A Harvest of Memories

Rural Ireland From the '30s To Present Times
  • Published: April 2007
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 244
  • Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781425105228
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Chapter 1. The Boss Man. Introduces my father and mother. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been around to write these stories!

Chapter 2. Growing up a Protestant. Is mostly about growing up as a small boy in a Protestant culture in Ireland.

Chapter 3. The Hungry Thirties: A brief explanation of the Hungry Thirties abroad and at home, also explains why the shortage of money in olden times didn’t prevent people from living and enjoying themselves in spite of its absence!

Chapter 4. Hitler’s War. How it benefited Ireland. Emigrant’s money being sent home, and the opportunity to work, which was unavailable at home.

Chapter 5. War and Horses: During the war years horses of all kinds were in big demand and gave my Father the opportunity to show his mettle.

Chapter 6. Dismal Fifties: We break away from Thirties thinking, but progress is slow!

Chapter 7. The EEC. Entry to Europe and consequent benefits.

Chapter 8: The Fordson Tractor: Irelands first approach to mechanisation, and how it was adopted wholeheartedly by the farm worker.

Chapter 9. The Ferguson TE 20: This tractor was the turning point in mechanised farming, but it took a while to sell itself to ‘Doubtful Thomas’s’ in the farming fraternity.

Chapter 10. The Reaper and Binder: The half way stage between backbreaking work in the harvest field, and today’s modern combine harvester.

Chapter 11. Thrashing: Sweat, dust, and rat killing, and the hazards faced on road and in haggard when moving from farm to farm.

Chapter 12: The Agricultural Contractor: Very much in vogue today, but was always there in bygone times as additional farm income.

Chapter 13. Neighbours: How to, and how not to, get along with them, and their real worth in times of trouble or need.

Chapter 14. A Settin’ of Eggs: A settin’ of eggs relates how important the money earned from selling eggs was to the farmer’s wife, and how it doesn’t pay to get too greedy.

Chapter 15: Pin Money: Many of today’s women, married or single, are financially independent and what they earn could hardly be described as ‘pin money’. Yesterday’s rural woman struggled hard for her independence, be it selling eggs, butter, the odd calf or piglet, or thinning roots for farmers and cutting sheaves at thrashing time. Bord Failte and the B@B’s set her up and gave some the chance to earn real money.

Chapter 16: Daisy the House Cow: Queen of the farmyard, her welfare was important not only to the farmer and his family but various other farm animals. Her yearly journey to a suitor is recorded

Chapter 17: Sheep: A law unto themselves, and the bane of all owners when any form of control is practiced. The buying and selling of them is an art form.

Chapter 18: Fairs Old and New: The period covered is from the old hand spittin’ an’ clappin’ fair green days, to the modern Livestock auction ring. The Dealin’ Man was PR personified!

Chapter 19. Training of the Collie Pup: The Collie Pup and how he should not be trained.

Chapter 20. The Rescue of Kelpie: A favourite sheepdog who was lost and was rescued.

Chapter 21. The Farm Labourer: His trials and tribulations. Low wages and long hours usually carried with a cheerful disposition.

Chapter 22. The Farm Labourers Wife: The same trials only female. The options of the single girl were limited. The best was made of a bad lot.

Chapter 23. The County Show: All the hoopla of preparation, then disappointment when honour is called into question.

Chapter 24. The Gunner Ryan: A dacent man not over fond of work, but needs must when the Devil drives. Prayers to our Lady are of little help.

Chapter 25. The Campaign: Harvesting sugar beet, the exact opposite of grain harvesting. Mud, mud, and more mud.

Chapter 26: T’will do Well Enough: Exactly what it says, and putting it on the long finger only makes matters worse.

Chapter 27. The Wake: We’re a nation of funeral goers, and the Wake still holds a respected position in rural Ireland.

Chapter 28. Idle Thoughts: Reflections on many aspects of farming and rural living down through the years.

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