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
We didn't have a televison in 1954 and very few people did.Des Boyle was the local stockist and he had his Radio Bicycle and TV shop in Newry St.in the house where Michael Thornton now lives.
It was a pretty new invention then ,black and white pictures and loads of fuzziness on a jumping screen for the most part.
As children we would all head up to Tommy and Eli Mc Ardles drapery shop in Newry St to see it.
If Eli was there you would pass by the counter and into the back with miriads of other children.The woman must of had the patience of Job.
You had to there by 5 oclock to see Crackerjack presented by Eamon Andrews.It was game that required contestants to answer questions ,if they missed one a cabbage or broom was put into their arms,if they dropped one they were eliminated.
.Tom, Laurence, and Dessie, had the chairs, the rest all sat on the floor in the half dark mesmerised by the miricle that was television.
6 o clock came all to quickly and it was home for tea bread jam and a boiled egg and all set to listen to the radio at 6.45 and the adventures of Dan Dare Pilot of the Future.More > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
Serving Mass in 1953
In 1953 I became an alter boy. It wasn’t easy. I think there was more to it then than there is now. All the prayers and responses were in Latin .It was difficult enough to learn Irish at school. My memory of learning the Irish language is that it required the teacher to beat the living daylights out of me for me to progress. Is it any wonder that my love for it didn’t mature until about 50 years later.
Latin came to me a lot easier. I wasn’t required to learn nouns, verbs, pro-nouns, and adjectives, just a series of words and sounds in response to the priest who for the most part of the Mass had his back to me. The great morning finally came. I left Ghan House on my bike at 7.25am arriving into the sacristy 10 minutes later.I was quickly shown the ropes by a senior server who’s name escapes me. The surplices and cassocks hung on hooks on the side of the wall. I was quickly fitted out. The cassock was a close enough fit although it could have tripped me if I didn’t take care. The surplice was something else. I think it must have belonged to a visiting Parish priest. In today’s parlance it definitely could not be called “Designer wear” for it enveloped me in a sea of white with lace trimmings around the ankles.
We lit the candles, put the lights on, filled the cruets with water and wine and with 10 minutes to go I heard for the first time, the crunch, crunch, of the steps of Fr Mc Donald on the gravelled path that led to the sacristy door. “Goood Moooorning boys” –“Good morning father”.-”Is Evvvvrything ready”- Yes Father” – “Gooood, Gooood”.and so began the ritual of preparation by him as he dressed in his vestments. With his back to us he kissed the stole before placing it over his neck and with the chalice and paten covered with the pall, he covered all with the chalice veil, and we were ready to lead out on to the alter. One to the left of him, and one to the right of him.
“In noooominee Patris”, he began. As we blessed ourselves .Our first response came with “Ad Deum,que laetificat juventutem meam”.It was a breeze, no problems so far. We came to the “Confiteor”- now that was a horse of a different colour when it came to Latin. It was said along with the priest, who for the most part knew what he was talking about. The wonderful thing about the “Confiteor” from a 9 year old servers point of view was that it was said with utter humility. This meant that while kneeling, the further you got into the prayer the lower you bowed your body, nearly to a point where you were prostrate on the alter steps. The priest on the other hand was also bowed but he was standing and couldn’t get as low as you were.The real benefit of this was that he couldn’t hear what you were saying, so for the most part I just mumbled along –very fast. I became an expert at Mass over the years, till the introduction of the changes in Vatican two at being able to spot those who had mastered Latin from the level of their bodies during the “Confiteor”
“Dominus Vobiscum” The Lord be with you. If memory serves me right the two best performers of this prayer were Fr Ross O Reilly and Fr Mc Kevitt from the Back Lane. May God be good to both of them, now gone to their Eternal Reward. The priest in the Latin Mass faced the alter when celebrating and not the congregation. At several points in the Mass he was required to turn and face us with his arms outstretched saying the words “Dominus Vobiscum” I’m not sure whether they started the words before they turned but the speed at which they did would leave you breathless. If you were serving their Mass and you got to close, you could have had your head cut off by the tail of a swinging chasuble.
I have so many other memories of this time that I could relate, and indeed probable will in the future but its time to end tonight. At the end of the day
they were happy times and the grounding that I got from cradle till now has stood me in good stead.
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29 January 2017
John J Murphy, son of John Murphy & Rose Fagan, and Mary Carne daughter of James Carne & Biddy Boyle all of Carlingford in early 1800's
emigrated to America in 1851 -
Have their history available
I'm the great-grandson of John J Murphy /
Peter R. O'Brien - email
29 January 2017
Carlingford Festivals & Gymkhanas.
I remember the sports day / Gymkhana in the “Yanks” field on the way over to the “far Pier” with 3 legged races, brawny adults Pitching sheaves of Hay across a high rope between two poles, multi coloured raffle tickets being sold for much longed for prizes, tea, Oriel minerals and iced cakes being served in a tent and just the sheer excitement of all the activity and entertainment.
Then there was the highlight of the “Water sports” taking place on the near pier beneath St. John’s Castle, the “Greasy Pole” pillow fights. How no one got splinters or worse from this activity remains a wonder. Getting on was the greatest obstacle and was the source of much advice, banter and always the source of exciting new vocabulary for the younger audience.
The Pipe Band like the pied piper attracting an increasing throng of followers as it paraded down Chapel Hill, along Dundalk Street, past the Square and on up Newry Street to the outside of the Town hall and to the stage for the street races and activities.
The fancy dress parade on Newry Street packed with adoring parents, colourful & creatively attired parade participants (both willing and unwilling) frazzled but enthusiastic organisers and throngs of amused, bemused but definitely entertained spectators.
I won a prize once dressed up in old Newspapers with the slogan “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”. Mum was delighted, I was mortified!
The Egg & Spoon races, the three legged races and for another highlight of the day, the Bogey Race.
The “Bogey” (home made go karts) of dubious construction, shot down Castle Hill at breakneck speeds, no brakes, lousy steering, scattered spectators and worn out shoes, but what a thrill!.
The slow bicycle race calmed things down a bit with expert contestants and the secrets of softened tyres, skilled braking (for those fortunate enough to have brakes), contorted bodies perfecting the art of tilting bikes and limbs in opposite directions and the thrill of the win! and then Eddie arrived with his ultra modern Triumph bike and wide tyres to conquer all. I’m sure his bike was illegal, it must have been, where were the judges, is it too late to set up a court of enquiry? …..no bitterness there then! I’m joking of course.
It was a great day, everyone knew everyone, we cheered, we jeered, we clapped, we laughed, we loved every minute of it and as soon as it ended we began looking forward to the next year.
Thank you Kevin, for the opportunity and forum in which we can share these great memories.
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