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Mikey's daughter Máire shares her memories of NMI's visit to Inis Oírr

Conneely children playing with currachs
I remember when the letter came from the National Museum asking my father would he make them a currach. He was more than happy to do that, and my mother wrote back to make the arrangements; she was better at writing than him, and she was his secretary. We children were really looking forward to it as they were to be on the island for more than a week, and we knew that we stood to gain something as well, sweets and the like.
My mother ordered the wood from McDonagh's shop in Galway and it came in on the Naomh Éanna. We helped my father to bring it up from the beach.

We were unable to begin working on the currach until the team from the museum were there, because photos were to be taken and a report to be made about all of the work. We couldn´t wait!

It was arranged that they would stay in lodgings with Maim O´Donnell, who lives next door to us. I saw a photo that was taken in that house, with Maim and her family, in a book from the museum recently, and I am sure that it was Brendan Doyle who took it at that time. It is obvious from the photo that they were in the music house, and I am sure that Brendan and John O´Sullivan enjoyed themselves.

They came down every morning after breakfast and they were there all day. The currach was being made on the sand outside the house, so we children were able to keep an eye on all the work. We were surprised that they were so interested in the work, they were writing down every word that my father said. Of course, pictures were being taken of all the work. My mother had a job chasing us away, telling us not to be getting under their feet! They were both very good-natured and so they were tormented by us! Of course, they had sweets in their pockets too!

We missed them when they left, and my mother and father really enjoyed their stay too. Indeed our neighbours missed them too; like I said, they were very good-natured.

Máire Conneely

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