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Quilty Village

Quilty Long Ago

As this century opened Quilty was an active farming-fishing community. Its people made kelp and wrestled a hard living from the Atlantic. They fished for haddock, ling. and cod, using spillers, or very long lines, to catch this fish, and travelling four or five miles in their currachs out from Mutton Island and back to the banks. Mackerel were very plentiful, and the women cured the fish and packed them for export to America:

You couldn’t walk down the pier with the barrels of mackerel piled high as the house. All the women would be cutting them and cleaning them and salting and packing and they were all shifted to America.

Many changes come over the fishing scene:

Up to 1960’s currachs were used for fishing. After that boats with an engine were used and it was mostly lobster fishing. No mackerel were taken here for a long time. Now mackeral are being fished again.

Kelp was an important factor in the local economy in the early decades of this century. In the month of May came the "May goradh", the stir in the tide, which indicated that the weed was ripe and breaking off. Then the task of weed gathering began and all the families along the shore took part in the work. The weed was burned in pits or kilns to make the kelp and afterwards the kelp was brought into the store near Quilty Station where it was tested by a Mr. P.S. Carroll, agent for Fairlings Company of Galway. Good quality kelp fetched up to £10 or £12 a ton, but poorer stuff only made three pounds. As in all other places along the western seaboard kelp making has ceased in Quilty for many years.

The Griffins of Ennis, who kept large droves of cattle there, once owned Mutton Island. No family stayed there in winter during the last century, people lived there before then alright.

But one incident still stirs the memory of Quilty and that is the sinking of the Leon XIII and the rescue of its crew members by the Quilty fishermen on Oct. 2nd, 1907. The dramatic moment has gone into song and story, and has indeed acquired some of the characteristics of legend in its generous retelling over the decades. A local man recalled the stricken ship on that morning. One feature remained fixed in his mind and that was the sails. She was all white sails. He remember well seeing her. She was going towards Spanish Point and her rudder got broken off and she wheeled around and got sunk here off Quilty. The coastguards were back there then and they brought their boats down. However it was the local fishermen in their currachs who eventually saved the shipwrecked French sailors.

 

Abú Quilty Go Deo

In August 1935 this parish made football history when two local teams contested the Clare Senior Final in Miltown Malbay, the game was refereed by Joe Connole, Kilfenora.

Football history was made in Kilmurry.
In the Clare Senior Final of long long, ago,
When Kilmurry and Quilty squared up to do battle’,
In Jack Bonavilla’s own words "Abú Quilty go Deó".

Both teams in their prime they were stalwart and willing,
They had trained long and hard and were rearing to go.
No mercy was asked, and no quarter was given,
Until the final whistle; "Abú Quilty go Deó".

Killmurry played well, and they rose to the challenge,
Their tally was six points and just one mighty goal,
With two goals and five points Quilty had the advantage,
When that great game it ended "Abú Quilty go Deó".

So in Kilmurry Ibrickane we made football history,
The year nineteen thirty five we’ll record in folklore,
When two teams from the parish contested the final,
Again to quote Jack "Bonavilla", "Abú Quilty go Deó".

The names of these players I would now like to mention,
The bed of heaven to most, I solute those alive,
To this parish they brought so much pride and such honour,
In that Clare County final, in Nineteen thirty five.

Quilty lined up with Martin Callinan as goalie
Jack Cleary, Kane Walsh, John Kenny full back
Micko Keating, Paddy Galvin and Jack "Bonavilla"
In centerfield John Joe Healy and ‘Terrier’ Downes didn’t lack

McInerneys were there in full force in the forwards
Paddy goal scorer, Jodie, John Máirtín,
Marcus Walsh had a goal, aided by Tommy Mangan
Sonny Casey claimed five points he was fired up and mean.

Killmurry on their side had five sets of brothers
Martin Flynn, goalie, and Michael, each played well in his role
As did also their neighbours Joe and Micko Murphy
Timmy Donnellan who pointed and Birdie scored a goal,

Dan Fitzpatrick and Paddy on the day played a blinder
Paddy added a point or was it two or more
Dowds, Patrick and Joe they weren’t found wanting
And a third brother Michael, completed the score,

Martin Falsey, their uncle, was there in the backs,
As were Timmie Scanlon and Johnie Lillis I know.
And at last but not least was Jimmie McNamara,
In the forward line on that day long ago.

All that’s left now is the subs for to mention,
For Kilmurry, Charlie Carthy, John Haugh and John Joe Corry
Then Frankie Keane, Geddie Creahan and Paddy Joe Sexton
For the winning team.

N.B. This poem was writing by Monica Sterling a past pupil of Cloonadrum N.S. Details of the match were supplied by Jack Sexton of Bonnavilla. Our parish has a long tradition of Gaelic Footbal and many of those mentioned in the poem have grand children or great-grand children playing football for the parish at the moment.

 

 

 

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