Listen to me tell my story:

My mother was Mary McDonagh she was married to Davey Joyce, she had fifteen children. Two died, two little boys so she had the girls and three boys. I’m Molly Collins. I had fifteen children. Seven boys and they were all living, and eight daughters, and the eight daughters are all good and well thank God.

I was born in Longford Hospital in Co. Longford and I travelled around most of everywhere. Limerick, Longford, Westmeath and Co. Meath. We are really from the midlands and that is where we travelled mostly. We were in England for ten years; I came back in 1968. We are pure Irish.

The farmers were very good in them times they used to kill their own pigs and have their own sack of flour in the corner. You’d get loads of milk off the creamery men. Skimmed milk there was loads of froth in it. We loved getting the milk with the froth in it, it was very good for you.

My father was a tinsmith, he used to make ponters we’d call them. Pint ponters, ¾ cans, the big cans, and the can with the hoop with the lid on it could be 5 shillings. In them days the money was small but it was good. You would get a lot for it. We didn’t buy food.

There was very close connections with the settled woman and the Travelling woman and the settled man and the Travelling man. The settled man invited the travelling man into the yard and if there was anything that he could mend at the time of the war or anytime he would mend kettles, pans, pots, buckets, and everything. That helped the farmer feed calves and pigs. The Traveller woman was invited into the house, she got a mug of tea first of all. The Co. Cavan and Co. Longford had words for us. In Co. Cavan would call us gafga they’d say come in gafga and in Co. Longford would say come in ducky. So ducky was invited in as well as your mother and you were barefooted going to the houses with her. She made a bargain with the ponders and the tin cans and you got the food through that. She wouldn’t have to ask for food it was given. The auld bacon that was there before the pig was killed, they gave that to the Traveller, home cured bacon. They made their own butter and had their own eggs and they had this, that and the other but you got it. They were very good to us. You would get the making of a big cake of bread in a paper bag that is the way we lived – that was a good way of living. My mother mostly boiled food, boiling spuds and cabbage, spuds and turnips – mostly spuds. You got them and peeled them and were glad to get them. I was a bad cook the worse cook in the world but I managed.