|Na Rosanna & na hArdanna, Céibh Chill Rónáin (Bailiúchán Béaloideas Árann)|
Tomás: ‘Mhichael, déan cur síos dom, nuair a ceannaíodh na radioanna anseo ar dtús, tá scéilín deas agat faoi sin.Michael: Tá, bhí mé – is iomaí uair a bhí mé ag cuimhniú air anois agus, beagnach an t-am a tháinig na Rosanna anseo – na Rosanna a tháinig, cúig cinn acu ab ea? Ros Breasail, Ros Seirc, Ros Éinne, Ros Rónáin, agus Banríon na Mara, agus ceann eicínt… ach ‘cuma, ar aon chaoi, tháinigeadar sin, is dóigh, ón... tús na gcaogaidí go dtí lár na gcaogaidí, agus an t-am céanna, is dóigh, tháinig – sin é an chéad uair a thosaigh radios ag tíocht ar an oileán seo – ach, ar aon chaoi, i gCill Éinne agus i gCill Rónáin agus in Iaráirne, chuile radio a thiocfadh ann, chaithfeadh an Trawlerband a bheith air. Agus bhíodh a fhios againne chuile shórt beo a – bheifeá ag éisteacht – dá mbeadh an Ros Breasail ag caint leis an Ros Éinne, cé méid bosca a bhí agat ar an iarraidh sin – bhíodh a fhios ag chuile theach ar an mbaile é.Agus, an chaoi atá news an naoi a chlog ag daoine anois, tá mé ag ceapadh gur trí nóiméad théis a hocht, bhíodh margadh Bhaile Átha Cliath air, agus chuile theach – mar bhí chuile dhuine i gCill Éinne an t-am sin agus cuid mhaith d’Iaráirne agus cuid mhaith de Chill Rónáin, bhí a gcuid aithreacha uilig ag iascach – b’shin é an príomhrud ar an radio chuile mhaidin. Tá mé ag ceapadh gur trí nóiméid théis a hocht a bhí sé, margadh Bhleá Cliath, agus bheadh a fhios agat ansin an mbeadh píosa mairteola ag tíocht abhaile ar an deireadh seachtaine! ‘Bhfuil a fhios agat, bhí – sa samhradh bhíodh drochphraghas ceart ansin ar iasc agus bhí focal Béarla ann, bhíodh a fhios againn é, agus – ní bheadh, níl mé ag rá go mbeadh a fhios againn céard a chiallfadh sé ach – chloisfeá b’fhéidir 500 bosca faoitíní a chuaigh suas ar an traein as Gaillimh agus ní dhéarfadh sé ach “failed to clear”. Agus is éard a – ina dhiaidh sin, gheobhfá amach, ní, níor íoc sé an costas suas ar an traein, ‘bhfuil a fhios agat, ní íocfadh sé costas an éisc. An méid a rinneadar.Agus, ó, timpist ar bith ar an bhfarraige, cuimhním, faraor, nuair a báthadh cúpla duine anois, as, as báid anseo, gan aon ainm a chur orthab, is bhíodh muid ag dul ‘uig an scoil – bhíodh chuile dhuine ag an scoil ag, scéal mór acub – bhíodh sé cloiste againne roimh aon áit eile in Éirinn go raibh dune eicínt imithe as ceann de na báid. D’imigh beirt nó triúr mar sin agus cúpla duine a báthadh thoir sa dug, bheadh, d’aithreofá na báid ar an radio ag caint air.Tomás: Agus ansin, nuair a thagadh na báid le chéile aníos as Gaillimh ar an deireadh seachtaine...Michael: Á sea, á a dheartháir, is deacair é a chreistiúint anois ach, d’fhágadh chuile bhád – is dóigh nuair a d’osclódh an dug b’fhéidir, pebí cén t-am é, i lár an lae nó rud eicínt, amanntaí d’osclófá ag a haon déag, amanntaí ag a trí a chlog tráthnóna – ach bhídís uilig ag tíocht anoir nach – b’álainn simplí an saol a bhí ann. Agus bád i ndiaidh bád, bhíodh duine eicínt i chuile bhád a bhí in ann amhrán a chasadh. Bhíodh go leor de na lads sin a bheadh théis theacht anall as Fleetwood sular tháinig na Rosanna, thall i Sasana, bhíodh go leor de chrowd s’againne ag iascach, na lads ‘bheadh a dhath beag níos sine, bhíodh na hamhráin Béarla acub sin agus bhíodh na lads óga atá ansin as an oileán, bhíodh na hamhráin Gaeilge acub. Á ba ghearr le – b’iontach an seó a bhí ann.Tomás: Agus bhí sibh in ann é seo, bhí sibh in ann é seo a chloisteáil?Michael: Ar feadh ceithre uair a chloig bheifeá ag éisteacht leis sin, amhráin agus, bhídís ag caint le chéile, ‘bhfuil a fhios agat, bheadh 1 ag caint le 2, 2 ag caint le 4, bheadh na báid uilig, thiocfaidís isteach air, ceann i ndiaidh ceann chomh soiléir le rud ar bith. Nárbh iontach an rud é an t-am sin, sin i lár, deireadh na gcaogaidí anois, abair, go dtí lár na seascaidí, is dóigh. Cuimhním nuair a chuaigh an bád – an plane sin síos – ‘58 é sin, tá mé ag ceapadh, chomh fada le mo bharúil – ach bhí muid uilig, bhí m’athair ag iascach ar an Ros Éinne ag an am agus chuadar uilig amach an Sunda. Ní raibh a fhios ag aon duine ar dtús céard a bhí ag tarlú ach amháin dream ar bith a bhí Trawlerband acub, ‘bhfuil a fhios agat? Bhí muinn way up, a mhac!
Is le caoinchead na n-institiúidí agus na ndaoine seo a leanas a roinntear an taifeadadh seo: RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta; Tomás Mac Con Iomaire, An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara; agus Michael Joyce, Iaráirne, Árainn. “Maidhm a Dó” an ceol a sheinn Colm Mac Con Iomaire sa chúlra; óna albam “Cúinne an Ghiorria” (2008).
Féach: Sylvester Ó Muirí, The State and the Sea Fisheries of the South and West Coasts of Ireland, 1922-1972 (Dublin: Original Writing, 2013).
A year ago, I mentioned the Trawlerband, a shortwave radio channel used by Aran boats and their families ashore, a channel that enabled them to listen live to marine communications between various vessels, lighthouses, and emergency services. This post shares a richer, more vivid account. The featured recording was created in 2012 by Tomás Mac Con Iomaire for his valuable and historic radio series on the history of the fishing industry in and around Galway Bay for RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta entitled Ballach, Bradán agus Bairneach (Wrasse, Salmon, and Limpet). We hear Tomás himself interviewing a fisherman from Cill Éinne, Árainn, Michael Joyce, who gives wonderful insight not only into how islanders benefited from the Trawlerband but also into contemporary island life. There was bilingual talk on a variety of subjects including vulnerable fish prices, drownings, and the KLM air disaster of August 1958. Michael reminds us of the particular significance of the Ros boats – 50-footer vessels built by Bord Iascaigh Mhara from 1949 on – which enabled the island community to sustain employment at home and, consequently, to stem the tide of emigration at a time when that particular spectre was draining the life out of so much of the Irish countryside.
|Céibh Chill Éinne (Le caoinchead ó Arthur Ó Flaithearta)|
Tomás: Michael, describe for me, when radios were first bought here, you have a nice little story about that.Michael: I do, I was – I often thought of it now and, around the time the Ros boats came here – five of them, was it? – Ros Breasail, Ros Seirc, Ros Éinne, Ros Rónáin, and Banríon na Mara [Queen of the Sea], and another… it doesn’t matter, anyway, they came, probably, from… the early-fifties to the mid-fifties, and at the same time, I suppose – that is when radios started coming to this island – but, anyway, in Cill Éinne and in Cill Rónáin and in Iaráirne, every radio that would come, it had to have the Trawlerband. And we knew absolutely everything that – you’d be listening – if the Ros Breasail was talking to the Ros Éinne, how many boxes from that run – every house in the village would know it.And, the way people now have the nine o’clock news, I think it was three minutes past eight, the Dublin market was on, and every house – because everyone in Cill Éinne that time and much of Iaráirne and much of Cill Rónáin, all of their fathers were fishing – that was the main thing on the radio every morning. I think it was three minutes past eight, the Dublin market, and then you would know whether or not there would be a piece of beef coming home at the weekend! You know, there was – in the summer then, the price of fish was very bad and there was an English word, we would recognise it, and – I’m not saying we would know what it meant but – you would hear maybe 500 boxes of whiting that went up on the train from Galway and all it would say is “failed to clear”. And that meant – afterwards you would discover, it didn’t cover the cost of the train journey, you know, it wouldn’t cover the cost of the fish. All they made.And, oh, any accident at sea, I remember, alas, when a few people drowned from, from boats here, without naming them, and we would be going to school – everyone at school had the big story – we had heard it before any other place in Ireland that somebody had been lost from one of the boats. Two or three went like that and a few people in the [Galway] docks, you would, hear the boats on the radio talking about it.Tomás: And then, when the boats came together from Galway at the weekend...Michael: Ah my man! Yes! It’s hard to believe now but, every boat would depart – I suppose when the docks opened maybe, whatever time it was, in the middle of the day or something, sometimes it would open at eleven, sometimes at three o’clock in the afternoon – and they would all be coming westward – it was a beautiful simple life. And boat after boat, there was somebody in every boat who could sing a song. Many of those lads who had come over from Fleetwood before the Ros boats came, over in England, many of our crowd were fishing, the lads that were a little older, they had songs in English and the young lads then from the island, they had songs in Irish. Ah, it was like – it was a wonderful show!Tomás: And you were able, you were able to hear this?Michael: For four hours you would be listening to that, songs and, they would be talking with each other, you know, 1 would be talking to 2, 2 talking with 4, all the boats, they would join in, one by one as clear as a bell. Wasn’t it a wonderful thing that time, that’s in the mid-, end of the fifties now, say, until the mid-sixties, I suppose. I remember when the boat – that plane went down – ’58 it was, I think, so far as I can make out – but we were all, my father was fishing in the Ros Éinne at the time and they all went out the Sound. At first nobody knew what was happening except any of those who had the Trawlerband, you know? We were “way up,” a mhac!
The featured recording appears courtesy of the following institutions and individuals: RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta; Tomás Mac Con Iomaire, An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara; and Michael Joyce, Iaráirne, Árainn. The background music entitled “Maidhm a Dó” is performed by Colm Mac Con Iomaire; from his 2008 album “The Hare’s Corner.”