The Poetry of Food

Happy Childhood Days - Fishing!

Bob Ashtown 1951

The Lake at Woodlawn House, October 1865, with the White Bridge in the background.
Dillon Family, Courtesy of National Library of Ireland
Gamekeepers House, Woodlawn
B. Doherty 2015
Gamekeepers and their apprentices, Woodlawn Estate
By John Heuston, Courtesy of Alf Seale

Location of lake at Woodlawn House

In this extract from My Happy Childhood Days 1902 – 1912 Bob Ashtown gives us an insight into what it was like growing up on an estate in the early twentieth century. There is a glimpse of the wildlife and game that would have been caught and eaten in the big house.

‘We loved with milk-fed worms to go

And fish by lakes we loved to know,

Thrilled when our corks bobbed to and fro

As shoals of perch swam by!

And how a face lit up with glee

The day my father promised me

His gamekeeper would soon teach me

To shoot and cast a fly!

In time we all proved to be true

Young sportsmen ~ I already knew

The flights of many a bird that flew,

Where many a trout did lie!

As cartridge-boys, at woodcock shoots,

We learnt how guns – in homespun suits

And heavy hobnailed shooting boots,

Killed much that flew their way!

And though we could not shoot game,

We had much practice all the same-

At rabbits and when pigeons came

To roost in woods nearby.

I loved the troutstream that did flow

Past woodlands to deep pools below,

Where many a weighty trout did show

Throughout the month of May.

This page was added on 27/03/2018.

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