An Interview with Jack Garrihy
Relating to the Development and Working of the
Toomullin Phosphate Mines, Co. Clare.
The video compilation which accompanies this interview with Jack Garrihy may be considered to stand upon its own merit. However, to best enjoy Jack's story it's recommended to acquaint yourself by perusing the associate article on the 20th Century Mines of Doolin. Doing so will help clarify much of the interview's content.
Jack Garrihy was one of several miners discovered, by chance, living in the Doolin area; whom I met Christmas 1973. This encounter followed enquiries about available petrol. Even though fuel supplies were severely limited, (ration books were issued in the UK 1973), Jack very kindly sold enough, at normal pump rates, to return our group to the UK. What followed over the next four decades were informative chats, where glimpses of a 1940s Doolin industry were illuminated.
A singular opportunity arose when Mark Lumley offered the loan of his professional audio tape recorder. Delighted, an interview was swiftly arranged taking place in Jack’s kitchen; an inexperienced attempt to record a little of his past: though the desire for detailed information of the mine and working conditions featured uppermost. What followed was, quite simply captivating; descriptions of his initial encounter with amateur geologist, Judge Michael Comyns; of how the mine operated around a three shift system, to its closure by Eamon De Valera at the meeting held in Lisdoonvarna. Time swept by, the tape ran out, Jack continued.
A friend has since attempted enhancement of the original audio recording, as it was not of the finest quality; most likely my fault. Nonetheless the recording stands on its own merit; a priceless record of a national necessity; a fleeting Irish industrial period, which during the emergency, (aka World War II), helped maintain food on the Nations tables.
Jack Garrihy 11th November 1920 - 25th February 2007.
Date of Interview 9th April 1997 Pat Cronin 2019.
The recording and video are copyright of The Pegasus Club Nottingham ©.