Martin O’Keeffe (b. 1912), Part I
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Martin O’Keeffe (b. 1912), Part I


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Track 1. Martin O’Keeffe explains that his father, Seamus, used to pilot boats up the Shannon river, as did his father before him. The family home was situated between Carrigaholt and Querrin on the Shannon estuary. His father emigrated to America, returning after his father’s death. Martin describes the skills of navigating the Shannon, knowing all the nooks and crannies. Track 2. When Martin was old enough to join his father he began to fish with him on a Galway hooker, and he later worked on the turf boats up and down the Shannon. He recalls listening to his mother, Kate O’Brien, playing the concertina, and he explains that he left home to join Tony Taltey, a fisherman in Dunbeg. Local pastimes are recalled, which included the GAA, handball and pitch and toss. He describes the fishing and selling herring and mackerel locally, and sending the salmon to the markets in Dublin. Martin made his own lobster pots, he explains. Track 3. He recalls cutting turf out of Querrin bog and selling cart loads to the boats destined for Limerick. Martin emigrated to England in 1938 and returned again when war started. He describes what life was like in Co. Clare during the Emergency. He left Ireland at the age of 40 for New York, married Treasa Curley there and studied engineering at night school. Track 4. Visiting Ireland for the first time after thirty years, Martin compares life now in Co. Clare to what it was in earlier days. He recalls a day when tragedy struck, telling the story of his father’s drowning while trying to save another man.

Additional information



Audio series:

Kerry county, seventh series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

25.32 MB, 7.66 MB, 25.51 MB, 9.77 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Piloting on the Shannon

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore