Last of an age

Back in 1971 we camped, for a while, in Connemara on the West coast of Ireland. It really was, back then, moving back to a past time – and a delightful and friendly time too. But here is an example of the past in agriculture.


The rather ramshackle haystack on the right is what now catches my eye as something from the past. I may have seen haystacks like it in my extreme youth but if I did, I have no memories. In my experience, haystacks were made out of neat bales of hay, stacked well and securely and then covered with something. In truth, the ideal cover was often a Dutch barn – one of those curved roofs on legs. This haystack is made of loose hay. I can only imagine it has been cut with a hay knife.

It has to be said, that my old ‘I Spy book suggests that loose hay was still normal enough.


But even that shows bales in a Dutch barn. Inside there is loose hay to illustrate the elevator.


In feint pencil it records that UI saw an elevator at Beddingham on 15th July 1957. At that time it wouldn’t have been hay making and certainly wouldn’t have been loading loose hay. There was always an elevator in the farmyard where we camped. It was used sometimes to help build stacks but I was more likely to see a corn harvest and the building of corn stacks made of sheaves.

But back to Connemara in 1971. It was, actually, our honeymoon and of course, I was a good and dutiful husband in those days. So when my wife said, ‘Ooh! There’s a beautiful donkey in the field down there’, I did my duty. I carefully reversed back round a blind bend on a narrow road with a rocky cliff on one side and a drop away on the other until we found ‘the donkey. It turned out to be that truss of hay wrapped up in a dark cloth in front of the haystack. So I took the picture. The incident is well remembered by us although the precise location is not. And it was much more recently that I realised it was a kind of ‘last of the past’ picture.


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2 Responses to “Last of an age”

  1. Janet Says:

    Reblogged this on Janet’s thread and commented:
    The magical West of Ireland.

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