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Feargal Ó Cinnéide

‘Dá mbeadh rogha ag m’athair uair a’ chloig a chaitheamh in Iarthar Chiarraí nó mí san Astráil, thógfadh sé an uair sin. Ba as Paróiste Mórdhach do agus chuaigh sé ag múinteoireacht thuas i dTiobrad Árainn. Tógadh an teach seo ag deireadh na seascaidí.

 

‘Cuireadh na ceithre sealla anseo i mBaile na nGall ar cíos le linn scannánú Ryan's Daughter. D’fhan Eddie Fowlie inár dteach. Bhí sé mar crann taca an stiúrthóra é — an stiúrthór mór le rá David Lean. 

 

‘Tá scéal amháin faoi fheirmeoir ag teacht síos an bóithrín i dtarracóir agus David Lean ag teacht sa treo eile i Rolls Royce. "Nach bhfuil a fhios agat cé mise," a dúirt Lean. "Tá mé ag dul suas agus síos an bóthar seo riamh," a d’fhreagair sé. Níl siad tughta do cultas na gceiliúrán sa cheanntair seo agus is maith an rud é sin.

‘Ag fás aníos tugadh scéal dúinn faoi Micheál Muiris Ó Catháin, mo sin-seanathair. An oíche ar bádh Michéal Muiris, bhí bád amuigh Na Blascaodaí ag iascaireacht. D’fhéach duine de na leaids a bhí i mbogha an bháid síos san fharraige agus iad ag tarraingt suas an líontán agus cheap sé gur chonaic sé gur íomhá de Michéal Muiris. Ghearr siad an liontáin ar an bpointe.

 

‘D’áitigh sé, go gcaithfear é a ghearadh. Ní dúirt sé le duine ar bith go dtí gur shroich sé an t-oileán an tráthnóna sin faoi cad a bhí ag cur as dó. Ansin dúirt sé leo, gur cheap sé go bhfaca sé corp sa líontán agus gur corp Michéal Muiris a bhí ann. Mo shin-seanathair. Ba é sin an óiche a bádh é. Bhí sé in 1899. Tá an scéal sin i leabhair a scríobh Peig Sayers.

 

‘Tharla an bhá anseo i gCuas an Bhodaigh. Bhí conaí orthu i mBaile na bhFionnúrach agus líon siad an naomhóg le maicréal. Bhí gabháil ollmhór acu agus ar a mbealach isteach bhí siad lán go béal agus cailleadh an naomhóg ar na carraigeacha.

 

'Bhí triúr acu ann. Shnámh siad i dtreo an chladaigh — cailleadh fear dárbh ainm Ó Conchúir i dtosach, d’éirigh leis an dara lead an chladaigh a shroisint; d’éirigh le Michael Muiris a bheith laistigh d'achar scairteach ón gcé, mar chuala daoine é ag béicíl ‘táimse caillte’. Chuaigh sé síos. Fuarthas O’Connor thall i gCaisleán Ghriaire. Fuarthas corp Michéal Muiris thuas in aice leis an Dún Beag sa Chláir. Ba ea seanathair TP Ó Conchúir ceann de na daoine a chuaigh suas chun an corp a thabhairt abhaile.

 

‘Sna laethanta sin, níos lú ná 50 bliain tar éis an Ghorta, bheadh an ceanntar seo an-bhocht agus dá líonfá na líonta le maicréal, níor fhág tú i do dhiaidh é, thóg tú an maicréal isteach leat. 

 

‘De réir mar is gá, thóg tú do ghabháil chun cladaigh. Ba é sin ceann de na hioncaim seasta a bhí acu. Gheobhaidh siad scilling in aghaidh gach céad maicréal ar an gcé sa Daingin.’



 

‘Give Dad an hour in West Kerry as against a month in Australia, he’d have taken the hour in West Kerry. He was from over in Feothanach and was a teacher up in Tipperary. This house was built in the late 1960s.

 

'The four chalets in Baile na nGall were rented out during the filming of Ryan’s Daughter. Eddie Fowlie stayed in our chalet. He was regarded as being the right-hand-man of the director — the famous director David Lean.

 

'There’s one story about a farmer coming down a road in a tractor and David Lean going up the bohereen in a Rolls Royce. "Do you not know who I am", said Lean. "I’ve been always coming up and down this road," he replied. They don’t do the cult of celebrity very well in this area, which is a great thing.

‘Growing up a story was handed down to us about Michéal Muiris Ó Catháin, my great-grandfather. The night that Michéal Muiris drowned, there was a boat out from the Blasket Islands fishing mackerel. One of lads in the bow of the boat looked down into the sea as they were hauling up the net and he saw what he thought was an image of Michéal Muiris. They cut the net. He insisted they cut the net. 

 

‘He didn’t say it to anybody until they got back into the island that evening as to what had spooked him. Then he told them, he thought he saw a body in the net and he thought it was the body of Michéal Muiris. That was the night he drowned. This was 1899. Peig Sayers has that story in one of her books. 

‘The drowning happened here in Brandon Creek. They lived over in Baile na bhFionnúrach and they filled their naomhóg with mackerel. They got a huge catch and on their way in were filled to the gunnels and the boat foundered just off the rocks.

 

'There were three on board. All three swam towards shore — one man an O’Connor man was lost first, the second man managed to get ashore and Michéal Muiris got to within shouting distance of the pier, because people heard him shout, "táimse caillte", — I am lost. Down he went. The O’Connor man was found over in Castlegregory, Michéal Muiris’s body was found up near Doonbeg in Clare. One of the people who went up to recover him was TP Ó Conchúir’s grandfather.

‘In those days, less than 50 years post-Famine, this area would have been very poor and if you filled your nets with mackerel, you didn’t leave it behind you, you brought them in. It was a needs must thing.

'You caught them, you brought them ashore. It was one of the steady incomes they had. They’d get a shilling per hundred mackerel on the pier in Dingle.’