Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Ardmore Memory and Story - Life and Work
Page Title : Reminiscences Of Jimmy Rooney
Page Number : 15
Publication Date : 06 November 2013
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Ardmore

Jimmie Rooney is now 90 years old in 1999. He spent long years salmon fishing and his fishing reminiscences are recorded in the account on fishing. He also has memories of farming life in his youth.

As a young man, he was occasionally sent to Grange Creamery to order a load of slag or manure; this was 50/- a ton. The other manure with which he and everybody else were familiar was called 'truc'. It consisted of seaweed and sand; seaweed was placed on a base of sand and one continued building up alternate layers of seaweed and sand, which were then left to rest. The resultant heap was black and was cut down through with a hay knife in order to remove it and convey it to the crop. People were very particular about the seaweed when it was blown in and guarded each section of beach diligently; one dare not encroach on the neighbour's section. At the far end of Goat Island cove, there was a derrick for raising up the seaweed as the approach to the cove itself was rather difficult.

The first mowing machine in Ardmore was bought before the first World War by Mike Troy, Chapel Row and Johnie McGrath of Dysert. The two of them combined in buying it. However, after the first World War, Fr Enda Ducey, formerly of Crossford, remembers his father paying £45 for a reaper and binder to replace his mowing machine.

I remember my father-in-law, William Lincoln, Lios an Uisce, extolling the professionalism of Seáinín Curran, who was terrific for making stacks. He made a stack of four acres of corn and finished up with two sheaves on top, which never stirred in a storm.

Jimmie remembers a threshing machine drawn by four horses. This was in use at Deugy Powers of Curragh and the extra horses would have been loaned. The machine was a huge wide drawn one with heavy projecting beams about 14/15 feet long at either side' two horses were tackled to each and kept going round, while a few men fed in sheaves from the stack of corn.

Bigger threshing machines were used later. All the local farmers either came themselves or sent a man to represent them on the big day. Water had to be drawn for the engine, two barrels at a time; the sheaves had to be piked from end to end of the rick up to the men feeding the machines. It was a very complicated process.

The threshing day was a very busy day for the ladies of the household too, with so many men to feed. I remember, when teaching in Ballycurrane in the forties, children being kept at home on threshing days to keep turning the fire machine to keep a good fire under all the pots. When the men came in for the midday meal, there was often segregation; the farmers being directed to the parlour and the labourers to the kitchen. And then we came to the era of combine harvesters. In the forties we walked out from the village to see our very first one, operating in a big field of Walshes at Rodeen near Powers Cross on the way to Youghal.

Jimmy Rooney had a contract for malting barley during the war and wheat had to be set at that period also. He had a contract for beet in the fifties and spoke feelingly of the hardship involved. A double-boarded plough (horse-drawn) was used to open drills. The seed was set by a hand-held machine, you went on your knees to thin it out, crown it and leave it in little heaps to be conveyed to the side for collecting. He had five acres of beet; £3 a ton was the price paid and he had perhaps sixty tons. A high sugar content raised the price. Now all is done by machine; there is precision sowing, so no thinning; chemical spraying reducing weeding to a minimum and lifting is by mechanical harvester.

In the days of the landlords, Jimmie holds that the landlords' agents were even more difficult to deal with, than the landlords themselves.

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