Update on Book and A Day At The Mart

I’ve just realised it’s about time I provided an update on the book – just in case people were wondering 🙂 ?All is going to schedule. I’m still editing and am glad I have a deadline soon or I could edit for ever and ever. ?The front cover is almost ready and the illustrator is also working on fun black and white illustrations for the interior too. I’m calling to chat to the printers in more detail on Friday and get to grips with their formatting expectations amongst other things. It will be ready for the end of November. ?I’m really enjoying writing it and in many ways, wish I had more time to just devote to it without interruptions. I’ll be glad when the blog awards is over this weekend as it’s been a busy few months with it. It seems like it was even more time-consuming than last year but it will be a brilliant event and the finalist judging finishes tonight and it has gone well.

I went to Carlow mart today. I wasn’t happy with a short section of the book that deals with Irish marts and although I’ve called to Kilkenny mart on occasion, I felt I needed to sit amongst the crowd and really observe for a while.

A Day at the Mart

Now, if I had wanted to be circumspect about it, I should have gone to a mart fifty miles away but between not having the time and wondering if someone would know me there anyway, I decided to head in.

Tiered seating at the martTiered corner seating at the mart

Naturally enough, the first person I meet is a neighbour who proceeds to try and work out what I’m doing there. I was sitting on one of the corner tiered ledges (so I could get a good view) and ended up being almost barricaded in as the room filled up.

At the mart

Despite the fact that I was only one of three women at the mart amongst about 60 men in the auction room, I didn’t seem to attract too many glances even though I wasn’t really in farming attire (as going clothes shopping afterwards – needed an outfit for the blog awards next weekend). Now, that could be down to my advancing age or the fact that they were more interested in the cows on sale – I’m not sure which is the best option!

Irish MartFeeling barricaded in from my perch

I couldn’t tell you what the trade was like – I find auctioneers really difficult to understand and between analysing the various farmers there and working out how I was going to clamber down from my seat without the risk of going ass of tip, my mind was fully occupied. There was one man there who was very well turned out – smart jeans, crisp shirt and a Barbour (or faux Barbour type) jacket. I was tempted to ask him if he actually was a farmer. ?It is amazing how so many farmers go to the marts so frequently. My neighbour was telling me he goes to 3 or 4 every week (he is almost retired) and it really is his social life. He was telling me I should go and not be tapping into the phone all the time, converse with real people!

Irish Farmerette at Mart

Older farmers were wearing brown or black ‘sports coats’ the type of suit jacket, checked cap or trilby and their walking stick doubled as a cattle stick. Farmers in their 50s and 60s were well turned out in the main – crisp shirts with blue or brown jumpers, hair was cut short and they were generally shaven – you could spot the “I’m married” ones. Younger farmers tended to be more casually dressed – T’shirts, poloshirts and jeans, a couple of days beard and in need of a hair cut in many cases. It made me chuckle thinking of how Brian will shave before he heads to the mart. In the springtime when he is selling cows and we’re in the throes of calving, it might have been a week since he last shaved so he would look very scruffy otherwise. And yes, the hair would often need a cut too.

After I managed to squeeze out between a tractor and a car in the carpark (everyone seemed to think that everyone else was there for the day and would all be leaving at the same time – parking was so haphazard) I headed into town to get an outfit for the blog awards next Saturday night. It is cabaret theme. I was successful, thank goodness because I hate shopping for clothes when I have to find something – photos coming up next weekend!

I’d love to know – do many women go to the mart / auctions where you live?

14 thoughts on “Update on Book and A Day At The Mart

  • GotIreland

    Hi Lorna
    Looking forward to seeing/reading the end product. Make sure you give me a shout when it’s ready to go. I’ll be happy to give it a mention or 2 for you.


  • Conor Bofin

    I haven’t been to a mart in years. Back in the mid ’70s my parents brought us to Puck Fair. Dad was a great photographer and I have some amazing images of the fair and the cattle selling on the street as it worked back then. On the few occasions I have been to a mart, I would be overcome with an irrational fear of accidentally buying a herd. I would sit there, afraid to scratch an itchy nose or ear. I should get over myself and get to one.

    • Lorna

      we used to go to antique auctions frequently when living in the UK. I have to admit my husband does all the selling at the marts, I’d hate to be in behind that little window wondering who is bidding on my cows and trying to get the highest price.
      The mart is certainly an interesting reflection on rural life

  • Doris

    Hi enjoyed your post. I once went to a turkey auction at the mart but I was too nervous to bid so ended up sans turkey, but I enjoyed the experience. My late father-in-law literally lived at the marts, it was his social outing. Having said that my husband does not like marts at all and never goes, definitely not a case of like father like son!

    • Lorna

      Some men become addicted I think – we used to be like that when living in the UK, going to a nearby antique auction every Friday evening and once we’d see there was nothing there that was suitable, we’d go home happy but had to go to see.

  • Fiona Lake

    Lorna enjoyed your post! We found our trip to the Ennis Mart really interesting; from the way people dressed, to the fact that there was only 1 other woman there, and the cattle selling in lots of 1 or 2 at a time; etc etc. The blokes had a great time inspecting all the livestock transportation – slurry tanks, for example. Very efficient cattle sorting & auctioning, and all cattle fat!

    • Lorna

      Yes, cattle all looked in good fettle yesterday too and yes, were put in in one’s and two’s yesterday too. Ring wasn’t that big really. They would put in 3 or 4 if they are all even in size etc.

  • writerlyderv

    Lots to chew on in that post. I fear you may be falling into the editing trap. The temptation to keep fiddling with the text may be overwhelming, but there comes a time when you have to say STOP!

  • robannsbeef

    Many years ago, when I was a relative you ‘un, I was living at home on the mixed family farm and used to sell the lambs in the local mart. I used to transport them in a single horse box. What with being very high and having a single axle, it was not the easiest to reverse; and the first few times I went to the mart, a crowd used to actually gather to see back up to the unloading gate …
    Glad the book is coming on well .. and good luck at the blog awards … looking forward to the pics!

    • Lorna

      Well done! I’m useless at reversing and that’s just the car. Not very spatially aware at all.

      Do you think there were more women in the marts back then or were you a rarity (apart from the reversing)?



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