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The Tobacco Fields of Meath

The Tobacco Fields of Meath

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The Tobacco Fields of Meath

Lunghezza:
166 pagine
1 ora
Pubblicato:
Oct 21, 2012
ISBN:
9781301860050
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The true story of Irish families at the turn of the twentieth century, striving to make a go of a new crop in order to improve the lives of ordinary people and control the massive problem of unemployment and its consequence - emigration. The story of over 30 years of tobacco growing in Ireland is told here through the private papers of one who was at the heart of the Randlestown experiment.

The story is a tragic one in many ways but it paints a picture of life in Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: a time when Ireland and the world was changing rapidly and many struggled with these changes. It is also a story that demonstrates how people rise to the challenges brought on by adversity, defying expectations in the process.

In telling this story the author, Liam Nevin, has made available to the general public important material previously unpublished. This includes records kept by his late grandfather, John Nevin, who was very much a part of the Randlestown experiment, where he was employed first as a farm steward, later in the role of Tobacco Instructor. Like others employed with him in the enterprise, he was interested in tobacco growing as a means of providing employment for the working man and his family. His papers bear witness to over thirty years of tobacco growing in Ireland: not only in Meath but also the counties of Offaly, Louth and as far away as Limerick

A central figure and the person who looms large in the story of the Randlestown experiment, is Nugent T. Everard. He was a progressive landlord who sought to alleviate the hardship he saw around him, mobilising a community in support of this bid. This was unusual, some would say uncharacteristic for a person of his social class but he had a genuine interest in making a go of it at Randlestown: he was not interested in being an absentee landlord.

The fact that the Randlestown experiment ultimately failed is no reason for it to be forgotten. Especially as it contains lessons that are instructive to the present day as well.

This is a book for anyone with an interest in Irish and local history. A valuable piece of hidden history has been unlocked. The reader is left with the feeling that there is much more to this story that could be explored. A book that is interesting and absorbing in its own right but will also point inquisitive scholars in a certain direction for further research.

Pubblicato:
Oct 21, 2012
ISBN:
9781301860050
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Liam Nevin was born in Ireland in 1951, a native of Maynooth, County Kildare. He attended the local primary and secondary schools there. He worked for twenty five years for Aer Lingus at London Heathrow Airport. He enjoys travelling and has visited all five continents with his wife Marlene. He has two children, Brendan and Pauline, and three grandchildren, Kate, Lynda and Dylan. He lives in Shepperton, England. He got the idea for writing "The Tobacco Fields of Meath" having researched his family history and discovering a wealth of information on tobacco growing left by his grandfather, John Nevin, in Randlestown, Navan, County Meath. John Nevin worked on growing tobacco on the estate owned by Sir Nugent Everard Bart for over thirty years. The Everard family put a lot of effort and money into the industry. Since publishing the book, Liam has made contact with Sir Harry Everard the great grandson of Sir Nugent. Both were delighted to contact each other and plan to meet later in 2012. Liam is presently working on the idea of a book about growing up in a small village in Ireland in the 1950's/60's.

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The Tobacco Fields of Meath - Liam Nevin

What They Said:

A fascinating read that depicts a forgotten way of life and also explains the mystery of tobacco growing in rural Ireland. - The Irish World newspaper, April, 2011.

The Tobacco Fields of Meath

Liam Nevin

Copyright © Liam Nevin, 2010

The author has asserted his moral rights

Published by The Manuscript Publisher at Smashwords, 2012

ISBN: 9781301860050

Typesetting, page layout, cover design and e-book conversion by DocumentsandManuscripts.com

This title has also been published as a printed edition in paperback by and is available to buy through most online retailers. ISBN: 978-1-907522-26-0.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The Tobacco Fields of Meath

Copyright © Liam Nevin, 2010

The right of Liam Nevin to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the copyright, design and patents acts pertaining.

All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this work may be made without written permission from the author.

No paragraph of this work may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission of the author or in accordance with the provisions of the copyright acts pertaining.

This work is made available subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the author’s prior consent.

Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this work may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claim for damages.

About the Author

Liam Nevin was born in Ireland in 1951, a native of Maynooth, County Kildare. He attended the local primary and secondary schools there. He worked for twenty five years for Aer Lingus at London Heathrow Airport. He enjoys travelling and has visited all five continents with his wife Marlene. He has two children, Brendan and Pauline, and three grandchildren, Kate, Lynda and Dylan. He lives in Shepperton, England.

He got the idea for writing The Tobacco Fields of Meath having researched his family history and discovering a wealth of information on tobacco growing left by his grandfather, John Nevin, in Randlestown, Navan, County Meath. John Nevin worked on growing tobacco on the estate owned by Sir Nugent Everard Bart for over thirty years. The Everard family put a lot of effort and money into the industry. Since publishing the book, Liam has made contact with Sir Harry Everard the great grandson of Sir Nugent. Both were delighted to contact each other and plan to meet later in 2012.

Liam is presently working on the idea of a book about growing up in a small village in Ireland in the 1950's/60's.

For more information about Liam Nevin and this book please visit his author page on Smashwords.

You can also follow The Tobacco Fields of Meath on Facebook.

From the Meath Chronicle, October, 2012

The author at the Everard family grave at Donaghpatrick, Co. Meath

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations

Dedication

Foreword

Acknowledgements

The New Landlord

The Estate

The Farm Servant

The Tobacco Experiment

The Tobacco Instructor

The Beginning of the End

The Fight for the Industry

The Major

New Hope

The Closing Years

Randlestown - The end of an era

Further Information / About this Book

List of Illustrations

The author at the Everard family grave at Donaghpatrick, Co. Meath

Sir Nugent T. Everard Bart.

Randlestown House

Biddy Reilly with the tobacco in 1993

Address to Sir Nugent Talbot and Lady Everard by the employees of Randlestown House

The ruins of Mountshannon House

Michael Nevin with his son John, daughter-in-law, Ann and grandson Michael, taken in 1910 at Randlestown (the new house)

Women workers with tobacco in Randlestown

John Nevin 1867-1941

Heavy pipe tobacco at Randlestown

Tobacco Sheds at Randlestown

Price List from 1921

A newspaper cutting kept by John Nevin - a bit light-hearted

A letter regarding the experiments dated 1921

Tobacco being exported from Dublin in 1923

RW Everard with his wife and family at Randlestown

Second Address - to Captain R.W. Everard on the occasion of his marriage

Auditors Report 1933-prepared by Swain, Brown & Co. Dublin

Notice by the Revenue Commissioners on The Cultivation of Tobacco in Saorstát Éireann

A telegram to John Nevin asking about any tobacco grown in 1932

Final Address from the workers at Randlestown

The Dowager Lady Sylvia Priscilla Everard (photo taken on 13th October 1899)

John Nevin with Aly Mooney, unknown girl, his wife Ann, daughter Sheila and Frank Mooney, at the old cottage at Randlestown

Write up from the Meath Chronicle marking the death of Mr John Nevin

The hunt at Randalstown [Randlestown of old]

Dedication

To John Nevin

FOREWORD

This is a true story of families at the turn of the twentieth century, struggling to make a go of a new crop in order to improve the lives of ordinary people and control the massive problem of unemployment and its consequence, emigration. My grandfather, John Nevin, was much involved in the project and kept a wealth of information and records in the form of newspaper cuttings and letters. He died 10 years before I was born, so I never knew him.

The story is a tragic one in many ways, but it paints a picture of life in Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A time when Ireland, and the world, was changing rapidly and many struggled with these changes.

I remember seeing the big house at Randlestown before it was demolished in the sixties. I also remember visiting my grandmother at Biddy Reilly’s cottage in the nineteen fifties in Randlestown with my father and mother.

I experienced a peace there which I have never experienced again in my life. The road which passed the gates to the big house had a red hue and the trees on both sides seemed to meet overhead. A very peaceful place especially on a long summer’s evening. Sadly the road is no more.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

John Nevin - (my grandfather) for his legacy of papers and writings

Michael and Rev. John Nevin - (my father and brother) for preserving that legacy

Ciaran Mangan - County Librarian Meath, for his contributions to my research including The Tobacco Industry at Randalstown Navan 1898-1938.

Richard Everard - the Netherlands, for his contributions of much material, including his family history published by The Irish Genealogist and a copy of John Nevin’s Memoirs

Tobacco Growing in Ireland 1584-1929 by the Dowager Lady Everard

The New Landlord

The winter of 1873/74 was cold and wet. Winter was a tough time for farm workers in Victorian times. In fact work was hard for both labourers and servants. Life expectancy for a farm labourer in the mid nineteenth century was only just above fifty. There was no such thing as annual holidays or leisure time. Hours were long. Servants got a half day on Wednesday to visit their families, and they were allowed time off to go to Mass on Sundays and see their families again for a short time. Pay was also very poor. 1873 was only 28 years after the Great Famine that devastated Ireland in the 1840’s. It would have been in living memory of many people. Of course the famine affected different parts of the country in different ways, but most of the working class would have suffered in some way. Work, therefore, was gratefully received and most were willing to work for a pittance and put up with many hardships rather than board those coffin ships to the States, or seek employment in the poorer areas of Britain.

Christmas had passed with the usual celebrations. There would have been a goose for those who could afford it and the rest had to do with rabbit. Celebrating Christmas the way we do now was relatively new in the eighteen seventies as cards, Christmas trees and Santa Claus only came in after Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and married the German Prince Albert (1840), less than forty years before. There was no holiday for the workers of the big estate at Randlestown, Navan, County Meath. Cows had to be milked, fowl fed and countless other jobs had to be done. The local people made the best of the festive season, giving small presents to their children if they could and after lunch they would take part in ceilidh-ing, which was what they called visiting each other’s houses for a chat to catch up with the news and, at Christmas and special occasions, to listen to the local fiddler or uilleann piper and have a sing-song and hopefully a few dances. Ghost stories would also be told, of banshees etc., frightening not only the children but also many adults as well.

Of course ceilidh-ing was a year-round activity in Ireland. A certain woman from Randlestown would walk to 8 o’clock Mass in Oristown (about 6 km) on Sundays and not return till the evening, calling to relatives and friends, drinking tea etc. which took up the whole day. Many people believed in the good people, the fairies, the Celtic woodland deity of pre-Christian times. There was an instance in Oristown, in the not very distant past, where a baby went missing and the local folk just passed it off as the good people took

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