In 1951, shortly before Coolock was to be transformed by housing estates and was still a country village, we get this lovely description of a sheaf tossing event that was held at that year’s Coolock Fête.
The Irish Independent reported that:
Sheaf tossing is a seasonal occupation at this time of year and in North County Dublin ‘Tossing the Sheaf’ is an old, still popular custom. I saw this for the first time last Sunday evening at Coolock Fête. The Wheat Sheaf, weighing over a stone, is tossed over a bar, which, after it reaches 16 feet is raised by a half-foot for each round of the contest. When the finals are tossed off on the last night of the Carnival week, only the champion tossers will remain in the field.
Mr. Patrick Connor, who with Mr. Patrick Foran is in charge of the Sheaf-Tossing events at Coolock, assures me that the men of the fields think nothing of tossing over the bar at anything from 20 t0 25 feet. Mighty men are Messrs. Connor and Foran an indeed they would need to be, one of the duties of their stewardship being to catch the sheaf at the other side of the bar, tidy it up, and throw it back for the next toss. Taking a wallop from a stone of flying corn every two minutes for about three hours, is in itself a strenuous way of spending the evening.
This image from the Tinahely Agricultural Show which was held in Co. Wicklow only a fortnight ago gives an idea of how the set-up would have looked. Does anyone want to organise an event for the next Coolock Community Day?