<p>View of Carlingford from the sea</p>

View of Carlingford from the sea


Denis Cregan

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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Ultan Finegan

29 January 2017

Confirmation in the Church in Carlingford. It was always done in alternate years between Carlingford and Omeath. At a guess it was 1980 or 1981 i think. I remember being in the kneeling position at the front right of the church with Niall Mc Guinness beside me. The priest was drawing nearer and niall said to me that he felt faint. Being the most holy of young lads i told him to be quiet and ignored him. Well as the Priest drew close I felt movement behind me and as I looked Niall had fainted. God must have been looking down and thought he would have a laugh.More > (0 comments)

Pat Mc Kevitt

29 January 2017

The Circus
An annual attraction was the visit of the circus. Duffy's circus was the firsr one I remember and later Fossetts' circus replaced it. One memory is of Paddy McMahon from the Greenore Rd. riding the bucking bronco ( a mule or a jinnet )and ,to grear cheers holding on to the end without being thrown off once. The 'strong man' in Duffys' or possibly, Fossetts' was a man named Moriarty. While the visit of the circus was an annual event 'Pitch and Toss@ was a regular pastime and on Sunday mornings and on other suitale occasions was played with quite a degree of intensity just off the lane running down from the Tholsel.
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Ultan Finegan

29 January 2017

Crab Fishing on the near pier with Micheal Duffy. It was great fun and life was so innocent. Never won a prize but never forgotten.More > (0 comments)

Pat Mc Kevitt (son of Danial and Ellen Newry St)

29 January 2017

Pastimes before the advent of Radio and TV.

The popular pastimes in the village in the 1940s and into the 1950s were football , standing at Bob Mc Garrell’s corner discussing world, national and local affairs; hunting rabbits and kibbing birds; chatting in Mc Shanes tea shop or, straight across from it, Rice’s; chasing (see below); competing in the annual regatta; attending, or performing in, concerts in the “Hall " as the Parochial Hall was commonly called ; playing billiards and playing cards, whist drives and Sunday night dances in the same hall; attending plays in the Wee Lane Hall and the parochial hall; badminton in the hall; first aid classes; Irish classes in Greenore: sports days in Wood’s field which usually included tug o war, the main rivals in this sport being Rathcor and Glenmore; drinking bottles of Guinness a minority pastime then; racing on four-wheelers (home- made from pram wheels and timber) down Mc Kevitt’s Hill, the Convent Hill and the Castle Hill, the roads during the war years being virtually free of motor traffic; robbing orchards; attending October Devotions and indulging in some larking about coming home in the dark; the occasional trip on Keenans buses to Dundalk or Newry to see a film and possibly treat oneself to fish and chips.
There was no TV, no video games, no CDs, no mobile phones and not much money floating about.
Carlingford in the 1940s was a TV free zone as was, indeed, each of the 32 counties. Only a minority of homes had wireless sets in the early 40s and crowds gathered the radio (powered by wet batteries) in the Parochial Hall on Sundays to listen to Michael O Heir’s dramatic broadcasts of big games in Croke Park and in various provincial centres such as Thurles. Next door the front window in Danny McKevitt’s front room would be opened to allow those gathered outside to enjoy O Heir’s lively commentaries. A point of interest here: wireless sets made in what was then the Free State listed a station under the title The Six Counties.
In 1948 a group of business men M. J. O Rourke, coal merchant, was one and the then head of the Kearney family of Wilville - JP or, if he was dead at that stage, his son Donal - was another) opened a cinema in Newry St. on a site created by the demolition of Kearneys store. Photos/stills of Hollywood stars adorned the lobby (June Haver was one of the stars on show) and the admission price for the body of the hall was 1 shilling and 8 pence with lower prices at the very front and higher prices for the few raised rows at the rear. The opening film, as far as I recall, was Wings of the Morning featuring a Sunny Tufts and horse racing and the voice of John McCormack.
The cinema was a big success for a number of years. Bill Boyd playing Hopalong Cassidy entertained the younger element and some senior citizens too, practically every Sunday. The operator was, as far as I recall, Leslie Adamson and possibly also, his brother the late jack Adamson. Others involved at the box office and as usherettes were, as far as I remember: Doris Hanlon, Margaret Boyle, Laura McKevitt and Billie Cunningham
Telafis Eireann opened on New Years Eve 1961, President Eamon de Valera presiding at the inauguration. UTV was available in the North East of the country somewhat earlier having come on air on 31 October 1959. The 1940s was a TV free decade and sometime in the 1950s UTV and BBC Northern Ireland were available to those few with TV sets but reception tended to be poor and clarity was denied by a more or less perpetual drift of snowflakes.TV sets were few ( later on Des Boyle abandoned his bicycle business â?" where Michael Thornton and Eileen now live on Newry St.- and got into the more lucrative business of selling TV sets as demands for them rose rapidly). Hugh OHare’s father of the late PJs had a TV in his bar and many gathered there to see the sad scenes shot at Munich when the Manchester United team lost many fine players in the air disaster in 1958.
Some of the pastimes mentioned above merit a separate short article each. Suffice here to explain about “Chasing”. This was an activity for after dark and involved the young participants separating into two groups: one or two did the chasing and the rest shot off to hide. The chasers tried to locate the various hiders. The game ender when all were located but as that was a rare enough event it was deemed advisable not to drag out the game pointlessly and the chaser/s would signal a new round, entailing new chasers/hunters by calling loudly “All in” “All in”. This sport nearly always began outside Rice’s shop (between the Centra supermarket and the Carlingford Arms or, at the time, Wood’s butcher shop and Bob Mc Garrell and those hiding did so within an area not more than roughly 200yards from this starting point.

Pat McKevitt
September 2009
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