I am Peggy. Daughter of Daniel Stephen and Mary Crowley, nee Mehigan. I was born in Cork, in Togher, on December 19th, 1909. I went to Togher National School. The Headmistress was Miss O’ Callaghan, long since dead and gone. A junior teacher, Miss O’ Leary later became Mrs. Danny Hobbs.
I made my first communion on May 1st 1915 and my confirmation on 6th June 1919. Nanna Magee died the same day. I got married to Joe Hyland on 6th June Peadar’s birthday and Ells Holy Communion Day. She wore a pale blue suit, a white straw hat with elastic under her chin, and white socks which took the heals off her.
Well after all that, I had four real children, Paul, Audrey, May and Ciaran. I had two others, Jacinta and Ciaran, but God took these within a few weeks. Paul was the first herring up the stream. Well, Paul stayed only a while, but while he was here he was like a summer’s day, sunny and breezy, and as free as the wind, and like a hurricane when rage caught up with him. Audrey, the sweet singer, the globetrotter, the beloved of her grandfather; May, the Molly Malone; Ciaran, the Rock.
The Hyland family
Joe & Peggy Hyland with daughter Audrey(?) But I am in fits of laughter as I write this. Father of a Sunday morning. Timid and less timid digs at his bulk in the bed, poking him out of it, as nothing was complete when he was not up among us. Then he came down the stairs, had his breakfast and started to shave with his braces hanging down and he singing while we played horses with his braces. And he never checked us. Then he would give a little jump, pretending he was jumping over a ditch, I suppose for our benefit.
Then polishing Mickey’s shoes and off to Mass. Gosh, if he loved us as much as we loved him, then Heaven is his bed. What wonderful Christmases we had.
Well I remember going down the river in the boat; going down town on a Saturday evening, all dressed up, doing Pana; and making our own dresses. I remember Burkey Brian and the day I shook hands with Tom Dukelow with a wet chamois glove on my hand; and Jack Deasy meeting us inside Arcadia. What a happy, happy life we had.
Jerry going up to mind the crow’s and hiding under the stalks the way the crows would not see him and we went to call him for breakfast, we could not find him, and how could we when he was fast asleep under the potato stalks.
And Pulling up the white turnips and sticking the green leaves back in the earth, thinking we were fooling father, and biting the apples on the tree without picking them to see if they were sweet or not.
And “Willie, what’s your name?” ” I am fathers Willie.” And turning to Jerry, “What’s your name?” “I am Jerry myself”. This used to happen when Miss Jule asked Jerry and Billy their names. And of course D for Devil, and D for Dan. What a villain. But how we loved him. God gave him back to us when he was very sick long ago.. I always think of the first night he came home from hospital, when he got up and made himself two bates of bread and a hunk of onion and ate them like a horse, and suddenly we were all laughing because Dan had eaten something of his own when he had heaps of willing maids. Then we knew he was ok. And one night he came home unexpectedly as a soldier in uniform during the anxious time in the war, and Paul in his excitement and pride in his gallant uncle, asked him, “Do you eat sticks? Uncle Dan”.
And then Una, the darling of mother’s heart, and she well deserved it. Some bond between Una and Mother that no power in heaven and earth could come between. But mother loved us all and would not part with any of us.
No one could call us a musical family. But for all that, there was plenty of songs and music going on all the time. Myself, Jerry and Billy learned to play the violin in the old School of Music and we were fairy good at it. The gramophone was always available and frequently in use. What a really beautiful piece of furniture the cabinet was. Some of the records I can remember, Caruso, Casey at the wake, Gems from Maritana, I hear you calling me, Memories of Lehar, including You are my hearts delight, so much a favourite of Dan’s; Old faithful, It’s a sin to tell a lie, Tip toe through the tulips, Una’s favourite; You are my sunshine and lots and lots of others.
There were a few parties every year, particularly around Christmas time. Most used try to sing and some could sing fairly well, while some attempted it not at all – May and Eileen were two right crows.