Contents of Memories Of My Irish Home
The cover image is of Crebilly House, near Ballymena, long gone, but well known to everyone living nearby. My mother thought that our family had lived here too. In Chapter 14 we discover that there was old castle walls behind Crebilly House and there is a likelihood that our ancestors owned that castle. Grandma in the story was about fourteen when Crebilly House was being built.
Chapter 1.“Dear Granma.” Contents:- Granma and Granda; Granda knitting; butter making; Granma’s twin Rose; dressmaking; spinning linen; Lenten hardships; trundling Easter eggs;The French Convent school; superstitions; cousin Anna Johnston (poet Ethna Carbery).
Chapter 2.“Tailor John.” Contents: - Tea at twilight; Father and his farm hands;Tailor John’s visit.
Chapter 3.“Harvest.” Contents: - Harvest Ceilidh;Willie Loughlin and Joe Mallon; local stories; Big Hughie’s daughter Rosie from the White Farm - her tragic story; Paddy Neary’s return from USA; the Big Wind - Ellen Hasson; wicked Tom Adair; Granma’s home cures; traditions in pregnancy.
Chapter 4.“The Quilting.” Contents: - The quilting frame; the quilters; two quilts still existing; the quilting party preparations - plain breads and fancy breads, meats and apples; old Aile Lalor and the barmbrack ring.
Chapter 5.“Autumn.” Contents: - Granma’s twilight ramble; Father playing the Tin Whistle for the fairies in the Rath; Granmas’s leaf bookmarks.
Chapter 6. “All Saints and All Souls Days.” Contents: - Slemish Mountain customs; making wishes in St. Patrick’s chair; beloved departed returning; a Parish Priest’s ghost-filled journey.
Chapter 7.“December Stillness...” Contents: - Christmas Visitors - Father’s brother John and Mother’s brother James; Monsignor O’Laverty of Holywood; Granma O’Laverty’s funeral; Father goes to Town.
Chapter 8.“Father inTrouble.” Contents: - Old Matt’s Inn and ‘post office’; making deals; Father drunk; Big Andy goes missing.
Chapter 9.“Cooking for Christmas.”
Contents: - Plum cakes; pickles; ham; turkey etc.
Chapter 10.“Tinsel.” Contents: - Christmas decorations; daydreaming - jewels and fine dresses; Mother misses her brother; remembering all that Mother said.
Chapter 11.“Collecting the Visitors.” Contents: - A telegram from Fr. John; Father’s trap and Mother’s town clothes; Father’s first cigar; James Johnston, Ship’s Doctor and author; Father John.
Chapter 12.“Birth and Death.” Contents: - A surprise on the return journey; bringing the woman and baby home; don’t ask questions.
Chapter 13.“Who is she?” Contents: - Bridget is curious; Mother remembers her youth.
Chapter 14.“Bridget solves the puzzle.” Contents: - Dear Old Nancy; Johnny Scully; Father writes a poem; Antrim and the Rebel times; John Thompson’s grave; Irish Square Bell; Deerfin Rath; Crebilly and Caherty paved caves; old castle remains behind Crebilly House; McCracken’s Well at Slemish; Holy Well at Toberdoney; matchmaking for Uncle James.
Chapter 15.“Mother’s Schooldays.” Contents: - Mother and Uncle James have an outing; Mother recounts her early years; the old churchyard - O’Haras, O’Lavertys, Johnstons; Old Thady the Hedge-school Master; Christmas Midnight Mass; an ‘Irish Thanksgiving’; how the Robin got its red breast; Granma’s bonnet and dress; Margaret Johnston née Magee and Robert Johnston Fenian; Granma’s toast.
Chapter 16.“Bringing Bad Luck.” Contents: - Father’s horse dies; an exceptionally hard winter; cutting trees in the Fairy Rath.
Chapter 17.“The End of Childhood.” Contents: - Granma dies; Mother dies; moving to Town; Aunt Sarah; marriage; children; Father dies; Ethna Carbery’s poem ‘My Prayer for You’.