“And You Know The Land Is Great Security”
By Jimmy Coakley, Storyteller and Local Historian, born Tooreen, 1915
“That time on the peninsula the farmers tilled every inch of land, up
to the very ditch, they couldn’t afford to leave anything untilled, God
help us how they managed it, I don’t know. But anyway, every one kept
about thirty hens and on one day of the week they brought the hand
basket away, and in the
summertime they wouldn’t go if they didn’t have ten dozen eggs to sell.
There was a girl living near here; she was about 35 years of age, and at that time, 1922, she was considered a young girl. Danny was a bachelor nearby, and he’d be watching her, and on this particular day she arrived and she put her handbasket of eggs up on the ditch . Danny’d come down to her, and he came inside and he put his foot up on a ol’ lump of earth to reach over and give her a kiss. And when he did and leaned over, the bit of earth gave from under his shoe, and the result was he fell and his elbow went into the basket of eggs. And, of course, he got no kiss, but only a slap across the face. She went off very vexed with herself and all her eggs destroyed, ready to kill him.
She then met this young fella coming along on a motorbike. And a
motorbike at that time, you’d take more interest in it than if it was a
jumbo jet coming along here today. He was a young sergeant in the
Guards, he came to Kilcrohane when the barracks there was opened in
1922, with the
rank of sergant because he had a bit of education. He was Dublin boy, and he was mad for information, very busy.
When he saw her he stopped the motorbike and started talking to her and asked her name and all that. He asked her was she married and she said no, and he said why? The she said she didn’t know, she was only 35 years of age. So he said, have you anyone in mind?
She said I have, I’ve a farmer in mind but nothing serious though. Come here, he said, would you marry me? And of course she was taking it as genuine and he only acting the smart guy.
She said, I don’t know. You don’t know? Look, I’ll ask my mother. A girl of 35 years has to ask her mother? You know who I am? She said I do, I know you to see. You’re the sergeant in Kilcrohane.
That’s right and my name is Hardiman. Be sure when you go home and ask your mother and tell her I asked you to marry me, and I’ll meet you again.
God help us, she took it as being sincere. And of course, who’d blame her, at 35 years maybe she had been in Bantry once, and if she was she walked it. To make long story short, she went home and told the mother, who would be about 80 at this time, and she took it very serious, and she was giving itfierce consideration.
And the next thing she said, well, mother, what do you think? Well,
she said, I’ll tell you the way I look at it. After all Danny have 30
acres of land, and you know the land is great security. It’s hard to
beat it. Now, she said, of course the sergeant of the Guards, he has it
every Friday, and God knows when you
come to think of it, for a young girl getting married, ‘tis hard to beat the standing thing.”