Máire Nic Daeid (1864–1938) of Fourth Corgary, Aghyaran, Strabane
If you reuse this material please acknowledge source.
According to the information recorded on the Doegen speaker questionnaire in September 1931, Máire Nic Mheanman was born in Mín a' Chaorthainn, "on Glenn Derg river" near Killeter in County Tyrone, and was aged 67 at the time of recording. Her father was a farmer from Mín a' Chaorthainn and her mother came from "Sliabh Dubh near Mín an Chaorthainn". In response to questions, she stated that she spent her childhood and young days in Mín an Chaorthainn until 1890 when she married and moved to Fourth Corgary, also known as Mín na Bláithche, where she was still living. She attended primary school at Tullycar. Her occupation was given as a farmer's wife. Irish was her mother language, and she could also speak English. She could read and write English at one time but had forgotten.
The organising secretary commented that the speaker had "long lost the habit of speaking Irish, and was prompted from a transcript of her narrative." Her numeral 40, he said, was due to a prompt; naturally she said "dhá sgór". Her language was not always reliable.
This speaker and her fellow West Tyrone native Pádraig Ó Gallchobhair were among the last speakers to be recorded at Letterkenny Courthouse, on the afternoon of 05/10/1931, and it is probably for that reason that they are included in a photograph together with some of the recording team: Myles Dillon, M.A. O'Brien, Séamus Ó Néill and Karl Tempel. This photograph was published in the Irish Times, 10/10/1931, p 6 under the caption "Gramophone records in Gaelic"; in the Irish Independent, 13/10/1931, p 4 under the caption "Preserving the native language"; and in the Irish Press, 15/10/1931, p 6 accompanying a moving description of the occasion by Antoine Ó Dochartaigh entitled "The voice of a thousand years".
The speaker's birth was registered on 23/04/1864, at Mín a' Chaorthainn, to Pat McMenamin and Rosey Devine. Máire must have been one of their eldest children. Others known include Sarah (born 1866), Patrick (1868), Rodger (1870), John (1874), Mick (1876) and Anne (1879). The family's 1911 census entry states that 8 out of 10 children were still living. Rodger met a tragic death by stabbing near his home in the days before Christmas 1913. Patrick married Mary McHugh of 3rd Corgary in 1903 and raised a family in Mín a' Chaorthainn.
In 1890 at Aghyaran Máire Nic Mheanman, aged 25, married Patrick McDevitt or Mac Daeid, aged 26, from Fourth Corgary. Their fathers, both farmers, were Patrick McMenamin and Patrick McDevitt. Will McMenamin and Margaret McMenamin were the witnesses. The couple were living at Fourth Corgary in 1901 and 1911. In 1901, the household consisted of Patrick (36) and Mary (28) and their children Patrick (7), Bernard (5), Mary (4), Cecily (3) and Michael (1), along with Bernard (39), brother of Patrick senior, and a servant, Peter McCormick (70), who was a tailor. Except for the 1-year-old Michael, all spoke Irish and English. In 1911, the list was Patrick (55) and Mary (46), with 7 children alive of 8, of whom 6 were at home: Patrick (18), Mary (15), Cecily (13), Michael (11), John (8) and Roseanne (6). Both parents were bilingual, but the children spoke no Irish. Young Bernard (16) was a farm servant in the home of Joseph McHugh of Third Corgary.
On 21/05/1938, Máire Nic Daeid died, at around 75 years of age. Her son Bernard, known as an animal healer, died in 1970, leaving a family of two sons at home and
two daughters married in England; his wife Bridget died in 2008. The family headstone in Aghyaran reads as follows:
Reilig Áth a' Ghearráin (Photograph © Irish Graveyard Surveyors).
Recent references to Máire Nic Daeid include:
Colm J O'Boyle, Phonetic texts of East Ulster Irish, MA thesis QUB, 1962, pp 41, 41–2, 50–1, 188–90, 193–5, 214.
Heinrich Wagner and Colm Ó Baoill, Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects, Vol IV, 1969, pp 292–4.
Breandán Mag Fhinn, "Voices from the past", Aghyaran 7, 1992, pp 4–7.
Pádraig Ó Baoighill, Padaí Láidir Mac Culadh agus Gaeltacht Thír Eoghain, 2009, pp 285–7.
Róise Ní Bhaoill, Ulster Gaelic Voices, 2010, pp 200–1, 220–2.
|Speaker's recordings||Ulster Doegen index|