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).


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