Some Relics of The Older Agrarian Order
The Valuation House Books of the 1850s give a good account of farm buildings in the mid 19th century. Most farmyards would have consisted of a stall/cow house and a stable, which often had a lofted barn. The hay and straw were kept in ricks adjacent to the farmyard. This scenario remained relatively unchanged, with the exception of hay sheds being built, until the 1960s and the arrival of silage making. An assortment of built structures, formerly integrated with farming life but now unused, are scattered around the locality. Such structures found in the locality include forges and limekilns. In the past almost every parish had at least one blacksmith and forge. In Kilflynn there were two smiths cited in Guys Postal Directory of Munster, which lists local tradesmen in the area in 1886. They were Timothy Canty of Crotta and Michael Moriarty of Kilflynn. The work of the smith included shoeing horses, ponies and donkeys, as well as designing and making farm and household implements like hay-forks, spades and sleans. The forges were small buildings with a raised hearth inside, around which all the smiths' implements were to be found. The forge was normally found on the roadside or, very often, at a crossroads. Two of the three forges that operated in Kilflynn were built near a river so that large items, such as cartwheels, could be immersed for cooling. The local forges, like the creamery, became a sort of social institution, where customers would pass the time chatting while waiting their turn. The Crowley family had a forge at Crotta Cross; it operated until the 1970s. This building still stands today. Prior to being a forge it was the washhouse for Crotta House. It was built on the banks of the Tubberacartan River. Stephen O'Callaghan, a native of Ardfert also worked as a smith in Kilflynn. O'Callaghan, born in the 1860s, into a family of three generations of blacksmiths, had six brothers, four of whom took up the trade. He married in Kilflynn and firstly worked from a forge under the village bridge, later moving to Fahavane. The site of this forge is on the home farm, in the corner of the 'forge field'.
Before the arrival of artificial manures farmers had to use what was available locally to fertilise the land. Fields sometimes got topdressings of farmyard manure, but the manure available was insufficient to meet the needs. As Kilflynn was at too great a distance from the sea, seaweed and sand were not options, so lime was of great importance as a fertiliser. Lime played an important part in the reclamation of acid soils. In the second half of the seventeenth century the beneficial practice of applying lime to grassland as a fertilizer, regarded in 1650 as an innovation, began to be widely adopted.
The early Ordnance Survey maps show an abundance of lime kilns locally, every town-land certainly had a kiln and in fertile areas many farms had their own kilns. The majority of the kilns have disappeared; the photo below shows a surviving kiln at Gortclohy. The limestone was quarried in Abbeydorney or Lixnaw and drawn in horse carts to the local kilns. The lime was then burnt in the kiln, fuelled by coal and turf. until it was reduced to a powder. As well as being used as a fertiliser lime was also used in building as mortar or lime wash. Jenny Trant wrote the following at Lixnaw School for the Schools' Folklore Collection in the 1930s.
"The 'lump' lime is used for white-washing and building purposes and is sold for 2/6 per barrel measure, and the 'slack' lime for about 5/- per load, this lime is used for manuring the land."