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Farewell to the Thatch & Whitewash


A Social history of the period 1940 - 1955 covering an area at the source of two rivers The Nore and The Suir, the parish of Bournea and adjoining parishes and the North end of the Suir Valley





Farewell to thatch and whitewash came from the fact that, in 1940, there were over thirty thatched houses in the locality. By 1955 only six or seven remained. This came about, as a result of; the introduction of the combine harvester. Long good quality oaten straw became a thing of the past. Also the thatchers were getting old and retiring. The thatched roof had a relatively short lifespan. It had to be redone every ten or twelve years. Nearly all of the thatched roofs were replaced with slates or some material with a much longer lifespan than thatch.  White washed walls were being replaced with cement plaster or dashed walls. This method of wall finishing also, lasted much longer than white wash.



Note from the Author:


For the past three or four years, I have been thinking, wondering, pausing, pondering if I should put pen to paper and make an effort to recall life as I knew it in the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties. I have had a vast amount of encouragement and some heavy pressure to embark on this project. At this point I would like to say that this book is not a exercise in nostalgia. It is a personal account and is one man's memories of the past.


In this book when I refer to Clonakenny, I am talking about the area from Killea Creamery to Rathnavogue, from Ballinamore to Shanakill and from Borrisnoe to Couraguneen. A considerable area to cover.


I will try to be as accurate and as factual as possible and will rely on good friends to help me with what information they can give. No doubt there will be some inaccuracies and mistakes, however, I will do my best to be as accurate as I can. At no time should the contents of this book be taken as established fact. No part, or any reference to any part of this book should be used to definitively settle any dispute or debate: it is as I say merely a personal account. I have made every effort not to offend any person or persons living or dead.


And finally, I hope that anyone who reads this book will enjoy its contents.


Jim Kennedy 2010.



People whose help made this book possible.




Tom Hamill. R.I.P.

Mae Hamill

Seamus Fogarty R.I.P.

Dermot Fogarty

Paddy Cody, Derrylahan

Michael Costigan

Margaret McCormack

Pat Maher, Manorhill, Shanacloone

Michael Carroll, Ballinknock

Michael Sheedy, Cullahill Upper.

Dan Greed, Summerhill

Pat McCann, Ballinamoe

Kathleen Costigan, Post Office, R.I.P.

Esther Bourke, R.I.P.

David Long

Dan Greed, Gurteen.

Nora Butler (Swan)


Technical Support.


Claire Bohan, Archaeology

William Maher, Compilation and legal advice

Michael Fewer, Overall Contents.

Paddy Cody, Portroe, Geneology

Denis Falahee, Typing.

Cian O Brien, Ordinance Survey, Folklore Commission.




Michael Kiely

Dermot Fogarty

Dan Ryan

Margaret Costigan

Jenny Evans

Hazel Percy

Bridget Bourke “Martin”

Kathleen Treacy “Maher”




Father Noel Kennedy P.P. &

Bournea Parish Council.


A Special thanks to The Folklore Commission


to the Thatch

& Whitewash


By Jim Kennedy


Price:…… € 15.00