When Ireland recovered after the great famine of 1847, the rural Irish embarked on a lifestyle that changed very little until the 1960s. These were tough, proud and hardworking people who understood the value of community, where ordinary people squeezed a frugal living from a few acres of poor land. These small farms became the bedrock of country communities where open turf fireplaces, oil lamps and horse-drawn carts were the order of the day and where hard work and interdependence was necessary to survive. This was a time when electricity and indoor plumbing was yet to arrive on the scene and transportation consisted of a shaky but reliable bicycle – or a jaunting car – if you were lucky enough to own one. Most families joined with their neighbours in sowing and harvesting; ploughing and mowing; and sharing the produce from a few cattle and chickens. Eccentric and colourful characters emerged - shaped by this challenging environment where local priests, schoolmasters and even gombeen men all had their role to play. In this moving and often humourous autobiography which will delight the older generation and enlighten the young, Joe Coen recounts his own childhood through the 1940s in rural County Mayo recalling many of the sounds, smells and memories of a passing generation.Theirs was a challenging and colourful way of life which should not be forgotten.