Kate Keaney from Maínis talks about her husbands, raising ten children and the differences between life in England and Ireland.

Kate Keaney from Maínis (Mweenish Island) in County Galway first married when she was 18 years old to a man 51 years her senior. She and Pat had a son and a daughter, both of whom live in America.

When Pat died, Kate married Tom and they had 10 children together, although two of their sons died. Tom emigrated to England for work purposes, only returning to Ireland twice a year. 

For 11 years Kate reared the children on her own. However during this period in her life she was never lonely as all of her time was taken up with the children. Eventually she and the children joined Tom in England and she never looked back. She discovered there was a vast difference between life in England and Ireland,

I think if I'd stayed in Ireland, I be, I don’t think I’d get the same right from this country as I did.

Kate Keaney feels that Irish women are often taken for granted by men as they carry out all of the household chores as well as being expected to help on the farm.

I think the men are having a great old time here, I don’t know but in England they aren’t, the Irishman has the best life I think, of the whole lot altogether.

She thinks German men have a lot in common with Irish men.

They dominate all the time but in England the men, the poor men are henpecked.

Due to ill health Tom retired early at the age of 62 and they returned to Maínis. Kate’s only regret is that she now lives far away from her children. She would like to see them more frequently. Tom is very contented to stay put and they live a very quiet existence.

Kate does not think people are as nice as they used to be. Perhaps because of the faster pace of life they seem to be more withdrawn and less inclined to chat. 

'Plain Tales’ is a unique series in which six unknown women from various parts of the country tell their life stories in their own way. The producer and director of the series Nuala Ó Faoláin recognised the voice of elderly women in society as well as on television is marginalised. 'Plain Tales’ provides a platform for this cohort to have their say. 

Nuala Ó Faoláin was keen to highlight the voice of women whose lives are ordinary and could talk about the ordinary things. The series utilises minimum production techniques, there is no presenter, no formal interviews. The women are filmed in their own homes so they feel comfortable talking to the camera.  In 1986 Nuala Ó Faoláin won a Jacob's Award for the series.

This episode of ‘Plain Tales’ was broadcast on 19 August 1985. The producer and director is Nuala Ó Faoláin.