Top of the hill

Anne was the fourth child of her family, born in July 1952. The family lived in the farm at The Top of the Hill. There were a few houses there at the time occupied by members of the extended family. The houses had no electricity or running water. Any water needed for cooking, for bathing or for washing dishes or clothes, had to be drawn by hand in a galvanised bucket from the well which was about a quarter mile from the house. Water also was needed to scald the milk churns to ensure hygienic storage for the milk which was sent to the creamery each day. This all necessitated several trips to the well every day.

On this day Anne’s mother, Annie, was on such a trip to the well when she went into labour. She was carrying two buckets of water, and she had her then toddler Michael by her side, when her waters broke. She went to the nearest house to a relative, Pidge, who sat her down and gave her a glass of brandy. (Annie never drank alcohol!) Under Pidge’s care, the wheels were set in mothion. Anne’s father, John Francis, was at working a bog belonging to Annie’s uncle Pattie Brown in Tullig, about six miles from the top of the hill. He had travelled there by donkey and cart earlier in the day. A neighbour was dispatched to the bog by bicycle to tell John Francis. When he got there he took the reins of the donkey and cart and he gave John Francis the bicycle. John Francis cycled as fast as he could back to Glandore. His neighbour from the local hotel owned a car and this man drove John Francis and Annie to Skibbereen Hospital where Anne was born later that day. The baby was quickly christened and Annie returned home to the farm to resume her duties, with the addition of a new baby girl.

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