Over many years Maurice O’Keeffe of Irish Life and Lore has travelled the roads of Ireland meeting and compiling oral history recordings with members of the farming community for our organisation Irish Life and Lore. The changes witnessed on Irish farms during the 1950s and 1960s are recalled and discussed in these recordings.
During these years the farming women worked just as hard as did the men, working in the dairy, milking the cows and churning the butter, among other tasks. Nothing was wasted by these industrious women and recycling was the norm.
Meal bags were recycled as covers for feather mattresses and the bags were also cut open and two sewn together in the middle to make sheets; chickens, geese and turkeys were reared and plucked; reeds were gathered and dried for basket weaving; straw rope was fashioned for Sugan chair seats; patchwork quilts were sewn using cut-off scraps of cloth; bacon and mackerel were salted; chaff was separated wheat; meals were cooked and water boiled for clothes-washing over the open fire and water was drawn from the well.
All of this industry, and much more, is recalled in this podcast which features the voices of some of the hard-working women of Ireland of former days.