Séamus Ó Casaide (1854–1942) of Teelin, Lifford, Co Donegal
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According to the information recorded on the Doegen speaker questionnaire in September 1931, Séamus Ó Casaide was born in Teilionn, and was aged 74 at the time of recording. Both his parents were from Teilionn, and his father was a farmer. In response to questions, he stated that he had lived in Teilionn until the age of 21, and had then spent 15 years in America, before returning to Teilionn. He described herself as a farmer. Irish was his mother language, and he could also speak English. He had attended primary school in Teilionn, and he could read and write English only. The recording team noted "Stimme etwas dumpf und heiser".
The account of the speaker's life given by Mühlhausen (pp 6–7) states that he went to America in 1888, and worked as a travelling pedlar, and later in a saloon, as an employee at first and then as proprietor. In America he married a girl from Malinbeg, and they had two children but both died young. He returned to Teilionn with his wife in 1897, for what was intended to be a visit, but which became permanent residence when his parents died. His wife died also [in 1919?], and he remarried at around the age of 60. In 1937, aged 82, he was living in the house in which he was born, and in which his father was born.
In a taped conversation with me on 05/04/1986, the late Seán Ó hEochaidh said that Séamus was born and raised in An Cheapach, one of the townlands of Teilionn, "cupla céad slat siar ó Thomás 'ac Seagháin". His people had lived in Teilionn for many generations, but there was noone left there who was related to him, as far as Seán was aware. Séamus spent a long period as a pedlar in America, and had plenty of opportunity to practise his stories when the Irish-speaking pedlars would get together after selling the contents of their packs. Seán remembered Séamus' second wife well, and also mentioned that Séamus' sister Cáit lived with them.
Seán Ó hEochaidh, in a detailed obituary in Béaloideas, confirms that Séamus was born in An Cheapach in 1854, and that he went to America by way of Liverpool. He married in America, but returned with his wife to look after his parents, and built a new house in An Cheapach.
In the census of 1901, we find, in the townland of Cappagh, James Cassidy (41), a farmer; his wife Bridget (40); his mother Catherine (86), a widow; and his sister Catherine (35), a seamster [sic] and unmarried. All spoke Irish and English, except for the mother who had Irish only. In 1911, there were James (55) described as a fisherman, his wife Bridget (60), his brother John (70, single, a farmer), and his sister Catherine (53, single, a sprigger). All had Irish and English. James and Bridget had been married for 23 years and there were no children.
Séamus' wife died, and he remarried, at An Charraig on 26/04/1921, to Anne McBrearty, from An Cheapach. Her father was John McBrearty, a farmer.
Séamus Ó Casaide died at An Cheapach on 21/12/1942, aged 80. He was survived by his second wife.
Recent references to Séamus Ó Casaide:
Ludwig Mühlhausen, Zehn irische Volkserzählungen aus Süd-Donegal (1939)
Seán Ó hEochaidh, "Séamus Ó Caiside (1854–1942)", in Béaloideas 12 (1942) pp 214–5
Seán Ó hEochaidh, "Seanchas Iascaireachta agus Farraige: Réamhrá", in Béaloideas 33 (1965) pp 1–96 at 86
Seán Ó hEochaidh, "Seanchaithe agus Ceoltóirí Theilinn le Céad Bliain anuas", in Teileann Inné 's Inniu (1980) pp 15–22 at 16
Seán Ó hEochaidh, audio tape with Ciarán Ó Duibhín, 05/04/1986
Séamas Ó Catháin, "Printíseacht Phroifisiúnta Sheáin Uí Eochaidh, Lúnasa 1935–Eanáir 1936" in Oidhreacht Ghleann Cholm Cille (1989) pp 49–85 at 80–1; according to note 44 on p 77, there are two records by our speaker in CBÉ, M689 and M690, which were transferred from cylinders.
Úna Uí Bheirn, Cnuasach Focal as Teileann (1989) p vi (SC1)
Nollaig Mac Congáil and Ciarán Ó Duibhín, Glórtha ón tseanaimsir (2009) pp 41–4, 78
Róise Ní Bhaoill, Ulster Gaelic Voices (2010) pp 72–3, 94–9
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