Gearing up for a trip down memory lane

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan

Cyril Lonican, Tommy Murray, Jim Fallon and Eamon Egan. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
The Midland Draught Horse Society will present its fifth annual All Horse Hay Making day in Kenagh next Sunday, July 26.

The Midland Draught Horse Society will present its fifth annual All Horse Hay Making day in Kenagh next Sunday, July 26.

The event, which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2010 aims to explore the old methods of farming and keep the working horse tradition alive.

This year, there will be a couple of new features on the day.

Renowned ploughman Eamon Egan has been busily restoring an old horse drawn lawn mower and if his determination is anything to go by, the machine will be fully operational and drawn by one of his adored draft horses next Sunday in Kenagh.

A stagecoach will also be present on the day courtesy of Anthony F Hughes in Limerick.

This will provide enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to travel back in time, back perhaps to the England of 1660 when the infamous highwayman Claude Du Vall was the source of the English gentry.

On the other hand you may well prefer to see yourself as a passenger in a Wells Fargo coach journeying to California in 1850, or a traveller in one of Bianconis coaches making its way to Dublin over 150 years ago.

Meanwhile, Mr Egan is looking forward to the event which will also see special guest Declan Nerney work his newly-restored horse drawn mowing machine as well as singing a few of his best hits on the day!

“It’s a way of life no more and we have moved on, but at the same time when you look back you can’t help but think that it was a wonderful time in our history - it was a great way of life,” Mr Egan reminisced as he spoke to the Leader at the weekend.

“Everything has changed, it’s all moving so fast and we are not participating in life these days the way we used to when we were younger.”

He went on to say that the All Horse Hay Making event provided an opportunity for everyone to experience the old way of life.

“There is only about 100 people in the country that knows how to work a horse,” the man, who has two beautiful draft horses himself, continued.

“It’s a way of life that is now practically extinct. We know that it will never be the way of the future, but it would be a pity to see it dying out altogether.”

Recently Mr Egan came upon an old, horse-drawn lawnmower that was badly in need of restoration, so he took it upon himself to do just that.

With a helping hand from family and friends, the lawn mower has been fully restored and is currently waiting in all her glory for next Sunday when the All Horse Hay Making event kicks off on the lands of Paddy Egan in Glanmore.

“It was a big enough job to restore it; I have restored combines and all sorts of machines, but I found there was so many parts to this and they were very badly rusted together, so it took a lot of time to get it restored,” laughed Mr Egan.

“Those lawnmowers would have been used on tennis courts and in areas where there was enough spaces for horses to move around on.”

The event begins at 12 noon on Sunday and other features on the day include wheelwright demo, traditional music, horse shoe throwing, carriage driving and much, much more. Contact 087 2157608 or 087 6248545 for more details.