School: Stonetown, Louth (roll number 16431)

Stonetown Lower, Co. Louth
P. Ó Dubháin

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The Culture of the Older Generation 1855-1890

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The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0668, Page 302

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As can be seen easily, anything in the way of poetry, song and music made a strong appeal to the people at that time. It is noticeable that their songs had the traditional tone in three ways: first, it was customary to begin each verse with a "nyah" and to give full value to the vowel sounds; second, so long as vowel sound rhymed, nothing else mattered - thus in the foregoing poem see "slip" and "permit" made to rhyme - third, it was usual to SPEAK the last few words of each song.

A noteworthy feature in the people's taste, was their extraordinary fondness for the poems of Robert Burns. Several of the men of the older generation knew many of his poems by heart, and appreciated them too. Except in the case of Cathal Buidhe, there is no evidence of any preservation of anything by Gaelic poets.
Plays, as we have them now, were unknown around here. Amusements took the form of the cross-roads dance, and "ceilidhes" in neighbours houses. For reading, besides the local paper, the well-informed people would buy some Dublin papers, as : The Weekly News, Young Ireland, Weekly Freeman, Shamrock, Leprechaun, Irish Packet. Earlier "The Nation" was bought by a few, and some enterprising fellow would bring it around to several others, charging a penny a read.
The poems and ballads of T.D. Sullivan were very popular and : "The Story of Ireland" by A.M Sullivan was avidly read. A curious thing is that although the old folk knew the Irish language fairly well, they did not speak it to their children. I have met just one old man who was enthusiastic for it.

Pat Murphy
Stonetown Lower, Co. Louth