Mother's Day

My mother cooked for nine children


Mary, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

The picture of the lady milking the cow reminds me of my mother in our early years.  She was a fashion store buyer before she married my dad. 

She milked six cows every morning before we went to school.  My brother, John, used to go up to the cow house to say his tables for her before he went to school. 

Thank god times got good and later she hadn’t to milk, but she knitted and made all our school clothes. 

Its lovely to see all the old stuff.  Thank you. 

Lord have mercy on all the old folk.

woman feeding chickens

Anon, Co. Waterford

Great and sad memories for me today.  We lived on “tied” land and there were twelve children – my mother was a wonderful, hard working woman. 

We never went hungry or unkempt.  She reared chickens, a few pigs, had a cow for milk and butter and turkeys at Christmas.  The proceeds of which clothed us all for the following year.  Never had electricity until 1950.  She did all this, as well as cook and clean for the “big house”. 

My lovely mother died aged 98 but I still think of all she had to endure.  Threshing day was a memorable time – all neighbouring farmers came and she put on a great meal.  As I say good times and sad times.  I left for England in 1937 and have returned for the last 17 years.

parents and children outside a house

Catherine, Co. Armagh

The cooking section reminded me of how, as children, we were forever asking our mother “what’s for dinner?”  Her usual answer was “purtas (potatoes) and point”. 

I later learned that her mother used this expression which dated back to the times when a family lived mostly on potatoes – not all that long ago really!

If there was any extra money a little piece of meat or fish would be bought for the man of the house, who would have had to do a great deal of hard manual work.

The nearest the children ever got to meat or fish was to “point” their potatoes at the cooking pot which contained the meat or fish.

My mother cooked for nine children.