Work 1 (Cahersiveen NS Folklore Project)

Q: What would most people have worked at?

Most people had small farms. If you lived near the sea you would have fished. If you lived in a town you might be lucky enough to own a shop (hardware, grocery etc.).There were also a lot of jobs on the railroads.


Q: What would you have done mostly on the farm?

My brother and sister would have helped me milk the cows and feed the calves on my uncle’s farm. They were only a handful of the jobs we had to do though.


Q: What age were you when you got your first moving vehicle?

I was around 40 years old. It was a Honda 50 motorbike. I used it for going to town shopping and for going to mass. Insurance and tax were a lot cheaper then however.


Q: What animals did you have other than cows?

We had a donkey for carrying small loads; a horse, hens and a working dog. We had turkeys for Christmas. When I was grown up we also had sheep. We kept some for our own use and sold others at the fair.


Q: What age did most people start working at?

They started work at around 14 or 15. There was no college for most people. Women were not allowed work after marriage. That law was reversed in 1973.


Q: Would most people have put animals in for winter?

Not all people would have, but the people who did had only small sheds with no slatted tanks. Times were tough enough. There was no such thing as the fine sheds that Farmers have now.


Q: How did you bring milk to the creamery?

When I was older we used to bring the milk churns on a horse and cart to Delis Bridge, where they were collected by the lorry. I loved going for the spin myself. When I was small we just milked the cows for the house.


Q: What used you feed your animals at Winter?

In the Winter we used feed the animals hay, pulped turnips and a bit of yellow meal.


Q: What would have been the most common animal on the farms?

Cows and sheep were common. You would have had a working dog for the sheep and hens were popular too.


Q: Used you sell your animals at the mart?

 No, we used walk them to the Fair Field on fair days, where large cattle farmers from up the country bought the cattle. This was always a great ‘Day Out’. The animals were then transported by train to their destination.


Q: Did most people grow their own food?

Yes, the spuds, turnips and cabbage were grown. If you were lucky you might own an apple tree.


Q: How often would you have milked the cows?

We milked twice daily, every morning and every evening.

Q: How did you move animals over long distances without tractors or trailers?

We walked them, sometimes for a couple of hours and the dog would have kept them in order.


Q: How did ye cut hay?

We used a scythe (a long curved blade on a wooden handle).


Q: What would you have used horses for?

 We used them for harrowing and ploughing, or carrying heavy loads that the donkey could not manage, for example; turf home from the bog. They were also vital for basic transport.

Q: What would have been the most common breed of cow?

The Kerry cow, the Shorthorns and Whiteheads were also common. Years later the Charolais and Limousin came along.


Q: What types of sprays or chemicals did people put on spuds to stop blight from spreading?

We used a chemical called Bluestone.

Q: What food items would you have bought and how often?

Teabags, jam, sugar, biscuits, flour and things we needed that we didn’t grow. We bought these once a week.


Q: What was the first tractor you bought?

It was a Massey Ferguson 20. I was so proud of that tractor!

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