1960s, Tea Break for Farmers in a Cornfield in Ireland

cornfield eden ballymacpeake portglenone
1960s, Farmers in a corn field, Eden Portglenone

1960s, Tea Break for Farmers in a Cornfield in Ireland

The word ‘corn’ has different meanings depending on which part of the world you are in.

Corn in the United States of America is often referred to as Indian corn, or maize. In England corn means wheat.  In Ireland and Scotland, it usually means oats.

My father would often mention working with sheaves of corn.  And like most farming of the time, it was a labour intensive project, usually involving most of the family members, and sometimes neighbours too.

The word sheaves (plural) refers to a bundle of cut stalks of grain bound together with straw (or sometimes twine).  The terms sheafed, sheafing and sheafs, refer to gathering and binding into a bundle. 

At the end of the harvest season each year, i.e. after all the various crops have been harvested, local churches would hold what is commonly termed, the Harvest Service.  The churches would be decorated with produce from the summer’s harvest, including sheaves of corn.

Mulholland Family

In the above photograph, taken in the mid 1960’s, in a cornfield in Eden near Portglenone, during a break for tea, we have five members of the Mulholland family, Samuel Mulholland, Willie Mulholland, Stanley Mulholland, Richard Mulholland and Tommy Mulholland.

There are two neighbours helping with the project, namely Robert Nicholl of Drumoolish and Violet Agnew

The name of the child is unknown, as is the person that took the photograph (possibly Eleanor Mulholland nee Quinn).  There is an additional unknown person (obscured by Tommy Mulholland).



"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

4 thoughts on “1960s, Tea Break for Farmers in a Cornfield in Ireland

  1. Wonderful photos, what a treasure trove.
    My uncles, when they were sent to work on the old Eden farm, would be fed by Stanley (Basil) and Jeanie.

    1. Thanks Barry. I have been working on an old summer 1962 photo, of our clan having a tea break in a hayfield, which I think you are going to like. I will publish it in the next month or two.

      Re Jean. She wouldn’t have been around Eden until the late 1970s. It would have been my grandparents that fed your folks.

  2. I remember the basket taken to the men in the fields in the 50s,,home made soda scones,raisin bread,,,home made butter ,jam ,the tea in the enamel pot and the enamel mugs or tin teacans…Sunny,happy days,,

    1. Wonderful memories, May. Lots home-made or locally made food. Yes, like you, we had soda scones, butter, jam, etc. By the 60s, early 70s, the food sent to the field would have contained 2 or 3 big flasks. Flask was the hi-tech thing by that point – keeping the tea warm. Bread was often scones or wheaten bread (with jam).

      My grandfather, great uncle Willie, Uncle Stanley, dad, couple of cousins, would pick a corner of the field, near the hedge, to avoid the sun, and have a break for food.

      Wonderful memories. It’s funny, I can recall early times, from 40 years ago, but couldn’t tell you what I had for my breakfast this morning!

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