Listen to me tell my story:

My name is Ellie Mongan. I was born in Galway many years ago. I was born in the hospital which was unusual at the time. I was one of eighteen children, nine boys and nine girls and we were at the side of the road for a good while. Me mother had about ten children when we got a house and we settled there and she put us to school, some of us got a bit of schooling. She had the other eight childer after that, they were all born into houses.

But I got married then when I was seventeen, I was back onto the side of the road then again. I went travelling around most of the country, up and down. We were in Scotland for a while, we went all over Ireland, travelled all over Ireland, went here and there. We settled around Dublin then and our childers started going to school. We waited around Dublin we were in the halting site for years. We ended up getting a house and the kids went to school. They all settled down and got married and then the grandchildren, all the grandchildren, there all in school now. So it’s a lot different now than when I was younger.

I had seven children, I didn’t go for the eighteen. I have seven and I lost a son three years ago. I have about twenty or thirty grandchildren here.

I have one great grandchild about two months old now. There are all in houses none of the grandchildren now travel. Me own children they are all settled in houses. They are all going to school like they have grandchildren in school, so that’s the way things have changed, no travelling around.

I enjoyed travelling, but not in the winter time, it was tough. You had no electricity or anything, you had no facilities basically when you were travelling around. I said to him when we got into the halting sites, there would be electricity and running water. That was one good thing about the halting sites. On the side of the road, you would have nothing, you would just be going from camp to camp. At the time that was just the way it was, you accepted that way. You would get your water from a tap or some of the houses would give you a bucket of water. You would have candles or the oil lamps, you got a log or sticks and light a campfire. You would wash your clothes and did all of your cooking on the fire.

I would be mostly eating boiled food then, and you would get your food from the farmers, they were very good. They would give you vegetables, sometimes they’d do their own meat. They’d give you a bit of bacon and they’d give you flour and eggs and things like that and they made you do a bit of work for the farmers in exchange for things. That’s how we lived years ago.