Baltinglass - Childhood

The whole tribe of farmers had to work hard and even very young children had to make themselves useful. They could gather berries, milk cows, grind grain, or scare birds from the fields. When children approached the age which they themselves could have children, they went through an important ritual ceremony to bring them into the adult world.

The girl is in the Poorhouse and she has been separated from her family. She is thin, badly dressed and covered with lice. Unless a kindly towns-person takes pity on her and hires her in as a servant, her chances in life look bleak

All children in the family of a cottier were expected to take part in keeping the family alive.

Some aspects of childhood remain unchanged from the earliest times, the love of learning and telling stories and the desire to play. But the children of Baltinglass are part of a much less rigidly structured society than those of times past. No longer will their adult life be dictated by their status, whether it was defined by freedom or slavery in Celtic times, or their parents religion, under the Anglo-Irish ascendancy. Children today are presented with far more choices than those of even a hundred years ago.

A boy digging potatoes

A child grinding grain


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