhuiríoch sna 1940aí. Rugadh mo mháthair anseo. Bhi dhá shiopa anseo nuair a bhíomar óg. Tháinig daoine anseo ó gach aon áit. 

 

‘Bhí trí chúrsa anseo gach samhradh. Bhí sé ana suimiúil ag féachaint ar na daoine ag teacht ó Bhaile Átha Cliaith, Luimneach, Corcaigh. Fuaireamar léargas iontach ar an saol mar a bhí.

 

‘Is cuimhin liom nuair a bhí na leoraithe ag teacht go barr an bhóthair — leoraithe mór donn. Bhí duiine nó beirt agus na céadta rothar á iompair as na leoraithe seo. Bhí mé féin agus mo dheartháir lán sásta cabhair a thabhairt dóibh. Ba ghnách linn lollipop, 50p nó punt a fháil. Bheadh sceitimíní orainn nuair a chonaiceamar na leoraithe sin.

 

‘Nuair a bhí tú cúig nó sé bliana d’aois dheineadh ceann de na deagóirí uchtú ort. Bheadh tú ag damhsa leo. Ba é Halla na Múirí an áit. Bhí sé ana thábhachtach gach aon samhradh. Táimíd in aice leis. Bhí sé mar chlós súgartha leathnaithe dúinn nuair a bhíomar ag fás aníos. Bhí samhraí anseo draíochta. Mar rogha bhéimís cosnochta má bhí sé te.

 

‘Críochnaíonn tú an dinnéar san oíche agus cloisfidh tú an ceol — tús gach céirnín istigh i halla an cheilí. Bhí sé chomh hard go gcloisfeá é ó do bhord dinnéir. Bhí sceitimíní ag teacht orainn go raibh an ceilí ag tosú don tráthnóna. 

 

‘Ba é buaicphointe gach lá dúinn. Ba chuid den rithim laethúil é. Bhí an barra mianraí istigh ann agus bhí Máire Begley i bhfeighil air. Na seanbhuidéil cóic le suip tuí ionta — bhí sceitimíní mór orainn ceann a fháil.

 

‘Bíonn mo mháthair ag caint liom i gcónaí faoi na céilithe ar Óiche na Nollaig sa Mhuirí. Ba ghnách do dhaoine teacht go Muirioch ó gach cearn den chontae. Ba é an t-aon áit in Éirinn a raibh craic ar fáil.’

 

‘My grand-father Sean Ó Criothain and his wife Éilís came to live in Muiríoch in the 1940s. My mother was born here. There were two shops here when we were young. People came here from all over. There were three courses here every summer. It was very interesting to see the people coming from Dublin, Limerick and Cork. We got a great insight into how the real world was.

 

‘I remember when the CIE lorries were coming to the top of the road, big massive brown things. You had one or two men lumping hundreds of bikes out of these lorries. Myself and my brother were very willing to help them. We used to get a lollipop, a 50p piece or a punt. We’d get very excited when we’d see those lorries.

 

‘When I was five or six you’d get adopted by the deagóirí. You’d be dancing with them. Halla na Múirí was the place. It was very imporatnt every summer. We are beside it. It was an expanded playground for us when we were growing up. Summers here were magical. We were barefoot by choice if the temperature allowed.

 

‘You finish the dinner at night and you’d hear the music — the beginning of each track inside in the ceilí hall. It was so loud you’d hear it from your dinner table. That set off a little bit of excitement that the ceilí was starting for the evening. 

 

‘It was the highlight of every day for us. It was part of the daily rhythm. The mineral bar was in there and Máire Begley used to run that. The old coke bottles with straws in them — It was the height of excitement to get one.’

 

‘My mother always tells me about Christmas night céilis in Muirioch. They used to come from all over the county to Muiroch. It was the only place in Ireland where you could have a bit of craic. It would go on for all hours.'