COLLECTION OF REMINISCENCES OF LIFE AND TRADE IN BUNCLODY IN EARLIER
|The Streams of Bunclody
During the years of the Second World War (1939-1945), blackberries were a source of income for many children. Blackberries were picked by the children — and adults — and sold to buyers who supplied jam-making firms. It was also said that the blackberries were used to manufacture dye.
At the end of the Mall there was a weighing machine — a scales hanging from a high tripod formed of three poles. The blackberries were brought there in cans and buckets, weighed, and the pickers were paid a shilling a stone.
Some pickers would increase the weight of their buckets by adding liberal amount of water, but the man weighing them, Johnny Morrissey, was aware of this and often would empty the water out of the containers before weighing.
August and September were the months when the blackberries would be ripe, and, especially in August, since the children would be on holidays from school, it was an ideal time for the blackberry-picking. Many a child was able to be fitted out with new clothes from the proceeds of the blackberry harvest. People would say that there was ‘money on the bushes’.
Earlier in the year, during the summer, was the ‘fraughan’* season. Upper Ryland Wood, in the area over the quarry, had a lot of fraughan bushes. These were picked for pleasure only. They were not bought by the jam manufacturers.
In late autumn, hazel nuts were ripe for picking.
*‘Fraughan’ is a corruption of the Irish word fraochán, known in English by various names: whortleberry, hurtleberry, bilberry, blaeberry, blueberry, hurtle, hurt, whort.