Memories of days hitching rides on hay bogies and climbing trees are rekindled in Royal good read
Those of us who farm and live on the land we grew up on will always have a special link with the landscape that surrounds our homes.
Even our non-farming brothers and sisters who have perhaps emigrated and now live on another continent will speak of the unique bond that they share with the land that reared them.
Just ask any of them if they remember "the haggard" or "the pond field" or whatever names were given to the paddocks close to the farmhouse and the memories immediately come flooding back; climbing trees, hitching a ride on a hay bogy, gathering mushrooms in the early morning or searching for birds' nests among the hedgerows.
The sons and daughters of farmers who have reached old age and who may not have set foot in Ireland for more than half a century will still talk fondly of fields they played and worked in, and the livestock and crops they contained.
The hawthorn hedges and stone walls that marked the boundaries of our parents' holdings also marked the boundaries of all that was exciting and unknown to our young minds.
Later on in life, when we read the poems of Patrick Kavanagh or the stories of John McGahern, we were gently transported back to the endless summers of our youth.
To a time when cows were milked by hand, when mice ran through the corn stooks as we gathered them for threshing and the rivers and streams were full of trout and eels.
It is, of course, easy to remember the fields of our youth solely as playgrounds that provided endless amusement but the hardships endured in a late spring or bad summer are also embedded in our folk memories.