Three Offaly authors included in new rural anthology

Three Offaly authors have had their stories included as part of Around The Farm Gate, a unique anthology of Irish rural memories which is hotly-tipped to be a best-seller this year.

Edward Cunningham is a native of Clara and is a former Deputy Editor of the Irish Independent.

Three Offaly authors included in new rural anthologyHis story ‘Horsemen Passing By’ is an evocative tail that links three generations of his family involved in the same horseback incident.

Meta Waters hails from Durrow but now lives with her family in Aharney. A local government official, Meta’s story recalled the pre-RTE tv Ireland when a gathering of neighbours met at their house to watch the BBC’s coverage of the World heavyweight championship between Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson in 1962. In one of the funniest stories in the collection, poor Floyd wasn’t the only one to suffer a KO that night, as local moonshine also had a kick for those staying up for the 3am ringside spectacular.

Mary O’Connor from Edenderry is a PhD legal researcher at Queens University, Belfast. Her entry ‘The Spailpín’ recalls the coming and goings of a type of farmworker who seems to emerge and disappear into cloaks of invisibility beyond their short seasonal dipping in to farm life.

Around The Farm Gate, published by Ballpoint Press in collaboration with RTE, is a unique collection of 50 stories written by different authors from around the country detailing their experiences from the time in which they grew up.

The stories are a brief snapshot in time and offer a rare glimpse of our recent history, encapsulating and preserving the traditions of several generations in a rapidly disappearing rural landscape.

The presenter of RTE Radio 1’s popular Countrywide programme, Damien O’Reilly said: “Around the Farm Gate is a rich tapestry of unique memories and stories of life on the land in rural Ireland, a collection of events that happened but are seldom documented, until now.

“From threshing oats, driving cattle to the local street market, thinning beet or cocking hay, the experience of growing up in rural Ireland is full of anecdotes and yarns focused mainly on life on the land. Too often though, these stories die with the beholder and are often left untold.

“Growing up in rural Ireland for much of the 20th century wasn’t easy. Farming life was a tough existence but through a combination of a strong faith and an honest work ethic, farming families managed to keep the show on the road and much of that life shines through in this wonderful collection of stories from across the country.”



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