As many of our readers know, the second chapter of The Moycullen Ponymen is devoted to the life and times of the caraeraí, the carters who worked daily with their ponies and carts. Michael Joe Keady, a lifelong caraer from Drimavohane, was a valuable source of knowledge and anecdotes when the Moycullen Ponymen was been written and is extensively quoted.
His only Connemara pony was Mountain Pride (1608). Never bred she was a bad tempered black mare and a terrific working pony, acclaimed for her speed and stamina on the road. Michael Joe worked her for several years before changing to Irish draughts which he worked for the following forty years. He jaunted, posted, carted, tilled and harvested with them. Michael Joe still breeds a Draught foal every year. Maybe he needed the bigger animal to match his own great strength and physique. He remains a consummate horseman. His wife Nóra is equally knowledgeable and passionate about horses. Reflecting on his lifetime working horses on his land in Drimavohane he said “I loved every minute of it, I’d do it all over again.”
Gura fada buan sibh beirt.