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To find John Roche (87), I travelled out of Glenbeigh on a long and narrow bohereen until finally I came to an isolated cottage situated right on the bay, home to the Roche family for many generations. The family fished all their lives for shellfish. John told me in this recording that he learned from his mother how the local women would leave the area on an ass and cart, and travel into Killarney with their load of shellfish, and sell it by the side of the road. John took up the practice, bringing his catch to Tralee, where he was known as ‘The Cockle Man’. For many years he stood in the Square selling his cockles, mussels and periwinkles. When the season finished, he would travel to England working on the beet, and at other times he would travel to the county of Offaly, and work for Bord na Mona, cutting the turf. In more recent times the mussel beds in the bay have been fished out.

Keywords: Glenbeigh, village, shellfish, fishing, Killarney, beet, cockles and mussels, Bord na Mona, turf

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

Kerry county, fourth series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

50.63 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



A cockle and mussel merchant

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe