About Mikey Conneely
Mikey Conneely was born on Inisheer to John and Norah Conneely in 1912. John was known as Johnny Tom Andie and, due to his trade, an siúinéira (the carpenter). Throughout his life, Mikey was known as Mac Johnny Tom Andie (son of Johnny Tom Andie), Mikey an t-siúinéira (Mikey of the carpenter) and he signed his name Michael Conneely (John).
Mikey learned the craft of currach building from his father who was mostly self-taught. His father had acquired his carpentry skills working on the church on Inisheer which was built at the beginning of the twentieth century. Mikey also had experience of working currachs from time spent fishing in his early years.
Mikey married Sarah Teresa (née Flaherty) and together they raised a family on the island. Between family life, farming, carpentry and fishing, Mikey was kept busy building currachs for orders from the three Aran Islands and the mainland. Sarah Teresa was central to the enterprise as she took care of procuring materials and all correspondence relating to currach orders. The women of Inisheer were often better educated as the young boys preferred to spend time out of school working on the land and fishing.
Mikey’s currachs were very well-regarded among the fishing communities of Galway and Clare and among folklorists who sought good quality examples of Ireland’s traditional currach. Mikey Conneely passed away in 1996.