Thursday, 18 June 2015


How close are you to a plain, open parcel of land marked off for cultivation? We are surrounded by them. Vast ones opened up for dairying, small ones enclosed by dense bird packed hedges, ones which lead on to others, a patchwork across the countryside. At this time of year the urge to be in them is strong. The grass has been cut for silage, leaving dry golden stubs. It is surprisingly satisfying to walk in a field which has just been cut. The smell is subtle, herbal, green. The boys throw handfuls of dried grass which the baler missed at one another and roll down the gentle slope of the field. Within a day or two there is a greenish tinge to the field ~ growth is continuing, a second cut is inevitable before summer is out.

Field names are so interesting, a lyrical intangible finger of the past pointing to something gone. With farming changing so rapidly and small fields and their hedgerow boundaries under continuous threat, it makes sense to record these names before they disappear. Names can be prosaic meadow field, river field, hill field, some relate to size the ten acres, or their use cow field, turnip field, milking field or, of course, they can be in Irish, or reflect the field's geography or its owner. The boys are forever drawing maps of places, real and imaginary, perhaps we should map our local fields, find their names before it's too late.

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