Between 1937 and 1939, 740,000 pages of folklore and local tradition were compiled by pupils from 5,000 Irish primary schools. This collection which came to be known as The Schools’ Collection was part of an innovative project which was overseen by the Irish Folklore Commission and received assistance from the INTO and Department of Education. With the help of their teachers, senior primary school children across the 26 counties of the Irish Free State collected folklore in their local area. This included oral history, topographical information, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts. The children recorded this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours. This collection is a wonderful resource for anybody with an interest in history and folklore and is now available at www.duchas.ie. Below is a selection of excerpts from Carrick-on-Suir and the surrounding areas.
Historical events and figures
by Mr. P. Marsh
At one time there were a great many Quaker families living in South Tipp.
The principal families were the Grubbs, the Fennells, the Malcomsons, besides many others. All these families were engaged in the flour milling business. At this time, before the adoption of the Free Trade in England, there was a good price for home grown wheat and very large quantities of this crop were grown in South Tipp. The banks of the Suir and its tributaries were dotted with flour mills, most of which were owned and worked by members of the Society of Friends or Quakers, as they were called locally. These Quakers were a kindly, charitable people and were very popular. (Note: Members of the Grubbs family were on the Board of Guardians and were committee members of the local branch of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children when it first formed in 1899).
They owned and worked flour mills in Clonmel, Cahir, Clogheen, Castlegrace, Carrick-on-Suir and many other places. Many of these people were very wealthy and some of them had very fine estates and residences. In the town of Clogheen alone there were four or five flour mills besides a brewery. The population of Clogheen was then about two thousand though at the present time it is hardly five hundred. All these mills were owned by the Grubbs, Fennells, and Malcomsons. On the adoption of Free Trade in England the price of wheat fell very low and the farmers gave up growing the crop. As a consequence the mills had to close down and have been idle ever since.
Many of the Quaker families have died out. The family of Fennell had a private burial ground of their own at a place called Kilcommon between Cahir and Ardfinnan. This little cemetery is called Garreenalive locally. The late Mr. Samuel Grubb of Castlegrace, Clogheen, willed on his death bed to be buried on the side of Knockmealdown Mountain overlooking his residence at Castlegrace. This was done and a monument erected over the grave. This monument is not far from the famous V-road from Clogheen to Lismore and can be plainly seen from a great distance from the plain below.
Samuel Grubbs monument.
A Hedge School Master by Unknown Author
John Fleming one of the last of the hedge school Masters was born in Ballyneal in the Parish of Mothel in 1814. His people were Gaelic and the Irish was the ordinary language of the home, therefore he was a native Irish speaker. He got his first education in a school in the parish of Kill. He had a great love for learning and consequently got on very well in school. He had a keen intellect and love for study and when the time came for him to choose a profession, he chose to be a teacher. In the beginning of his career, he taught in the house of David Baldwin Curraduff a townland between Clonea and Carrick on-Suir.
In 1849 he was appointed Principal of Rathgormack National School where he taught for thirty years. He taught Irish Latin and Greek literature, and among his pupils was the late Bishop Maurice Phelan Lord Abbot of Mount Melleray. He wrote many books, among them being Donagh Ruad. The sole object of life was the preservation of the Irish language and to have it spoken among the people.
He retired from teaching in 1881. He was invited to Dublin by the directors of the Royal Academy of Ireland as they needed a man of his capabilities to examine some ancient Irish writings.
He was one of the principal members of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. In 1882 he started the publication of the Irish text book for which he was largely responsible – The Irish Language in the 19th Century. He was now getting old and his health began to fail, he worked very hard for the success of the text book and he still found time to help some other editors with their work – Father Nolan, Father Walsh, and Father O’Growney. He is buried in Glasnevin.
19th century hedge school.
Evictions in Kilcash By M. Lyons
There was only one eviction in Kilcash and this is the story of it.
There was an old man that lived at the castle at Kilcash his name was Paddy Ryan but went by the name of the “Castle thrush”. He was evicted for not paying his rent, he owed seven years rent and Lord Ormand would settle with him for one year’s rent but he would not pay although he had it. So, Lord Ormond said to him one day “Ryan I must server you.” “Whisha I knew my Lord you would not do me any harm,” said Ryan.
So, he was evicted and his house was knocked. He sat on a stone for a long time and then went to Carrick-on-Suir where he died. When the funeral came to the place where he used to sit the springs broke on the hearse. The people all said he wanted to come out for a sit down. He had two sisters who went to live in Clonmel and his wife could never live with him, she went to work at Kehoes in Toor