Jane Nic Ruaidhrí (c1881–1962) of Leckin, Gorticastle, Gortin

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According to the information recorded on the Doegen speaker questionnaire in September 1931, Jane Nic Ruaidhrí was born at Leckin, and she stated, in response to questions, that she had lived there all her life, as child and adult. She attended primary school at Greenan. Her father was a farmer, and both parents came from Leckin. Jane's own occupation was given as a farmer's daughter. Irish was her mother language, and she could also speak English. She could read and write English but not Irish. The organising secretary commented that she had a "very clear resonant voice."

The family are found in Leckin in the censuses of 1901 and 1911. In 1901, there are William McCrory (60) and his wife Jane (50), who was also née McCrory; and three unmarried children, John (28), James (23) and Jane, the speaker (20). The males are described as farmers, and the females as housekeepers. All spoke Irish and English. In 1911, the ages are William (80), Jane (74), John (48), James (40) and Jane (30). There is an additional unmarried son, Felix (36). Again all the family are bilingual. The parents' marriage had lasted 48 years, and 4 of 7 children are living, but this may have been taken to mean "living at home" as we think that at least two other daughters, Mary and Biddy, were living in America. The house is a short distance up the Leckin side of Glenlark, just before that where Ellen Devlin, another Gaelic speaker, lived. The McCrory house has recently been rebuilt (2008).

The list of births to William McCrory revealed by civil and church records is somewhat confusing, but the earliest is a civil record of the birth of twins, John and Peter, in 1864. Peter's death is recorded four months later. A Mary was born in 1866 but lived only three days (civil records). A second Peter appears in church baptism records in 1868, and a second Mary in 1869; these are both absent from civil records. Civil and church records agree about Bridget in 1871, though her birth was civilly registered on two separate dates over a month apart; and about James in 1873. That is all I can find in civil records, but there are two further church baptisms, for Felix in 1874 and James in 1878, suggesting that the earlier James may have died. I can see no mention anywhere of Jane. Michael J Murphy's manuscripts describe the William Peties as a family of 8 or 9, who were reared in a sod house.

Jane's mother, also called Jane, died in 1916, and the speaker's father had died earlier. For many years the household consisted of John, Felix, James and Jane. One of the brothers was known to remark that they had stayed together and "would be going to Rouskey in a brattle", that is, all together to be buried. By around 1950 however they were reduced to just Jane and James, together with one of the returned American sisters (either Mary or Bridget).

Jane, known as Jane William Phetey, was among the Irish speakers interviewed by Éamonn Ó Tuathail for his work Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh, published in 1933, and she was still on the spot almost twenty years later when another flurry of interest in Tyrone Irish broke out. At this period she met and assisted Michael J Murphy, Heinrich Wagner, and Proinsias Ó Conluain, among others. James participated to a lesser extent in these activities. Ó Conluain, working for Radio Éireann, made sound recordings of Jane in 1951. Both Murphy and Ó Conluain describe the less than enthusiastic welcome they received from the returned American sister, who did not see any merit in bothering with the Irish language. Stockman and Wagner described Jane herself as "a fluent speaker with a rich vocabulary. She never travelled except on one trip to Belfast where she was recorded by Ó Tuathail." This refers to the Doegen recordings.

On 10/07/1962, Jane Nic Ruaidhrí died at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, Omagh, at the age of 82. She was unmarried. She is buried at Rouskey, where the gravestone reads:
      Pray for the soul of
      Jane McCrory
      Leckin
      Died 11th July 1962
      Also her brothers
      James, John, Felix
      And her sisters
      Mary and Brigid

Recent references to Jane Nic Ruaidhrí include:
      Éamonn Ó Tuathail, Sgealta Mhuintir Luinigh, 1933, p xlix.
      Colm J O'Boyle, Phonetic texts of East Ulster Irish, MA thesis QUB, 1962, pp 26–31, 49, 141–60, 214.
      Gerard Stockman and Heinrich Wagner, "Contributions to a study of Tyrone Irish", Lochlann 3, 1965, pp 43–236, at 46, 214–25.
      Heinrich Wagner and Colm Ó Baoill, Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects, Vol IV, 1969, pp 291–2.
      Michael J Murphy, Tyrone Folk Quest, 1973, pp 65–7.
      Proinsias Ó Conluain, "The last native Irish-speakers of Tyrone", Dúiche Néill 4, 1989, pp 101–18 at 113-114, 116-117.
      Nollaig Mac Congáil and Ciarán Ó Duibhín, Glórtha ón tseanaimsir, 2009, pp 45–7, 79–80.
      Pádraig Ó Baoighill, Padaí Láidir Mac Culadh agus Gaeltacht Thír Eoghain, 2009, pp 181–6.
      Róise Ní Bhaoill, Ulster Gaelic Voices, 2010, at pp 202–3, 234–45.



Reilig Rúscaidh

Speaker's recordings Ulster Doegen index


Speculative family tree:


                  Peter McCrory------------Mary(??)
                  Leckin           |
                                   |
                           William McCrory-------Jane McCrory
                           c1830                 c1837–1916
                           Leckin                Leckin
                                           Leckin
                                           pós c1863
                                             |
      --------------------------------------------------------------------
      |      |      |       |     |       |       |      |        |      |
    John   Peter   Mary   Peter  Mary   Bridget  James  Felix   ?James  JANE
    1864   1864–   1866–  1868   1869   1871     1873   1874    1878    c1881-
            1865    1866                                                 1962
    (4 of 7 alive in 1911, más fíor)


Ciarán Ó Duibhín
2016/12/26
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