Listen to me tell my story:

My name is Maggie McDonnell and there was thirteen in my family – ten girls and three boys that was thirteen.

I was born in Westmeath in the Midlands. We travelled around everywhere from Westmeath down to Leitrim all around begging and selling. Me father and family would get work off farmers pulling beats and picking spuds, all that kind of thing.

We’d go around the houses, get up in the morning, get yourself ready, and go off begging. What you got, you made it when you came back in an open fire on the ground outside. Hanging the pot on the bar and putting the lid and oven in the stand at the fire for the baking bread. My mother and my sister’s would have to do all of that.

Sometimes I would help, more times I wouldn’t but there was enough of them there. There was very little work, in them times was little or nothing, so you made do with what you got.

My own children, I have ten, three girls, seven boys. They’re all married now and have their own children some of them are grannies.