By John O’Hagan – Cattor, at age 91 in 1988
I was at Eskra School and six of us were taken down to the Bridge School to try and keep the numbers up. It was only a wee hut of a thing, it was tarra when I think of it! Master McCarroll was our teacher. I remember slates were used for writing on but I can’t remember much about having books.
I can clearly remember the master sitting by the fire with big leggings on him. Mind you, he could hit you with the can alright! I remember Maggie Tighe at school and Sam Mitchell. Maggie’s not long dead and Sam, at the age of 102, died recently.
Paddy Paul lived beside the Parochial House. Fr. O’Harte kept cattle and he took them to two or three fairs and didn’t sell. He took them to Clogher this day and Paddy Paul went over to him and says, “Father, what did you get for this one?”
The priest just said, “I’ll be fit to carry home what I got!”
John Doyle lived where Packie McCarroll and family live now, hence the name Doyle’s Cross. Brannigan’s lived where the McGirrs live now and that crossroads was known as Brannigan’s Cross for years. Mrs Mulligan of Eskra was one of the Brannigans.
There used to be two old ladies lived over where Patsy Devine has the farm. They were Rosie and Biddy. They never had an oil lamp. They had a half pint bottle, full of paraffin oil and which hung out of it. I often went over to see them. It didn’t give them much light, but they couldn’t read anyway and the house was full of smoke. They kept a cow and every other day they’d put a halter on her and take her out to graze. She’d graze up to the crossroads, up one side and down the other.
Their brother would come to our house on his ceili and he’d go on up to McK…s. They were two old men, who lived up the road. There were big joices across the kitchen ceiling of their house. The hens would roost up on them. You’d have to watch where you’d sit! Ned Caulfield lived in the same house. They had a very hard life. They wore old hats which were green with age. They owned a farm of land but sure they couldn’t manage it.
Andy B… and the wife lived up that wee lane. He was a hard man. He used to count the eggs before he sent his wife to McCarroll’s shop with them and he used to lift the potatoes in a bag out in the field and he’d hoist it up on her shoulders and she’d carry them in.
Owen Rodgers from Fintona used to come here with a ‘tay cart’, Managhan’s had a grocery van and so had Arthur McCarroll. Mother used to make oaten bread at the hearth and John Doyle would be on McCarroll’s cart and he’d get his tea here and a good feed of oatcake.
Owen Hackett’s lorry came as far as Maggie Tighe’s and turned. I remember Owen Brennan and Frank Nugent in Newtownsaville before Dan McSorley and Owen Hackett took over.
Oh, such changes!!
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