Re: Old St. Mary's

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Posted by Murrisk on May 08, 2001 at 19:47:46:

In Reply to: Re: Old St. Mary's posted by AS on May 08, 2001 at 11:50:33:

You are correct AS, the gate lodge was parallel to the Westport Road along the green area below the green house. The old piggery was not always the RMS's garden. In the 1940's/50's it was a piggery (Landrace pigs) and I think the individual pig pens ran parallel to the Westport Road and the pig houses abutted the farmyard buildings. In the late 1950's the area was converted to a type of orchard/garden and I seem to recall a different configuration for glass houses. I do recall very sweet tomatoes being grown there. In those days the hospital patients and staff were fed from the produce of the hospital farm and its output was significant.

Things began to change in the early 1960's not just in Castlebar but in mental hospitals around Ireland. Less food was being produced from the hospital farms. One gentleman displaced by this evolution(?) was Jim O'Toole who came to Castlebar in the late 1950's (?) having seen his position as Land Steward eliminated at another hospital.

Prior to about 1960 the law required that thistles etc be cut on agricultural land. Hedgerows were also cut back. As the need for farm food production dropped in St. Mary's it became quite common to see fields with great crops of thistles.

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