My Great Grandmother's Story 1887, Charlestown in Co. Mayo

My Great-Grandmother, Mary Henry, nee Mulligan, had four or five neighbours helping at the hay in her land in Ballyglass outside Charlestown. One of the helpers was Dick McGowan. His little son, then aged about seven or eight was in the field with her. She had come up to the field with a drink for the men.

All the old ladies, including herself, wore a white bonnet and apron. She called young McGowan and said to him, 'What's your name?', he answered, 'Jim McGowan, Mam'. 'Are you Dick's son?' He said he was. She put her hand in her apron pocket to see if she had a half-penny or a penny. All she had was a shilling. She gave it to Jim.

'Dick', his father called him and asked, 'why did she give you a shilling?' Young Jim said she would not take it back. Dick McGowan told him to go down to the town and get the following items .. two ounces of tobacco, one loaf of bread, one pint of lamp oil, one half-penny worth of sweets, that was all.

Well, he did that and when he came back to the field, he had one penny and a half-penny left.

© Cathal Henry 2002