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Fun For All the Family at 'Cruinnaght Chreneash' 6 September 2005

    The weather may have been inclement and windy to start with, yet the sun came out for the harvest celebrations at Cregneash Folk Village during the August Bank Holiday weekend, as Manx National Heritage celebrated its annual ‘Cruinnaght Chreneash’.

    To commemorate the ending of the Second World War, the centre-piece of this year’s Cruinnaght Chreneash was the recreation of a 1940s harvest scene; with tractors and farm equipment from the Southern Vintage Tractor and Engine Club working in the fields around Cregneash. The wartime theme was continued with a pair of Land Army girls, Assistant Curators Katie King and Nicola Tooms, who talked to the visitors about what it would have been like to work on the farms during the Second World War.

    Katie and Nicola commented on their preparation for the weekend’s events: Cruinnaght Chreneash

    Through interviewing women who had worked in the Manx Women’s Land Army, we obtained valuable research on wartime experiences in the Isle of Man. These first-hand accounts of women’s work on the Island were fascinating, and we appreciated their hard work all the more when we tried out wartime farm work for ourselves; putting their stories into practice through our re-creation of the 1940s harvest scene. Even more so, by bringing these first-hand accounts to life we hoped to give Manx wartime women a stronger voice in history through highlighting their achievements”.

    There was fun to be had for all the family; spinning demonstrations were on show, and visitors could even try their hand at spinning with a drop spindle. There was also the opportunity for visitors to see the blacksmith working in the smithy and to observe traditional Manx cooking in Harry Kelly’s cottage and at Church Farm farmhouse. A wide variety of activities were available for everyone to try their hand at; from peg loom weaving and making bumbee cages, to the various Manx language and craft activities on offer.

    Yvonne Cresswell, MNH Curator for Social History said:

    Cruinnaght Chreneash is an occasion to celebrate Manx harvest traditions, but it is also great opportunity to bring together the various generations. What I found most significant about the day was the fact that you had older visitors reminiscing and talking about their wartime memories; nostalgically watching the tractors working in the fields, and at the same time the children were enjoying the arts and crafts activities, making woolly sheep and hand woven mats. Everyone went home with either old memories renewed or having gained a whole new set of memories of old tractors and traditional skills”.

    Cregneash is part of the award-winning Story of Mann, and is open to the public from 10am to 5pm daily until 30th October 2005.

    Image: Abigail Verschueren tries her hand at spinning.

    6th September 2005

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