Life in Bygone Days
This book is about life years ago when my parents and even, my
grandparents were young. They told me lots of stories, and how life
was very different compared to life today. School, farming, houses,
weddings, and funerals were not the same as they are today. In this
book, we will see how life has changed.
Going To The Creamery
Farming was very hard. Milk tanks were put on the ass and cart and
were taken to the creamery. At the creamery, the milk was weighed
and separated. Then, at the other side of the creamery, you got
your skin milk back and that would be used to feed the calves. Before
the creamery was built, you had to make butter. Some houses had
separators, which would separate cream from milk. Butter was then
made from cream.
Work On The Farm
Hay was always cut in July. When granddad was younger the hay was
cut with a scythe. This was long, hard, back- breaking work. When
granddad got older they cut the hay with a mower which was pulled
behind a horse. The hay was turned a few days after being cut depending
on the weather. Grass cocks were made and you would tram the hay
when it was dry. It was then drawn home by a hay cart and made into
Farmers ploughed the land with two horses and a plough. Potatoes,
barley, oats, wheat, turnips and cabbage were sown.
Turf cutting was also a big event in the year. The pony and cart
would drive twenty miles or more to the bog. The turf was cut by
a sleáin. It was then turned after two weeks and two weeks
later, it was footed and barrowed out to the road. It was brought
all the way home on a donkey and cart. After all this work it was
lovely to sit by a nice cosy fire on a cold winter’s night.
Working around the house was another busy job. My Nana told me of
all the work that she did years ago. In the morning, she cleaned
the house, washed the dishes, brushed the floors and cleaned the
windows. One meal that she cooked was putting a pig’s head
in the pot and this was cooked in an open-fire. The bread was cooke
in an open fire on a griddle. Nana used a washing board and soap
to scrub the clothes. They were then put out on the bushes, as there
was no clothesline. An iron bar was put over the fire and the clothes
were put on these to air them. Socks, jumpers and cardigans were
knitted and they were sewn by hand as there was no machines. The
dressmaker made clothes and tailors made suits. These tailors came
to the house and made the suits.
Going To School
All children walked to school in all types of weather. In the summer,
the children went barefooted. The boys wore short trousers and the
girls wore pinafores. The school was not comfortable. There was
one big room with two teachers. All classes were in the one room.
The children brought turf to school each day and this was put in
the open fire. The schools were cold and damp. The children carried
their books with a strap around them to keep them together. The
children worked on the farm before and after school. If the children
were late for school, the teachers would slap them.
People went to the dances every Sunday night and it cost one shilling
to get into the dance hall. There were drinks in timber barrels
and the men drank stout and the girls drank orange. The men sat
on one side of the hall and the ladies sat on the other side. A
lot of people played concertinas, fiddles and flutes. There were
a lot of good dancers then. People would go on their ‘cuairt’
to other houses. They would play instruments, dance and play cards.
People enjoyed the simple life in by gone days!
Weddings were not like the weddings today because there wasn’t
a lot of money. Geese were prepared in the houses for the evening
meal. A lot of people had weddings on Shrove Tuesday. The ceremony
only took five minutes. Then, everyone went back to the groom’s
house. There was no such thing as a honeymoon.
All these people only had the simple things in life and worked so
hard. Always be grateful for what you get and have and never take
anything for granted.
I am dedicating this story to my father who died suddenly
last Christmas morning. He helped me with part of this book and
I will never forget him.