“No, no. Not like tha’! Like this… See you have to go in at more of an angle”.
I have experienced my fair share of surreal moments in my time but last Friday’s loy training session on the Hanley farm in Kilbegnet will live long in the memory.
I was part of a group which included Gerry Browne, Pauline Scott, John and Noel Hanley, photographer Mick McCormack and the former Lord Mayor of Kilnamanagh, Gerry Jago.
The others laughed as Gerry attempted to teach his fellow Dub in the ways of the loy.
“Why do ya keep goin’ off your line?” Gerry asked as I tried to ‘score’ the earth.
“Hang on, let me try that again!”
Mick McCormack cracked a joke but I was too busy trying to keep Gerry from clouting me with the loy to hear it properly. The others laughed again.
“No, you’ve gone too far!”
Unsure whether he was talking to our photographer, or me, I pulled the loy from the freshly scored turf before sinking it again at a narrower angle. I levered the loy like I had been shown and flipped the turf over to one side. I then stood back and braced myself as Gerry examined my line.
“Well, there’s nothin’ wrong with tha’ now!”
The Lord Mayor and former All-Ireland loy poughing competitor was suitably impressed. I, on the other hand, was just relieved it was all over and I had done enough to pass the judge’s inspection!
Thanks to Gerry for the lesson! There’s something quite therapeutic about ploughing the old-fashioned way…even in front of a strict judge!
*The novice ploughing event takes place this Saturday on the Hanley family lands in Kilbegnet at 12 noon.