Published in Personal History

My grandparents lived in a cottage in killery Balintogher near Lough gill. They had no electricity and there was no water and tap in the house for water. My grandfather had to go there well every morning and got two buckets. In the house they had an open fire. Over the fire they had three crooks on it to hold two kettles and an oven. When my granny was making bread she would put hot coals on the oven lid to bake it and left for about forthy five minutes. The fuels used were turf and timber. In order to have light in the house candles were lit in each room. They also had a paraffin oil lamp used on dark winter evenings. The paraffin oil was bought in the local village Balintogher. A tilly lamp was used on special occasions which was lit by methalated spirits and had to be pumped every so often.

In 1982 they got a generator for supplying electricity. It was run on diesel. There was a switch in the house to turn it on. Before they got the generator they couldn’t have a television, lights in the house, power tools or any other electrical appliances, They could never own a fridge because they couldn’t keep the generator on all the time. But in those days meat from the butchers would keep much longer and could be refrigerated in just a cold room. My granddad milked about six cows a day by hand and was kept in a cement tank. The milk  was brought to the creamery by donkey or horse  and kart about 5 miles to Balintogher. Some of the milk was kept at home which my granny used to make butter. Ploughing, harrowing and hay was all done with a donkey or horse with the machinery pulling behind them. Potatoes cabbage and other vegtables were grown by my dad and granddad.


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