Thursday, 24 December 2009

Mallow, County Cork, and the Pig Farmer

Nevin's tale about the whiskey factory reminded me of an encounter my friend Marie and I once had in Co Cork.

Many years ago on my first trip to Ireland (1992) I was driving down around Mallow with my friend and we were trying to find a farm. And why we were actually looking for this particular farm was that my friend Marie and I had stopped at the East Clare Heritage Centre to do some research into her family history. At the centre we were told about the farm and that descendants of the family (that Marie was related too) still farmed there.

So off we drove to search out this farm, and getting hopelessly lost, we saw a pig farmer and stopped to ask more directions to the farm. The more he tried to explain the less we understood (mostly due to his accent and decision to keep giving us the shortest way to the farm). In the end he said, “What the hell I’m not doing anything?” and got in the back of the car to guide us there. We certainly knew he was a pig farmer - from the smell in the back of the car I was really sure he had a couple of pigs under his coat! - and opened all the windows but he guided us to the farm and wouldn’t stay and let us drive him back, choosing to walk back instead!

The owners of the farm walked out their door and we assumed just to see who had arrived at their home, but we were greeted with, “So you be the girls from Australia!” Apparently the lady at the East Clare Heritage Centre that we had originally spoken to had phoned ahead and told them to expect us. We were flabbergasted. They immediately took us inside where we found they had laid a table of tea and sweets in preparation for our arrival!!

Marie still keeps in touch with her distant family and, honestly, if the farmer hadn’t helped us I’m sure we would never have found the place. I’ve never forgotten the help this farmer gave us so I know that the tourists you helped will always remember what you did.


Jennie Fairs.

NALIL co-ord, AU