I came to Walshestown in 1930. I was born in Meleen. I went to school in Derrinagree. I spent two years in the school in Churchtown with Tom Tierney and Tom Wall. I remem-ber Terence O’ Connor, the Tierneys, the Master’s sons, the Gaffneys; I did not play hurl-ing when I left school but I got very interested in horseracing. Jimmy Gordon and I have been going to race meetings for over fifty years. We attended every point to point for miles around. I loved it as a pastime.
I went to Cheltenham a few times in 1949, 1950 and 1951. I worked on this farm since I was twelve years old. We bought it from O’Brien’s who are now in Liscarroll. We milked cows and had pigs. I drew a lot of gravel by horse and butt for years. There was a pit on the farm. I drew all the gravel that built the walls of the house, from opposite the national school. I used to deliver six loads per day. It was five shillings per load deliv-ered. A load would be about one ton. A good heavy horse was able to haul the load. It was all loaded by hand. I think I drew gravel to nearly every house in Churchtown. I took some back to Piggots of Kossanarna; it was quite a few miles to and from.
During the war years we took some tillage land. We often took thirty or forty acres. There was a lot of work in this – hard work; going out in the morning with a pair of horses ploughing, when you did an acre, you would go home tired. I remember having tillage where Willie Galvin is now. We had a twelve-acre field and it would take a fortnight to plough.
Looking to the future I am fearful that when this generation goes, hard work will be all over. Will anyone tell me why so few farmer’s sons are willing to work the land? Every-body is going away for the big money. When I look around it is frightening to see so many leaving the land. It is a pity. I can remember when there was up to ninety suppliers going to Churchtown creamery. How many today? I loved cows and the day my cows went with a breakdown I cried to see them all going out the gate.
Of the people I went to school with they are just a few left – Paddy Fitzpatrick, Jacky Murphy, and one or two more. I like to drive into Churchtown and every time I go, I see changes I never thought I would see. I love to see someone calling. I have great neighbours – Michael Broderick calls, Jimmy Gordon, Denis O’ Leary, Clara Madden and Willie Gavin all call. My son Paddy comes every day without fail and to go further, Kevin never leaves a day pass without ringing from New York. That phone rings at eleven o’ clock here, that is six o’ clock over there, before he goes to work.
One man I would like to mention was the late Bill Murphy. We were great friends. He was a great man for conversation. He could talk on any subject. He was a lovely lad. He could hurl and was a fine singer. I visited him several times when he had his accident. He was a big able man and a gentle character.