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Face to Face with Eileen McAree. Eileen McAree, nee McElmeel, was born in Cooldavnet to Joseph and Ellen, nee Kelly from Clintycasta. At that time there were about 60 people living in the townland of Cooldavnet but today as a result of emigration, marriages and deaths there is only one full time inhabitant and he is Eileen’s brother, Frank. Cooldavnet. Eileen remembers five in Rafferty’s, eight in Pat Sherry’s, nine in McElroy’s, fifteen in McKenna’s, three or four in the other Pat Sherry’s, six in Wood’s, four in Sherlock’s, her godparents, Peter and Rose Sherry in another house and seven in her own home. Some of these have passed on, others have emigrated and still others are living elsewhere in County Monaghan. Changed times around Cooldavnet, when now there isn’t even the trace of some of the houses, where once the happy shouts of young workers could be heard now has the singing of the birds with little interruption. Master Kelly. Eileen has three brothers – Packie (England), Francis Joseph (Cooldavnet), and Barney (Killylough) and one sister, Mary Catherine (Oriel House). As Knocknagrave School was a short distance away, Eileen walked to and from it although she took the short cut down two fields, past Treanor’s and up the hill to the school. Minnie McQuillan from Back Street (Park Street) in Monaghan was the teacher. She had brothers, who made harness for horses in Back Street and she became Mrs.Gavin. The Master was Hugh Treanor but during Eileen’s time there he retired and a young Master Kelly took over. He was a very active man and very involved in community matters outside of school. He was a great singer and Eileen remembers learning to sing the scale from him as he used his tuning fork. It is also interesting to record that Master Kelly later taught some of Eileen’s children when he moved as Principal of Corracrin NS. School. Eileen remembers all the pupils who attended school in her time to name but a few: Packie, Maggie and Etty McCullagh; Mary and Mick Bennett, John Joe, Packie, Owen, Francie and Elizabeth Sherry; her first cousins, the Kellys, one of whom Mary (Sherlock) died during the past month, RIP. Elizabeth Sherlock, who later married Frank McElroy, was her good friend at school and Eileen recalls that Elizabeth went straight into second class, when she went to school as she was extremely clever. It is with pride too that Eileen can say she went to school with four boys, who later became priests: Fr. Dan Treanor, Fr. Ned McCarron, Fr. John McElroy, and Fr. George McCarron, and she can still hear Fr. George’s hearty laugh. At lunchtime the children only had a small yard to play in, so the range of games was confined but they played skittles and Tig and other customary childhood games. Hard Days. When Eileen was fifteen she had a desire to take up dressmaking, but her help was needed on the farm at home and that meant an end to her school days. She had to work hard on the farm and not just for her own family but for the neighbours as well. At that time everyone helped each other to get the work done. Many a hard day she can remember like the day she pitched fourteen stacks of corn up to her uncle and when he reached the ring if she didn’t pitch a small sheaf when he wanted it, he threw the big one back down to her. Or a day when a field of potatoes was being put in - Eddie and Frank McElmeel, with horses and cart, drew out the manure and Eileen teased it out in the drill with a grape. Meanwhile as many women and children as could be gathered, were dropping the seed potatoes and they all wearing their bag-aprons (a meal bag cut open and held together at the back of the waist with a good nail) in which to carry the seed. Or the time of the mission when she went to early Mass in Urbleshanny, got home and had to spend the entire day raking a meadow of hay with a hand rake. She can still feel the blisters at the joint of her thumb from that day’s work! Go North. Then workers were needed in County Tyrone and many of Elieen’s age went there to make a few shillings. Jimmy, Pat and Charlie McElroy from Clarna; Owenie, Jimmy and Barney McKenna from Dernasell; Peggy McKenna, Mary Ann Campbell, Mary Bennett and Mary Ann Sherry were some of those who travelled with Eileen by bicycle to Aughnacloy, where they were taken by Jeep to whichever farm they were working on, which could be as far as the Greystones. There they spent the day spreading flax or lifting it, tying corn, stooking it or making wee rucks called nannies. While they were away they left their bicycles in the safe keeping of Joe Hardy who had a garage in Aughnacloy. They always tried to reach the farm by 9.00am to get the tea and a cut of bread, otherwise there was nothing to eat until one o’clock, when a fantastic dinner was served. It was a full dinner with lovely meat and plenty of vegetables. They finished work at 6.00pm and headed for home, though not always directly. They might call into someone’s house like the Woods of Bragan for a good ceili and sometimes they stopped over on the farm so as to get an early start the next morning. Those nights also held plenty of entertainment especially in Glencull, where Packie McAnespie was a great fiddler and would play away till late. Boneshaker. Eileen was able to earn 10/- a day but if the rain came on and they could only work a half day then the pay was 6/-. One day Eileen and another man were in Aughnacloy when a farmer came looking for two men to help him with the thresher. He looked at Eileen and asked if she could feed a thresher and she said she could. They were taken to a big shed at Tullyvar and Eileen spent the entire day feeding on top of the thresher. She was given 12/- for her day’s work but it was hard earned. She got an awful shaking from the vibration of the machine – so much so that her bones were still shaking next day. Free Time. During these working years, free time was important. There might be a dance in McCague’s of Clarna. Fanny Major from Branny Fort was married to Packie. Her sisters – Catherine, Cissie and Lily, used to come up to visit and there would be a party in McCague’s and all the neighbours were invited. Mary Ann Sherry (Gormley), Mary Ann Campbell (Mrs. Frank Caulfield), Jimmy McKenna and all the others would have a great night. Owenie McCarron was a first class musician on the accordion and he supplied the music. Then other neighbours would throw a party and these would last from 8.00pm to 3 or 4 in the morning. But the late night took no effect on them. They rose ‘as fresh as paint the next morning’. Then too there were dances in Ballinode Hall, Killylough Hall, Knockatallon and Carrickroe. Half way through the dance in Carrickroe they used go up to Floods for tea and beautiful homemade bread and plenty of craic. During the good weather, dances were held on the dancing decks outside, as at Pat Woods, Killylough and at Bartitappy School. Joy and Sadness. In 1947 Eileen was married to Owenie McAree from Tonyclay. The ceremony took place in Urbleshanny at 8.00am on Monday, February 17th – the day before Shrove Tuesday. There was breakfast in McElmeel’s, after which a crowd of them went to McMahon’s of Park Street. Towards evening they were summoned home as Michael, Owenie’s brother and best man, had taken ill. He was transferred to hospital. They sat with him during the night but at 2.00pm next day he passed away as a result of meningitis. It was a cruel blow and when the neighbours gathered for the wake and funeral they congratulated and sympathised with Owenie and Eileen in the same breadth. Michael was only twenty-four years of age. Big Snow. On the Thursday of that week it began to snow and for the next few days it fell unceasingly. On the Sunday, as people walked to Mass, they were walking on hedges and into drains as the snow as so deep it was impossible to tell where the road was. By March 17th the snow was still on the ground but as the old saying goes –‘when the stones turned’ it began to disappear. St.Patrick’s Day, when the ground began to warm up, the stones were said to turn. In those days it was also said to be very unlucky for the bride to return to her parental home for a month after the wedding day. Own Home. Owenie and Eileen first set up home in a cottage in Knockbalroney, where they stayed for eight years. It was a lonely out-farm and Eileen was delighted when they moved to Stramore. There were plenty of wonderful neighbours next door and around them – the Nixons, the Kellys, McNallys and Duffys. There isn’t a trace of the old cottage now in Knockbalroney. On their small farm, Owenie had a couple of cows, calves and pigs and Eileen looked after the chickens and turkeys. Owenie was also on the Monaghan Council and worked with many other locals on various projects and roadworks. At some stage or other he worked with John Treanor, Ned McKenna, Willie Kelly, Paddy Corrigan, Jackie Boylan, Peter Morrough, Jimmy McKenna, Barney McGonnell, John Treanor (Glennan), Peter Treanor (Carrickroe), Johnny Kelly and many others. He spent forty years with the council and after an illness died in 1986. They have five sons, all living beside or at home: Eugene, Francie, Paddy, Michael and Martin. Nowadays, Eileen has many interests to keep her occupied. She loves going out and enjoys the company at the Thursday Club in Emyvale Leisure Centre. She looks forward to the club visits to other centres, especially Clontibret, and is now looking forward to a visit to Coalisland. Stories At home she likes Michael Barrymore and Coronation Street on TV but would listen to the radio as much as possible. She is very active physically and mentally and has a very clear memory. During the course of our conversation she included many humorous stories and remembered details of things past, like the day she was confirmed in Donagh, all dressed in white; or the time she was part of a Parish Concert on the stage in the old Parochial Hall – Peter McMeel, Susan Geough, Miss Garvan and herself sang and danced the Highland Fling; or the nights they listened to her father singing or playing records on the gramophone and while the McNulty family were being played her father would dance a hornpipe in the kitchen; or the time that her grandfather wouldn’t believe that a man could ride a two wheeled bicycle until he saw Leo McCarron do it through the village of Tydavnet. These were all beautiful memories told in such a way that vivid pictures sprang to mind. But she was also critical of many of the modern ways. She remarked that in today’s world, respect is harder to come by and she lives by the traditions of faith and humanity as handed on to her by her parents. We wish her health and happiness and many many more years to enjoy. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer. This article is Copyright.
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Face to Face with Eileen McAree. Eileen McAree, nee McElmeel, was born in Cooldavnet to Joseph and Ellen, nee Kelly from Clintycasta. At that time there were about 60 people living in the townland of Cooldavnet but today as a result of emigration, marriages and deaths there is only one full time inhabitant and he is Eileen’s brother, Frank. Cooldavnet. Eileen remembers five in Rafferty’s, eight in Pat Sherry’s, nine in McElroy’s, fifteen in McKenna’s, three or four in the other Pat Sherry’s, six in Wood’s, four in Sherlock’s, her godparents, Peter and Rose Sherry in another house and seven in her own home. Some of these have passed on, others have emigrated and still others are living elsewhere in County Monaghan. Changed times around Cooldavnet, when now there isn’t even the trace of some of the houses, where once the happy shouts of young workers could be heard now has the singing of the birds with little interruption. Master Kelly. Eileen has three brothers – Packie (England), Francis Joseph (Cooldavnet), and Barney (Killylough) and one sister, Mary Catherine (Oriel House). As Knocknagrave School was a short distance away, Eileen walked to and from it although she took the short cut down two fields, past Treanor’s and up the hill to the school. Minnie McQuillan from Back Street (Park Street) in Monaghan was the teacher. She had brothers, who made harness for horses in Back Street and she became Mrs.Gavin. The Master was Hugh Treanor but during Eileen’s time there he retired and a young Master Kelly took over. He was a very active man and very involved in community matters outside of school. He was a great singer and Eileen remembers learning to sing the scale from him as he used his tuning fork. It is also interesting to record that Master Kelly later taught some of Eileen’s children when he moved as Principal of Corracrin NS. School. Eileen remembers all the pupils who attended school in her time to name but a few: Packie, Maggie and Etty McCullagh; Mary and Mick Bennett, John Joe, Packie, Owen, Francie and Elizabeth Sherry; her first cousins, the Kellys, one of whom Mary (Sherlock) died during the past month, RIP. Elizabeth Sherlock, who later married Frank McElroy, was her good friend at school and Eileen recalls that Elizabeth went straight into second class, when she went to school as she was extremely clever. It is with pride too that Eileen can say she went to school with four boys, who later became priests: Fr. Dan Treanor, Fr. Ned McCarron, Fr. John McElroy, and Fr. George McCarron, and she can still hear Fr. George’s hearty laugh. At lunchtime the children only had a small yard to play in, so the range of games was confined but they played skittles and Tig and other customary childhood games. Hard Days. When Eileen was fifteen she had a desire to take up dressmaking, but her help was needed on the farm at home and that meant an end to her school days. She had to work hard on the farm and not just for her own family but for the neighbours as well. At that time everyone helped each other to get the work done. Many a hard day she can remember like the day she pitched fourteen stacks of corn up to her uncle and when he reached the ring if she didn’t pitch a small sheaf when he wanted it, he threw the big one back down to her. Or a day when a field of potatoes was being put in - Eddie and Frank McElmeel, with horses and cart, drew out the manure and Eileen teased it out in the drill with a grape. Meanwhile as many women and children as could be gathered, were dropping the seed potatoes and they all wearing their bag-aprons (a meal bag cut open and held together at the back of the waist with a good nail) in which to carry the seed. Or the time of the mission when she went to early Mass in Urbleshanny, got home and had to spend the entire day raking a meadow of hay with a hand rake. She can still feel the blisters at the joint of her thumb from that day’s work! Go North. Then workers were needed in County Tyrone and many of Elieen’s age went there to make a few shillings. Jimmy, Pat and Charlie McElroy from Clarna; Owenie, Jimmy and Barney McKenna from Dernasell; Peggy McKenna, Mary Ann Campbell, Mary Bennett and Mary Ann Sherry were some of those who travelled with Eileen by bicycle to Aughnacloy, where they were taken by Jeep to whichever farm they were working on, which could be as far as the Greystones. There they spent the day spreading flax or lifting it, tying corn, stooking it or making wee rucks called nannies. While they were away they left their bicycles in the safe keeping of Joe Hardy who had a garage in Aughnacloy. They always tried to reach the farm by 9.00am to get the tea and a cut of bread, otherwise there was nothing to eat until one o’clock, when a fantastic dinner was served. It was a full dinner with lovely meat and plenty of vegetables. They finished work at 6.00pm and headed for home, though not always directly. They might call into someone’s house like the Woods of Bragan for a good ceili and sometimes they stopped over on the farm so as to get an early start the next morning. Those nights also held plenty of entertainment especially in Glencull, where Packie McAnespie was a great fiddler and would play away till late. Boneshaker. Eileen was able to earn 10/- a day but if the rain came on and they could only work a half day then the pay was 6/-. One day Eileen and another man were in Aughnacloy when a farmer came looking for two men to help him with the thresher. He looked at Eileen and asked if she could feed a thresher and she said she could. They were taken to a big shed at Tullyvar and Eileen spent the entire day feeding on top of the thresher. She was given 12/- for her day’s work but it was hard earned. She got an awful shaking from the vibration of the machine – so much so that her bones were still shaking next day. Free Time. During these working years, free time was important. There might be a dance in McCague’s of Clarna. Fanny Major from Branny Fort was married to Packie. Her sisters – Catherine, Cissie and Lily, used to come up to visit and there would be a party in McCague’s and all the neighbours were invited. Mary Ann Sherry (Gormley), Mary Ann Campbell (Mrs. Frank Caulfield), Jimmy McKenna and all the others would have a great night. Owenie McCarron was a first class musician on the accordion and he supplied the music. Then other neighbours would throw a party and these would last from 8.00pm to 3 or 4 in the morning. But the late night took no effect on them. They rose ‘as fresh as paint the next morning’. Then too there were dances in Ballinode Hall, Killylough Hall, Knockatallon and Carrickroe. Half way through the dance in Carrickroe they used go up to Floods for tea and beautiful homemade bread and plenty of craic. During the good weather, dances were held on the dancing decks outside, as at Pat Woods, Killylough and at Bartitappy School. Joy and Sadness. In 1947 Eileen was married to Owenie McAree from Tonyclay. The ceremony took place in Urbleshanny at 8.00am on Monday, February 17th – the day before Shrove Tuesday. There was breakfast in McElmeel’s, after which a crowd of them went to McMahon’s of Park Street. Towards evening they were summoned home as Michael, Owenie’s brother and best man, had taken ill. He was transferred to hospital. They sat with him during the night but at 2.00pm next day he passed away as a result of meningitis. It was a cruel blow and when the neighbours gathered for the wake and funeral they congratulated and sympathised with Owenie and Eileen in the same breadth. Michael was only twenty-four years of age. Big Snow. On the Thursday of that week it began to snow and for the next few days it fell unceasingly. On the Sunday, as people walked to Mass, they were walking on hedges and into drains as the snow as so deep it was impossible to tell where the road was. By March 17th the snow was still on the ground but as the old saying goes –‘when the stones turned’ it began to disappear. St.Patrick’s Day, when the ground began to warm up, the stones were said to turn. In those days it was also said to be very unlucky for the bride to return to her parental home for a month after the wedding day. Own Home. Owenie and Eileen first set up home in a cottage in Knockbalroney, where they stayed for eight years. It was a lonely out-farm and Eileen was delighted when they moved to Stramore. There were plenty of wonderful neighbours next door and around them – the Nixons, the Kellys, McNallys and Duffys. There isn’t a trace of the old cottage now in Knockbalroney. On their small farm, Owenie had a couple of cows, calves and pigs and Eileen looked after the chickens and turkeys. Owenie was also on the Monaghan Council and worked with many other locals on various projects and roadworks. At some stage or other he worked with John Treanor, Ned McKenna, Willie Kelly, Paddy Corrigan, Jackie Boylan, Peter Morrough, Jimmy McKenna, Barney McGonnell, John Treanor (Glennan), Peter Treanor (Carrickroe), Johnny Kelly and many others. He spent forty years with the council and after an illness died in 1986. They have five sons, all living beside or at home: Eugene, Francie, Paddy, Michael and Martin. Nowadays, Eileen has many interests to keep her occupied. She loves going out and enjoys the company at the Thursday Club in Emyvale Leisure Centre. She looks forward to the club visits to other centres, especially Clontibret, and is now looking forward to a visit to Coalisland. Stories At home she likes Michael Barrymore and Coronation Street on TV but would listen to the radio as much as possible. She is very active physically and mentally and has a very clear memory. During the course of our conversation she included many humorous stories and remembered details of things past, like the day she was confirmed in Donagh, all dressed in white; or the time she was part of a Parish Concert on the stage in the old Parochial Hall – Peter McMeel, Susan Geough, Miss Garvan and herself sang and danced the Highland Fling; or the nights they listened to her father singing or playing records on the gramophone and while the McNulty family were being played her father would dance a hornpipe in the kitchen; or the time that her grandfather wouldn’t believe that a man could ride a two wheeled bicycle until he saw Leo McCarron do it through the village of Tydavnet. These were all beautiful memories told in such a way that vivid pictures sprang to mind. But she was also critical of many of the modern ways. She remarked that in today’s world, respect is harder to come by and she lives by the traditions of faith and humanity as handed on to her by her parents. We wish her health and happiness and many many more years to enjoy. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer. This article is Copyright.