Posted by: marthabernie | April 27, 2015

HARVESTING ON ACHILL ISLAND, COUNTY MAYO, IRELAND

scan0011This image is from a stereoview card published about 1905-1910.  It shows two women harvesting on Achill Island, which is in County Mayo, not too far from Westport.  There is quite a bit of commentary on the back of the card, saying that the women were left to harvest while the men went to England and Scotland to work as farm laborers during the summer to earn enough money for the rest of the year.  The houses down the road are of a better sort than some seen in Ireland at this time as they have chimneys standing up through their thatched roofs.  A good many of the Achill cottages had only a hole in the roof to let the smoke out from the turf fires.  The card goes on to say, “But, even at best, life is hard for the Achill folk; the land is poor, the fields are small and the season of warm sunshine is very short.”  That is Slievemore standing in the rear, 2200 feet high above sea level.


Responses

  1. I have a tendency to think about the romance of Ireland and forget about the hardships.

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    • Achill Island is in County Mayo, and of all the Irish counties, Mayo suffered the greatest loss of life and emigration during the potato famine. This photo was taken at least 50 years later, but it was still difficult to make a living from the land. When you visit Mayo, you see dozens and dozens of little stone houses (huts really) that have been abandoned over the years. The thatch roofs are gone, but the stone walls still stand…to some degree anyway.

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  2. They appear to have had a very rough life. Such hard work to survive.

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    • Especially in Mayo where the terrain is very rocky and the soil is not very fertile.

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      • and the soil is not very fertile.

        But it sure grows weeds like you have never seen!!!! You only have to turn your back on a bare piece of ground and a minute later it will be full of weeds. Such a shame we cannot sell them!

        You are right about the rocks though. We do have a good crop of them.

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  3. Reblogged this on AlbusRún.

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