TP Ó Conchúir
‘Tigh Mhártan sa Daingean. Is as sin a tháinig mé. Mártan Ó Catháin ón oileán ab ea mo athair críonna. Ní raibh aon taithí aige ar tithe tabhairne. Uncail mo mhátháir críonna, bhí an pub á léasadh aige ón eaglais. Caillaóidh é coicíos tar éis dom teacht ar an saol.
‘Gaeilge ar fad a bheadh istigh ann. Ní raibh aon focail Béarla. Gaolainn, Gaolainn, Gaolainn. Theadh a lán de muintir na háite seo ann, mar ní raibh morán Béarla acu .
‘Bhí leithreas againne agus bhíodh mná dúithe ar fad ag dul isteach sa leithreas. Bhí cead acu, chomh maith le sin bhí cead ag daoine dul isteach sa chistin agus tae a dhéanamh dóibh féin.
‘Dá mbeadh bó maith agat, bheadh turastal ann. Nuair a cailleadh Dicksie Atkins sa Daingean, bhí dhá bó aige agus cheannaigh m’athair ceann acu an oiche a chailleadh é. Ana bhó ab ea i, tabharfaidh sí cúig galúin bainne in aghaidh an lae.
‘Bhí sean aintín agamsa siar i Baile Uachtarach. Ní raibh aon aithne agam uirthi. Théann siar ar mo laethanta saoire, bhi a fear chéile ina bheathaigh agus rugadh é in 1868. Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh ab ainm dó.
‘Sa tigh in aice leis bhí Bean Uí Mhuircheartaigh — rugadh í i 1873, an blian céanna a rugadh Peig Sayers. Bhí sé de bhuntáiste agam agus de phribhléid agam aithne a bheith orthu agus bhí aithne agam orthu ar feadh tamaill. Is cuimhim liom na paidreacha — is i mBéarla amháin a bheadh na paidreacha. Ní raibh aon Béarla acu seachas na paidreacha.
‘An chéad tarracóir a chuaigh siar ón Daingean bhí sé ag John McKenna. Bhí Micheal Ó Muircheartaigh siar ag cúinne an botháin le péire binoculars agus ag féachaint ar an tractor. "Iontas Dé," a deir sé, "tá an tarracóir ag dul timpeall". Ghearr sé dhá ghort in uair a choig.’
‘I came from Tigh Mhártan in Dingle. My grandfather was Martan Ó Catháin from the islands. He had no experience of pubs. The pub was leased from the Church by an uncle of my grandmother. He died two week after I was born.
‘It was all Irish inside. There was no word of English. Irish, Irish, Irish. A lot of people from this area would go in, because they didn’t have much English. We had a toilet and countrywomen would be going in. They were allowed and as well as that they had permission to go into the kitchen and make tea for themselves.
‘If you had a good cow, there’d be an income in it. When Dicksie Atkins in Dingle died, he had two cows and my father bought one of them the night he died. She was a great cow and would give you five gallons of milk a day.
‘I had a grand-aunt back in Baile Uachtarach. I didn’t know her but I would go back there on my holidays. Her husband was still alive and he was born in 1868. Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh was his name.
‘In the house beside him was Bean Uí Mhuircheartaigh — she was born 1873, the same year that Peig Sayers was born. I was an advantage and privilege to know them and I knew them for a good while. I remember the prayers — the prayers were in English only. They only they had were the prayers.
‘The first tractor that went west of Dingle belonged to John McKenna. Michéal Ó Muircheartaigh was back at the corner of the house with a pair of binoculars looking at the tractor. “Oh my God,” he said, “the tractor is going around”. He cut two fields in an hour.’