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County Clare 2020: A Day in My Life
Creative Writing Competition for children and teenagers
10 to 12 category

County Clare 2020: A Day in My Life: ‘If Walls could Talk’
by Zsuzsi Kidney

Normally my life is one big rush. Finish school, do my homework, go to training, practise my music. But then because of covid-19 everything changed. At the start, I thought it would be terrible, stuck with my family what could be worse. But then I realised when they say life is an
adventure that adventure can happen anywhere even within two kilometres of my home.

Every day, we get up, have some breakfast and the greatest thing is we don’t have to worry about being late for school or wondering about where I left my uniform and some days, we
would even do our homework in our pyjamas. Our new teachers have a lot to learn… poor mum, poor dad. They are trying their best to keep us busy.

After our home schooling, we go for walk or a cycle. My little sister loves playing I spy as we walk down the road. We always know the answers but we give a few wrong ones because that is part of the fun… we know R is for road but the competition is to come up with unusual answers rollercoaster, rhinoceros and rainbow. We know that W is for wall but we also include waiter, walrus and whale. She was getting frustrated yesterday and a neighbouring farmer was in his fields and she shouted over … ‘Can you help? … ‘I spy with my little eye something starting with ‘W’’ That is easy he replied – ‘Wall …. But do you know the story of these walls?’ and he started to tell us all about the history. This is when I realised that history is more than just stories in books and is all around us.

My family lives in Kiltanon near Tulla and we discovered our house is on land which used to be Kiltanon Estate, many moons ago. The owner was Captain Moloney, who had served in India for several years. While he was over in India he loved the Indian tea so when it was time for him to leave, he decided to import it to Ireland and from that he made a lot of money.

His wife also found a great love for trees so she brought different tree and plant seeds back with her to Ireland. With the money Captain Moloney made from the tea, he decided to employ all the local farmers to plant the different trees around the estate and to build the finest walls and a road just for him through his fields into Tulla. As a result of which, he was a big employer and was supporting many of the farmers’ families in the area.

Unfortunately, Captain Moloney ran out of money when only three quarters of the wall was built and he had to stop his project and let all the farmers go. Obviously, they were not happy to lose this income and stood chanting at the Captain’s gates. They chanted ‘Moloney go back to India for tea, Moloney go back to India for tea’…

A few years later, in 1920, while Captain Moloney was traveling in England, his house was burnt down. While some people thought this was part of the fight for an independent Ireland others say some of his staff who were annoyed about the unfinished wall and the lost jobs, had done this for revenge. There was a particularly valuable poker table which had been won by one of the Captains relatives in France which is thought to have been stolen just before the house was put on fire.

After this incident, the Moloneys decided to leave Clare and the estate was split between different farmers after the fight for independence. The walls were never finished.

After our walk I sat down at my dad’s computer and read more about the Moloney’s. I never appreciated that there was so much history around us and I never thought much about walls until lockdown and the next time somebody says that if only those walls could talk …. I wish they would and tell me just what happened to that poker table.

Lockdown is fun and my local area so interesting.

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