Didn't do much on Ancestry today because we moved the dresser from the kitchen to the sitting room...sounds simple doesn't it? Until you take into consideration everything in the dresser needed to be taken out first...and then put back until the other new cupboard comes and then it can all be moved into that...feel knackered just writing about it never mind doing it!
And it all comes down to having so much stuff.
If you look at photographs and paintings of Irish cottages in the late 1700 to 1800's there isn't any 'stuff'...very often there was only one chair which the man of the house sat in while everyone else sat on the floor...especially come meal times when the children would stand around the table to eat their potatoes and the Father sat on the only chair.
Every cottage had a mantelpiece above the open hearth and that was where the essentials were kept...a small tin of loose tea...a small wooden box for the salt and another small tin for the sugar. Flour for the soda bread stayed in the sack it came in...the milk from the goat was kept in a jug on the windowsill. If you had any spare clothes they hung from a hook in the wall. The potatoes were kept in a straw basket beside the back door...
All the cooking...everything from boiling water to make the tea to baking bread to simmering a stew was done on or in two items...one was the cast-iron cauldron or pot and the other was the griddle...like a flat frying pan without any sides. A piece of wood with the bark peeled off served to stir everything and one knife for cutting meat...gutting rabbits and chickens and cutting the pigs throat when his time came.
I have a drawer which contains...a garlic press...biscuit cutters...a corkscrew...two sets of measuring spoons...a jam thermometer...egg cups...napkin rings...several pairs of blunt scissors...a gingerbread man cutter...a small box of decorations to put on a Christmas cake...and some other odds and ends which ought not to be in that drawer really.
And another drawer with greaseproof paper and cooking foil and J-Cloths and assorted freezer bags and sandwich bags and a heap of new dishcloths...
It wouldn't do to list the assorted saucepans and frying pans and one which thinks its an omelette pan and a couple of nifty little gadgets which ensure your fried egg stays neatly together instead of sliding all over the place...
I have baking tins as well...for little cakes and big cakes and middle-sized cakes...and special wire racks to cool the cakes on once they're cooked...

Should you decide I have too much stuff and remove most of it, I'd be cross. I need the garlic press actually and how else would I eat a boiled egg if I didn't have an egg-cup to put it in and I know the saucepan cupboard is full of saucepans...but I need them...honestly I do.
The food cupboard with its selection of tins and packets and jars from Black Olives to baked beans to cornflakes...tuna and sardines and flour and sugar and jars of coffee...whatever would I do without my store cupboard...

Whatever an Irish woman of a hundred years ago would say when she saw exactly how much stuff I consider to be absolutely essential to put a meal on the table every day I shudder to think.

And you've not seen inside my wardrobe yet...

Or thought of the two freezers...and the gas oven...and the range.

And the flush lavatory and the bath.

Or the glass jars of pasta and spaghetti and dried fruit and beans...

The Irish cottager would have kept her plates and huge delph platters on the dresser...she wouldn't have even considered putting them out on the table. Her family ate their potatoes straight from the tabletop and the peelings would be thrown on the floor to the hens...plain delph bowls served for everything else...porridge and soup and stew. Spoons were the only utensils needed or used...except the all purpose knife kept razor sharp with a whetstone.

The wooden beams across the thatch was the place to hang the hams and the poached rabbits and wildfowl...stout hessian sacks held the supply of flour and oats...the childrens boots for Mass on Sunday were stored under the dresser...the eggs and the milk were kept on the deep windowsills...

Those women who birthed their children out in the fields or in the outshot bed and weaned them on bread soaked in milk and Whiskey...who bathed in front of the open fire in a tin bath topped up with hot water from the pot...who used rags when they were menstruating that they washed out and reused over and over again...who washed their hair with lye soap and had never even imagined hand cream or rubber gloves...but would rub a bit of goose grease into their faces sometimes if there was any spare.

They dyed their skirts bright scarlet with Madder collected from the hedges...smoked clay pipes constantly...drank bad ale or poiteen from an illegal still...they wept and wailed at wakes and danced barefoot on stone flag floors...they gathered together in one cottage to listen to the travelling story teller and spoke Irish with a smattering of English picked up from their landlords...they went to the Fairs and flirted with the Travelling men and bought hens, taken home with their feet tied together...squawking and flapping their wings.They grew cabbages and hoed fields of potatoes and fattened the pig on scraps and walked five miles to the Mass for fear of the priest if they were to miss a Sunday.

They'd have had little use for a garlic press or biscuit cutters.