Mothers of Modern Ireland

Theresa Donohoe, Longford

15th July 2008

Horses for Courses Another struggle with directions, it’s time to get used to the fact that the talking computer on the wind screen of the car does not know every thing, though

Shane is very much in denial at the moment. There was no opportunity to ask a passer by this time as there were none so we picked up the phone and rang the lady herself. Theresa has a lovely manner and even on the phone I could tell that we would be very comfortable in her home. Directions however were somewhat indirect, to our ears anyway. I think in general the ladies we have rung for directions have concocted a strange mix of instructions and variations on left and right that have left us in stitches and more often than not lost! This was how we ended up in the river in Laois and why it took so long to find Maureen yesterday. One of Teresa’s instructions was to look out for a mare and two foals. We did our best and found a field full of horses, couldn’t there have been a mare and two foals in there? We had gone too far, we rang Theresa again but she was adamant that the mare and her offspring were the best indication of the house. They would be, if you knew where they were! Theresa Donohoe I was welcomed with a kiss as were the rest of the team, ushered in to a large bright kitchen for a scone and some home made jam before we even managed to ask our first question! Theresa was well prepared for us and she definitely pulled out all the stops. We were told after scoffing a couple of scones that there was a meal planned for lunch and it was to include Buxtie a type of pancake that has come up in many of our interviews. We tried our best not to rush through the first half of our interview. It was difficult not to think about what this much talked of Irish speciality was like. Theresa surpassed all of our expectations when she donned her apron (metaphorically speaking) and began to throw together a feast fit for a king. We drank out of fine china and ate good Irish fare, sausages, bacon, eggs, brown bread and of course the buxtie pancakes which surpassed all expectations. Lorna and I fought Shane for a piece of his Buxtie, Theresa suggested that Shane being the man at the table would need the last pancake for sustenance, we weren’t letting him get away with that and succeeded in getting a third each! The highlight of the interview had to be when Theresa showed us how to churn butter, again something we had heard a lot about but had little understanding of until we got to Longford. Theresa had a small churn made of glass but she explained to us that a churn on a farm would be much bigger and made of wood. ‘No one would leave without having a turn of the churn’ apparently if they didn’t they would take the butter with them and all your hard work would be in vain! Last but not least of course there was the mare and two foals. They were beautiful creatures and you could see that Theresa had so much love and respect for them. Perhaps this is because her farm used to rely so much on the horse before machinery was introduced. Now of course there is no need for these animals as there are tractors to do the job quicker and probably more efficiently but on this farm the horse although in its retirement is still an important part of the family!

- Hannah