Flax and Tobacco Growing

Flax - An unexpected finding of the survey has been the quite frequent references to Flax growing in Meath in times gone by. This is sometimes revealed in the field name – names such as ‘Flax Field’, The Bleach, The Blaych etc. Extra information is often given in the notes about the history of the field with mentions of flax ponds, holding ponds, flax pits & drains, bleaching, bleaching greens, retting, soaking & steeping of flax, flax mills and flax advisors.   Some of the flax was grown during the war and some prior to that.

 

Historic photo of Flax stacking in County Meath. The caption on the photo reads ‘Irish Industries – Flax fields, Co. Meath, stacking’ (photo courtesy of 'Staidéar Áitiúil - Seirbhís Leabharlainne Chomhairle Chontae An Mí / Local Studies - Meath County Council Library Service')

215 - Flax stacking Co Meath378

 

 

Tobacco growing also gets several mentions in field names and notes around the County. It is usually linked to Randalstown Estate near Navan. Tobacco drying sheds have been mentioned in fields in several areas.

 

205 -Randalstown House now submerged scan

Map of Randalstown townland showing the part of the townland where Randalstown House was. Today the remains of Randalstown House and grounds, once associated with the Everard family and the tobacco industry, lie submerged beneath the Tara Mines Tailings Pond. This dam or pond covers a large part of Randalstown townland and most of what was once the thriving Randalstown Estate (image supplied by Ethna Cantwell)