Life and craft on a traditionally run farm in County Fermanagh

There is no better demonstration of traditional crafts being put into
everyday use, as on a traditionally run rural farm with no electricity. This was the case on the self-sufficient Mulholland family farm, located northeast of Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh.

There were ten offspring in the Mulholland family, the three remaining brothers and two sisters — Mary and Margaret, Frank, John and Daniel live very traditional lives in their isolated, rural setting. The three brothers were kept busy with farming duties and working as stonecutters at their sandstone quarry. The two sisters manage the household duties and make sure there is food on the table for the hungry brothers.

The three brothers quarried their sandstone in the romantic rolling hills of Fermanagh .
From the hewn stone, they made whetstones for sharpening cutting scythes and circular grinding stones for the local farming community. Generations of Mulholland men had worked the Eshbrally quarry, fashioning their stonecutting tools in the farm’s forge; pieces of scrap metal were used to skilfully produce tools for the quarry.

When not working the stone, the brothers had the farm to run using traditional methods. Without electricity, they had to milk their herd of cows by hand, a laborious process at the best of times.

In the early summer, the hayfields are cut with large scythes, kept sharp by their own whetstones. The hay used for feeding the cattle during the winter months. Vegetables, including potatoes were also grown for the table, as were chickens, ducks and geese kept for meat and eggs.

As well as bake, cook and keep the house clean, Mary and Margaret make butter every week with milk from the cows, using a traditional churn. This delicious country butter is spread on freshly baked currant bread and enjoyed by all.

previousPrevious - Miscellaneous Irish Traditional Crafts
Next - Video: making butternext