Kelly, Michael (Mike)
Date of Birth: 9th December 1932
Place of Birth: Ballymurtagh, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Date Interviewed: 21st April 2009
Summary: On Part 1 Mike Kelly talks of his family background and of life in Ireland prior to WW2. More than half of houses at the time were thatched and he talks of the damage caused by birds, the constant risk of fire, smoky chimneys, and the sound of crickets coming from the fireplace. Mike describes the art of pipe-smoking and details the various rituals involved. He looks back at the type of clothing people wore and the different ways they entertained themselves. Card parties and house dances were held and everyone looked forward to the arrival of the travelling cinema. He recalls how there used to be rows and rows of bicycles outside the church where today there are none. The CD concludes with Mike reciting one of his own poems called “Crickets”. On Part 2 Mike looks back on the years of WW2, known as “the Emergency”. Food and goods were scarce and ration books were issued. These had to be used in the same shop – a great way to ensure customer loyalty! Recycling was the order of the day. Hobnailed boots were scarce also and people resorted to using wooden soles instead. A loaf of bread was 7 pence, sugar 6 pence, 10 ‘fags’ (cigarettes) cost 6 pence and the Echo newspaper 2 pence. People snared or lamped rabbits and chickens were sent by post to the UK. The bicycle was the transport of choice for most but having no lamp on your bike could land you in trouble with the law. Mike recalls what life was like in Enniscorthy – the people, the businesses, and the odours. He even remembers when the Enniscorthy police got their very first squad car – registration ZO 7521.