Ann Giltenane’s family home during her childhood was located in the townland of Curraghbeg. The local railway station was close to the family farm and the line ran through their farmland. She has many stories to tell about travelling by train to school and on excursions to Foynes for the regattas, and to view the flying-boats there. Her father, John Sheehan, was a stonemason and he worked on the building of the hotel in Foynes which was also to be used as a fever hospital for the treatment of patients suffering from tuberculosis. He also built many of the West Limerick Marian grottos during the Marian Year of 1954.
Ann recounts a story told to her by a villager relating to the building of the Town Hall in Adare. Her father was working on one of the chimneys in the building on a very warm day. One of his colleagues went to the nearby pub and bought a bottle of porter or beer for him to quench his thirst. Shortly afterwards they were surprised by a visit from the inspector from the Manor. Thinking quickly, he hid the bottle in a block and cemented it up, and it still remains in situ in one of the chimneys to this day! Ann recalls the coach-and-four run by the Dunravens during the years of World War II, servicing Adare, Rathkeale and the city of Limerick. She explains that the people of Adare came together to help one another during this time with threshing and with other farming activities. Another memory drifts to the surface as she explains that Tom Hehir from the Manor would deliver milk to the villagers. Black Abbey Creamery in the village is recalled, as is the manager, Tom Mulqueen, who drove one of the few cars in the area: Reg No. IU 572 . Black Abbey butter was famous and the butter-maker was Kit Cronin. Ann’s brother, Billy Sheehan, would be seen with his white horse pulling a specially designed tank of milk to the creamery, and the long queue of farmers which stretched up the village as they awaited their turn to deposit their milk are remembered. Ann remembers Smith’s grocery and drapery shop which she describes in detail. Mary Hogan presided behind the counter and Nora Collins was the accountant for the business. Ann’s son, Michael Giltenane, was also present during the compilation of this recording, and he explains that his ancestors were involved in the Troubles of the early 20th century. His grandfather, Gerry Giltenane, was the local IRA Commandant and his grandmother, Margaret Fitzgibbon, was a member of Cumann na mBan. The family farmhouse at Adamstown was a safe house, and Michael describes the subsequent discovery of grenades in the house by the family. Ann mentions her professional life as a nurse in Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick for four years and later at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital. Many wonderful and memorable evenings of dancing in local houses in the 1950s are recalled, as are musicians Cahill, O’Neill and Scanlon. She also has fond memories of the “spotted dick” and tea which was served. The Dunraven Arms Hotel in the village was an exclusive hotel in the 1950s, she explains, and she recalls Miss O’Hehir who was the manageress there. The Adare Cigarette Company, set up by Windham Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven, at the turn of the 20th century, is discussed. The local West Limerick farmers would propagate the tobacco seed and the timber frames installed for this purpose at Farm Lodge at Kyleavarraga Middle in Adare are well remembered today by Ann Giltenane.