'I was only 13 when I left school to go working on the farm'
As he chatted and laughed with his friends during the Maam Cross Fair, it was easy to see how Tom Faulkner was such a likeable fellow.
Full of wit and humour for his years, the lifelong bachelor made light of the fact he was in the spotlight with visiting photographers as he stood proudly beside his diminutive donkey and turf cart.
For a moment it was like a step back in time to the 1940s. And, although Tom has never driven behind the wheel of a car, or even flown in a plane to this day, he has, however, very much moved with the times in other ways.
Now, as he enjoys semi-retirement from farming, he admits to being a late-starter in travelling and such gatherings as horse fairs are now very much part of his social life throughout the year.
"As a child I never really got to go anywhere so now I enjoy my days out like this, life on our farm near Banagher in Offaly was tough and we spent most of our day working on the land. There was no such thing as football, and the highlight of the summer was often when the threshing mill came to the farm."
Now 74, in the past five years, Tom has made up for his many years being tied down, and has taken in trips to the Appleby Fair in England, as well as Scotland and Wales. The latter trips were with the local group, the Kilcormick Ramblers, with whom he got involved when starting local community work 10 years ago. "I was offered a chance to go to Europe too, but as I've never been on a plane I'm not so sure.
"Plus I think I'd prefer an Englishspeaking country like America!"
Like many other children in the 1950s Tom and his only sister Myrtle both left school at an early age and had a limited education, though it was not a decision made lightly by their mother Hilda. "I was only 13 when I left school but I had little choice as farm labourers were scarce during the war,