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Cows, Hens And Chickens

Ardmore Memory and Story - Life and Work

11. Cows, Hens And Chickens
Up to quite recently, we shared our village with numerous flocks of animals and domestic fowl.

Mrs Byron lived in the present residence of the Quinn family at the foot of Tower Hill. She had ducks, who having negotiated the crossing at the tip of the village (not too hazardous up to about thirty years ago) took to the stream, which at that time flowed down the right side of Bothar na Trinse (it is now covered in) to its junction with the river at Walsh’s bog, and from there explored the rest of the stream, behind the village street. The ducks are long since gone, but it was nice to see a flock of geese across the way occasionaly, in Powers' field now.

Byrons had cows which were milked in the yard opposite the Round Tower. In the summer, Mrs Byron drove round in a special milk car, and measured out the milk to her visitors and other customers. Mrs Crowley (first house on the left out the Youghal Road, a former post office) kept hens. The Crowleys also kept cows and Jerry drove them down and milked them in the garage, where Miss Mary Power now keeps her car. Gearys were the occupants of Tigaluinn up to the 1920’s and they milked cows in the back yard.

Dick Pollock, Maycroft, had a donkey, later a horse and hounds in part of “The Coachhouse”; and John Keevers had hay and a horse in the house now occupied by Caroline and Ian Sullivan. This was previously used as a garage for Tom Foley’s hackney car.

Next down the road was Mrs O’Brien in what is now Dunnes' showhouse and she had chickens behind the house. Nanny Rooney, Jimmies’ grandmother had chickens behind her house (now Brisen) at the end of the row and I well remember her “tioc, tioc, tioc” as she called them for food. Johnny Fitzgerald in the village (now Carltons) had hens also.

Rooneys had land in Dysert and up the Glen, so Jimmie was constantly up and down, bringing them to be milked in their yard in the village behind the pub. It should be mentioned that all the householders in the village had a plot of land in Dysert (pronounced Dessert)

Quains drove down the cows from the land beyond the coastguard station and they were milked in the cow-house opposite Cliff Cottage.

Mrs Fred Keane of Star Cottage drove her cows up and down the Cliff also and presumably they were milked in some area now incorporated in the dwelling. Ciss Quain still remembers her conical hat. Incidentally, up to about thirty or forty years ago the women coming into the village always wore shawls, generally but not always black and tasslled. It seems they're coming into high fashion again.

Johnie Mulcahy who lived between the Boathouse and the church and Mike Troy who lived in Chapel Row, were also constantly on the move driving cows up and down from Dysert to be milked behind their houses. The McCarthys at the end of the village were always doing likewise.

Catherine Fitzgerald (Odell) of Odell Lodge, now Melrose had about four cows in the big field to the east of the Health Centre and she sold milk.

Lady Susan Dobbs of Camphire owned the house on the New Line now known as “Ringsend”. When she came to Ardmore for her annual holiday, my father Martin Hurley went with his lorry to Villierstown Pier. There the ferry boat, a large flat one, still operated and brought across Lady Dobb's cow, which was then transferred by lorry to Ardmore.

All the bovine traffic I have described seems incredible now, but I remember it very well. One refrains from comment on the condition of the roads in the village after this constant passage of animals. At any rate, we had a frequent 'moo moo' here and a 'quack, quack' there in the Ardmore of not so long ago.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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