Fwd: EPISODE 445 IRISH STORIES: I WAS A POOR PAYMASTER (I NOW REALIZE 61 YEARS TO LATE)


Note:John Wardle…tell me if you get this episode


EPISODE 445    IRISH SORIES:   I WAS A POOR PAYMASTER (I NOW REALIZE 61 YEARS LATER)

alan skeoch
Oct. 2021

FRIDAY WAS PAYDAY IN THE SHACK BEHIND THE KENNEDY STORE…WITH FREE CIGARETTES

 Being a paymaster was quite a shock on the Irish job. I hired a lot of people and was told by someone that an Irish pound a day
was the going wage for unskilled labour.  Seemed OK to the men.  As i now know the wage was
ridiculously low.  The real wage in Ireland in 1960 was $1.25 per hour (U.S)…about 6 to 7 pounds per day.

How did I not know?  IGNORANCE. I Used my own wage as a template.  I was being paid $400 a month…about $5 a day for skilled labour so the difference was
not really that great but my wage included room and board.  Not  luxury living. 
On bush jobs we worked 7 days a week, cooked
our own meals and slept in tents (enveloped in clouds of blood sucking insects).

 The Irish job was five days a week.  Luxury.

 
There seemed to be much unemployment in and around Bunmahon.
So I tried to hire as many men as I could.  There was a need for a large crew.

Three men doing Turam readings myself and Barney with console another man with lead coil 
and cable with 100 foot spacing
Two men to guard our grounding rods and motor
Three to four men as linecutters
Two men to patrol the base line and try to stop cattle from eating cable.


I suppose Barney must have seemed unnecessary to our boss in Canada. Explanation… “I need Barney to help me over the stone
and Gorse fence rows…and to watch for charging bulls or hungry boars.”  “I need him because it is impossible to run when in full
Turam harness.”  Now who could believe that?  Barney’s role
was also to protect me from tics as much as possible.  The cattle were infested with them making their noses look like
pin cushions.   Where did they get the tics?  From the tall grass and scrub bushes in the fence rows.  Barney was also
a buffer when confronted with angry farmers…many of whom wanted payment for damaged crops or stunned animals.
I do not know if anyone made such payments.


So these men earned their money.  I did not realize how small was their pay until I started to look at the cost of living and salaries
in Ireland in 1960.   

STATSTICS
The average family income in the 1960’s was around $5,800. The tax rate back then was 20%, and minimum wage was $1.25/hour. Bacon – 79¢ per lb. Bananas – 10¢ per lb.

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NO ONE ever said to me that they were underpaid.   High spirits prevailed as is easy to see in Kirwin’s pub  on a special evening.    In 1960 a pint of Guinness was around 20 pence…let’s say 50 cents Canadian.  A bottle of beer in Canada or USA was around 75 cents. 
So our employees could afford to buy about 3 pints of guinness spending their full wage.
To sweeten the wages I got in the habit of buying small packs of cigarettes and later chocolate.  About half of the population of Ireland smoked in 1960.   I did not know
that a 25 cent pack of Wild Woodbine cigarettes was the cheapest of smokes.  The pack looks nice
and no one refused/

IEP USD
1 IEP 1.46744 USD
5 IEP 7.3372 USD
10 IEP 14.6744 USD
25 IEP 36.686 USD


EPISODE 443 IRISH STORIES: IRISH COTTAGE

EPISODE 443   IRISH STORIES…IRISH COTTAGES (HOMES) 


alan skeoch
oct. 2021

I wish I had taken pictures of many of the homes where our work force lived.  As I remember they
used the term ‘cottage’ for their homes.  In Canada that has a different meaning.  Second homes. In Ireland in 1960 There was one
cottage that stood out from others because the owner, perhaps his name was Mr. Casey, spent
a lot of time pruning and painting to make the place look magnificent.


Sad to say a lot of these small rural cottages on one acre lots were abandoned.  Or maybe it was just that I looked for signs of
the past and tended to photograph empty, often roofless, places where people once lived.



This home in Bunmahon was just abandoned and allowed to collapse.   Barney told me a story  about the former owners.  A story
on the edge of my consciousness.   I think the family retained ownership and just moved on…let the house fall apart.   Ruins like this
must have been common in the late 1870’s when the mine closed and the people (population was around 2,000 then)….Miners are
nomadic.   The miners of Bunmahon moved west to the United States and Canada.


This ancient bee hive home has withstood the ravages of time.   AT one time a monk may have lived here contemplating….just contemplating.
What?   What would you think about  while sitting cross legged in a tiny stone house where you couldn’t stand?  Just sitting there alone.


I am so glad I took this picture because it was so ’normal’ to me in 1960.   Homes that were whitewashed…very neat in most
cases…with every inch of the acre of land being used.  Often with domestic animals.

And ancient graveyards were often present.


So many of the abandoned buildings looked like this…as if the rooves had been removed deliberately.  Seems to me I read somewhere that
landlords forcibly removed those rooves to force indigent tenants to move on…i.e.  people who were not paying rent.   That happened
in the Highland Clearances in Scotland when large landwoners wanted land for sheep and not for people.   The 1840’s were rough years
made worse by the sudden failure of the potato crop across western Europe.  

alan…re: failure to send episodes

John (and others)…I have never in my life had so many problems
started when I could not receive messages on my iPhone…then other things happened i.e. scrolling, flashing on my computer, etc. …had computer upgraded which solved the scrolling and flashing but iPhone could still not receive…switched to g mail but learning curve is steep
So far I have spent money and time (a lot of time) and nothing has changed except a new email address … back to zero ;;; I am writing you on my old address…back to zero in other words
I have an episode on a basking whale that scared me in Ireland in 1960…all written which I will send via my old rogers system…if? If this reacts John Wardle
If this reaches you I will try to go back to old system…i.e. rogers… and reconstruct latest story
alan

Fwd: EPISODE 440 BUNMAHON … MINING EXPLORATION REPEATED EPISODE 67…WE CRAWLED THROUGH A HOLE

NOTE: THIS IS A REPEAT OF EPISODE 67…AT PRESENT I AM TRANSCRIBING MY DIARY 

WHICH GIVES A MORE PERSONAL VIEW OFTHE SUMMER OF 1960.  SOME OF YOU NEVER
GOT THE EARLY EPISODES SO THIS FLASHBACK WILL HELP. A BIGGER HELP WOULD BE
FINDING A COPY OF “THE QUIET MAN” TO HELP SET THE SCENE.  REALLY?  YES, REALLY.

alan

Begin forwarded message:


From: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch1@gmail.com>
Subject: EPISODE 440 BUNMAHON … MINING EXPLORATION REPEATED EPISODE 67…WE CRAWLED THROUGH A HOLE
Date: October 5, 2021 at 7:16:22 PM EDT
To: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch1@gmail.com>


Alan’s Oeuvre

Fwd: EPISODE 67 BUNMAHON, IRELAND “WE CAN CRAWL INTO THE OLD MINE THROUGH A HOLE”






EPISODE 67   BUNMAHON , IRELAND” “WE CAN CRAWL INTO THE OLD MINE THROUGH A HOLE”


UNDERGROUND WITH BARNEY DWAN


alan skeoch
June 2020

BARNEY  DWAN…”I KNOW HOW  TO GET INTO THE OLD MINE”


THE  RUINS OF THE KNOCKMAHON MINE


THE HOLE BARNEY FOUND…LED INTO THE OLD MINE

“I know where there’s a hole.”
“A hole ?”
“Yes,, a hole in the cliff.”
“So?”
“So we can squeeze through the hole and get into the old mine.”
“You must be kidding, Barney”
“No,  I’ve crawled  into the hole many times.”
“Why?”
“Curiosity.”
“Can you take me there?”
“Sure, this Saturday if you want.”

SATURDAY JULY 23,1960

Note:  Saturday July 23, 1960, I was told  by Barney Dawn that it was
possible tp squeeze through an old adit (an air vent) and actually enter
te Knockmaon mine.   This event was a climax point in the Bunmahon
adventure.   I had a choice.  Take a risk and enter the mine.  Or
play  it safe and  do  nothing other than our surface work.  I chose
the risk taking venture.  Why?  Because I was 21 years old…young
and foolish.  Adventure seeking.  Crawling through that air vent
was not part of my job so, at first,  Barney, Andy and I did  it on evenings
or Sundays.  Later both John Hogan and Dr. John Stam decided
to get involved in underground exploration when we were made
aware of a legend lost cow in an old mine entrance inland from
the sea.   The results of that venture were startling.

So I have decided to give these ventures special consideration…and
a special heading.   A question for you to think about: Would you crawl
through that hole in the cliff face?   Would you do it when you were 21?

GOING UNDERGROUND WITH BARNEY 

That’s Barney Dwan relaxing on the cliffs he knew so well.  Just above him, almost invisible, is the entrance to our first underground

mine adventure.



“See the hole up there?”

“Looks like a break in the cliff face.”
“We can crawl in there quite a distance but
we’ll need flashlights.”
“And  maybe candles just in case the air turns bad.”
“And hard hats in case of trouble.”
“Trouble?”
“There are places  where the ceiling has collapsed..we may  
have to crawl over the rubble…some might be loose.”
“Barney, let’s just keep our options open…if we find  a collapse we can
back our way out.   If we crawl over a collapse then escape is less likely
in case of trouble.”
“Fine.  Only one touchy area and I’ve squeezed over it several times.  Safe
I would  say.”
 

Initially John Stam and john Hogan were not aware of  the mine adits.  When  they discovered we could check  out anomalies
easier than digging trenches they became interested.  Which  led to the legend of cow (still to come).


(And so it began.  Exploration of a different sort.  I did not make a big deal  of our
plan to Dr. Stam or John Hogan.  Sort of a casual mention about an old mine adit
perhaps…”halfway  up the cliff  face directly below the mine ruins”.  Working underground
in abandoned  mines was not a new experience.  I spent a couple of weeks  underground
at Can Met uranium  mine at Elliot Lake.  That was exciting especially when our
flashlights were turned off.   Darkness like I  had  never seen before.  “Seen” is the wrong
word.  We got down deep in the mine using an elevator though.  In mining parlance the term
is ‘cage’ which has a foreboding ring to it. a stope as ceiling bolts gave way and a ceiling
collapsed.  Never close to us though. The pillars had been pulled as the mine was vacated.
Yes, disconcerting.  But Underground at Can Met there gave us
lots of room.  Room enough for mining machines to move along the passageways.  Like a 
highway.

In the Yukon we found some old mine workings that were hand dug but never really deep.
Inside the walls were protected from collapse because the  overburden was frozen deep enough.
That job was exciting in its own way.  Gold dust could be panned  and a few specks I sent
to Marjorie on strips of black electric tape.  More interesting to me on that job was the presence
of mastodon or hairy mammoth tusks and  bones.   The owner of Dublin Gulch had a pile of them leaning against his
cabin.  He gave me a mammoth  tooth about the size of a baseball glove.  Somebody stole it my first
year teaching at Parkdale C.I.

Underground at Knockmahon was considerably more intimidating because we could not stand up.
At times we walked hunched over.  At other times we crawled on all fours.  And, one, just once,
we squeezed on our stomachs through an area where the tunnel (the adit) had collapsed.  Squeezed is the 
right word as  you can see in the picture.  Just enough room to get to the other side.

I am not sure how far we got.   Perhaps to one of the vertical shafts.   At least I think that
was what we found.  We  were crawling along the horizontal adit and came upon a larger
shaft that went straight down vertically.   There was an old mine ladder lying across 
the shaft which we crawled over.  Sounds dangerous but the danger was minimal because
the shaft was filled with water.  The water was clear as  daylight in Our flashlight beams.

I think this shaft went down deep.  Perhaps 300 meters.  A long way down.  At the bottom
there would be passageways  that went under the Atlantic Ocean for some distance according
to mine records  at neighbouring Tankardstown Mine.   Pumps were installed to try and
keep the mine dry.  Sort of dry.  When mining was abandoned in the 1870’s the ocean
flooded all the deep workings.   (P.S.  A video has been made of the passageways and stopes
of the Tankardstown mine.  Just search he internet.)

This  ladder crosses the deep  shaft in the mine that bottomed  out about 300 meter below.  We used the ladder to cross
the shaft.  It was not as  dangerous as  it looked because the shaft was filled with crystal clear water.   We could swim across if
we so desired.


Barney, Andy and I crossed he shaft and continued deeper into the mine where we found
some abandoned  mine tools…shovels I seem to remember.  I think we reached the main
shaft through which the ore was lifted but I cannot be sure.  That was a long time ago.
Five years later, in 1965, I brought Marjorie and my brother to Bunmahon and  we crawled
back in this adit for a short way.  I think we stopped where the roof had collapsed.  By then
Marjorie had backed out remarking “This is crazy,” or some similar remark.  She climbed
down the seashore and waited for Eric and I to emerge.  There was one terrible stink
where Marjorie sat on a rock.  A big dead pig had floated in from the sea  or fallen off
the cliff.   Marjorie did not smell a thing because she was so worried  we would  never
emerge.


Below the cliffs were the broken bodies of  animals that fell.


This adit was remarkably beautiful inside.  In many places the walls were green from
Oxidized chalcopyrite    In other place a deep  dark blue.  And  still others were pinkish.
Samples have been removed  and photographed by the Copper Coast tourist promoters
and displayed today (2020) since the site has become attractive to the general public.
It is even possible to go deep in the mine on escorted tours that must provide access  from
the main  shaft area.  I am not sure if the mine has been drained but doubt it.  That would
cost too much  money for the limited  number of people that might be interested.

In 1960, when Barney and I got out of the adit, I told Dr. Stam  and John Hogan
about the colours on the adit walls.   They tried  to see if the old adit linked up with
some of the anomalies  we found.   We were already hiring crews to dig surface
trenches to check  out anomalies.  Barney’s ‘secret’ tunnels did the same thing with
less effort.

“Any more adits along the coast, Barney?”
“Yes.  There are two big ones almost directly behind  Kirwin’s pub.”
“Safe?”
“Think so…people once hid out in one of them.”
“Hid?”
“Time of the Trouble in the 1920’s…IRA men  lived there…stored
their weapons in one of them.”
“Who knows about them?”
“Everyone knows but they do not tell strangers.”
“Let’s take a look.”




Can you find the adit holes here?



This was an entrance at sea level.



Almost beside Bunmahon beach there was a huge gouge
in the rock.  Sort of a cave.   At the end of the cave was a
hole about five feet from the ground.  Small hole.  Smaller than
the other adit.   Not far inside it opened into a larger
room and then continued horizontally.  We did  not go
much  deeper because the second  adit was  much  more
interesting according to Barney.So  we moved along to
another, larger hole, about 6 feet above the ocean.  High enough that
the storm waves would not be a problem.


Here are three entrances.  The second  from bottom was the entrance we used lest the
sea tide flood the other while we were inside.


“Wow!  The adit leads  into this  large open room”
“Angled room…piles  of broken rock…with some kind
of iron machinery at the bottom”
“What’s down there?””
“May have been an ore crusher…not sure what is down at the bottom.”
“Is the place stable?”
“Don’t know.  Want to try to cross over….the adit continues on the other side.?”
“Sure…but slowly/“

(We had entered to large room about midway up the wall.  In front of us was
jumble of rocks with a 45 degree slope.  To reach the adit on the other side
we had to cross this talus  slope.  We did  so  carefully.  But not careful enough.)

“Damn…damn…damn…the rocks are moving…the whole
slope is tumbling down…”
“Stand still…do not move.”
“Trouble. Can we turn around?”
“Movement is slowing down.”
“Turn around…see if we can get back to the adit.”

(We made it back.   The rock  slide had taken us  down a few
feet before the ricks  got hung up. )

“Let’s get out of here.  Is this the IRA  hideout?”
“So I was  told.”
“On the other side of the loose rock.”
“Maybe.”
“is this your first time in here, Barney?”
“No.  But first time I tried to cross the boulders.”
“Are you putting me on, Barney?”
“Just saying what I was  told.  Apparently they 
lived here…even had  a stovepipe hole to let smoke
of  cooking and fireplace out above.””
“On the other side of the rock slope?”
“Apparently.”
“How did  they get across  when we could not?”
“Beas me.  I do not know.”

(That was  the end of seascape explorations.    Are the holes
sealed  up  now?  Probably. But I do not know. Tourists who want to 
enter Knockmahon mine must have an escort and  prior booking.
Barney Dwan is no loner available.    But Barney’s influence on
our project was not over yet.  His  biggest contribution came one
day when I mentioned we had a big anomaly up a boreen (valley)
about a mile or two North West of Bunmahon.)



Trenches were done at several locations just to check out the geology beneath anomalies
we discovered with the Turam.



“Well. Master Skeoch, there is a story about that place.. Once
around 1900 there was a mine opening dug into the hill.  But
it’s not there anymore because the farmer lost a cow in the
mine so he had the opening covered up with dirt and rocks
Now it’s overgrown with gorse and brush but I can show you
the spot.”

“John, we got big anomaly over there, Barney
says there was once a min opening.  Legend  about
a lost cow.  Is it worth checking out.”
“May as well. “
“Chasing a legend?”
“Let’s do it…Get one of the boys to dig there…will take
a few days…may prove nothing.”

“Dig here…clear the brush and dig straight into
the hill for few feet…see  what you can find.””
“Just me?”
“yes,  you will likely find nothing…then again you
might find a mine opening…maybe even a dead cow.”

(We all found this venture quite amusing.  But there was an 
anomaly … and  a  legend.   We did not hear anything for
two or three days.  Then one of the men came to the Kennedy
house.”


Legend had it that a  cow disappeared in this  old  mine adit (horizontal mine opening).   The legend
led us into one of the great adventures  of the job.


After 3 or 4 days the mine had  drained enough for us to enter.  John  Hogan and Barney Dwan with flashlight.




Other animals seemed to have been trapped here as well.  But where was the cow?

In the still air of a century, crystals had time to form.


Timbering was OK…not great, but OK.


Most of the legendary mine was slathered  with this material.


“He hit something big.”
“Who?” Where?”
“Digging job up he boreen…explosive.”
“Explosive?” 
“He was  digging when suddenly a river of water blasted  out…scared
him badly.  He ran.”

“When will he show up for his
money yet.”
“He will.”
“Must have been quite a scene…shoving the shovel blade into
the slil … then a blast of water under pressure.
“What will we do?”
“Let the shaft drains for a day or so…then we’ll all  go up there
and take a look.”


(Everyone was interested  in the discovery.  We walked inside a few
days  later.  A lot of muck.  Deep rust colour.  Some crystals that had
formed in the stillness of a century.  And best of all, we found the cow.  She
had got wedged in the tunnel…her hips.  She could  not get
out and there she was. Her bones told the story…confirmed the legend.)



And, sure  enough, there was the cow.  Her hip bones must have got caught.  And there she died.  


END EPISODE  67    UNDERGROUND WITH BARNEY DWAN



Fwd: NEW EPISODE 439 CLIFFS OF MOHER, IRELAND





NOTE:  I AM TRYING to re-establish stories…Some of

your addresses have been switched to gmail…but not all.

Just my first on gmail….steep learning curve…will get better

my new email address is   alan.skeoch1@gmail.com     

One big problem is getting my photo archive in place…copying
has taken days and is still going on…I have much to learn but thought
I should get a notice to readers.  This is my first gmail effort.





alan…soon back with episodes

Oct. 2, 2021
Well glad to see no one missed me. Makes me wonder if Episodes are read or not.
My computer went wacko as did my iPhone. Do not know why.
Took it to Oakville for reincarnation of sorts. Then everything went bad. Now coming back I hope…. and my wallet is a little thinner but not as thin as a new computer would have done. Problem is I have to figure things out once again which is not easy.
This note is just a test as I try to get on top of things.
alan
By the way the Apple dealer had no computers to sell…nearest date was a month from now and then not sure. And the costs would be about $1,000 more than I paid 7 years ago. One of the Covid 19 factors…higher costs for everything.
Showing the vaccination proof was not required as businesses get used to a new hurdle….a necessary hurdle

Fwd: EPISODE 438 IRISH PICTURES AND STORIES… COWS WERE A NIGHTMARE




NOTE TO MY READERS:   I WILL BE OFF LINE FOR SEVERAL DAYS I FEAR.  COMPUTER PROBLEMS BIG TIME.
SO THERE WILL BE NO MORE EPISODES FOR A SHORT TIME.

 EPISODE 438     IRISH PICTURES AND STORIES…  COWS WERE A NIGHTMARE…THEY ATE OUR BASE LINE


GROUP 9    CURIOUS CATTLE … LOTS OF PROBLEMS … ATE OUR BASE LINE






OUR biggest problems in Ireland were the herds of cattle.  The cattle were curious and omniverous.  And stupid!  They thought our copper base line looked good to eat.
And practically every day we had a sudden cessation of signals as a cow chomped through the yellow sheathed base line and
then gobbled up a few feet of wire before regurgitating the wire in round balls about the size of baseballs.   When the signals
stopped we had to send crews to find the cut and repair the line.   This happened often.  Sometimes several times in a day.

The farmers were angry naturally.  Some claimed their cattle were knocked out  by the live wire.  I do not believe that
happened…never saw a flattened cow.   But we found lots of balls of copper wire that had been vomitted.   I think someone
paid the farmers for damages…but I don’t know if it was Dr. Stam or the Irish government.

Sometimes breaks in the line were caused by cars and trucks but most of the time it was cattle.   

In the Canadian wilderness we rarely had problems like this.  Moose, deer, wolves, wolverines did not like a diet of copper wire it seems.
Red squirrels might nibble a bit.

CALF CONVERSATION

“MY that long line of yellow spaghetti looks edible.”
“Ouch…bit of a sting to it.””
“Let’s gobble up a chunk.”
“Look at mom…over there…she’s vomiting the yellow stuff in big balls.”
“Spit it out”
“Here comes one of  the lads with a big roll of spaghetti on his back.”
“He’s not chewing.”
“Let’s take a chomp just for the hell of it.”
“Wait until he moves along.”
“Now!”
“Ouch…hot…stings”
“Here comes the lad running back here yelling like a damn fool.”
“Look innocent…look like you are not interested in spaghetti.”
“Too many hot chill peppers in the spaghetti.”



Our base line was a mile or more in length.  Straight of course which meant the cable was put down on many Irish fields where cattle

roamed/

Calves were just as curious as their mothers but  not as hungry for swaths of our base line cable.

GROUP  10    THE CASE OF THE COW THAT DISAPPEARED A CENTURY AGO

We heard quit a few stories about ghosts and mysterious happenings.  It seems the 19th century miners, some of them, spread a story
about ghosts in part of the mine.  Apparently that was intended to keep curious people away from a ‘high grading’ operation where
rich chunks of copper ore were hidden.  True or not?  Who knows.  John Hogan told tales of such High grading in Canada.  And a
few years later I worked in the Yukon where and immense amount of silver ore was stolen from an abandoned part of the Elsa mine.
(see Episode – Fell from the Moon).

One story told to me by Barney Dwan and others turned out to be true. We had a large anomaly when working an area near the Mahon river
… a small valley (boreen is the Irish term I think) angles away from the river.  Let me say what happened in dialogue form.

“Alan, there is an old story about this boreen.?”
“Ghost story?””
“No…just a story passed down from the old times…the mining days…the 1870’s or later”
“Interesting story?”
“Apparently there was a mine entrance up here long ago and a cow
wandered in and got stuck so the farmer filled in the opening with trash and dirt.”
“About where we got the high readings?””
“Yes, that’s why I thought you might be interested.”
“Do you know the exact spot?”
“I do…right over there where the  gorse patch grows.”
“Let me see what Dr. Stam thinks.”

“We could dig out the hole.  We are already digging trenches down to bedrock where we have
got high readings.”  
” The story may or may not be true.”
“Let’s just hire a man ….have him dig out that patch of Gorse.”
“Sort of secretly?”
“Yes,  I don’t know what Norm Paterson would think of us spending money on a story that is 100 years old.”


The patch of Gorse was about 4 times larger than this patch.  It seemed to be a waste of good farm land.  Not used as a fence line.
Just a patch on a slope.

The floor of  the adit after the draining ceased was covered with pieces of timber. This was the first skull we found…a young calf perhaps.

Why was the skull here?






This may or may not be the boreen.  The location was very nondescript;   Look in the far distance where a patch of Gorse is growing
on the valley slope…tiny in the distance.  The location was much like that.



Here we are inside the hillside adit.  Barney and John Hogan (whose picture is not flattering) … both are studying the wet sides of the

adit looking for oxidized green copper staining.   If I remember correctly  this bit of exploration helped Dr. Stam determine

the workings were so badly faulted that there was no point trying to reopen the mines.  A great disappointment to the local people
who were hoping Bonmahon would see boom times again.




This is NOT the Irish adit I am describing. Later in the 1960’s the company sent me to the Yukon territory where we entered this abandoned

mine site which was half filled with ice. These ice crystals formed in the absolute stillness.   The Irish adit that we broke
into never froze but filled completely with water.  Pressure. No release of that pressure until our man opened the adit with his pick.  That last
swing of the pick triggered a deluge and a roaring noise as the water gushed forth.  Our man ran.  It took three days to drain
the adit before John Hogan, Dr. Stam, Barney Dwan and I entered.   And that is when we made a big discovery.


There she lay.   The cow.  At least her bones.  Her head  especially.   Some bones must have washed out as the adit drained but

her head and other bones were trapped in the mud and pieces of water logged timber.  So the story must be true.   The cow wandered
into the adit…got her hips sick…could not turn around…and died or was humanely killed there.   Something like
that.   A kernel of truth…the skull.

GROUP 11    THE FOLK MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN IRELAND

Several years later, Marjorie and I toured the southern counties of Ireland and were given an escorted tour
of this folk museum…agricultural machines were a big interest…at least to me.   

When that dead cow was
alive the machines below were brand new.  And the farms were small except for those owned by the huge estates
whose owners were often English.   The great disparities in wealth were a prime cause of the civil war that raged
in Ireland in the 1920’s.  Many big estate homes…almost castles…were put to the torch.














END OF PART 3:  NEXT EPISODE WILL BE  A) THE CLIFFS OF MOHER   B) EXPLORING OLD MINE ADITS ON HANDS AND KNEES


Fwd: EPISODE 438 IRISH PICTURES AND STORIES… COWS WERE A NIGHTMARE




NOTE TO MY READERS:   I WILL BE OFF LINE FOR SEVERAL DAYS I FEAR.  COMPUTER PROBLEMS BIG TIME.
SO THERE WILL BE NO MORE EPISODES FOR A SHORT TIME.

 EPISODE 438     IRISH PICTURES AND STORIES…  COWS WERE A NIGHTMARE…THEY ATE OUR BASE LINE


GROUP 9    CURIOUS CATTLE … LOTS OF PROBLEMS … ATE OUR BASE LINE






OUR biggest problems in Ireland were the herds of cattle.  The cattle were curious and omniverous.  And stupid!  They thought our copper base line looked good to eat.
And practically every day we had a sudden cessation of signals as a cow chomped through the yellow sheathed base line and
then gobbled up a few feet of wire before regurgitating the wire in round balls about the size of baseballs.   When the signals
stopped we had to send crews to find the cut and repair the line.   This happened often.  Sometimes several times in a day.

The farmers were angry naturally.  Some claimed their cattle were knocked out  by the live wire.  I do not believe that
happened…never saw a flattened cow.   But we found lots of balls of copper wire that had been vomitted.   I think someone
paid the farmers for damages…but I don’t know if it was Dr. Stam or the Irish government.

Sometimes breaks in the line were caused by cars and trucks but most of the time it was cattle.   

In the Canadian wilderness we rarely had problems like this.  Moose, deer, wolves, wolverines did not like a diet of copper wire it seems.
Red squirrels might nibble a bit.

CALF CONVERSATION

“MY that long line of yellow spaghetti looks edible.”
“Ouch…bit of a sting to it.””
“Let’s gobble up a chunk.”
“Look at mom…over there…she’s vomiting the yellow stuff in big balls.”
“Spit it out”
“Here comes one of  the lads with a big roll of spaghetti on his back.”
“He’s not chewing.”
“Let’s take a chomp just for the hell of it.”
“Wait until he moves along.”
“Now!”
“Ouch…hot…stings”
“Here comes the lad running back here yelling like a damn fool.”
“Look innocent…look like you are not interested in spaghetti.”
“Too many hot chill peppers in the spaghetti.”



Our base line was a mile or more in length.  Straight of course which meant the cable was put down on many Irish fields where cattle

roamed/

Calves were just as curious as their mothers but  not as hungry for swaths of our base line cable.

GROUP  10    THE CASE OF THE COW THAT DISAPPEARED A CENTURY AGO

We heard quit a few stories about ghosts and mysterious happenings.  It seems the 19th century miners, some of them, spread a story
about ghosts in part of the mine.  Apparently that was intended to keep curious people away from a ‘high grading’ operation where
rich chunks of copper ore were hidden.  True or not?  Who knows.  John Hogan told tales of such High grading in Canada.  And a
few years later I worked in the Yukon where and immense amount of silver ore was stolen from an abandoned part of the Elsa mine.
(see Episode – Fell from the Moon).

One story told to me by Barney Dwan and others turned out to be true. We had a large anomaly when working an area near the Mahon river
… a small valley (boreen is the Irish term I think) angles away from the river.  Let me say what happened in dialogue form.

“Alan, there is an old story about this boreen.?”
“Ghost story?””
“No…just a story passed down from the old times…the mining days…the 1870’s or later”
“Interesting story?”
“Apparently there was a mine entrance up here long ago and a cow
wandered in and got stuck so the farmer filled in the opening with trash and dirt.”
“About where we got the high readings?””
“Yes, that’s why I thought you might be interested.”
“Do you know the exact spot?”
“I do…right over there where the  gorse patch grows.”
“Let me see what Dr. Stam thinks.”

“We could dig out the hole.  We are already digging trenches down to bedrock where we have
got high readings.”  
” The story may or may not be true.”
“Let’s just hire a man ….have him dig out that patch of Gorse.”
“Sort of secretly?”
“Yes,  I don’t know what Norm Paterson would think of us spending money on a story that is 100 years old.”


The patch of Gorse was about 4 times larger than this patch.  It seemed to be a waste of good farm land.  Not used as a fence line.
Just a patch on a slope.

The floor of  the adit after the draining ceased was covered with pieces of timber. This was the first skull we found…a young calf perhaps.

Why was the skull here?






This may or may not be the boreen.  The location was very nondescript;   Look in the far distance where a patch of Gorse is growing
on the valley slope…tiny in the distance.  The location was much like that.



Here we are inside the hillside adit.  Barney and John Hogan (whose picture is not flattering) … both are studying the wet sides of the

adit looking for oxidized green copper staining.   If I remember correctly  this bit of exploration helped Dr. Stam determine

the workings were so badly faulted that there was no point trying to reopen the mines.  A great disappointment to the local people
who were hoping Bonmahon would see boom times again.




This is NOT the Irish adit I am describing. Later in the 1960’s the company sent me to the Yukon territory where we entered this abandoned

mine site which was half filled with ice. These ice crystals formed in the absolute stillness.   The Irish adit that we broke
into never froze but filled completely with water.  Pressure. No release of that pressure until our man opened the adit with his pick.  That last
swing of the pick triggered a deluge and a roaring noise as the water gushed forth.  Our man ran.  It took three days to drain
the adit before John Hogan, Dr. Stam, Barney Dwan and I entered.   And that is when we made a big discovery.


There she lay.   The cow.  At least her bones.  Her head  especially.   Some bones must have washed out as the adit drained but

her head and other bones were trapped in the mud and pieces of water logged timber.  So the story must be true.   The cow wandered
into the adit…got her hips sick…could not turn around…and died or was humanely killed there.   Something like
that.   A kernel of truth…the skull.

GROUP 11    THE FOLK MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN IRELAND

Several years later, Marjorie and I toured the southern counties of Ireland and were given an escorted tour
of this folk museum…agricultural machines were a big interest…at least to me.   

When that dead cow was
alive the machines below were brand new.  And the farms were small except for those owned by the huge estates
whose owners were often English.   The great disparities in wealth were a prime cause of the civil war that raged
in Ireland in the 1920’s.  Many big estate homes…almost castles…were put to the torch.














END OF PART 3:  NEXT EPISODE WILL BE  A) THE CLIFFS OF MOHER   B) EXPLORING OLD MINE ADITS ON HANDS AND KNEES


EPISODE 437 FUNGUS DISEASE…OR DINOSAUR HANDS

EPISODE 437   FUNGUS DISEASE OR DINOSAUR HANDS


alan skeoch
end sept. 2021

Marjorie and I have avoided  the pandemic so far but we have picked up some
weird disease that is changing our bodies beginning with our hands.  Warning
to readers…be careful what you touch.   And never ever shake hands.  Even
touching elbows may be dangerous.