Working with a scythe.                                          Making a stook of oats.                                  Feeding the turkeys.

                                                                          You are reading Agriculture. - Archive


‘Seasonal tasks were all about. In the spring we had to pick stones out of the fields so that in the act of mowing later on the

scythe would be safe from being caught or damaged. Turf cutting was always in April. My sisters and I would stand on the bank,

each armed with a two-pronged fort. The men cut the sods with the sleán [Irish:turf-spade] and cast them up on the bank for us to

pick with the pikes and lay them down for the first stage of drying. After a month, it would be quite dry so we would ‘foot’ it –

standing every four sods in the form of a cone with a fifth on top. A few weeks later again, the stooks were broken up and made

into ricks for bringing home. In the summer, we had the cutting and saving of the hay. In the autumn we had to pick the potatoes

that had been dug out before us during the day.’

Mary O’ Shea, (b. c.1918) Derrynabrack, Tuosist. Lifetimes – Folklore from Kerry, p. 109.



     Turning sod for ridge.            Bringing manure to the field.                          Cutting seed potatoes.                            Spreading manure.                 


‘Every year my mother fattened a flock of turkeys to sell for Christmas but we had a goose ourselves to eat for the Christmas

dinner. The houses were decorated simply for Christmas – holly and laurel all around the pictures; no Christmas trees and no

tinsel. I didn’t know what a Christmas tree was until I went to England and I thought it was a wonderful thing to see a green tree in

the middle of a house with light on it.’

Mary O’ Shea, (b. 1921) Castlemaine. Lifetimes – Folklore from Kerry, p.18.



         Setting seed potatoes.                        Closed Ridges.                               Digging the potatoes.                  Making a potato pit.


'I know it all sounds very romantic now but one of the most vivid things I remember was seeing the cows come home in the

evening. There were cobblestones in the farmyard in front of the farmhouse where my Aunt Mags and her husband Jackie

were living. The cows would go across the cobble yard and their tails would be swishing and it was just a beautiful sense of

summer. The swallows would be nesting inside in what Mrs Ruth called the byre, what we called the shed. It was beautifully

whitewashed and I think that was another picture of summer. There was a little rose then, a pink rose at the turn of the yard and

whenever I think of the cows I think of the rose.’

Patrick O’ Sullivan, (b. 1950s) Callinafercy. Crossroads – Folklore from Kerry, p. 62.



                  Cutting turf.                                        'Footing' turf.                                     Ricks of turf.                              Drawing turf home.


                                                                                        Home                          Archive                  








Make a Free Website with Yola.