Our Day at Cruck
They talk no scandal in Mullaghsandal
They need no candle to go to bed;
They drink no liquor, are never sick, or
Rise in the morning with an aching head
(Poem by John Wilson McCloy: quoted by Michelle)
On Tuesday 2nd May 2006 we went on a history school trip. We went to Cruck in Mullaghsandal. We paired up to share a clipboard that had sheets on it and we had to fill them out as we went along. My partner was Dale. Our guide was Felix McKillop and he told us brilliant stories.
The clachan houses were made out of stone and had a thatched roof and also a chimney. They used limestone and water to stick the house together because there was no cement about then. (Colm)
Cruck is a ‘clachan’ which is a cluster of houses. Felix told us some stories about the houses in Cruck. One of the stories Felix told was about cholera. Cholera is a fatal disease. The story went something like this:
‘There was once a man called Dan Mulvenna. Now Dan was blind and couldn’t work on the farm. To earn money he played his fiddle outside pubs and on the roadsides. One day Dan was playing outside The Bridge End Tavern in Glenarm and some of the money Dan was given was contaminated with cholera, which caused him to catch it and die from the illness.’ The Bridge End Tavern is still there today! (Shannon)
The houses had thatched roofs and small doors. There might have been eight children and four adults in a house. Some of the houses in the clachan would have been inhabited 150 years.
You had to pay your rent twice a year. The closest market would have been in Larne which meant you had to walk eight miles with your donkey which was mainly used to carry things. Everyone had to walk to school.
In Cruck lived Dan Mulvenna who was the blind fiddler, Richard Boorman, Kate McFall and Grace McQuillan. Kate McFall lived to be over 100. I enjoyed my visit and would love to go back. (Sinead )
The landlord who rented out the land gave the people of the house “a quarter of an acre” each. On this piece of land the farmer would have grown his potatoes and kept his cow.
There were only two rooms in a house and everyone would have slept on the floor in one room. The animals like the cow and the pig might sleep in the house in winter. In the second room they cooked their meals on an open fire, which would have been kept on all day. That room was also kept for eating their food. Their main food and drink was ‘potatoes’ with ‘a sup of milk.’ (Anon.)
In the first building in the clachan two families lived. The upper side was owned by Mary Kate McFall and the lower half by the Boormans. One door was at the back and the other at the front because they liked to have a bit of privacy. They grew crops and other things.
After Mary Kate McFall died my Grandad’s mother was given the land. She bought the other half belonging to the Boormans. Today my Great-Uncle Jim owns it. He says he will never sell it because it is special to him. (Liam)
For more information on Cruck - click here