The flax was pulled through these spikes which cleaned the tow out of it. Until cotton became common a quantity of tow was kept in every house and it was used by the priest when rubbing off the oils after annointing a person.
As a boy I remember very many people coming to our house for a piece of tow.
My mother was two years older than her sister Mrs Cronin. They were of the family of Lucy and were born and reared at Cúm a'loch [?] in the parish of Glenflesk near the Count Bounds between Glenflesk in County Kerry and Ballyveourney in County Cork. Though they married at the age of twenty-three they were then as were all the young women of their time, skilled in the use of the spinning wheel and the flax wheel. Flax was last grown on my father's farm at [?] Glenflesk about the year I was born (1894). It was cloved and hackled and ready for use but was not spun until about the year 1908. It spent about fourteen years in a wooden box and when taken out was in perfect condition. I saw it being spun that time.
There were professional hacklers
- Dómhnall Ua Donnchadha