Mary Coyle (née Roche) (b. 1944)
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Mary Coyle (née Roche) (b. 1944)


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Mary Coyle has spent the last 41 years in Kill, but her story in this recording relates to her early days growing up in Allenwood Middle. She was born into a large family that inhabited a thatched mud cabin. All of the children in the family were assigned their own tasks and Mary’s job was to bring the ass and cart along the old bog pathway where she would pile turf onto the cart and draw it home for fuel for the fire. She recalls the primitive living conditions of those days, without electricity or running water, and the real contentment achieved despite those hardships. Everything was kept brilliantly clean, and Mary describes the beesmon which was a bunch of tough heather tied to a stick for sweeping the floors. The storage of food for the winter was vital work, and one of her father’s tasks was to save the potatoes by placing them in a hollow in the ground and covering them with thick straw. Mary’s mother was a great accordion player and would bring her young daughter along to the local house dances where she played. She recalls the wakes, the marriages and religious practices, nicknames for local people, fieldnames and pastimes.

Additional information



Audio series:

Kildare county, first series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

54.13 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Growing up in Allenwood

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe