29 January 2017
Spending many a Saturday from early morning till late at night visiting my grandparents and uncle with my Dad Peter and my siblings. I looked forward to visitng John's Castle, crab fishing and going out on the speed boats (during the summer months).Our uncle Patrick used to take us over to the village on a Saturday evening to buy comics and sweets. We'd arrive back in Kells very late and exhausted from the days activities.More > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
WhitestownMore > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
Memory : A Dead Fish
White-washing Ghan House was a huge job back in the 1950s.When you were 11 years old and part of team of juvenile whitewashers it was sometimes difficult to stick with the task.
The whitewash was delivered as dry lime. It was put into a fixed basin which had a fire grate below it, as big as a barrel that had been used in The Miss Rudderfords time in Ghan House for boiling pig swill.
Mickey Murphy the father of Kathleen,wife of Rory Mc Kevitt was the man in charge of the operation. Looking back he had a poor team of helpers most of us dressed in Wellington’s short corduroy trousers and tops, and none of us volunteers.
The lime wash barrel was located in a shed in the back yard next to the bell tower. There was still turf mould on the floor and the odd sod of turf remained, remnants of harsher days when my parents went to the bog at Omeath to cut their own turf to heat the Ghan. My job was to get the hose fixed up and run it from outside the kitchen window, take it around what we called the “wee shed” and finally to the pig swill where water was added to the lime.My brother John did the stirring working it to a paste and finally on to something that was pliable enough to brush on to the wall.
It was a lovely sunny day one of those days that was more made for playing than working. My mother came to inspect the progress, she was kitted out in her wellies and ready with brush and bucket to lead by example. In one of those rare moments of abandonment as she had her back to me, I seized my opportunity and turned the hose on her backside.
She dropped the bucket and ran with me following her with the hose, down the sandstone slab path and into the back kitchen slamming and locking the door behind her, the spray bouncing off the door
I still remember the thrill of it. I hadn’t done anything like it before and definitely not to a parent.You just didn’t do the likes to parents in the 1950s.I knew retribution would come. An hour passed and there was no sign of her. The back door was still locked. I tried the front door. She had locked it too. Another hour and still no sign of her! She was playing a waiting game! I could see that the window catch was off on the “boxroom” window.I moved slowly and quietly towards it. I could see inside the rows of shoes and sandals polished by Ginny Connelly laid out in rows like a legless army shining and ready to march to Sunday Mass. There was no sign of my mother.
Placing my fingers on the bottom of the sash window I eased it up as far as it would go. I listened –no sound. Slowly I began my climb through – head, hands, torso, and then –BANG****.My mother sprang like a panther, she whacked me across the head with a dead Haddock.I didn’t know what hit me.She laughed as she said “ That will teach you”.and it did.
I see that moment now as one the most loving moments of my mothers love for me. She came down that day to my level to that of a child and played the game with me. I love her for it.
She is 95 now and that spirit and sense of fun she had that day still remains with her and the love with me.
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29 January 2017
Concerts in Carlingford Parochial Hall in the 1940s and 50s
A packed hall was guaranteed for the annual concert organised by the local clergy, usually, I think, by Father Keelan. We are talking here of the 1940s and 1950s. I say annual but there may have been more than one concert some years.
The talent was mainly local but two well known professional singers were regularly featured: a bass called William Broderick and a tenor called Johnson who often graced Covent Garden and other London venues. Both hailed from the North. One of their regular numbers, always accorded great applause, was The Bold Gendarme with its chorus: We’ll run then in (repeated 4 times) for we are the bold Gendarme .”Are you there Mor, i, ar, i, ty” may also have been one of their repertoire and It was probably they who rendered a great favourite at all concerts, Jerusalem.Their duets were the high point of the night.
A very popular performer was Bridie Finnegan (mother of Stephen Malone) known as Cooley’s Delia Murphy. One of her pieces was “If I were a blackbird” and possibly also “Courting in the kitchen” Bridie always got a great reception.
Another regular was Lily Woods (aunt to Kevin of this website) and if memory serves me right “Birds in the garden all day long” was her standard piece and also, I seem to recall, a song which started with the following line (and please excuse the spelling) Chirri chirri be - I long to see, my hearts desire.Lily was a big GAA fan and followed the Louth senior team at home and away. Her brother, the late Fr. Ambrose was a useful footballer and Peter (Kevins father) was active on the County Board and chaired it for a period.
Hugh OHare or Big Hugh as he was fondly known (father of the late PJ) always entertained us with “Dear old Dublin Bay” And so I’m on my way, to dear old Dublin Bay, that why I’m feeling gay, for oh I know, my Molly O, is waiting there for me, waiting in dear old Dublin Bay. One of Big Hughâ?Ts favourite sayings was your country’s bucked.His generation seldom if ever used the F. word.
Matt Donnelly (Brendan’s father, bar owner and hotelier and supplier of electricity before the coming of the ESB to Carlingford) brought some style to the stage for he was always immaculately and very stylishly dressed. His usual song was, I think, “Scarlet Ribbons” which he rendered with some emotion.
I don’t know the name of the Glenmore man who sang a humorous song but I do recall all or most of the words (not sure if I have got Miss Blains Christian name right) and record them here for posterity:
“Monday I meet Mary ,Tuesday Mary Jane ,Wednesday I meet Miss McCann and Thursday Tessie Blaine ,Friday Nellie Hopkins ,Saturday Judy Small ,and Sunday night I stay at home for fear I’d meet them all.
I wrote a note to Mary addressed to Mary Jane, went by mistake to Miss McCann, care of Tessie Blaine , opened by Nellie Hopkins and read by Judy Small and thats the way they found me out, and I had to pay for all.
A very good singer was Joe McCann who lived and farmed at the Grove. Padraig ONeill now lives in the Grove house. Joe’s favourite piece was “Come into the garden Maud” a song one would associate with a Victorian drawing room. Joe kept a bull which served/serviced the local cows. When a cow was looking the bull she was said to be “looking away” a rather quaint and not inaccurate description of her condition. Goats needing loving attention were brought to the “bachelor”
Mrs Tinney, who taught in the girls school (infants and 1st and maybe 2nd class), was not, I think, involved in these concerts although she was an accomplished pianist. However it is most likely that some of her pupils were. Cecelia Dunne (nee McKevitt) remembers being ushered onto the stage to recite “I have a little shadow which goes in and out with me”. Another recitation which probably came from the Tinney classes was “Postman, postman hurry up the street, never mind the girls you chance to meet, you make my heart go pititi pat, as you knock on my knocker with your rat-tat-tat”.
Mrs Tinney gave piano lessons and composed some songs one of which was Carlingford Town.A widow, she cycled from Greenore and back every school day which was good going for a heavy smoker which she was. She reared a talented family: her daughter Mary became an Ambassador after a career in the Dept. of Foreign affairs and her grandson, Hugh, is a renowned pianist.
By the way, Mrs Tinney’s counterpart downstairs in the boys school was Miss (Nellie) Quinn and she too cycled daily to and from the school from her home close to Paddy McCann’s pub (later Daveys) near the border. Bold boys had to hold her skirt or stand in the corner but she rewarded good behaviour with sweets bought with her own money. She was a lovely and loving woman.
The man who ushered Cecilia McKevitt onto the stage was Cathal McAllister from Dundalk who performed the M.C. role for the concerts.
Bobby Graham and Billy Locke were always a big hit in Newry at pantomimes and concerts and while I don’t have a clear memory of them performing in Carlingford I think that they probably did grace our parochial hall on some occasions.
No doubt I have omitted many performers but not intentionally. I’m sure Kevin would welcome readers memories of these concerts and for my part I would welcome any corrections or recollections readers may submit.
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29 January 2017
The pain of leaving this place could only be endured with the certain knowledge that we would return. So when that day arrived Daddy was always the one to collect who ever had been away. Driving home filled with excitement, waiting for that first glimpse of the mountains just after Dunleer. Grandchildren coming from Kerry re-named them Papa's Mountains because they knew they were nearly there. Coming in the old Dundalk road, past The Bush,until we came to the Cross of Grange, turning left here, and up and up we climbed until be were at the highest part of the road. Daddy would stop the car and taking in the sweep of the Mourns, the blue of the Lough, Maeve's Gap, Finn lying along the crest of Slieve Foy, he would turn to the one who had been away and say,
"You see it was here all the time just waiting for you"More > (0 comments)