Delia Henry Memoirs, Charlestown in Co. Mayo


Good wholesome food produced on our own little farm was responsible for our healthy condition. My mother, who was an O'Donnell from Ardara, was doctor, baker, and dressmaker, all in one.

On one special event, I remember a Doctor being called to our house. My brother fell off a donkey and injured his head, this necessitated a few stitches, and he made a full recovery. Of course there was the scourge of TB, which we escaped, but a pal of mine died of it when we were about eight years.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr Noel Brown, who pioneered the treatment and eradication of this disease, that ravished the country for years. Now, with people having medical cards, giving free medical attention to the holders, it makes life less hazardous, and a more content and less worried community.

Animals, too, got sick and died in the 1920's, before the 'Veterinary Surgeons' came to our district. Prior to their advent, a man named Paddy Peter, who was very well versed in animal ailings and diseases, did all he was capable of for the relief of the sick beast with great success. He was of medium build, lean and weather-beaten like most country folk who do outdoor work. His knowledge of cattle illness was phenomenal.

No house or barn was without a St Benedict's medal, which in those days was in great demand at the Mission stalls, when in the Parish. It could be said that the Saint and Paddy between them worked wonders with the animals.

Today with milking machines and parlours their kingdom has improved beyond our wildest imaginations, with injections for every malady. Hygiene surroundings are a necessity and must be adhered to, since we depend on them for the greater part of our food, and why not treat them well.

© Delia Henry 2002 Cathal Henry

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