The Thatcher

Nora Williams, late of Clogherboy

My father was a thatcher

Long ago, most people were familiar with thatching as most people had a thatched house. My father was a great thatcher. When the harvest was over and all the hay and straw was in the haggard, it was then the thatching took place. The oats were slashed with a frail in the barn so that the straw would be nice and long for the job. The boys would go to the cregs for the hazel rods and bring home a few loads on their backs. That night was taken up paring and pointing each end of the rods. These were called scallops. The ladder was put in place ready for the thatching next morning. The straw was tied into bundles and it was neatly in layers on the rood. The scallops were twisted and bent in two to make a peg to keep the straw in place. Then the bobbins were neatly made to decorate the top of the house. When the whole house was finished the edges were clipped neatly with a shears. That made it look very professional. It made a nice nesting place for the wrens and they were nice and cosy there for the winter. Then they placed the Buahall on Ti (an evergreen plant) and put it in place and secured it with clay at the corner of the house. That was to save the house from fire and for good luck.

Visiting Houses

Thatched houses were visiting places long ago. The neighbours would come and some would bring a fiddle or a melodeon. There would be storytelling, singing and dancing. Some would bring a foil of currant cake and some goodies and the cup of tea was served or maybe a plate of stirabout which was hanging on the crane for the breakfast. We were never lonely and looked forward to different people coming each night. The flagstone floor was washed and the walls were all whitewashed. We enjoyed every moment of the fun. Far from the living of today where no-one has time for anyone else. It’s all hush, hush! Children don’t enjoy life as we did. It’s all computers and educational games and no-one can hear laughter outside anymore. How sad.

This page was added on 27/09/2018.

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