One hundred years ago or less, potatoes were planted in tillable portions on Black Bank and Armaghbrague mounts by dibbling. The dibbler was as long as a spade or longer. It had a sharp pointed end of about six feet and a cross bit through it to enable it to be driven in by the foot. Old method of setting in lazy beds wider than now. In Corran townland the 'rigs' are now six and a half feet wide and potatoes a foot apart. Plough first now but formerly this was not done. This method of planting is also called rigging.
The district does not seem to have suffered severely in the famine of 1847 though tradition states the potatoes were a poor crop for some years previous and after that date. Cause of shortage said to have been 'bad weather' and the fact that good portions of decayed seed potatoes were planted in the years of scarcity.
'Potatoes in 1838 - Planting potatoes in the drill is not much practiced. Farmers are generally partial to the old system of husbandry. Frequent ploughings are prejudicial to light lands and make them too loose and not tenacious of the fixed air and moisture which are necessary for the production of luxuriant crops, but it is not so in the heavy soils which are mellowed and improved by the influence of atmosphere'. (Donaldson's History of the Fews, p.38)
Donaldson said drills were not as good as ridges but ridges are better manured. Ridges are manured with dung compost and the whole ploughed down and when harrowed and furrows marked out with the plough, potatoes are dibbled into the ridges with a spade, the furrows are then shovelled up and sometimes afterwards ploughed or dug with spades and then finished in the usual way.
'Some farmers however do not put on the manure until after the potatoes are dibbled which answers equally as well but in clay or wet lands potatoes are planted in the lazy bed way'. (Donaldson, p38-39)
Paterson, T.G.F., ARMACHIANA (Vol 18, Pg 6,7)
Donaldson, History of the Fews.