IN YET another example of a shameful and long-forgotten way Ireland treated its young people and children over the years, a damning new documentary is about to lift the lid on the hundreds of thousands of kids in rural Ireland who were forced to spend days, sometimes weeks, picking stones out of the ground in fields across the country.
The backbreaking, seemingly pointless exercise was mainly carried out by culchie kids who were forced by their fathers and uncles to do it ahead of ploughing or sowing seeds. On occasion, visiting cousins from towns were also coerced into helping them.
These kids were often paid nothing for their labour, and were instead assured that it was great to be out on a good day while picking stones and throwing them into a transport box at the back of a tractor to be dumped further up the field.
“We did our best, but they would always yell at us for missing even the smallest of rocks,” said Cian Drury, one of the kids interviewed for the upcoming expose ‘Stone Mad’.
“We didn’t know why we had to pick stones. It just seemed so useless. I had a friend who picked strawberries all summer and made enough money to buy himself a BMX. I had to spend my summer picking up fucking aggregate and got nothing except a slug of flat TK orange out of a 3l bottle”.
If you have been a victim of stone-picking, please contact your local authorities.