Work in the Community (Glenbeigh N.S. Folklore Project)


  • SPRING: sowing potatoes, barley, oats and vegetables. Milking the cows, feeding the cattle, sheep, lambs and pigs.
  • SUMMER: during the war years, turf was sold as a cash crop, weighed and sold by the ton. Agents in Killorglin represented buyers from Cork and Dublin. Hay was cut using a scythe and a pitchfork was used to save the hay.
  • AUTUMN:  harvesting crops of oats and barley – picking the potatoes. Feeding, rearing turkeys for the Christmas market. Eggs were collected, sold in the local shops.


  • The land commission gave two bogs. One was for domestic use, the other was to provide turf for selling.
  • Three people were needed to cut the turf.
    • The first person cut the sods of turf from the turf bank, using a sleán. The sleán was like a spade with a ledge on the left hand side to form the sod and a long handle.
    • The second man used a pike to place the sods out the turf bank.
    • The third man used the pike to spread the turf for drying on the bank
  • After three weeks the turf was footed – five sods standing, one sod on top.
  • When the turf was dry it was put out – brought to roadside by donkey and cart stacked in reeks. Later it was drawn home by donkey and car / horse rail. It was stored by the house in reeks and used for heating and cooking.


  • Weavers played a vital part in the community. Woven baskets called cliabhs were used to transport turf and other goods on the farm.
  • Burdug used to trim the potatoes freshly boiled on the open fire. A woven cradle kept the newborn baby warm and safe. Twigs were got from the sally and willow tree which were growing on the banks of the Caragh River.
  • For specially commissioned tasks like the white basket hanging from the handlebars of a lady’s bicycle the twigs were boiled and the brown bark removed to reveal the white polished twigs beneath.

The Thresher

  • When the crops of oats and barley were ripe, usually in August (at Puck) they were cut using a scythe. Then sheaves were made and stacked in the farm yards awaiting the arrival of the thresher. The Teahan’s from Cromane, O’Reilly’s from Kilgobnet and Paddy Donal provided the machinery.
  • All the local farmers comhared – joining their work force – the meitheal of workers moving from farmyard to farmyard. Refreshment came in the form of barm brack and porter.

Planting the Potatoes

  • In the Spring, the garden was prepared, using a spade to turn the TAOBH FHÓD – making ridges for the seed potatoes (sciolláns) saved from last years crop.
  • Fertiliser came in the form of farmyard manure and seaweed drawn from the beach in Rossbeigh.
  • Seed potatoes were cut into sciollans, showing at least one eye. These were placed on the ridges 3-in-a-row and spaced at intervals of one foot.
  • During the summer the growing stalks were protected from blight by a plentiful application of bluestone.
  • The furrow – the area between the ridges was dug and the earth was used to cover the young shoots.
  • In October the mature potatoes were dug and stored in a PIT covered with rushes and earth.


  • At one time there were 15 shops in the village selling foodstuff, drapery and hardware. Campbell’s shop even sold habits for dressing the corpse in the coffin!
  • Hotel work provided by the Towers Hotel and the Glenbeigh Hotel was important with guests throughout the Summer months and French fowlers during the shooting season of October and November.
  • The River Caragh was a huge attraction to rod fishermen from England and Europe.
  • There was some work as gillies for the hunters and fishermen.
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