Sunday, 16 August 2015

Old Ways


The old homesteads in the landscape of Ireland are very distinct and give a hint of the old ways of living, being close to the earth and open to the elements.

The first abode is a Rath which was built as a pre Christian settlement complete with a defensive ditch, similar to the Norman motte and bailey but with a lower mound. 

Part profile of a Rath

The defensive ditch strewn with fallen timber, which
the owners are generally loath to remove, for fear of
retribution by the faeries which now inhabit this place.

Part of the top of the Rath which is now scattered with thorn trees.


An old mountain cottage now derelict believed to have been occupied by a forester and his family, consisting of four or five rooms, it has a pathway leading to a stream from where the family would have drawn water.  It is located in a glen between steep mountain sides. As attractive as it looks in sunshine. Living there would have been an entirely different matter for the damp and the cold would have seeped through it's stone walls.



This picture shows a group of New Travellers in their bow-topped wagons camped on the edge of bogland during the winter. Sadly this way of life has now been denied, due to the local authorities closing off the old camp sites. Many are the happy hours that I enjoyed when sitting around the fire drinking tea and yarning on my frequent visits.
Photo taken early 1990's

12 comments:

  1. A lovely simple post Heron. Raths and old, abandoned homes can be seen all over Ireland - as well as the modern houses from which families have been ejected by the banks! Sometimes looking at the way people lived in the past makes more sense to me. Sadly now I rarely see Travellers parked up in the old places either.

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  2. Many thanks for your thoughtful reply Jane B.

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  3. I agree with Jane. Heron. Irish countryside is full of derelict property. You don't see the Romany tourist caravans touring Ireland any more. I think there are still some hippies and new age travellers but they have short hair and dress more conventionally, sadly.

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  4. Thanks Dave. The vast majority of the rural derelict properties can be modernised with extensions added and made into comfortable homes for far less cost than that of new build.
    Those bow-tops in the photo were built by their owner-occupiers. Short hair is more easily managed if you are traveling around and by wearing conventional clothes you less easily classified as being different. Remember the signs on outsides of pubs and cafes that said 'No Dogs or Hippies allowed on these premises'

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  5. Bizarre co-incidence that we both posted such similarly titled pieces on the same day. There's plenty of persecuted travellers around if you know where to look - Calais would be a good place to start.

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    1. Yes John I thought it odd that we chose similar blog titles!

      Absolutely right about Calais. Just as well we are not getting visitors from other planets imagine the uproar then ?

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  6. Lovely pictures Mel very evocative of the old ways and I learnt a new word 'yarning' I've never heard that before. We have a moat around us instead of a defensive ditch! X

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  7. Thank you Fran and am glad to have extended your vocabulary :) x

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  8. A lovely post, Mel! While I can imagine the old ways were uncomfortable, the simplicity of the lifestyle is very appealing. By the way, those of us who live on barges here in NL are quite often referred to as 'tramps' and 'hobos'. As you know, I've been to Romania recently and the vilification of the Romany people there really saddened me. There's a lot history and politics attached to the way they are treated, but I find it hard to credit.

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    1. Hello Val. I am often dismayed by the ignorant behaviour and the degrading way that some people address towards other folk, without knowing anything about them.
      Thank you for your comment.

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  9. Lovely to take a look back at life as it was. You are right, in summer it looks just perfect but imagine winters...it wasn't that long ago that the majority were without mains sewers and indoor toilets, never mind the comforts of central heating and duvets. I am aware that many parts of rural Ireland were left behind in the provision of these facilities.

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  10. Thanks for the comment Suzie. You are almost right about modern conveniences and comforts. Almost, because I have met several people who (now in their early 50's) lived in the inner cities of England and had no bathrooms, inside toilets or hot water !

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