'Holidays of obligation were rigorously observed in our house. There was no question of anyone missing Mass, no matter what.'

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'Holidays of obligation were rigorously observed in our house. There was no question of anyone missing Mass, no matter what.'


Rosemary describes the different religious holidays that were observed by her family, including All Souls Day. She remembers going to early morning mass and dressing in the kitchen which was the warmest room in the house.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

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The first of November was always a holy day of obligation and we all went to Mass. We were off school of course, and often I was in Dungiven. The second of November, All Souls' Day saw us at the church for hours, making visits for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. That has all changed as well. The format was seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias with another set for the Pope's intentions along with the Apostles' Creed. We were in and out like a fiddler's elbow, and we vied with one another to see who could get the most done. I wonder if in reality any poor soul was released from Purgatory as a result of our efforts, which seem to me to have been more of quantity than quality. Holidays of obligation were rigorously observed in our house. There was no question of anyone missing Mass, no matter what, and it was generally to the early Masses that we went. I often wonder how my parents managed to get us all ready and out for those Masses. The clothes were all left out the night before and so no one had to waste time searching for anything. The shoes were polished and lined up along the side board, with clean socks for the mornings, too. We each had our clothes draped over a kitchen chair. We dressed and undressed in the living room which was known as the 'Kitchen' then, because we did not have any other heating in the house, except the open fire. I must have been around eight or nine years old when we got a Sofono grate which was an all night burner. The fire would be banked up with 'slack' at night to keep it smouldering away until in the morning it could be poked up into flames again when topped with fresh coal. In former days, the fire had to be lit each morning The water was heated by the boiler behind the fire. That was the only source of hot water in the house apart from the kettle. On Saturdays the fire would be stoked up until evening when all had a weekly bath for Sunday (Whether we needed it or not!) During the week we were 'washed down' at the sink in the scullery. The bathroom did not really come into use for us until we were in our early teens and needed more privacy. In Dungiven, a big tin bath was brought in and put in front of the range. It was filled with water from pots and kettles from the top of the range and we were dipped in this. Our cousin, Terence McMacken was often with us in Granny's house then.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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