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View Full Version : Help me find an appropriate Irish setting!



aruna
12-31-2009, 10:15 PM
OK, I've never been to Ireland but one of my characters grows up there, and I need background information.

He's a 14 year old boy, and his dad's a country vet, somewhere near the coast.

I need a village; with a name; and a bit of description to go with it. I don't care what the countryside is like or where it is: just Ireland, and near the coast. Maybe a farmhouse setting.

I won't be going into much detail; this background is only refernced in one chapter, as the character will be an adult in the story itself. But I have to establish his boyhood.
Any help appreciated, and reps all round!

Medievalist
12-31-2009, 10:32 PM
I've always loved Ballyvaughan

http://ireland-journey.com/news/2009/05/21/ballyvaughan-county-clare-ireland

aruna
12-31-2009, 10:37 PM
Oh, that looks perfect, thanks!

backslashbaby
12-31-2009, 11:07 PM
I can tell you a bit about Donabate, Dún Laoghaire, and the Arklow area. Or lovely, strangely lovely, Achill Island http://www.achill247.com/

I've seen some others but couldn't tell you anything about them other than that they're beautiful :)

L.C. Blackwell
01-01-2010, 09:13 AM
I love using the satellite imagery option on Google Maps. It's not overly detailed, but shows trees, open spaces, buildings and outbuildings, etc., and it can give you a wonderful feel for the lay of the land.

Oh, and try Google Images: Irish farmhouse

Here's a link to a page of results. Beautiful stuff.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=Irish+farmhouse&gbv=2&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1

stephenf
01-01-2010, 02:15 PM
This is what I would do.Look at google map of Ireland until I could invent a name .Drive to Rodmell , If you have never been there, It's not far from Eastbourne.Put the two together and you will have a village near the sea.

Dawnny Baby
01-01-2010, 09:00 PM
When I visited Ireland in the summer years ago, my impression was how GREEN and beautiful everything was! We drove around quite a bit and everywhere we looked, people's yards were beautifully landscaped with well manicured lawns, and flowers-flowers-FLOWERS!!!! :) Even the raw, rugged, untamed areas were green and gorgeous around the large black and gray rocks. (Oh, also, the roads were crazy twisted, and the people drove like maniacs around blind corners... ON THE WRONG SIDE of the road. :D)

aruna
01-02-2010, 12:24 PM
Gosh, thanks everyone for the wonderful tips! Now, I just want to take two weeks off, fly to Dublin, rent a car and drive around the green island looking for the perfect location. Seriously. And I would do just that if I were not hopelessly tied down.

RobinGBrown
01-04-2010, 12:26 PM
I'm from London and I'm living in Dublin at the moment.

Things aren't that different from England to Ireland. Same products in the shops (although a lot more expensive), slight difference in the people (more dark haired pale skinned women), and small differences in habits (no-one is up on a Sunday morning).

For a 14 year old boy in modern day settign the only distinct difference from an English boy would be that he has to learn Irish (Gaelic?) in school.

Other than that you can just use your English knowledge for the most part.

aruna
01-13-2010, 09:47 PM
OK, I've done my reearch and settled for County Galway on the West Coast.
Now I need to go into some more detail. Maybe some kind soul knows th answer to one or two questions. I haven't been able to find answers on the Web.

This is taking place in the early 20 century, so I'd like to get some basic facts straight.

What would a boy's (14 yrs) Sunday Best suit be made of (Eastertime)?

This is a rural area; the people are not rich. So:

Would horses still be used for transportation, especially of goods? What kind of horses? I want a big cold-blood breed; they're called Shires in England, but what about Ireland, do they have their own cold-blood breeds? What about people, how did they mostly get around, if they were poor? What about schools? Would children in villages be picked up in buses to go to a central school, or would each village have its own school?

What about water supplies? Toilets? In a country setting, would there be indoor or outdoor toilets? Slop buckets?

Thanks for any help you can give.

waylander
01-14-2010, 01:19 AM
OK, I've done my reearch and settled for County Galway on the West Coast.
Now I need to go into some more detail. Maybe some kind soul knows th answer to one or two questions. I haven't been able to find answers on the Web.

This is taking place in the early 20 century, so I'd like to get some basic facts straight.

What would a boy's (14 yrs) Sunday Best suit be made of (Eastertime)?

This is a rural area; the people are not rich. So:

Would horses still be used for transportation, especially of goods? What kind of horses? I want a big cold-blood breed; they're called Shires in England, but what about Ireland, do they have their own cold-blood breeds? What about people, how did they mostly get around, if they were poor? What about schools? Would children in villages be picked up in buses to go to a central school, or would each village have its own school?

What about water supplies? Toilets? In a country setting, would there be indoor or outdoor toilets? Slop buckets?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Suit (if he has one) wool.
Horse, probably any old rough nag.
People walked or rode bicycles if they could not afford a horse (or they didn't move around). Goods moved by horse-drawn carts.
Water supply - well, streams or storage of rainwater off the roof

waylander
01-14-2010, 01:36 AM
Education to the age of 14 was made compulsory in Ireland in 1891. There was a national school in every parish. These schools were free.
Not sure about education past 14, probably had to be paid for.

Medievalist
01-14-2010, 03:04 AM
Galway he might have had a Connemara pony; they were used by lots of dairies in the 1800s and 1900s

ChainsawLicker
01-17-2010, 08:34 AM
More information on country folk of Ireland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culchie
The jackeens treat culchies like crap. They're the rednecks of Ireland--nothing like American rednecks mind you.

Videos on YouTube give an interesting look into this actually. Make sure you read the user comments on videos regarding culchies.
Also, know your stuff. Nothing would piss people off more than to have an outsider get the relationship between Protestants and Catholics messed up.

aruna
01-23-2010, 02:11 PM
Does anyone know how someone would travel from Dublin to London in 1925?

vfury
01-23-2010, 03:08 PM
What would a boy's (14 yrs) Sunday Best suit be made of (Eastertime)?

It would depend on the wealth of the family, but probably wool; linen at the most if they could really afford it. If the family is Catholic, it would have been a hand-me-down from an elder sibling.


Would horses still be used for transportation, especially of goods? What kind of horses? I want a big cold-blood breed; they're called Shires in England, but what about Ireland, do they have their own cold-blood breeds?

Cars didn't start becoming common until the 1960s--Ireland was incredibly poor during the 1950s and there was mass emigration. The only people who would have had a car would have been the doctor and anyone from an incredibly wealthy family. Horse and carts were a common sight--there are pictures of my parents riding on them. I don't know exact breeds that are popular here, but the ones on farms don't look that distinctive. The main thing would have been that they stayed vertical for as long as possible.


What about people, how did they mostly get around, if they were poor?

Walked or rode bicycles. It was normal to walk up to two hours back and forth to get to school, according to my dad. (We had many 'back in my day' debates when I was growing up.) There's a book called TO SCHOOL THROUGH THE FIELDS by Alice Taylor which documents the kind of lifestyle I think you're researching.


What about schools? Would children in villages be picked up in buses to go to a central school, or would each village have its own school?

Every village definitely wouldn't have its own school--there are villages near the town I grew up (I currently live in Dublin, but I was born and raised in a town in North Co. Cork) that literally consist of a couple of streets with surrounding houses. It would be common for kids to walk to the nearest school in another town. The Irish government didn't start making compulsory education attractive until the '50s again, and even then both my parents left school before they were sixteen for various reasons (my dad did because, as something like the third out of six or seven siblings, he was expected to get a job to keep the family going instead of continuing with this education nonsense. He still regrets it). If you lived in a very remote area with no way to safely walk, you could get a bus but I'm not sure if you paid for it or not.


What about water supplies? Toilets? In a country setting, would there be indoor or outdoor toilets? Slop buckets?

My dad, again for reasons I'm not going to get into here, was finally able to put a toilet in my grandmother's house... less than ten years ago. It depended again on the family--many houses of poorer Irish people never had toilets in them, and it was expensive to put in all the necessary plumbing. For people who could afford it, toilets and sinks started appearing at the turn of the 20th century, but this was just over fifty years after the Famine--there wasn't much wealth going around. Some people might have had toilets outside, others would have used a slop bucket outside. It depends on the background you've created for your character. I just made sure to use the bathroom if I needed to before we visited my grandmother because I was a bewildered little girl used to having indoor plumbing.

I hope this helps! I know you've said you've chosen a location but I'd also like to recommend Kenmare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenmare) in Co. Kerry. Tiny little village in the south-west, would have had a lot of sheep farming, close enough to a couple of bigger towns (which would now be considered cities). There should be some stuff lurking in Google.

waylander
01-23-2010, 03:48 PM
Does anyone know how someone would travel from Dublin to London in 1925?

Boat to Holyhead or Liverpool, train to London probably Euston