Ballinspittle in De Courcey Country is famous for miracles but the 3rd of August 2015 saw a miracle happen in Ballinadee on the other side of the parish. After prolonged heavy rain on the previous night the Bank Holiday Monday dawned with sunshine and a fresh breeze to dry out the corn for the annual harvest working day.
By midday conditions were perfect for cutting and lasted for the full day however in the evening time when the harvest was complete the opening in the weather vanished and down again came the heavy rain.
The De Courcey harvest working day is now in its fifth year. Previously the event has been held at Barrell’s Cross, Kinsale but this year it was held on the land of Paddy and Anne McCarthy in Ballinadee. The McCarthy family have a long association with farming, machinery and especially harvest equipment.
The theme selected for the 2015 harvest day was “A century of change” and featured horse drawn machines right up to modern combine harvesters. The official opening was performed my Mr Michael Moroney of the Irish Farmers Journal.
On arriving at the site visitors were met by a line-up of vintage combines all oiled and greased having been prepared in advance for the big day. But before the combines took to the fields, the day’s action began in the tilling area with vintage tractors joining Donal McCarthy’s Clysdale horses ploughing and tilling at the top of the field. Also in this section was Tommy Hales with his Lanz Bulldog. Alongside the tilling area O Sullivan’s thresher from Caheragh was lining up with Lordon’s steam engine from Bandon.
Finally the last of the tractors arrived for the static display and the cutting began. First away were the older trailed combines and the smaller self-propelled machines. Among these were several Massey Fergusons including the 1986 MF16 owned by Marcus McKenna and Dan Joe O Sullivan. This machine previously belonged to the Dept. of Agriculture and was used on the experimental crop plots. Also in this group was Jim Connolly’s 1969 Ransomes Cavalier 902 a rare machine indeed in this country.
As the combine worked away Con Ahern with help from the O’Donoughue family tackled up a team of three draught horses to the reaper and binder. The binder originally belonged to his father and was on loan for the harvest day. The sight of three horses working as a team to pull the binder drew a large crowd.
When the older combines finished up, the yellow machines took over. There were various New Hollands including the landowner Paddy McCarthy in his 1974, 1530 model. This machine was bought from Henry Goods in Kinsale in 1976. Paddy was only sixteen years of age at the time and is still working the same combine. The crowds were well entertained into the afternoon with the bigger machines making short work of the remaining corn.
Throughout the day music and entertainment was to be had at the grandstand. The picnic area was full with people enjoying food from several outlets set up for the day. The static display had an impressive line-up of tractors and cars. Some nice landrovers attended including Kieran Sisk with his impressive 1979 series three and caravan combination, a familiar sight on the rally circuit. Also in the static area was John Sullivan from Sandycove with the 1973 Dania D5000 self-propelled silage harvester which he has owned since 1974.
When all thought the day was over there was a surprise in store. The combine harvesters were not loading up for the trip home just yet. They were setting up in the next field to cut in formation for the benefit of the many spectators who were taking photographs.
When the cutting was over and the last combine shut down the crowd gathered for the draw to see who would be making the trip to Paris. When the draw was over people gathered around the picnic area. Combine men came to have some well-earned food from the barbeque, a cup of tea or something stronger after the day following their machines.
The talk amongst everyone was about the miraculous break in the weather and how once again De Courceys managed a successful and memorable Harvest Day.The Club would like to thank the McCarthy Family and the Twomey Family for their support in running the event and thanks also to the army of volunteers who every year turn out to help us. We look forward to 2016 and another Harvest.
Prizes from DeCourcey Harvest Day draw as follows.
Holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Sponsored by Barters travel Bandon.
Winner Cally O Leary, Kinsale.
Weekend in Killarney.
Sponsored by International Hotel.
Winner John Sutton.
Golf 4 Ball at Kinsale Golf Club.
Winner Julia Flynn, Ballinadee.
All Ireland Tickets,
Sponsored by Courcey Rovers Rovers GAA Club.
Winner Donal Twomey.
Meal for two,
Speckled Door Old Head.
Winner Martina Coughlan.