Miss Ethel again

Miss Ethel remembers the midwives of old on the local beat in High Street. 

They were Nurses McKegney and Loughran.  When they were spotted arriving, with their large leather Gladstone bags, the children raced after them for they knew they were bringing a baby, and they all hoped it was to their own house.

The Butter Market was situated at the bottom of High Street.  Every Thursday farmers from Ballyholland and further afield would transport kegs of milk by cart while women would carry baskets of butter on their arms. 

‘The milk was poured into a large granite trough.  Dairymaids using wooden ladles would dispense it from there to customers.  Those wishing to buy butter would scoop a portion with a coin for tasting. 

The Hiring Fair was in the same location.  It happened every quarter year.  Fine looking young men and women from the country would stand in the street for hours, being vetted by farmers bent on hiring the ablest and strongest for least wages.

Then every Friday the herring man from Omeath came around hawking their wares.  ‘Herrn’ alive!’ they would shout, meaning the fish was so fresh it was still alive.  It wasn’t but it was fresh!  Their bright navy-blue carts were shining with shoals of silver herring.  Women would throng around, especially on Fridays.  Half a dozen, wrapped in newspaper, was a not uncommon order.

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