Throughout all Ireland's history agriculture has been basic for the rural economy. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the level of subsistence provided by the holdings of land decreased dramatically, but however small-holdings were marked by people's necessity to be as self-sufficient as their means allowed.
Both men and women worked on their small farms. The men built their dwellings, but women played an important role having the tasks of ploughing the land, growing and saving crops,saving turf and tending the farm animals.
They also wove and sewed cloth to provide the clothes and cooked the meals for all members of the family and farm animals.
Generally families lived in small communities, they shared the same interest in the communal welfare and combined to help each others.