Nonie Hardiman, Doonane
Memoirs of Nonie Hardiman (nee Keary) of Doonane which she wrote in her later life.
I was born here in this house on 31st August, 1926, the only child of Nora and Willie Keary. My mother was Conneely and lived here all her life. Her father was Tom Conneely and her mother was Nora Mannion from across the field. I scarcely remember my grandfather as I was only 4 years old when he died but have a vague recollection of walking with him down the boreen. My father came from Clooncureen. His father was Denis Keary and I remember him quite well. He was a strong man and well known character in the area. His wife Mary was Glynn from Cuddoo. There was a big family in Keary’s 7 boys and 2 girls. My grandmother Mary used to take me to Salthill on holidays when I was about 8 years old. She was a lovely woman and came to visit us on the pony and trap and we used to look forward very much to her visits.
House and village:
Doonane was a very small village when I was young. There were 7 or 8 houses and it has increased to 13 now. Most of the houses were thatched including our own. My father Willie was a great thatcher and always kept the house in good condition. The house had been originally built by Tom Conneely following his return from California in the 1880’s. It had a loft upstairs and 3 rooms downstairs and a big brick fireplace. All this remains the same to this day – except the addition of a bathroom and back kitchen in the 1970’s. We were the last house in the Parish. Outside our garden gate was Currandoo, above to the South was Cuddoo West which is in the Parish of Athenry.
At that time farmers harvested their own oats and barley. The straw was made into sheaves and when it was threshed was used for thatching the roof. The hazel rods (scallops they were called) were gathered and each end cut to a fine point and tied into bundles. The rods were supple and could be bent over to hold the thatch in place. A mallet was used to pound the sheaves of straw in place and make a neat and tidy thatch.
I started in Garbally National School when I was 5 years old. Katherine Kelly from next door brought me to school. All the Doonane children went to Garbally except the Kelly family whose mother was Grady from Tiaquin – so they were sent to Tiaquin National School.
At one time we had 4 teachers in Garbally. My teachers were Mrs Mangan, Nancy Snee, her brother Miko McElwaine, Mr Warde and, for a few months, Annie Finnerty who substituted for Mrs. Snee. My last few years were with Mr. McElwaine. He was a very good teacher and taught Irish, English, Maths, Geography, Religion and Singing.
There was no central heating in those days. The pupils had to bring turf for the fires of which there were three.