Ulster Farming Families 1930-1960 uses oral history to explore life on Ulster farms between 1930 and 1960. This valuable record of the farming community describes in fascinating detail the many changes in practically every aspect of working life and their associated patterns of social life, all in the face of increasing government intervention, globalisation of markets, and the cataclysm of the Second World War.
On most holdings, work continued to be carried out by all the family members. Men, women and children all had roles in the production of crops and livestock. At busier times neighbours were called on for help, and workers were also hired some farms, either full-time or seasonally. All of these relationships could lead to tensions and conflict, but they also led to great intimacy and kindness, with individuals showing commitment to the well-being of their family, their neighbours, and even their employers and employees.
These massive changes have often been seen as damaging social networks in rural areas, but the collective memories of those involved bear witness to their marvellous capacity to adapt. The oral testimonies on which the book is based show that, for farming people, change could and did create new relationships and wider opportunities on both a prefessional and personal level.