Between 2001 and 2013, historian Turtle Bunbury and photographer James Fennell met with over 300 people from Ireland aged between 70 and 108. The subjects of their interviews were primarily working class Irish – blacksmiths, fishermen, farmers, dockers and nurses – as well as priests, nuns, teachers and representatives of disappearing professions like saddlers, thatchers, lace-makers and turf-cutters.
The stories appeared in four volumes of the ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series, published by Hachette. The Irish Independent described the series as ‘an invaluable record of times past’. The first, second and fourth volumes were all short-listed for Best Irish Published Book of the Year. It was a wonderful project to work upon and hopefully some day we will find the opportunity to produce a fifth volume.
The books are increasingly hard to find but I have placed the content of the (extended) interviews online at the links below.
For anyone new to the Vanishing Ireland project, you might also consider joining the Vanishing Ireland Facebook Group.
VOLUME 4 – FRIENDSHIP & COMMUNITY
2. Jimmy Murphy (farmer, born 1951), Cill Rialaig, County Kerry
3. Micheál Ó Braonáin (storyteller & electrician, born 1954), Ballinskelligs, County Kerry
4. Willie Joe Cronin (farmer, born 1956), Ballinskelligs, County Kerry
5. Tom Horgan (weather observer, born 1938), Waterville, County Kerry
6. Joe C Keating (builder & salvage expert, born 1931), Ballinskelligs, County Kerry
7. Christy Kate O’Sullivan (farmer, born 1951), Ballinskelligs, County Kerry
8. Bill Martin (1921-2019) & Birdie Martin (b. 1931), Ballitore, County Kildare
9. Coleman Coyne (1925-2016), Fisherman & Seaweed Harvester), Kilkiean Bay, Co. Galway
10. Máirtín Joyce (1935-2016), Fisherman, Factory Worker & Oarsman), Kilkiean Bay, Co. Galway
11. Brendan Drewett (b. 1933, Boxer & Cotton Mills Fitter), Naas, County Kildare
12. Joe Waldron (b. 1933, Painter), Naas, County Kildare
13. Kathleen Doyle (b. 1930, Telephonist), Naas, County Kildare
14. Jackie Bracken (b. 1932, Cobbler & Power Station Worker), Naas, County Kildare
15. Michael Kane (b. 1931, Works Manager), Naas, County Kildare
16. Sean Whelan (b. 1927, Compositor & Printer), Naas, County Kildare
17. Noel Sheridan (b. 1927, Post Office Worker & Philatelist), Naas, County Kildare
18. Mick Cronin (b. 1930, Textile Manufacturer & Electrician), Naas, County Kildare
19. Bridget Aspell (1910-2014), Shop Assistant and Housewife), Yellowbog, Kilcullen, County Kildare
20. Father Laurence Walsh – Born 1929 – Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
21. Father Ciarán Ó Sabhaois (1926-Oct 2015) – Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
22. Brother Niall Maguire (1914-Feb 2014) – Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
23. Father Éanna Henderson – Born 1925 – Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
24. Dom Colmcille O’Toole (1925-Dec 2014)– Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
25. Seamus Vaughan (1922-2013), Clothes Merchant & Turf Cutter, Upper Dirreen, Athea, County Limerick
26. Sonaí Choilm Learaí Ó Conghaile (b. 1945, Melodeon Player & Fisherman), Coradh Bhuí, Leitir Meallaín, Contae na Gaillimh
27. Denis Lee (1923–2012) – Blacksmith, Sheep Shearer, Hackney Driver & Drummer – Inistioge, County Kilkenny
28. Patsy Dalton (b. 1950, Denim Manufacturer, Chef and & Turf Cutter), Athea, County Limerick
29. Roisin Folan (b. 1929, District Nurse & Midwife), Lurgan village, Inisheer, Aran Islands, County Galway
30. Sonny Egan (b. 1932, Hackney Driver and Farmer), Ferbane, County Offaly
31. Eamonn King (b. 1937, Cattle Farmer & Horse Breeder) – Farravaun, Glann, Oughterard, County Galway
32. James Ridge (b. 1959, Farmer & Seaweed Gatherer), Cashel, County Galway
33. Penny & Bridget O’Malley (b. 1932 & 1937), Aillebrack, County Galway
34. Tom Sheehan (Schoolteacher & Actor, 1931-2017), Kilbaha, Moyvane, County Kerry
36. Hannah Leahy (1919-2015, Country Markets Secretary & Treasurer), Annesgift, County Tipperary
37. Martin Nee (b. 1941, Bar Manager & Connemara Pony Breeder), Doonreaghan, Cashel, County Galway
38. Seamus McGrath (1921-2014), Farmer & Actor), Killerig, County Carlow
39. Ellen O’Keefe (b. 1920, Houswife) Caherlaska, Co. Cork
40. Patsy Kingston (b. 1935, Farmer, Soldier and Bus Driver), Caherlaska, Co. Cork
41. Timmy O’Keefe (b. 1931, Farmer) Caherlaska, Co. Cork
42. Jimmy Ryan (1928-2018, Hurley Maker), Crosscannon, Killenaule, County Tipperary
43. Pat FitzPatrick (b. 1931, Farmer & Actor), Drumloona, Carrigallen, County Leitrim
VOLUME 3 – RECOLLECTIONS OF OUR CHANGING TIMES
Annie Conneally (housemaid, born 1919) Cloonisle, Co. Galway
Din Lane (turf dealer, born 1923) Glin, Co. Limerick
Eamon Madden (blacksmith & farrier, born 1924) Athenry, Co. Galway
Jack Lonergan (general factotum, born 1930) Tickincor, Co. Tipperary
JJ Hackett (harness maker & poet, 1937-2017) Ballinakill, Co. Westmeath
Joe Flynn (coal miner, born 1923, Arigna, Co. Roscommon)
John William Seoighe (currach oarsman & hooker sailor, 1919-2015) Rossaveal, Co. Galway
Joseph Hanrahan (farm labourer & trap driver, 1930-2015) Kilsheelan, Co. Tipperary
Liza Mulvahill (dairymaid & cook, 1915-2015) Moyvane, Co. Limerick
Maurice FitzGerald (farmer, 1919-2013) Glin, Co. Limerick
Moiky Kinnane (farmer, born 1932) Glenagragara, Co. Limerick
Paddy Faley (ganger, farmer & poet, 1919-2011) Ballyhahill, Co. Limerick
Tom Ned McMahon (builder & actor, 1919-2011) Kilfenora, Co. Clare
Sam Codd (bonesetter, farmer & horse trainer, 1926-2019) Aughrim, Co. Wicklow
Ogie Nolan (saddler & harness maker, 1922-2017) Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Mike Harte (cattle farmer, 1919-2015) Daingean, Co. Offaly
Betty Dempsey (mattress maker, 1921-2012) Pearse Sreet, Dublin City
George Hawkins (farmer, 1914-2013) Ballyhackett, Co. Carlow
Paddy Byrne (farm labourer & brewery worker, born 1924) Castledermot, Co. Kildare
May Morris (factory worker, born 1913) Castledermot, Co. Kildare
John Joe Conway (cattle farmer & horse breeder, born 1935) Knockanedan, Co. Clare
Tomas O Niallain (farmer, musician & policeman, born 1932) Gort, Co. Galway
Jimmy Fanning (farm labourer & fiddler, born 1942) Glenbally Valley, Co. Kilkenny
Terry Reilly (farmer, born 1927) Corracar, Co. Leitrim
John Abbott (farmer, 1931-2017) Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim
Christy Waldron (clock & watch repairman, born 1932) Cloghanover, Co. Galway
Willie Sheehan (cattle breeder & shoemaker, born 1917) Clonwalsh, Co. Tipperary
Nellie Shortall (shopkeeper & cook, born 1913) Fethard, Co. Tipperary
Pat Green (farmer & fisherman, born 1926) Damhros, Co. Galway
Connie Brennan (child minder & hotel cleaner, born 1929) Inchicore, Dublin City
Jenny Cullen (factory worker, 1925-2010) Inchicore, Dublin City
Mary Parkinson (garment manufacturer & record salesman, born 1932) Inchicore, Dublin City
Maureen Tierney (laundry & factory worker, born 1920) Inchicore, Dublin City
Maisie Granelle (seamstress, born 1925) Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Danny Cullen (haulier, 1920-2009) Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Patricia Tiernan (clerk, 1921-2013) Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone
VOLUME 2 – FURTHER CHRONICLES OF A DISAPPEARING WORLD
CHAPTER 1 – OF CATTLE, FISH, PUMPKINS & TREES
1. Baby Rudden (cattle farmer, 1923-2015) Redhills, Co. Cavan.
2. Denis Galvin (cattle farmer, born 1945) Stradbally, Co Kerry.
3. Eugene Brady (pumpkin farmer, born 1931) Camagh, Co Longford.
4. Jim ‘Tailor’ O’Malley (farmer, 1925-2016) Kilsallagh, Co Mayo.
5. George Thomas (farmer, 1926-2009) Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.
6. Jackie Wilson (farmer, born 1936) Rathmelton, Co Donegal.
7. Jack Conolly (1916-2013), (farmer) Glin, Co Limerick.
8. Johnny Fyfe (farm manager / gardener, 1930-2012) Killegar, Co Leitrim.
9. Timmy Kelleher (farmer, born 1925) Dingle, Co Kerry.
10. Paddy Heneghan (ghillie, 1922-2012) Delphi, Co Mayo.
11. Joe Muldoon (farmer, born 1931) Ballymote, Co Sligo.
12. John Carson (farmer, born 1928) Inishmore, Co Fermanagh.
13. Noel Robinson (farmer, born 1939) Coole, Co Westmeath.
14. Mick King (farmer, 1924-2013) Lanmore, Co Mayo.
15. Cathy Dowling (farmer, 1917-2017) Castledermot, Co Carlow.
CHAPTER 2 – OF PULPITS, STAGE & SEANNACHIE
1. Betty Scott (cook and actress, 1923-2013) Ballybit, Co Carlow.
2. Nellie Kelly (singer, 1922-2007) Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
3. Christy Kelly (musician, 1933-2007) Nenagh. Co Tipperary.
4. Mary Maddison (storyteller, born 1931) Beara Peninsula, Co Cork.
5. Mick Lavelle (entertainer, 1930-2013) Westport, Co Mayo.
6. Very Rev Patrick Gill (parish priest, born 1927) Lecanvey, Co Mayo.
CHAPTER 3 – OF CRAFTS, TRADES & PUBS
1. Stevie Kelleher (hackney driver, 1930-2014) Dingle, Co Kerry.
2. Anastasia ‘Statia’ Kelly (seamstress, 1903-2011) Rathdowney, Co Laois.
3. Bernie Dwyer (butcher, 1936-2014) Ballymote, Co Sligo.
4. Edward Hayes (butler, 1924-2012) Kells, Co Meath.
5. Eileen Hall (shopkeeper, born 1924) Killevan, Co Monaghan.
6. Francie McFadden (gravedigger, 1929-2013) Ballymote, Co Sligo.
7. Gretta Carter (lacemaker, 1921-2018) Borris, Co Carlow.
8. Johnny and James McGarvey (labourers, born 1938, 1942) Clones, Co Monaghan.
9. Jim Kielty (hackney driver, born 1917) Ballymote, Co Sligo.
10. Joan Crowley (publican & fiddler, 1922-2017) Kenmare, Co Kerry.
11. Joe McCabe (hurler, 1919-2019) Ballyroan, Co Laois.
12. Micky Lalor (water diviner, 1931-2017) Abbeyleix, Co Laois.
13. John Mathis (thatcher, c. 1927-2014) Annagassan, Co Louth.
14. Johnny Golden (mechanic and sexton, 1937-2010) Dogarry, Co Cavan.
15. Liam O’Shea (blacksmith, born 1927) Lauragh, Co Kerry.
16. Nana McKenny (nurse and nanny, born 1918) Ardee, Co Louth.
17. PJ Davis (mechanic and steelworker, 1924-2009) Ennistymon, Co Clare.
18. Sonny Kinsella (engineer, born 1928) Dublin City.
19. Bart Nolan (docker, born 1929) Dublin City.
20. Teresa McGerty (publican, born 1925) Longfield, Co Cavan.
21. Willie Davey (labourer, born 1940) Ballymote, Co Sligo.
22. Frank O’Brien (publican, 1922-2017) Athy, Co Kildare.
VOLUME ONE – VANISHING IRELAND
CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS
1. Paddy Gleeson (farmer, 1904-2010) Bodyke, Co. Clare.
2. Stephen John Tierney (farmer, 1935-2010) Lough Corrib, Co. Galway.
3. Henry Chapman (gamekeeper, born 1928) Kilruddery, Co. Wicklow
4. Red Tom (shepherd, 1922-2009) Kilruddery, Co. Wicklow.
5. John Shannon (cattle farmer, 1922–2005) Ennistymon, Co. Clare.
6. Jos Donnelly (farmer, 1920-2016) Ballymac, Co. Offaly.
7. Con Riordan (farmer, 1912-2008) Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry.
8. Paddy Walsh (farmer, 1928-2011) Derrinlaur, Co. Tipperary.
9. Johnny Walsh (forester, born 1932) Derrinlaur, Co. Tipperary.
10. Paddy Fagin (forester-farmer, born 1924) Enfield, Co. Meath.
11. John Murphy (gardener-farmer, 1925–2006) Waterville, Co. Kerry.
12. Mick Kenneally (potato & cattle farmer, 1939-2013) Cloonanaha, Co. Clare.
13. Atty Dowling (farm labourer, 1916–2005) Tobinstown, Co. Carlow.
14. Paddy Lowry (farmer, 1919-2013) Forelacka, Co. Offaly.
15. John Coady (sheep farmer, 1927-2017) Rahanna, Co. Carlow.
16. Jack McNamara (farmer, 1923–2005) Kilkishin, Co Clare.
17. Bob Mullins (shrubber, born 1921) Garbally, Co. Tipperary.
18. Mike Burke (cattle farmer, 1926-2016) Kilmeena, Co. Mayo.
19. Mick Gallagher (farm labourer, born 1932) Gleann, Co. Sligo.
CHILDREN OF THE MUSIC
1. Michael “Patsy” Flanagan (farmer-drummer, 1924-2009) Bartra, Co. Clare.
2. Pat Gleeson (farmer-fiddler, 1913–2006) Belmont, Co. Offaly.
3. Donal Duffy (forester-piper, 1920-2007) Ravensdale, Co. Louth.
4. Robbie McMahon (farmer-singer, 1926-2012) Spancil Hill, Co. Clare.
5. Mike Murphy (taxi driver–fiddler, born 1937) Ennistymon, Co. Clare.
6. Pat Pigott (born 1931) & John Pigott (1931-2014) (1931-2014), farmers-accordion players, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry.
7. Kitty Crowe (singer – community champion, 1926-2009) Ringsend, Dubin 4.
8. Chris Droney (dairy famer – concertina, born 1925) Bell Harbour, Co. Clare.
9. Paddy Canny (farmer-fiddler, 1919-2008) Kilcannon, Co. Clare.
CHILDREN OF THE HORSE
1. Doc Morrissey (horseman, born 1935) Portlaw, Co. Waterford.
2. Festus Nee (pony whisperer, c. 1934-2008) Cashel, Co. Galway.
3. Jack ‘Ginger’ Powell (vet, 1913-2015) Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.
4. Johnny Hutchinson (horse coper, born 1931) Borris, Co. Carlow.
5. Rory Kilduff (saddler, born 1922) Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.
6. Mick Lawlor (trap driver, 1927–2004) Borris, Co. Carlow.
7. Bill Burgess (amateur jockey, 1902–2007) Tobinstown, Co. Carlow.
8. Jack Lowry (blacksmith, born 1923) Mountrath, Co. Laois.
CHILDREN OF THE TRADE
1. Mick Staunton (fruit seller, 1930-2017) Kinvara, Co. Galway.
2. John Flynn (thresher, born 1943) Ballyduff Upper, Co. Waterford.
3. Bob Murphy (gardener, 1909–2002) Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.
4. Tom Frawley (publican, 1920-2014) Lahinch, Co. Clare.
5. Margaret Shortt (ladies maid, 1925-2013) Birr, Co. Offaly.
6. Nellie O’Toole (nurse & housekeeper, 1908-2010) Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.
7. Jack O’Neill (builder, 1925–2007) Tuckmill Cross, Co. Wicklow.
8. Michael Brennan Roe (coal miner, born 1937) Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.
9. Kathleen Lynam (born 1930, parlour maid) Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow.
10. Kathleen Keogh (born 1925, factory worker) Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow.
CHILDREN OF THE WATER
1. Frank Maher (fisherman – carpenter, 1936-2014) Doneraile, Co. Cork.
2. John Cooney (postman, 1922-2016) Achill Island, Co. Mayo.
3. Mickey King (postmaster – politician, 1925-2006) Errislannan, Co. Galway.
4. Pat ‘Rua’ O’Reilly (fisherman, 1907-2007) Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
5. Willy O’Reilly (fisherman, 1914-2010) Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
6. Tom Connolly (boat driver, 1917-2008) Rathangan, Co. Kildare.
7. Paddy Scanlan (lighthouse keeper, 1926-2016) Rosses Point, Co. Sligo.
The following have also been interviewed for the Vanishing Ireland Project:
1. Peter Ward (forester) Aileenacally, Co Galway.
2. Owen Campbell (publican, 1940-2009) Westport, Co Mayo.
3. Matilda McBride (farmer) Kinitty, Co Offaly.
4. Shaunie Quinlan (gravedigger) Kilsheelan, Co Tipperary.
5. Jack Nestor (council worker) Ennistymon, Co Clare.
6. Paddy Heaney (historian & farmer) Cadamstown, Co Offaly.
7. May Malone (seamstress) Henrietta Street, Dublin.