Josie Machin

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A: We used to live in County Kildare in Ireland, a place called Ferns Lock.   Near Kincoch is a little town, we went to school there to the nuns but about 1930 we left and were transferred down to Galway.

Q: How old were you when you left the nuns?

A: About nine or ten.

Q: How many kids were in the classroom in those days?

A: Oh gosh there was at least 20 in every class, anything between 15 and 20 in each class.

Q: And were you all the same age?

A: oh no, some of us I was in fifth class I think when I left there, I was between nine or ten, some of them might be 12 some of them might be younger than me, all depends on their brains.

Q: And how did the teacher manage with all those different age groups?

A:  I mean if you passed from one at that time you had to do a bit of an exam before you past from one class to another so if you had the ability to go it would be stepped up to a certain class, it didn't matter what your age was like. Not too young now, the age limit say between 8 and 11 or 12. Cos some of the kids you see wouldn't come to school every day and they were a bit backward and that. We used to go in on the train in the morning, it was three miles walk.  We used to get in on the train, we were always late going into school, but that was agreed by the nuns you see.

Q: you were allowed to be late?

A: yes we were allowed to be late because the train came about quarter to ten at our station and it wouldn't arrive at the next station where we went to school till about ten o'clock and then we had a half a mile up the road to go down from the station to the school, so it was almost nearly half ten anyway we got into school.  And we had to stop by in the evening then for half an hour, we used to do our catechism and our bible.

Q: Was the school strict?

A: Yes god it was strict, my god I got plenty of walloping there.Walloped with those pointers for not knowing your catechism or not knowing your sums or not being able to spell or

something like that, silly things, they wouldn't do it now.

Q: Did you have to learn through Irish?

A: Some of the things through Irish yeah, I was hopeless

at Irish though.  But not everything, only one or two classes of Irish we'd have you know.

Q: Did you like Irish?

A: Yes and no, yes and no. I could read and write it all right and I could spell and I could write a composition and do certain things but I was never too keen on it really. Anyway we were there till I was about say nine or 10 years old and then my father was transfered down to Galways to a place called Namcross.

Q: Just go back to the school.  Did you make your holy communion in that school.

A: Oh yes. And me confirmation I made in Kilcoch.  A one street town, the convent was very nice though, we had a nice convent but the nuns were damned strict you know, they was real old fashioned at that time.

Q: Can you remember your communion?

A: I can quite well. I can remember me confirmation twice as well. For the confirmation, you see the Bishop would only comedown once every three or four years for confirmation and I was kind of young to be confirmed so there was friends of ours going to another school and we used to play with them in the evenings and they lived only up the road you see but they went to a different school, they went to a school called Newtown which was three miles in the other direction.  They were in a national school. So these couple of kids our pals was going to

the national school and we met  cos we never used to meet in church hardly cos they used to go to the other church as well. Anyway we met in the church for the confirmation and of course everyone was in white frocks and veils and one trying to out do the other, you know and when we saw the crowd from Newtown, all the kids from Newtown which wasn't a lot, well maybe there'd be two seats for them whereas  the convent school might have six or seven

seats fulls. One side boys and one side christian brothers was down the town as well and the boys were confirmed the same day. They were on one side of the church and we'd be on the other side. So when I saw my sister was with me as well, the two of us were confirmed together although she was two years older than me  I was only about nine, me sister was when I saw these crowd come from Newtown and this great friend of mine and she was I suppose three or four years older than I was but we were so full of giggles and we were sitting in the chapel and I'd be looking round at her and the minute I'd look around I'd make faces or something and the two of us, we had the whole place laughing, we were shaking with the laughing, you know that kind of thing when you get into a fit of laughter and you can't stop.  


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This page was added by Jacob Stevens on 06/02/2013.