'Hay making, reaping and turf cutting and saving were co-operative efforts also and the occasion of much chat and sober merry making '

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'Hay making, reaping and turf cutting and saving were co-operative efforts also and the occasion of much chat and sober merry making '


Harry Browne describes life on the family farm, in particular he remembers Uncle Tom.


Harry Browne


Trinity College Dublin




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Harry Browne

Is Part Of

Childhood and Early Life


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Hollywood, Co. Wicklow

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


Uncle Tom always had a dog which was magically trained to respond to whistles and verbal commands. The dog was dispatched to round up the cows and bring them into the yard and also up the hills to bring the sheep down for dipping and shearing as necessary. Uncle Tom therefore was not obliged to traipse all over as the dog did most of the foot work. This was fortunate as Tom's favourite occupation was to rest by the fire sucking on his pipe. When as inevitably happened the dog grew old, another pup was procured and the older dog was employed to train his replacement. Uncle Tom never displayed any special appreciation or fondness for the dogs and seemed to regard them as disposable workers. There were no internal combustion engines employed on the farm. All ploughing, reaping and hay cutting were done by horse power. Uncle Tom had a brown mare called Peg which did all the work of pulling and drawing on the farm and if necessary a neighbour would loan his horse if two were needed. This cooperation was normal in the locality. The sheep were pastured on the high hills and grazed in common for all the farms locally. In spring all would be brought down and the lambs would be branded according to the ewes which suckled them. This round up called for considerable co - operation between men and dogs as several dogs were sent out and they would only respond to their individual masters. Hay making, reaping and turf cutting and saving were co - operative efforts also and the occasion of much chat and sober merry making. We children were co - opted to carry bread and tea to the workers in the fields. We frequently flattened cocks of hay by climbing up and sliding down them. This did not best please Uncle Tom. On Sunday Peg was harnessed to a Dray, a kind of flat cart with a high seat for the driver and companion, Tom and Judy sat on the seat in front and we four or five children sat in the bed of the dray on rugs. We then set out for Hollywood to attend mass. This was a great journey for us as it took most of an hour to get there and we saw all manner of wild life and, of course, neighbours. The trip to Hollywood was an enchantment for us as the nearest shop was there. Therefore the only opportunity we had to buy sweets was Sunday. The horse and dray were stabled in the house of people named Farrington and after mass they gave us tea and 'seedy cake'. Seedy cake was a sponge cake laced with caraway seeds which had a vaguely aniseed flavour. We hated it and fed it to the dogs under the table.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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