MEMORIES of bygone days in Ennistymon are among those celebrated in the Vanishing Ireland project, which is now seeking to hear from more of the county’s older citizens, writes Fiona McGarry.
Vanishing Ireland is producing a podcast series with the help of legendary broadcaster, Anne Doyle and over 70s are being invited to share their memories and stories.
Family members can get in touch with the project on their behalf with the deadline for submissions this Friday, June 4.
In 2009, a print edition of Vanishing Ireland included the recollections of the late Patrick Joseph ‘PJ’ Davis from Ennistymon in a volume entitled Further Chronicles of a Disappearing World.
In his interview, PJ, who was born in 1924, recalled how he was taught how to drive by his father Paddy in the early 1930s.
With the arrival of commercial motorisation in Ireland, Paddy swapped the horse and cart for a one-ton lorry and became a full-time employee of the Griffin family, who owned the pub on Ennistymon’s Bridge Street, as well as a coal yard.
Like all of his brothers and sisters, PJ had to emigrate and his interview recalls his long career as a car mechanic and steelworker. For many years, he worked as a car mechanic for the Rootes Group (now Chrysler).
“I could tell you about every part of every car we made,” he told Vanishing Ireland, “where it came from, the engine, the cylinder, the pistons, the chassis, the valve, the whole lot.”
PJ returned to North Clare in the 1970s at a saddle factory, Stubben’s, on the Lahinch Road. While there were a number of saddlers in the town at one time, Stubben’s was the only one left by the 1980s and PJ took great pride in his work.
Having been between England and Ennistymon his entire life, PJ’s interview gives an insight on how Ennistymon through the years, has in his words, “changed beyond recognition”.
PJ passed away in 2009 and was laid to rest in the Old Cemetery, Ennistymon.
I was thrilled to be joined by the brilliant Anne Doyle and Pearse Street icon Betty Ashe yesterday for the launch of the next phase of the Vanishing Ireland project – the Vanishing Ireland Podcast Series. Please see https://t.co/1UgptuRIQa for more pic.twitter.com/K3IwxhVeue
— Turtle Bunbury (@turtlebunbury) May 19, 2021
Vanishing Ireland with Turtle Bunbury has now become a podcast series, which aims to celebrate the life stories, challenges, courage, kindness and humour of the over 70s.
The series seeks to document the, very often, extraordinary lives of our older population in a way that celebrates the past while informing younger generations in shaping the future.
This new series aims to highlight the wealth of humour, resilience and wisdom from Ireland’s elders. Created in audio format, Turtle will discuss life and its learnings with people across Ireland, saving and celebrating their voices for future generations.
“Twenty years ago, I teamed up with the renowned photographer James Fennell to create what became the first Vanishing Ireland book,” Mr Bunbury said.
“We knew how important it was to chronicle the experience of our older generations, so many of whose fascinating lives were literally vanishing, unrecorded.
“Introducing the voices of Vanishing Ireland to the podcast generation is an entirely new departure for our elders but is deeply exciting and very much in keeping with our aims.
“It is my great hope that listening to these interviews – the wisdom, the humour, the memories – will enhance the way we live our own lives.”
Former broadcaster Anne Doyle described the series as a special one that has “captured history forever”.
“I am delighted to work alongside SuperValu and Turtle Bunbury to ensure these stories are available for many generations to come,” she said.
“I encourage you to enter family members to be part of this wonderful series. It’s high time we hear from our older generation and revisit our past with its rich history. We can all learn something from the experience.”
The hope is for Vanishing Ireland supported by SuperValu to inspire children and grandchildren to listen to the stories of their own parents and grandparents, as well as older friends and neighbours, creating a record of memories for future generations.
Those who would like to put forward friends or family over 70s, are asked to email email@example.com or visit Vanishingireland.com. Closing date for entries is Friday, June 4.