Philip Kelly grew up in Millstreet, Thomastown, where all the local people were employed by Pilsworth Mill and Farm. The local people were also fishermen, working with the cots. At the age of 15, Philip started work in the mill as a carpenter, under the guidance of his father. A very comprehensive account of how the milling was carried out is given in this recording. Finally, the changing economic climate forced the mill to close down. Also discussed in this interview was Philip’s father’s involvement in the Troubles and old photographs were used to illustrate the lives of the local people and their home places.
Part two of the interview starts with the story of Jerpoint Abbey over the last century. A small bridge has disappeared, as have two cottages, built against the gable wall. Across the road, in Deedy’s old mill, Philip describes its former workings in great detail. The conversation turned to the very frugal lifestyle of people in the old days. A very good account was given of all the merchants in Thomastown and their occupations, also of the street names and their origins. He finished with a very clear account of the Great Flood of 1947, and its effects. A photograph was shown of some of the workers in Pilsworth’s Flour Mills. These included Tom Walsh, James O’Neill and his son Paddy, Jim Power and Joe Devoy. The recording ends with an old song, handed down through the Kelly family, about the river and Grennan House.
Keywords: Thomastown, local historian, Pilsworth flour mill, Great Flood 1947, landscape, carpenter, milling, Jerpoint Abbey, merchants, song, Grennan House