School: Naomh Bríghid, Blackwater (roll number 7036)

Blackwater, Co. Wexford
Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin

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Manufacture of Linen

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0886, Page 112

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Miss O'Conner who gave me the following information still give samples of table and bed lien made by her mother well over 100 years ago.
She says they dealt with the flax thus:
It was pulled when the 'bells' with the seed taken off and it's stalks bound in sheaves. Children going into the flax field has a flax belt tied round their bodies to prevent them from being taken off by the fairies.
The sheaves were then were then 'boiled' and ofter a definite time were taken up and spread on ledges (ledged) to dry.
When dry the stalks were 'broken' with a 'flax break'.
This flax break consisted of two stout short plants laid edgeways on a wooden frame parrelled and about 6" apart. Then there was a stick of wood pivoted at it end on an axle connecting one pair of ends of the planks. the flax was laid across the and the pivoted sticks brought to beam on it breaking the 'wood' of the stalks. Miss O'Conner says 'flax breaks as the machine was called were scarce and were always 'on borrow'. She says that as time went on the flax

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Miss O' Connor