Wednesday, 8 February 2012

"The People Long Ago".

I have developed quite a interest in rural Ireland (West Cork) these days.  The older generation seem to always  be able to spin a yarn or ten.  My late uncle (when he was in 'good form') would always tell me something rather amusing or just simply mind boggling.

For example ("here begineth the lesson").  

If you were to walk into the 'Haggard' (where the cows and the hay stacks live) of any small farm in rural Ireland.  You would often find the 'Furze machine'.  Furze or Gorse was often used to feed the cart horse and moo cows. The furze machine crushed the spikes and made a very nutritious and palatable meal for Dobbin and Daisy respectively.   They were very useful pieces of machinery, but often very dangerous.  

So if one was to go back many moons.  A bachelor would often go to a dance to seek out a future wife.  He would not just be interested in if she was the only child, or if she was pretty, what religion was she, or how many acres did her father own?  Oh no.  The bachelor was far more interested in something much more important than that:  

"Did she have all of her fingers".

Yes I know.   You see it was quite common for the 'Furze machine' to cut through the furze and to cut off a finger.  If the milkmaid (poor girl) had lost her finger.  The bachelor would not be interested at all.  SHE would not be able to hand milk the cows in the morning!

Think on now lads.  When you are down that disco until four in the morning spitting in some young lasses ear.    Make sure to check that she's got all her fingers!


  1. Bit of advice I was given in my younger days - "Always have a good look at her mother, because that's what you've got to look forward to"

    Sometimes wish I'd taken more notice.

  2. You have a brilliant sense of humour.

    The brides father also had to pay a dowry to the grooms father. I have a copy of my grandmother's somewhere.



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