Book and DVD launch celebrates farming in 1950s North Armagh

Line Up... Taking part in a barn dance at Richmount Community Hall. INPT05-207.

Line Up... Taking part in a barn dance at Richmount Community Hall. INPT05-207.

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Residents of Richmount enjoyed a country hoedown last week at the launch of a book and DVD recalling what life was like in a rural community back in the 1950s.

‘The Hay Days – Farming in the 1950s in North Armagh’, a hugely readable book, is the result of a year-long project by Richmount Rural Community

Association.

The book and DVD include personal recollections from local people, a re-enactment of haymaking and a portrayal of all aspects of life at the time, ranging from music and the cinema to the foods people ate and the cars they drove.

Although the project was based around farming, the result is a wide-ranging commentary on the social, economic and rapid changes which were taking place in rural living.

Joe Garvey, chairman of Richmount Rural Community Association, and the book’s author, said, “We have many people in our community who grew up in the 1950s; it was an idyllic time for them. They were young and everything seemed rosy but work was hard and money was not that plentiful, but there were not the same things to spend it on as now and life

was slower.

“Living conditions at that time were Spartan with no running water, flush toilets or baths or showers as we know them today. Social life could be austere and farming was the crux of family life – everything revolved around the farm. But farming was different then compared to now and the book and DVD both outline this.”

He added, “This project was a major undertaking for a small community group but we had a very willing community who contributed to the project with enthusiasm. Whilst the book and DVD are now completed we do not consider the project to have ended. We are still keen to have people

contributing their stories and photographs to our Facebook page and website.

“There are many environmental issues highlighted in the book which present challenges to us today. The project did not go out of its way to highlight the 1950s as the good old days – it lets the viewers and readers come to their own conclusions.”

The Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker, who launched the book and DVD, welcomed the community association’s contribution to preserving local heritage. He said, “I think it is important that this type of living history is preserved for the generations that follow us. There was a time in our rural communities that stories were told of the past and handed down from generation to generation. However, in our modern technological age we never seem to have the time to do this.”

The book and DVD are in a combined package and are available by phoning Joe Garvey on 07934186635 or emailjoegar@hotmail.co.uk.