Jane Donoghue

I’m Jane Casey, married to Paddy Donoghue. I was born in Cork, I travelled between Englandand Cork. I have five kids between 18 and 5.

S: Well, Jane Donoghue, this is your life! How long have you lived in Cork?

Cork? With coming and going, for a number of years. I was borned in Cork. And I lived there with my family. Like, I wouldn’t know exactly how long I’ve been in Cork, really, because, with the Travelling community, we travels a lot. So we would have been back and forward, between here and Limerick, and when we wouldn’t be there, we would be in England.

S: Right. So, where have you travelled in your times?

All over Ireland, and a good part of England.

S: As well.


S: And is there any place that you think of as being your part of the country?

Well… With the last couple of years, now we’re kind of based back to Cork. Came back to Cork, and got a house, and things.

S: How long are you in the house?

Two and a half year.

S: And were you always travelling, up to that time?

Oh, yeah. Always travelling. Oh – in England, like, I had a flat.

S: And how are you adjusting to not moving?

Not really adjusting, to tell you the truth. Like I said, I’m living in a house now, but, I’m not a part of the community, if you know what I’m saying.

S: Of your neighbours, you mean?

Yeah. Because, like, if one of the neighbours around, for instance, it’s suppertime, or tea time, or they have to call their kids, well, they could go out into the street abroad, and they can call their kids. Now, if I went out there, I know my kids wouldn’t be out there. They would have to go away and try and find another Travelling community to play with.

S: Local kids won’t play with your kids?!


S: That’s sad.

That’s normal!

S: Jees, I know, but…

And then, we’ll say, they don’t play together, Sinéad, and Travellers intend to go and find Travellers to play with, do you know what I’m saying, and to blend in with, and things. But like I was saying –

S: Are the kids going – sorry for cutting across you – are they in local schools? Have they some way that they’re mixing in with local kids?

Well, they go to school with them, they go to the one school together, like. But if you go into the yard, you will not see them playing together. You know what I mean? You’ll just see Travelling kids looking for Travelling kids when they go, even, into the yard. They kind of don’t kind of blend in. But you know, like I said, they made us a part of the community when they took away our culture. They brought out this new trespass law, and they’ve made it very, very, very sad for Travellers. Do you know what I mean? Because before, if Travellers wanted to settle, it was by choice. Like, they could come and settle. But by us, it was by force. We got forced off the side of the road, or we were going to have prison over our heads, you know what I mean? We were threatened that if we didn’t obey the law and go by the rules, that we could have been breaking the rules, and we would have been sent to prison. So for then, we were all signed up for houses. And like I said, if you’re not a part of the community –

S: And they didn’t offer you any kind of group housing?

They did! They said that we’d only have to take these (standard houses dispersed among non-Traveller neighbours) on a temporary basis. Now if you go back down (to the accommodation authorities), it’s a permanent basis. They won’t listen to you. Or, “We’ll get back to you.”

S: Okay. So you took this house on the understanding that there would be group housing later. Was that the idea?

Yeah. That’s right.

S: Would you be happier if you were in with other Travellers?

Oh, God, of course I would, why wouldn’t I, Sinéad? Sure, I am a Traveller, like, you know what I mean? And I don’t think anyone have the right for to take you away from that lifestyle, when they’ve been there for so many years, and it didn’t bother anyone, do you know what I’m saying to you? And now that they’re, that they don’t want them at the side of the road, they’re cleaning up their act, like, for tourists and things, and the Travellers seem to be a problem to them then! They’d prefer when the Travellers was living in these poor conditions and these – we’ll say, when they had no proper facilities or anything, it didn’t give the government any bother, because the government didn’t care about the Travellers! But now that they’re cleaning up their act, like, and they wants tourists to come around to Ireland and things like that, they’re just getting these people, and they’re tossing them aside, and they’re putting them into homes that the community don’t want them in. Then there’s an awful lot going on then, because when these kids is coming in, there’s protesting going on! They don’t want to leave Travellers in to their community! Now, if the Travellers gets in by force –

S: Was there protests here?

There was! Oh, yeah!

S: Over you?

Yeah. They didn’t want me, or my family, even though they didn’t see me, they didn’t know me. But, like I said, Sinéad, my boys and girls now knows that they came into this community, and they weren’t wanted there. So now they’re not going to be very very good terms with the community.

S: Well, of course not!

So they’re growing up with this bitterness inside of them the whole time. So they’re causing an awful ot of destructions, between the young youngsters. Because when my kids is walking out, they know that they weren’t wanted. So there’s a lot of mixed feelings. And the older these kids is getting, they seem to be picking on one another for fights and things. The Travelling kids know that they weren’t wanted in the first place. The Settled community kids do be smirking at them over being Travellers. See, you’re only talking about a riot on the street. And then, how can you be a part of the community when you’re only basically put in there from the government to make trouble? Do you know what I mean? You really are like a target, when the government puts you into these houses when they know very well that the community don’t want you. They’re going to make life a living hell for you.

S: And apart from the kids being smirked at, are you having trouble?

Well, I’ll tell you, now: I’m a part of the community now, because that’s what they wanted me to be, but I can’t access anything around it.

S: In what sense?

We’ll say, if we wanted – if the kids is part of the football club, or anything like that, or, we’ll say, we couldn’t access any of the bars around, if we wanted to go out and socialise, and have a drink, or anything. We’re not allowed. We’re not a part of the community. “Locals only”, they’ll tell you.

S: You know, there is a law against that now. You do know that?

The law is there, but it doesn’t seem – Like, with Travellers, when they were at the side of the road, when they made a new law, they were breaking the rules, you’ve got a lot of pressure coming on with police and Guards and –

S: No, I mean there’s a law against not serving you in pubs. That’s what I mean.

Yeah, there is. But that’s the only law that seems to be obeyed by them, is the law for Travellers at the side of the road. Because if Travellers go to a pub, and they ring the law (to complain about not being served), they(Gardaí) normally laughs along with the settled community. You know what I mean? It don’t work, Sinéad. And even that law, they’ve still got something around it. Do you know what I mean? They’ll always say something else.

S: Well, they’ll certainly try, because they tried to get around the smoking ban as well. Publicans think they’re above the law completely. Of course they do. But at the same time, if you keep challenging them… But people want a quiet life, they don’t want to be challenging things all the time, life is too short. Anyway! On to more cheerful subjects. So, you were born in Cork, Cork is one of your bases, travelled between here and Limerick – Casey to me would be aLimerick name.

It is, yeah. Clare. My father came from Clare. And a lot of the Caseys came from Limerick, but mostly their roots came from Clare.

S: And your mother is Quilligan. Is that right?

No, McCarthy. From Limerick, too. The McCarthys came from Limerick too, Sinéad. Saying where they came from, Sinéad, when they travel a lot –

S: No, it’s just, that’s one of those names, that’s where you find them, you find the Caseys mostly around –


S: County Limerick, alright, yeah.

Or the McCarthys as well. Come from Limerick too.

S: Yeah. – When you talk your own language, what do you call that?

The Gammon.

S: Did you ever hear it called Cant?

No, only from you Sinéad. I’ve heard it once before, from you.

Did I say that?!

You did. Down in the South Mall.

Yeah? Did I use that word? It depends. Different families calls it different things. Uhm… What else? So, your family, Caseys, your husband’s family, Donoghues. Would there be any particular type of work that your family would be associated with a lot? I ask – for example, there in Limerick, there’s the Clarkes, and they do the 3-card trick, and if you say the name Clarke, everybody knows, 3-card trick.

That’s right, yeah.

S; Was your family associated with any particular – anything! That people would say, “Aha! The Caseys! They all do the…?” I don’t know.

Mostly ponies, now. Dealing and training the ponies, like. Do you know what I mean? That’s what their background really came from.

S: And did your father do that?


S: And do you know anything about ponies?


S: Do your kids know anything about ponies?

Yeah! The kids would, now, Sinéad. They often kept a pony. But like you said, now, like everything else from the Traveller community, they’ve brought out this law that the kids can’t have ponies no more. Can’t keep them anywhere, because they’ll get pounded. Like, before, when they were taken to the pound, you were only talking about sweets money to get it out, like. Now you’re talking about the price of the pony to get it out, knowing that the Traveller couldn’t afford it. And if it got taken again, he couldn’t, do you know what I mean? It makes it unpriceable, like. So that’s kind of drifting from the kids, and the kids don’t have anything, like, for a hobby for to keep them going, like. Or there’s bowling. They were very good into the bowling.

S: This is this Cork thing, on the roads? Yeah?

On the roads, yeah, and Gardaí came along again, and stopped that again.

S: You’re joking! I thought that was a real Cork thing!

Yeah. they’re stopping that now, from the roads, again. So… handball alley, then. You know handball? They loves that down Limerick, now, mostly, for the handball.

S: In Clare, I’ve seen them playing handball, as well.

Yeah, Clare. That’s right, yeah.

S: So do they play it here in Cork?

They do! They do. Well, there’s not many places you can play here in Cork, because they wouldn’t be really into it down in Cork, as far as I know.

S: And it’s not like football where you can kick it around a field. You have to have an actual handball alley.

There’s a place down here, now, and – oh, what’s it called now at all? I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s all for sports and things.

S: GAA club?

Yeah, GAA club. And the kids goes in there over the wall if it’s shut. And there’s a big 7-foot wall, and they climb over it when it’s closed, for to play handball. But then when the Guards finds out that they’re there, like, they’ll chase them out of it again. But they likes that kind of sport, too.

S: What about your husband’s people, the Donoghues? Any particular type of work they’re associated with?

Well. his father is very, very good with wood. Do you know, making things, now. He could make small waggons and things like that. He’s very, very good with wood.

S: And did he do that, like, to make a living, or as a hobby?

He did, yeah. He often made them and sold them. He could make road cars for the ponies and things. And he does all that, so…

S: Not too much call for that anymore, of course.

No. No, only mostly with the Travelling community, now, it’d still be a good call for it, you know.

S:Is there still a good call for it?

Oh, there is! Small little cars for their kids, like. We’ll say, for the youngsters there, now, we’ll say, that’s –

S: I thought it was mostly sulkies.

– 9 or 10, now, for to keep them in with the reactions of ponies, and things. They makes them for them, like.

S: And do they do sulkies? I mean, you wouldn’t make a sulkie, but are the kids going on them? You know these things, it’s like a seat, right down –

That’s for trotting in, trotting the ponies. Ah, they do! They’re into that in a big way, the whole time. Like you said, they have to be made with steel and you’d have to do a lot of welding,

S: Yeah. exactly, that’s what I see around Dublin, is the –

Yeah. It wouldn’t be, like – For to get something like that done, you’d have to have a lot of welding things, it isn’t something to be done with your hands, like.

S: Yes.

So they’d tend to go on to the smiths, or whoever makes them, like. Buys them off them, you know?

S: What was I going to say – yeah – I don’t have your tree there, but your family seems to have married in with an awfullot of other families.

They did! They did, yeah.

S: Explain! How did that happen?

Well, then again, now, I’d say, because we travelled a lot. And, well, my parents, then, wasn’t very fussy about who they marry or who they wouldn’t marry, like. They left every choice choice up to theirself. Do you know what I mean? With some families, there, they’d kind of matchmake, do you know what I mean, and they’d intend to tell the children at a very young age growing up, who to marry and who not to marry, do you know? Which my father and mother didn’t mind who you married, or who you didn’t marry, once you were happy yourself and it was your choice.

S: So how did you – not being too personal, here, but how did you and your husband get together? Did you meet someplace? Or were you gently pushed together by your parents? Or what happened?

No, our parents had nothing at all got to do with it.

S: No?

No. We just started going with one another, now, and it was a secret –

S: Aaah! What age were you?


S: Like my daughter! I like to hear that people have been together since they were 16. Hopefully my daughter will be, as well, when she’s a granny. Uhm – my brain is gone! What should I be asking you? Help me! – There seems to me, to be about 6 or 7 completely different Donoghue families. I get that impression, over the country. Would I be right there?

Yeah, you could be right, yeah.

Because sometimes – they just marry in with all different people, or people will say, yes, he’s a Donoghue, but they’re totally different Donoghues, or whatever.

Mmm. Yeah, we get a lot of that ourself around here, like, we do hear that you’re not related. But I don’t know. I think every Traveller is related, no matter how far back they go.

S: All of them?

Yeah. I do.

Including… Connorses, for example? Different crowd altogether?

The whole lot of them! They are. They are.

S: McDonaghs?

Yeah, the whole lot.

S: McGinleys?

Everybody. The whole lot. Yeah, I do.

S: Everybody. You think so.

I do.

S: What makes you think that?

I don’t know. Like, it’s a culture thing, like. If you were a Traveller, the roots go on for so many generation, they all scatter off every direction. Sure, there’s no one – the Travelling community don’t live very very old. So there wouldn’t be any tales left behind, like, of who they were and who they weren’t. So, I believe, now, that they’re related back in every way, Travellers. In every mixed group.

S: I think – just, my opinion on that – is that families like yours, where people have really, really married out an awful lot –


S: It’s not that many of them does it, though.

No. No, no, no, no.

S: You know? There really isn’t. They’re mostly pretty tight. Mostly when I do these pictures, I have maybe 4 colours on it.

Is that all?

S: Yeah. That’s the truth, now. But, depending. Like, Connorses would marry completely different – Connorses don’t marry McDonaghs! (laughs) And McDonaghs don’t marry Connorses. You know what I mean?


S: It wouldn’t be the same colours. It would be different –

I know what you’re saying, yeah.

S: It would be 4 colours here, and a totally different 4 colours there. Where your tree is unusual because of that. Yeah – those 3 fellows, remember the 3 brothers?


S: One of them had two sons coming in, and the other 2 had their sons coming in. Any idea how they came to marry in? What was the connection there? There was no blood connection that you knew of, so how did that happen?

Well, it all started off with his (her husband’s) sister. His sister got married first to Billy.

S: And how did they meet?

Well, they would have met down in Limerick, and… Like, Travellers travels in and out camps, like, you know what I mean? They meet, at the side of – Travellers, like, pull in with one another. And I suppose that’s how they met, like, and just started meeting from there on. But Jimmy Donoghue heself would have settled inLimerick there for years and years .

S: That’s your husband’s father, is it?

Yeah. And we’ll say Billy’s father would have been from Limerick, too. So they kind of grew up there, like.

S: Okay. So they would have been bumping into each other in all kinds of ways.

Exactly, yeah.

S: Right. So then, one sister got married –

And then the other sister, and then the other first cousin came around, and – they all got hitched up! (laughs).

S: Yeah. Because that was the only time that name even came into your family, and they all came in one big rush, kind of way. And what are the names here around Cork? Is there much Caseys around Cork? There isn’t, is there?

No, there’s not a big generation around Cork, no.

S: And what about Donoghue?


S: Are there other Donoghues around Cork, then? Are you the only ones?

No, there’s a few.

S: And would they be related to your husband?

They would. They would.

S: What are the other names, then, around Cork?

Driscoll is big in around Cork. Quilligan. And…

S: Are they different Quilligans than the Quilligans in Limerick? In Rathkeale?

Yeah. Mmm. O’Briens do be around. A few Harringtons around. The Burkes – you know the Burkes? The Burkes would be around. The McCarthy family –

S: Is this Burke McDonaghs or just Burkes?

They’re Burkes.

S: Oh, them ones, that came in – That’s a small little family, and you know when the name came in. Okay, got you.

There’s a lot of Stokeses here in Cork.

S: Is there!?

Yeah! There’s a site up there, there’s an awful lot of brothers, and they’re all married and have big families.

S: And they’re all Stokeses? Stokes brothers?


S: Cos Stokes would be a name – their country would be more like Longford and that, if I’m not mistaken. Somewhere up around the midlands. Unless it’s a completely different family. Is it a Cork family of Stokeses? Or did they come in recent?

Like – their father and mother would have been travelling around, and then they’re based here in Cork, you know?

S: It’s interesting how quick things can change, because if you’ve a big family of kids – if you’ve, say, 10 brothers – and they all settle someplace – you know, in 20 years you have a lot of Stokeses or whoever it is, you know?

That’s right, yeah.

S: Things can change very, very quickly.

There’s 12 brothers there, I think.

S: 12! My God! Now, for this little person here – hello, Debbie! [aged 5]. If you were telling Debbie the history of your family, or the history, you know, of all the days gone by, that she ought to know: what’s important for her to know?

What’s important for her to know? I suppose it’s important for her to know her background, like, and where she came from, and everything. But… I don’t really know, now, to tell you the truth, what would be important for her to know. In what way, like?

S: I don’t now! I’m not sure myself, really. I’m not sure how I would answer that question. But I suppose, things in the family that she should know about, people in the family that she should know about, things that are important to your family, things that make your family who it is, and not some other family. She’s Donoghue. So, what’s special about being a Donoghue, and what does she have to know about that? How is it different to be a Donoghue than to be, I don’t know, a Driscoll or something?

I really don’t know.

The name Donoghue came up with – do you know that Nan Joyce, that ran for – You’d see her on telly, or you used to see her on telly.

Yeah. I know who, yeah.

Is she anything – is she related to your husband? Because she was Donoghue before she married Joyce.

I don’t know. There could be a connection there, now, but I wouldn’t really know about it.

S: I don’t think Joyce came up in your tree at all.

It didn’t, no.

S: It would be a different family again. In fact you’ve only, like, one or two McDonaghs. None of them other big families, Collins, or Ward – one Ward! Not a whole lot of them, though. – What should I be asking? My one chance! How is life different for your daughter there, than for you? Is there any ways it’s better? You just said it was worse.

It’s better for her, now, because – well, it’s a way better for her, now, really, like, because there’s a lot of opportunities going to be there in the future for Travellers, like, you know what I mean? And Travellers seem to be getting more educated. And they seem to be getting into the workforce, community, more. So, back in our times, Travellers wouldn’t be accepted to do any work or anything like that. They never got a good education, because they were always travelling, or they were moved around. So, like I said now, she’ll be more in turn to get a good education, and maybe get work, like, and things. So she’ll always be independent, like, and have things, like that we wouldn’t have the price of, like, we wouldn’t have a lot of money for to buy things, you know? The younger generation seem to be driving, and – they’re doing a lot more than what we could do, like.

S: How old is your eldest?

She’s 18 Christmas Eve.

S: She’s 18. And what’s she doing with herself?

At the moment? She’s doing a course at the moment, she’s doing a course around leadership. Leadership course. It’s about training people and things. Mostly about education, now, and getting Travellers, like, educated, and things like that, you know what I mean?

S: And is there job opportunities when she has that done?

We hope so.

S: No, I can’t think of anything else. I’ll thank you for that. Unless there’s something you want to add?

No, I think we’re after giving the whole lot.

S: Okay, that’s great!