Rationing


One of the main ways in which the effects of the war were felt locally was through the introduction of rationing. Various commodities were rationed from foodstuffs – including milk, butter, eggs, sugar, tea, and sweets – to clothes and petrol.

However, many of those interviewed acknowledged that because they lived in or near the countryside rationing did not affect them as much as if they had lived in the larger towns and cities. Gerry McCann noted that shopkeepers would have helped each other out with supplies. Mary Ann Higgins recalls that her family was able to produce their own milk and butter, but as a result of rationing they would have been short of tea and sugar. Similarly, Roisin McLernon believed that rationing did not really affect them as they lived on a farm, but the one thing that they noticed being short of was sugar.

On the other hand, growing up in County Fermanagh, Maureen McMeel was aware of rationing, but as they lived near the border it did not affect them as much and they never wanted for sugar. To alleviate the shortage of eggs, Eithne McKendry’s parents kept hens at the bottom of their garden in Donegall Avenue, Whitehead. As children, many of those interviewed especially remembered the sweet rationing. John Cushinan recalls one local solution to the shortage of pork during the war. A pig was being carried in a trailer when its owner stopped to have a drink in McKeever’s pub. When the owner came out, ‘the pig was gone! And there was plenty of bacon around Moneynick for a wheen of days!’
South Antrim Living Memories Project wishes to acknowledge the assistance of: