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Mrs. Molly Fallon, Georges St.,interviewed by her son Jimmy Regan

 

 

 

Jimmy:Where did you live in Peterswell?
Molly :I lived in Shanvalley and started school in Northhampton.  I moved to Cahercarna, following the death of my mother.  I remained in Northhampton school until I was six.  My aunt then brought me back to Peterswell.  We went to school across the fields “where Sherry’s is now”.
Jimmy:How many were in your class?
Molly:There were seven in my class, Bridie Lynskey, Kathleen Lynskey, John-James Molloy, Nellie Mulkerrins, Fr. Bernard Mulkerrins and myself.
Jimmy: What was your days like at school?
Molly:  I was six when I went to school. We spent 12 months in infants.We had three teachers.Mr. Sexton was myteacher at that time and I remember him giving me a present of a pencil and I spent a half-day looking an admiring it . I was in infants class, and I learnt my “ABC”, and sums and addition.  We used “cippins” (little sticks) to learn to count.   When we were in first class we learnt “simple addition”.  We had big long desks with ink-wells.  If you were bold the punishment was that you were made sit beside a boy.  I got a punishment and was made sit between two fellas for talking, but I started crying so Mr. Sexton gave me leave, to go back to my own seat.  They used a stick or a strap to slap you with if you were bold.  I was a year in Northhampton school before I came to Peterswell,they were much kinder in Peterswell,so I soon settled down

I was 7 years when I went to first class. When we were in first class we learnt “simple addition”.  We had big long desks with ink- wells.  If you were bold the punishment was that you were made sit beside a boy.  I got a punishment and was made sit between two fellas for talking, but I started crying so Mr. Sexton gave me leave to go back to my own seat.  They used a stick or a strap to slap you with if you were bold. I was very good in first class and Mr. Sexton was always giving me a hand – but I was good.  I was quiet, not like the rest of them. I  sat at my desk drawing birds.  I liked drawing but sure I wasn’t very good at it”. 
Jimmy:When did you make your communion?
Molly :I made my communion when I was seven.For our Holy Communion we learnt the short cathectism like “Who made the world”.  You had to have the “Hail Mary”and”Our Father” off by heart.The older scholars taught us our prayers in groups of sixes,as the priests had to go to the houses to say mass.  Nearer our Holy Communion the priest would come and ask us questions.  When we made our Holy Communion, we had a blessed candle to light and held it in front of our new lovely white dresses, veils and what not.  If we burnt our dress we would have to leave Ireland, it was dangerous you know, many the veil that went on fire.
Jimmy: What was new in second class?
Molly:  In second class we were introduced to the stick of course and we got all we wanted of that.  You got the stick if you had a blob in your copy and then your copy was taken from you and you were billed for a new one.  We  had exams at the end of every year and you couldn’t move on to the next class if you did not pass. 

Mr. Sexton taught us to third class.
Jimmy:Who taught you in Fourth class?
Molly:We had Mr. Moylan.  In fifth class we had a body inspection.  The doctor came to check to see if there was vermin in you clothes or hair.  If you were unluckly to have vermin, the doctor prescribed something for you.I never had it,Thank God. 
Jimmy:When did you learn to sew?
Molly:When I was in fifth class, we learnt sewing but none of the boys would come to that,so we had to go into the second room.  We brought our own materials and she taught us how to knit and sew – it was very good.   We had laundry classes on different Tuesdays.  We learnt how to iron and burn.We did the laundry for the Moylans.We burnt bits of Mr. Moylan’s tie – Elizabeth Cunningham did it because he slapped her the week before because she stayed home from school. We also learned to cook.We began to cook the dinner in the school and it was brought up to the house to be finished.  We had to go below to Finnerty’s house to go to the toilet and they didn’t know how to use it. I had to teach them use how to because I had seen one in Northampton school.
Jimmy: What did the inspector do when he came?
Molly: When the inspector came to the school, he checked through our copy  books and asked us questions like “What job would you like to take up”. 
In fifth and sixth class I did algebra and geometry.  We did this so we would get positions in the colleges.  I was accepted into the County Council (only two places) but Mr. Moylan wouldn’t give it to me because there were only two in my family and it was free and they gave it to the bigger families. Someone else got it in my place. I burnt the books when I came home because he shouldn’t have got my job.
Jimmy:Who taught you music?
Molly:Jack Mulcaire in Kiltartan taught us the fiddle.  If you paid four pounds a year he taught you. Twenty of us went down to Labane;Babby Hayes, Mick and Jack Sherry, John-James Molloy from Dublin,and Mai Sherry.  I loved music.  The fiddle players were selected and went back to school for two evenings a week at four o’clock.There were four monitors to teach music.  
Jimmy:Can you tell me anything else about your schooling?
Molly: My aunt from Galway came up and told Mr. Moylan that I had enough jobs at home and there was no use in teaching me. That was the end of my schooling, when I was sixteen.They were very happy days.I was trained up to be a farmers wife.  They have more teachers today.  I had no problems going to school but Jimmy did, he would go off to do this one’s job and that one’s job and I would bring his bread to school but he was never there to eat it.  He got five shillings to draw Mr. Moylans  turf from the bog in the morning and then he would go to school in the afternoon.

I also remember the black and tans, driving up and down the village.We were very frightened of them.They made us walk on rough stones and often pushed us into briars and made us walk on rough areas of ground.They beat Mr.Moylan.He was in  bed for a week after the beating.His wife was very worried about him at this time.She brought his meals upstairs on a tray.The Black and Tans also urinated on us for no reason.Ah,they were very bad.