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Subject: [Irish Genealogy] Travellers (1930s-40s,Mayo) Biddy & Owen MAHON - Memoir, Mrs. Marrie (Ferguson) WALSH, Attymass,Mayo
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 20:52:01 +0000 (UTC)
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SNIPPET: Per Mrs. Mary Kate "Marrie" (Ferguson) WALSH, in her Attymass,
Co. Mayo memoir entitled "An Irish Country Childhood, A Bygone Age
Remembered," Blake Pub. Co./London 2004: "Some villages would welcome a
visit from the travelling people, as the men were tin-smiths and masters of
their craft. Some of the men would carry the tools of their trade on their
rounds, and as they came into sight of our village the sun would glint on
the rolls of tin which were tied and slung across their shoulders. This
would be the advance party as some of the men would find work awaiting them
along the route. The older men would have some form of transport. They
would make tin mugs and tin cans outside the houses, fix pots and pans and
buckets. They would also weld and mend farm implements. The older women
would come into the house first, knocking and opening the half door, saying,
'It's Biddy MAHON, it is.' Then would follow the younger members. We
would watch fascinated as these seemingly bottomless pockets swallowed up
whatever my mother could spare, as she herself had a big family to feed with
little resources. The tinker women would ask for a drink of 'tay' and maybe
some buttermilk for himself outside working, and a piece of bread for the
kids. She would heap blessings on my mother for her generosity and would
fervently beseech good health and full and plenty all our lives. We would
have our own brand-new, shining mugs made by Biddy's husband, Owen, and we
would over-use them for days until they lost their newness. These wandering
tribes had their own code, strictly adhered to. They divided the areas
between the different families and no-one would encroach on another's
domain, so that over the years we got to know each individual. We would be
informed of any births, deaths, or marriages since their last visit, and my
mother would comment on the development of the children and admire the new
babies, so they were not really strangers as such."

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