Many people probably think that the neat field patterns they can see from the hilltops of Cooley are part of an ancient landscape, but they are not. Most of the stone ditches and earthen banks were built within the last 250 years on the insistence of landlords. Before that, agriculture was mostly organised on an open-field system known as rundale where groups of families would share out good, bad and indifferent land in varying small plots for tillage, grazing and turf-digging, etc. In May, cattle were driven into the mountain grazing areas known as booleys, to prevent them trampling crops and to save lowland grass for the winter. The old and the very young went with them, living in crude booley huts from May to August, herding the cows, milking them and churning butter. The remains of booley huts can be seen on both sides of the Táin Trail running up to the Goalyin and down into Glenmore, but the best examples are in Tullagh glen above Omeath. The booley sites are known locally as Mari’s, a word our Irish scholars have yet to trace. The picture shows Mari Sluaghan close to Clermontpass Bridge, where the Sloan family once minded their cows.