A Letter From Ireland 1864

Our thanks go to Ivan Drimmie Saskatchewan
who supplied this very informative piece of history.

Dear Brother,
So many months have gone in silent thought
Ballinamona days pass into months

excuse any tardiness for this time.
I was glad to see by your letter that when it was writen your family were all well
and although you had met with a slight accident some short time before
I trust that long ere this you are quite restored to health and strength.
John's Family are all My Father had a letter from him a short time ago
announcing the advent of a son unto his Family Circle
who is only the short space of twenty years younger than his sister.
My Father and mother are both very well at present and father is as strong and hearty as you please
but I am sorry to say that I have not been getting good health at all for past 2 years
sometimes I am pretty well and again I will be almost usiless for a month at a time
it is some kind of liver complaint which the Dr's find it very hard to cure
it making my life quite miserable at times. And as I always have to work very hard here
it makes me feel sometimes as if I should give up altogether
I suppose your harvest will be in full swing now and I hope your crops are good this year.
I suppose your principal crop is still wheat
although at present prices I do not see how it can pay even in Canada where you have no rents.
Wheat growing has been given over almost entirely in Ireland.
However we have always grown some more for the sake of the straw than the grain
we have 6 acres this year it is a very fine crop and will be ready for cutting in a few days.

The price of wheat (- - - ) at present here is 19s for Barley 20s
the main crop of Ireland now is Barley
for during the past 5 years it has been worth more money weight for weight than wheat
but is likely to be very cheap this year
in all the crops are very good in this part of the country especially the wheat and Oats
but all crops are much laid and twisted owing to the late rains and storms we have had
and in consequence it will be a tedious job harvesting this year and the harvest is late
it will not be gathered sooner than the 1st of Sept our crop this year is made up as follows,
6 acres of Wheat 12 of Barley. 20 of Oats 1 of Beans 14 of turnips the best we have had for years
1 acre of Mangolde Beet 1 do of potatoes and 10 do Hay a heavy crop all in the Rick now              (Editors note)
our stock at present consists of 4 work horses & mares 1 pony 1 colt 2 years old and 1 Foal           (on the use of)
1 ass 150 sheep 4 Cows 12 two and one half year old Bullocks & Heifers                                         ("do" in text)
10 one and one half year old do - do and 12 Calves 6 months old                                   (I take to mean ditto,)
and 3 pigs two of them sows we always sell our pigs when they are three months old                (ie. the same.)
they fetch at that age about 20s each it is the only way that pigs will pay on a farm here now
the Cottagers buy them and fatten them
the same with sheep the lambs are all sold of at from two to three months old
and we get from 30s to 40s for them if pretty good
they are the only stock that have held to a good price but old mutton is very cheep
our Cattle we fatten during the winter and sell at three years old
but we are now getting fully #4 per head less for them than we did 2 years ago
still Cattle is the only thing that the Irish farmer can live by
for corn growing at present prices is a losing game.
You will have seen by the papers that Ireland at present is in a very disturbed state
especially in the north and in the City of Belfast there is open Rebellion
Many thanks for the paper you send us
the Starr and Family Herald we like it Better than the Globe.
I suppose that between yourself and your sons you will be able to do all the work of your Farm
especially as you Canadian Farmers have so many and so complete Labour saving machines
it is just the same here now everything is done by machinery
the corn is Sown Hoed Reaped & Bound in Sheaves all by machine & Horse
the same with turnips we now have a .........(machine)? for Hoeing and spaceing them
which does away with Hand labour almost entirely the same with hay we bring in the cocks to the side of the rick
without ever using a fork or Cart and thence by a Horse fork onto the Rick if it was not for all the machines
we Irish farmers would not get on at all now as workmen have now become so scarce and dear.
I would like very much to get over to see you all for a couple of months and also the country.
I suppose farms are still to be had in your part of the country.
I am the only one of the family at home here now.
My Brother Robert the LandSteward to Lord Ross at Birr Castle Kings County
he is married and has two children my sister Bessie is staying with cousins at present.
and trusting this will find you all quite well
I am your Affect Brother

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Last Update To This Page 27th December 2004
©Alan Mitchell Drummie 2004