Well said Viola and timely. I have been writing on my great grandparents and have been
visualizing the conditions they lived under. I remember visitng my Gran in KIlkenny in
1958 and there was a man at the country store (now a country pub) who was taking a break
from working that morn clearing the weeds along the local roads (all gravel in those
days). Paddy was using a 2 handed scythe. I had not seen one before and have not seen
one in use since but have seen them in museums. My gran had no electricity, no running
water and a turf fire in her parlour. Kerosene lamps for light, a small handpump on her
kitchen sink for water. A ‘wireless’ radio for entertainment (several large batteries
wired to the radio). She was self-sufficient in that she had a dozen chickens for eggs, 2
nanny-goats tethered at the foreleg for milk, cream and butter - she had about an acre of
land behind her cottage which was well manicured by them. A small garden patch for
potatoes and cabbage. Meat was the only thing missing which was obtained by my uncle who
still lived with her - he was a stonemason and jack of all trades. My gran was illiterate
but sharp as a tack. Our letters were read to her and answered through my uncle. She did
not have a phone but then we had a phone back in Canada only a couple of years earlier -
we did not live in a city. Conditions were unlike any I had experienced before or since
except when camping out in Canada. So, when doing your searches you have to visualize the
conditions, the distances by walking or donkey-cart. When considering distances you have
to consider too that your ancestors would take short-cuts through the fields barring
rivers etc. Conditions were somewhat non-mechanical particularly in the countryside.
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:52:45 +0100
From: Viola Wiggins <vmaw3434(a)gmail.com>
Subject: FERMANAGH-GOLD -Community helping each other.
To: Fermanagh-Gold <fermanagh-gold(a)rootsweb.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
In the early 1800s there were not many Machines so every task on Farms such as planting
the Potato crop to feed the family, or the Seed Crops to feed the animals was cultivated
using back breaking hand tools like Spades, Scythes, Rakes, Hoes and shovels. This usually
needed the help from neighbours at both Sowing and Harvesting times.
Farmers helped each other in that way right up to and even after the 1940s when there was
"Compulsory Tillage" during WW2, when a percentage of the acreage of each farm
was legally required to be "under crop" with Ministery of Agriculture Inspectors
supervising that was enforced.
The Weather was watched and the work planned between neighbours, and the day fixed and
The Woman of the House was consulted as she prepared the food, and carried the
10-30am Tea and Snacks to the men in the Field. The Mid-Day meal of Potatoes, Meat and
Veg, was served in the House at 12-30pm. A couple of Chickens would be killed for that
day, or a joint of Bacon Boiled.
The Afternoon Tea and Snacks again served in the field at 3-30pm, and a Tea-Time Knife
and Fork meal served in the House at 6-0pm.
If it was a Friday the Main meal would be Fish because all Friday's were "Fast
Days" when Meat was not eaten. We had one neighbour who also Fasted on Wednesdays
"against Toothache", even though he had not a tooth in his head! Even he laughed
about that, but still refused meat.
The work was labour intensive so the feeding of the men was important.
"You're only as good as your Neighbour" comes to mind. Because if people
did not 'get on' with their neighbour, they would not be able to call on that
So yes Community relationships mattered very much in the Country in my youth.
More so than now-a-days, when there are Machines for almost everything.
Mobile Phones in young people's hands Texting or playing Games instead of a spoken
Conversation with people.
I wonder if Evolution will see future Generations loss the ability to Speak?
Old adage of "Use it or Lose it," comes to mind!
Sent from my iPad
End of FERMANAGH-GOLD Digest, Vol 15, Issue 228