The last stalks of corn were cut an’ when they wur plaited they wur taken to the house. Then there wus singin’ and fun.
An’ all wud sing be ear but there wus one man cud do it be note. He wus called ‘Geordie Look-Up’ because of he’s way of walkin’ an’ all the neighbourin’ ladies wud be there till hear him.
[He’s brother wus called Johnny-Go-Slap on account of one leg being shorter and he’d take a step an’ then go Slap! Not the man ye’d want to walk with ye down a muddy boreen on yer way to Sunday mass with both of ye in yer Sunday best clothes!].
He wus the talk of the countryside – when he wus there they’d rather not listen till the others. He’d always sing ‘The Montiagh Wedding’ [pronounced Munchie] an’ ivery time he’d be encored he’d give them ‘The turf-man from Ardee’. He used till be the whole talk. But I only saw the Calliagh cut once.
When I wus a boy people wud hire a man for the winter threshing. Sometimes indeed ye’d see two of them with flails facin’ each other across a winnowing cloth. An’ when it wus thrashed they’d take it to a hill an’ the wind wud blow the chaff away.
Flails are little used now. The ‘soupel’ is the part that they’d hit the corn with an’ the han’-staff’ the part ye gripped. They wur joined by the ‘tug’ an’ it wus mostly made from skin [leather]. Sure it’s few can handle a flail now.’
The Calliagh [Corn Dolly, Corn Baby etc] was intricately and elaborately woven from stalks of corn, and hung in the house for good luck.