'It's Us They're Talking About' :
Intro & John and May Doherty

Margaret Farren

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In the case of Paddy Reilly (real name Doherty, though nobody knows him as such), he was content to sketch an outline of his own story as a working man in Clonmany. As such his story asks us to decide for ourselves the importance of spirituality to survival in the lean 1930s. It serves as evidence of the fact that when our beliefs are strongly allied to our way of life, the influence they exert over us is invisible.

Charlie Owen is a different subject. He is equally comfortable relating his own life story or commenting on the political and social conditions of an era. He has acquired the skill of the traditional seanchai and every story is constructed to maximise the effect on the listener. He may be our last great storyteller and every effort should be made to record his material.

John and May Doherty make no claims for themselves other than a lively interest in their surroundings. John was a favourite consultant of Master Callaghan, and they'd spend long evenings in conversation, trying to pinpoint local references in a variety of sources. Both he and May are very aware of the influence of the church on the organisation of the community. For example, it is apparent from much of what they tell us that it was at one time the Gortnahinson/ Ballyhallion area, at another time Urrismanagh, that were considered the centres of activity for the parish.

Cassie and Sarah Frances Quigley are fine examples of what in local language would be called "good-living people". One gets the impression that they have lived their lives with complete confidence in the goodness of their friends and neighbours, and in the integrity of the church. If they have any misgivings of a spiritual nature, and they do not say that they do, these would be secndary to the social and historical importance of the church and its various ministers. The different perspectives of the Quigley sisters on the life of Clonmany parish cannot but enrich our understanding of common heritage.

Once again it was a pleasure and a privilege to be received into the homes of these respected Clonmany people. We would do well to remember the wealth of wisdom we have in the older members of our community .It is from them that we will derive our appreciation of the past before facing into the new millenium.

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