To get to Miskawn you go up.  The house of my grandparent’s held its back to the mountain while fields in front swept down. We loved to run those fields, a blur of daffodils, rushes and hay bales, usually with cousins.  Our heads pounding, our feet barely touched the ground, we got such speed we couldn’t stop!  What a feeling that was, flying from the mountain top! Walking back up was such a drag, the house seemed miles away…

PicMonkey Collage
My grandparents house and the view to the front…

You could sense your future from that high point, a whole world out there but here time moved slowly or didn’t move at all.

Nanny talked. Banshees, curses on cattle, bad luck and changelings, TB and the young people lost, like one girl and boy, neighbours she said. They’d walked this lane together while they were able.  Here the world started and ended for them.  I imagined it often, think of them still.


The lane was so quiet, framed in briars, yellow whins and the fuchsias she’d planted the mountain with followed the lane as it twisted this way and that.  There used to be nine or was it fourteen families living on it but they were all gone now, dead or to America she said.  Some of their house walls were standing still, moss covered white washed stones, in boggy fields with cool dark hedges closing in made you think of the people who’d carried and built, whitewashed and lived within.

The colours and textures, the scents of Miskawn permeated your soul, stole under your skin, an impossible landscape of bog and mountain blue, of coal pit black and forestry, of matted brown and rushy green.

Miskawn mountain
The mountain behind…

Tom worked.  In the warm, sweet dark of the byre he helped a new born calf to stand.  We’d walk with cows over the lane, Red Rum was one.  There was fetching water, baby chicks & the cousins you laughed with and not forgetting the soda bread & waiting for the baler or travelling shop, the arrival of a visitor, the ticking of the mantel clock.

At night you’d see the lights of town twinkling in the distance.  All around, the forest, the mountain and the dark felt close and thick, wild and frightening too but in my grandparents house the brown, yellow faced clock ticked and tocked while the range burned. Nanny folded her lovely hands and Tom laughed easy from his chair while bran and smudge lowered their heads and sighed with pleasure and we all sank easy in the glow.

My grandparents and siblings Colm & Brenda in those fields that swept down from the house…1980’s

So these are some impressions of time spent as a child with my fathers parents in Miskawn, Aughnasheelin.  Some of these days I’ll write memories of my mothers home in Corraleehan, a very different place!

But now dear readers it’s over to you, yes you!  In honour of blog ‘delurking’ week I’m asking my readers to leave a comment, especially if you’ve never done it before!  Just because you’re not saying anything doesn’t mean I don’t know you’re there! I happen to have an excellent stats counter that happily keeps heading skywards and I always wonder what you’re thinking.  You can make someone’s day i.e. mine and tell me what you like or love. If that’s too much just check in and say hello to me, how you found me, that you like it here perhaps!

Happy Sunday everyone, chat to you during the week…


31 thoughts on “Miskawn”

  • Jane, the blog is wonderful. You always show such a genuine appreciation for the past, a great love for your family, social awareness, and fun! I do ‘lurk’ around these pages every chance I get because it always reminds me that true contentment comes from creating our own happy worlds within the world that we all live in.

  • I’m a lurker!! Not that I want to lurk and not comment: an iPad doesn’t always allow you that luxury, ha ha! Beautiful post, you have gorgeously descriptive painterly language…. Looking forward to a post about your mothers home place 🙂

  • Good Morning Jane, your post brought back many memories. Growing up we called the road ” Mullagh Lane”. I had plans (in my young head) to one day build my home in that field just west of Terence’s. The ruins of my grandparents (Callaghan) family home are on the west side of “my field”.I dug around in those ruins once and found an old clay pipe….it’s one of my treasures. Oops, I almost got lost in my memories. Love…Auntie Mary.

    • I didn’t know that Mary but I’m always thinking of the other direction, towards Stretton’s. Terence’s side was a bit too dark and spooky until you got as far as the spot your’re talking about and then yes very nice around there : )

  • I do more lurking than commenting Jane, simply because I’m generally reading on my phone and it’s often a pain to comment that way! But here I am on the laptop tonight especially to let you know that I’m reading! 🙂

  • My heart sings to see the pictures. I was smitten with the road lining bushes of fuschia and ten types of thistle. There’s a poem to be culled in those blog words. Aren’t we lucky to remember summers at our Grandparents in the country!
    Love Ya’,

  • Very well written Jane. I can relate to alot of it with my Granny, telling us of all the houses that used to be, who lived in them, all their relations and how we were 12th cousin 14 times removed!!!

  • Brought back great memories sis! Just cause he deserves a mention I think it was Bran not Shep! Shep was a townie addition!

  • That was a beautiful read. It had such lovely memories threaded right through it. It’s a beautiful house too!

  • If this is the same cottage, I went to see it when it was for sale a couple of years back.. It had a small stone shed right across the lane and a steep garden at the back? It had a lovely peaceful feel to it

  • This was afabulous read Jane , definately makes the memories of the older long gone generation come flooding back , I read your blog but don`t always comment , You have a lovely writing style

    • Aah thank you Lucinda, it means a lot when people commment and thank you for the complements too. I really appreciate it

  • It’s 5 o’clock in the morning Jane and I just felt the need to find and read this post…again. Ah, you’re killin’ me. Wish the old old house was still standing and not buried in “the forestry”. Happy Saturday to you and yours.

    • Aah Mary : / Sorry for killing you but glad you liked it so much too! You’re in for a big treat on the blog next week as that’s exactly where I’m going next – going with dad tomorrow to get photographs for a blog about it : )

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