The Threshing

ballinglanna threshing

Posted on: 6th October, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Well-known West Cork writer and historian Diarmuid Kingston is the author of the widely acclaimed book ‘Beleaguered, A History of the RIC in the War of Independence’, the first edition of which has been sold out. He also writes poetry and some of his poems such as ‘The Gathering’ have been published in places as far apart as the US and Australia. He hopes to publish his first composition of poetry entitled ‘Poetry, Prose and Verse’ before the end of 2014. He holds an M.A (Hons) in Local History from UCC.

Diarmuid Kingston

Diarmuid Kingston

This reflective verse is a true account of my first time being on a thresher at twelve years of age, in the late fifties. It was owned by brothers Con and Patsy Coakley from Ballinglanna, Ring, Clonakilty.

‘Keep those sheaves coming’ – his voice carrying above the whirring whine of the speeding drum as he loosened the sheaves and plunged them head first into the narrow nerving chasm where golden grains were flailed clean segregated from chaff and straw.

Con – the feeder man – in command of the eight foot high floor of the Ransomes forty eight inch mill,  his status affirmed by his central position in the box behind the drum.

An uncut sheaf disappears down into the spinning abyss – a loud bark followed by a groan, as the mill struggles to ingest the intrusion, then a low-pitched receding moan,  as it slows, slowly, agonisingly, to a stop.

The long driving belt from the Fordson Major lies curled up like a limp snake on the grass, cast off its driving pulley by the shock of impact.

‘What happened, what’s wrong’,  the question asked as if they didn’t know and they glad of the respite for a few minutes. ‘Ah, the belt is off, the young lad let down a whole sheaf ’. Time for a mug or glass  from the keg, for the pioneer, a mineral or red lemonade.

‘Tis  mighty  gear altogether’, the neighbour said, ‘twill make short work of the haggard, if we can do without stops, we should be through before the dark’.

Men in open-necked shirts with rolled-up sleeves grasping long-handled two pronged pikes stand silhouetted, picturesquely framed against the azure sky of the crisp September morning. Round towered stacks of oats and barley stand sentry-like at each side of the threshing mill awaiting denouement.

Sheaves piked forward with pin-point accuracy onto the floor of the thresher. Each sheaf correctly turned, the heads of grain facing forward. ‘Neallie  is the most important man in the haggard’, said my father, ‘he will keep going all day long at that same pace’.

The steady stroke, a half turn and the lift, a flick of the wrists, the sheaf flies off the shiny prongs like a stone from a catapult, landing  on the boards at the sheaf-cutters outside hand. A move replicated  this day, many days, thousands of times over. This man could swop his pike for a pair of oars or a camán any other day.

I was told get up on the thresher when the usual sheaf cutter had to go to a relatives funeral. ‘That knife you have there would not cut butter, here, try this one, it would slice the devil’. The difference apparent straight away, no need for pressure on  the handle, just a light touch to sever the sisal.

The whole sheaf escapade  now receding into the hazy autumn evening. Dusk creeping in allayed to tiredness, then a sharp nick and a spurt of blood. ‘Show me that’,  says he, with a concern unfeigned, ‘ah, the blood makes it look a lot worse than it is, we are nearly finished anyway, you can get the dog to lick it’.

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

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REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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