Tales of the Irish cowboy

By Juliana Adelman

cowboy I happened to catch RTE radio 1’s ‘Farm Week’ this morning as I was up at the usual toddler waking time on Saturday.  For those of you lucky enough to be in bed or simply not tuned in, it’s definitely worth downloading as a podcast.  Donna O’Sullivan interviewed men and women from a few Cork families who all ended up in a remote part of Oregon as cattle and sheep herders during the 1950s.  The interviewees recalled the glory of the scenery, the freedom of sleeping under the stars and, of course, being saddle sore.  It was  fascinating and sounded more like a story from the nineteenth century than only fifty years ago.  Truly the Wild West: one of the interviewees revealed that she got a chance at a job only because two local men got into a fight at a dance, and one of them was taken out to the desert and never seen again.  A pretty amazing emigration story and well worth a listen.

Picture credit: Cowboy herding cattle along Oregon State Highway 31, west of Silver Lake, Oregon. December 18, 2004.

© 2004 Matthew Trump source

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2 Responses to “Tales of the Irish cowboy”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    ‘…more like a story from the nineteenth century than only fifty years ago’. Until quite recently I had a living relative who liked to talk about driving a horse-driven wagon from eastern Texas to the other side of the state (maybe around 400 miles) – on his own, when he was about 14. Just part of the process of moving house, not quite in the 1950s, but not so long ago either. Definitely there are huge regional variations within the US regarding just how distant and exotic ‘those days’ are.
    Brilliant migration story, thanks!

    • Kevin Says:

      ‘…on his own, when he was about 14’.
      Amazing. It’s funny how sometimes our image of a place or ‘those days’ from outside are actually matched by the reality. It all fits with the fascination with the expanse of large parts of the United States – particularly coming from such a small island like Ireland. Many thanks for sharing that Kathleen.

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