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An Old - Timer Talking

Hugh Marks of Kilkeel

with many thanks to the Mourne Observer for their permission
all rights reserved

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Raymonds County Down Website - Hugh Marks is Raymond's Great Uncle


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You are going to love this book, trust me !!


An Old-Timer Talking - Reminiscences and Stories
narrated by
Hugh Marks of Kilkeel (Co. Down)

to W. J. Fitzpatrick

Print and Copy-Write Mourne Observer

Section Two


Chapter 8


Though Hugh didn’t follow the call of the sea, there is little about it or the men who went down to the sea in ships in his lifetime that he doesn’t know I was most impressed in hearing about the old long line fishermen of a past generation.

            The serious side of the fishing industry has been exhaustively dealt with but the present generation knows little or nothing about the long line fishermen of olden days.  They were a gallant band who faced death many a time when they left the shore.  They fished from the Wreck Port at Annalong,  so called because of a boat called the  “Troubador”  which was wrecked off there long ago.

At the Wreck Port - Mr. Arthur Cunningham (left) with Mr. R. Horton beside the winch
which replaced a former one at the old watchhouse (in background)

         Hugh talked about them and mentioned that there was one of the old hands left,  Mr. Arthur Cunningham,  of The Rocky Hill, near Annalong.  So we went along and contacted Arthur,  who is aged 77 and got a lot of information from him.  The fleets consisted of about 14 small boats.  The boats were twelve to sixteen feet in length and from four to six feet beam.  The fishing generally started in January, so you can imagine these men pushing their wee boats down to the sea at midnight on a dark winter’s night not knowing if they ever would see their homes again.  They very often had to pull their craft with the oars to the fishing ground three or four miles out.  Sometimes a storm would break before they got their lines shot and they had to run before the wind to shelter,  often as far as Newcastle or Killough, or the Bar of Carlingford.  Nothing these hardy men dreaded as much as a snowstorm.  About 100 fishermen were lost in a snowstorm off the Mourne coast about the year 1825 and 75 were lost in 1855,  and there were different disasters in later years,  one very bad one in the year 1904.  So you see what danger these men risked for very small rewards.  From half-a-crown to five shillings a man would be their average return when they got a decent catch of fish.  Why did they call it long line fishing?  Because they used lines baited with mussels, the lines were 400 fathoms long and there was a fathom between each hook.  Every man of the crew of seven in each boat had a line and there were seven bags of sand in the weather side of every boat for ballast.  There was a mussel to every hook and if the mussels were small two were used for a bait.  The mussels were drawn by horses and carts from Narrow Water,  Warrenpoint,  and from Dundrum Strand.
      Here are the names of some of the fishermen who operated from the Wreck Port:  Harry Burden,  Longstone,  and his sons Hugh, Tom and John (all dead);  Henry Young,  Longstone and his sons Charlie and James and Sammy Young,  a cousin (all dead);  Robert Burden and his three sons and his brother Harry Burden,  Ballyvea (dead);  Johnnie,  Pat and Willie Cunningham,  Rocky Hill (dead),  Arthur Cunningham,  a brother (happily still alive);  Eddie Harrison (Ballyvea),  Pat Trimble (Rocky Hill),  Joe Moore,  Back Brae (dead); Johnny and Willie McCartan (Tom’s),  Longstone (dead);  Richard McCartan (Wee Dick),  Valley Road and his sons,  James,  Johnny and Arthur (all dead);  John Heaney and his two sons Willie and Johnny,  Ballyvea (all dead);  James Heaney,  Annalong (dead);  Willie Purdy,  Annalong (dead);  James Quinn,  Leestone (still alive and well);  Johnny McGlue,  Torlis Hill (dead);  Jim Rogers (Den.),  Ballyvea (dead);  Ned Quinn,  Ballyvea (dead);  James McConnell,  Ballyvea (dead);  Dominick McAlinden,  Moneydarraghbeg (dead);  Bob Cousins, do. (dead);  Robert Young,  Ballyvea (dead) and his sons (three sons still alive),  Francis Doran,  Ballyvea (dead);  George Nugent and John Nugent,  Ballyvea (dead);  James Clugson,  Wreck Port (dead).

            Here are the names of some of the old long line boats and their skippers:-
      “The Star of The Sea” (Johnny McCartan) (Dick),
      “The Bonny Jane” (Jamey Heaney),
      “The Molly” (Johnny Gibson and Jamey Heaney),
      “The St. Bridget” (Pat Trimble),
      “The Dingy” (Hugh McStay and his brother Barney),
      “The Mary Alice (Johnny Cunningham— Tommy’s),
      “The Star of Bethlehem” (Johnny Carr and W. Heaney, Ballymartin),
      “The Morning Star” (Pat Trimble),
      “The Lizzie J. Bell” (J Boyd), 
      “The Eliza Jane” (Richard McCartan),
      “The Ellen Jane” (George Nugent),
      “The Annie Annett” (James McCartan and Johnny McCormick, Ballymartin),
      “The Valley Boat” (Johnny O’Reilly and Ned Rodgers),
      “The Jane Moore” (Joe Moore),
      “The Mary Ellen” (James McCartan) (Dick).
             Below we reproduce some verses about The Wreck Port fishermen,  composed by the late Mr. Henry Purdy,  N.T.,  Newcastle,
             about 30 years ago.  Mr. Purdy was a native of Annalong.
       “The Bengullion”  foundered about 40 years ago coming from Birkenhead to Annalong with a
cargo of coal for Mr. Bob Cousins,
Annalong.  The crew of three were lost,  viz.,  skipper James Campbell and his son James,  and a man from Skerries named Hughes.


         Annalong may well feel proud of the great tradition of its sailors and its gallant fleet.  The Annalong schooners of a bygone age and their captains were familiar in almost every seaport in the four Kingdoms and indeed in many Continental ports as well.  What memories their names arouse.  Who has not heard of :-
      “The Nellie Bywater”  and her master Captain William McKibben,
      “The Volant”  and her master Captain W. Purdy;
      “The Howard”  and her master Captain J. McKibben;
      “The Mabel”  under the guidance of patriarchial Captain M. Caren;
      “The Harmony”  and Captain S. Chambers;
      “C. S. Parnell”  and her master Captain J. McConnell;
      “The Lough Ranza Castle”  and her master,  Captain James McKibben;
      “The Maid of Irvine”, captained by Wm. McCullough;
      “The Pious” and her captain James Campbell;
      “The Edith” and Captain Wm. Doran;
      “The Excel” (skipper in 1901 Robert Gordon).
      “The Excel” was dismasted off  Wicklow Head about 1900 and the crew of three were drowned: Jack Gordon, Annalong and his son, and Sam McKibben,  Annalong,  also a young man from Connemara.
      “The Lily” (Jack Orr),
      “The Phyllis” (Robert McCartan, Annalong, aged 86, still alive and well).
       Robert was cook on “The Phyllis” when he was 12 years old and later became he skipper. He also skippered the “Mary Ann Jane” for years. He was also skipper of  “The Four Brothers”  for a considerable time.
      “The Mary Grace” (J. McKibben),
      “The Goldseeker” (James Caren),
      “The Princess Louise” (Charlie McBurney),
      “The Progress” (Hugh Chambers),
      “The Flora” (Harry McCullough),
      “The Orion” and “The Arrabella”, (skipper Billy McCormick),
      “The Busy Bee” (John Gordon),
      “The Young Hudson” (Harry Caren),
      “The Waft” (Charley McBurney),
      “The Plus IX” (Sam Skillen and Johnny Kearney),
      “The Ethel May” (Johnny Kearney),
      “The Busy Bee” (W. McClelland),
      “The Hunter” (W. McKibben),
      “The Christina Shearer” (T. Chambers),
      “The Useful” (Joe McKibben)

            There were others as well which used to call at Annalong,  whose skippers were not from the village,  such as
      “The Yacht” (Capt. J. Kerr);
      “The Perseverance” (Capt. J. Rooney);
      “The Richard Cobden” (Capt. T. Lowe).
            These schooners were based on Annalong and Kilkeel and up to about thirty years ago they plied a regular trade between all the main ports of England and Ireland.  Their principal cargoes were potatoes, coal and granite.  They gave the local granite and potato exporters a much better service than they are getting now when the products have to be hauled by road in the U.T.A. freight lorries to the docks in Belfast and exported from there.
            What a lovely sight it was to see that brave little fleet when they  “hauled down their riggins and reefed their top-sails”,  or put out to sea like stately swans moving serenely over a placid lake. Now,  alas,  their day is done.  The day of sail and square rigged ships has passed.  They served their day and generation well and those old schooners’ crews were no gingerbread sailormen,  but hard-headed horny-handed sons of the sea who learned their trade the hard way the type of men who formed the nucleus of the crews of merchant and battle fleets in peace and war.

  Here is the song of The Wreck Port Long-Line Men by the late Mr. Henry Purdy, Newcastle.


      The long-line men of Wreck Port fame,
      Are past and gone, except the name.
      That their prowess be known in years to come,
      I’ll recount some names on “finger and thumb”.

      There was Billy Heaney and old William Sloane,
      Transmigrated as cormonants for ever to roam;
      Joe Moore—”Now-ow” with Back Brae slang,
      Had sheetsman bold in “Gomity Dang”.

      Jack’s Alex,  John-the-Phyllis and William, “Be-Gad”,
      Talked of sailing their freighters when the weather was bad.
      This John and Wee Alex and one or two more
Fished mackerel, for pleasure, close in to the shore.

      The Dingy Cutter fished down in the “Bay”,
      With gallant helmsman in Barney McStay.
      The “Crank” in the bow taft, who made the other,
      Perhaps it was Bernard—the well-known ‘Stunner’.

      Will Purdy, “The Frenchman—I’ll do the best I can”,
      With Tullyusker as his right hand man,
      Wee Dick and his sons had many a rally
      With Jamey Heaney in the clipper Mally.

      Longstone Big Harry, with sonorous voice,
      Had Irish Harry as his captain choice,
      If the morning looked bad and some thought long,
      Hilarity reigned with Clugson’s song.

      The boats pulled up—that’s another story,
      The fish were bought by Willie McGrory;
      For the very last penny each skipper strove,
      And “divided it fair” at the foot of the Groove.

      Near to the watch-house, as sure as you’re born,
      On wooden leg stood Tammy Corn.
      Other names are forgotten, so now bye-bye,
      Perhaps you can get them from Johnnie McQuiy.


      When repairs were essential with oakum and with pitch,
      “Scowl” John pulled his beard and came without a hitch.
      Connor’s down in the dock, you can hear the mallet thud,
      As he works at the bilges up to knees in the mud.
      Sailors knew from experience John was honest as proved steel,
      For he tested every seam from covering plank to keel.
      With deep tackle for carp on well-known Brown Hill,
      This fishing, so exciting, yet brimful of fun,
      Had an expert exponent in Master McCrum.

         Landmarks were necessary to indicate the best fishing grounds and from time immemorial these hills or hillocks were noted:—

      Sailing due east, or rowing begum,
      You come to the whiting ground on the Long Hill of Dundrum.
      If this “spot”  is abortive,  go out further still,
      Till the south mark is the church and the north the Blue Hill.
      Dogfish are plentiful, and nowds of a sort,
      When southward you go to the “Two Hills” off the port.
      If your boat is truthworthy, then risk out afar,
      Till out comes Tullybrannigan and the Big Lump of the Bar


      The Monaster and Orion - with Captain “Ah! Ah!” Tammy,
      Sailed deep granite loaded with the Ellen Mavanney.
      There was also the Venture and the Cambrian Packet,
      With bluff rounded bows that made a big racket.
      The Christiana, the sloop, low waist and round stern,
      With rudder protruding like an overgrown fern.
      “Best-of-My-Eyes” is Catherina in all kinds of weather,
      Had a rival in the Pius with the “King”— “Altogether”.
      The Busy Bee, sold by Gordon, later came to grief on rocks,
      And another little schooner— Skillen’s leaky Ann Knox.
      Other names may come to memory ere Christmas comes again,
      So I’ll wind up this list with the Mary Ann Jane.


Chapter 9


"A was joost afther lightin' the oul' pipe at the *greesha the other night to take a pull afore A went to bed,
when A began thinkin' over oul' times.    * Dying embers of the fire.

Mr. Marks (left) with Mr. and Mrs. Fegan

          “A suppose ye think A toul’ ye a brev bit already but,  man dear,  sure A cud niver tell ye the half of the pieces A min’ in me time.
      An, min’ ye,  there’s nobody can say that anything A tell ye’s a lie or a
kerried story.  Soul naw, there's some o’ them’ll say 'Dang all ye’re doin’ only pullin’ the Mourne Observer” man's leg. Sure ye niver wint through the half of what ye spun them’.
            “Well man,  that fairly gets me goat and onybody that says the lek
o’ that to me A up and says,  ‘Well ken you prove that onything A sed’s a lie.  If ye ken well there’s 5 in Hanna’s bar for the first man that ken prove that onything A sed is false’.  A houl' ye that put the wun’ up them.  The lek o’ that wud sicken ye. An' then some o’ them’ll say A don’ know how it comes they’re givin’ ye so long in the paper be onybody else that wuz in it’.  ‘Well,’ A says.  ‘maybe A
hiv more to tell than the most o’ them’.  No harm to ony o’ them but it’s only an odd wan went through the same drill as me.  ‘Ach ye only think that’,  wan fella says.  ‘Well,’  says I, ‘ me brave buck, when ye harrow what A ploughed ye’ll hiv room to talk and yer harness’ll be showin’ signs o’ the wear too’!
      “But they’re not all lek that,  far from it.  Man alive,  there’s people A didn’t know from Adam stapped me in the street an’ had a great ‘shankie’ for me over me story in the paper.


          “Well,  as A was sayin’,  A wuz thinkin’ about oul’ times,  o’ weddin’s an’ funerals times ago.  Many’s the weddin’  an’  funeral wint over that bridge.  (Kilkeel bridge).  Weddin’s them times wur not lek what they’re now.  The weddin’ers walked in pairs an’ it was a purty sight after getin’ the knot tied in the Church or the Chapel when they all made their way to some houl’in’ groun’  for refreshments. Hanna’s on the Bridge was a great rendezvous.  There was a big parlour off the bar an’ the longer they stayed in the parlour the more sociable they got.  A was at many’s a weddin’ in me time and many a weddin’ party A min’,  but A think Hugh Fegan’s weddin’ was the best A was iver at.


         “A always thought a lot o’ the same Hugh Fagan.  He’s wan o’ the finest,  big heartedest men A iver met an’ a fine lookin’ man too. He has it ivery way.  Well,  A min’ the time Hugh was married:  it was on the 9th June,  1917,  and as A wuz sayin’ there wuz great stur at weddin’s in the oul’ days.  Most o’ the weddin’ parties from Mourne went away for the day to the ‘Point and put up at Biddy Cunningham’s in Church Street.  That wuz because Biddy wuz a Mourne woman herself:  she come from Brackney.  Biddy Haughian wuz her maiden name.  She was a sister o’ Daniel Haughian’s that lived beside Moneydarragh School.  A fine,  dacent oul’ woman she was and she wud ha’ done anything for anywan that hailed from Mourne.  If ye wor a Mourne man ye wur sure o’ a great welcome in Biddy’s o’ the ‘Point.  People in them days wudn’t a thought they were right married at all unless they went to the ‘Point and put up for the day at ‘Biddy’s’.  She kept a public house and an ain’ house as well and there wud a been all kin’s o’ stir - singin’ and dancin’.  The weddin'ers them days travelled on a wagonette and if it wasn’t a wagonette it wud ha’ been a couple o’ coaches an’ the horses in them wud be shinin’ and dancin’ mad for the road.  Och, them wuz the times!  But A’m goin’ in front o’ me story.  A wuz talkin’ about Hugh Fagan’s weddin’. It was,  of course,  at a later time o’ day,  and they didn’t go to the ‘Point, but went to Newcastle instead.  “They wor married in Atticall Chapel.  Hugh’s wife wuz Rose Hughes,  a daughter of Larry Hughes o’ Ballinran - as nice a girl as iver went into Atticall Chapel.  The mornin’ she was married,  she had her four cows milked afore she made ready to get married,  and man she was as purty a bride as iver walked up the aisle.  Who o’ them wud ye get now to milk an cow on their weddin’ mornin’,  niver min’ four.  They’d be thinkin’ more about how their hair wuz set - how many waves wuz in it. In dangbut some o’ them has that many waves on them now that if they had wan more they’re lek a boat in a heavy say - they’d capsize.
       “Well, the day o’ the appearance A wuz drivin’ the car.  It was James O’Hare’s car and there wuz a bottle o’ whuskey hid in the well o’ the car for drinkin’ on the road.  “Well, didn’t some o’ the boys get to know about the bottle o’ whuskey an’ drunk it while the weddiners were in the Chapel and when the ‘groom went to broach the cargo on the road there was nothin’ but an empty five-naggin bottle.  What a laugh the boys had:  Ned Quinn,  Danny Trainor and Barney Sloan,  an’ the joke was that the cork came out o’ the bottle. ‘Well’, Hugh sed,  ‘there’s plenty more where it come from’,  an’ we called in ‘Wee Roney’s’  at the Royal and got another bottle.  Ye had no bother gettin’ a drink on a Sunday them days! 


       “A worked a while for Hugh.  He was the water caretaker for the Rural Council and then for the Urban Council,  and there wasn’t a hydrant he didn’t know and un’erstand far better than ony o’ the engineers, an’ a fine man to work for.  A suppose he’ll kill me for sayin’ this,  but he deserves it an’ a bit of a lift disn’t do onybody a bit o’ harm when it’s the truth ye’re tellin’. “A always say:  if ye kennit say a good word about a body don’t say a bad wan,”  continued Hugh,  “an if ye kennit do a good turn never do a bad ‘un to onybody.  Ye’re supposed to love yer neighbour as yerself,  mankin’ o‘every description wi’out ony exception o’ persons. That’s what the Good Book says and that’s what the clargy preaches,  and if ye go be that ye’ll not be far out.  No later than Sunday last it was preached up above.
         “Well,  we landed at The Donard in Newcastle and Mr. Brady was the manager there then.  He bought the Royal in this town after that.  A min’ well he said that Hugh Fagan was about the finest specimen o' a man iver entered his hotel,  and that they wur the best-lookin’ bride and ‘groom he had iver set eyes on.  That wuz a lift for ye, and he put up the drink for all haun’s.  Well, right enough it was the truth: the Fegans wur all a flne-lookin’ family and very smart.  The father was John Fagan,  who lived beside Lisnahilty Forth on the Carginagh Road,  and his wife Sally was called up to be wan o’ the best- lookin weemin in Mourne.


         “Well,  as A was sayin’,  It’s wun’erful the way things comes hack to yer min’.  A’m no saint,  A know A’ve me faults and failin's lek most people,  but,  thank God, A don’t think A iver done much harm to onybody.  Av coorse A always liked a bit o’ fun an’ wud a played a joke as well as the next. “A was only wanst at the Bench in me life and that was for bein’ drunk wan Hallowe’en-tide fair night.  A fell in wi’ a few ould friends and A had wan or two too many.  It was a policeman called World that got me and the Sergeant’s name was Duffy that summoned me.  A min’ the day well.  The R.M. was an oul’ Army man,  a Major Bull,  an’ he roared like a bull too.  He wore a long white beard and a castor hat:
            [‘That man that sits upon the Bench,
               His face is round and fat;
               His name is Major Bull
               And he wears a castor hat’].
     “Mr. Alex. Gordon and Mr. John Orr wur the local magistrates and of coorse they knew me well,  and put in a good word for me.  A got away wi’ a caution and only had to pay a shillln’ for the summons.


       “There wuz some quare pieces at the Bench in the old’ days.  There was an oul’ body livin’ up at the tap o’ Atticall an’ wan time she was brought to Coort over a right-of-way or somethin’.  It was Mr. Boyd that brought her to Newry.  The oul’ wan had niver been no farther than this town in her life and o’ coorse she was all put about when she seen the inside of the Coort.  The Judge was a very oul’ man - an’ not a very good lookin’ wan ayther!  When the oul’ dame from Atticall seen him wi the long white wig on his head she took him for an oul’ woman an’ she whispers to Mr. Boyd:  ‘Mr. Boyd,  dear isn’t that an ugly oul’ targe o’ a woman?  She’s the tightest-lookin’ case A iver seen in me life’.
         ‘Ye don’t know what ye’re talkin’  about, Mary’,  says Mr. Boyd.  ‘That’s the Judge that’s goin’ to try yer case,  an ye must be respectful to him’.  “An what dis me boul Mary say?  ‘Och,  Mr. Boyd, dear,’  says she,  ‘Sure A didn’t know.  She’s a purty craythur
entirely:  she hes a face on her lek an angel’.  “Mary still thought the Judge was a woman!” 


Chapter 10


         By way of a change,  Hugh narrated a very amusing story.  “It’s wan”,  he said,  “A heerd a very oul’ man tellin’ nearly seventy years ago when A wuz a caddie.  “It’s about a tailyur the name o’ Danny Dornan,  that lived in the ‘back side’ roun’ be Castlewellan.  Danny was a journeyman tailyur.  In them days,  journeymen tailyurs went roun’ the counthry doin’ jobs here an’ there for different people.  A min’ wan meself,  John the Tailyur.  He hailed from aroun’ Mullartown,  a big long rake o’ a man foriver smokin’ a long clay pipe.  John waz all right if ye had the way o’ him but as thrawn as a bag o’ weasles if ye crossed him.  He got hes pick o mate in the hours he worked in,  an’ he was desperate hard to plaze in the line o’ “kitchin”.  If the woman o’ the house had a nice bit o’ bacon an’ kebbege for his dinner he’d say:--  “That’s wan plesther A niver cud relish;  joost roast me a wing o’ fish on the coals”.  That waz the sort o’ John an’ ye had to humour him or he’d pack up 'hes alls’ an’ clear.
         “Well,  to go ahead wi’ me story,  wan evenin’ this oul’ tailvur Danny Dornan was sittin’ in hes own wee thatched cabin away up in the mountains,  busy stitchin’ away wi’ hes legs crossed.  Isn’t it funny the way a tailyur cud manage to keep hes legs that way so long.  Ye’d wun’er he wudn’t take cramps in hes legs. “Well,  the first thing Danny heerd wuz hes wife Betty lettin’ a screech out of her that wud ha’ wakened the dead. “‘Ah, ye good-for-nothin’ oul scarcrow ye,  there ye’re sittin at yer aise,  an’ a hun’er geese tramplin’ down the wee lock o’ corn.  Get up ye lazy gammeril ye an’ drive them away’.  “‘My patience’, says Danny,  ‘ye’re more at leisure yerself;
but rether than have a scoldin’ match,  here we go’.  “So he got up an’ went out,  an’ when he looked into the field - 'Woman dear’,  says he  ‘what’s on your eyes at all?  A see only two geese.’  “‘Two geese,  is it”,  sez Betty,  “there’s no less than fifty there,  onyway’.  “‘Fifty!  A wish A was as sure o’ fifty guineas as that there’s only two in it’.  “‘Ah,  goodness help poor craythurs o’ weemin wi’ their keldres’ o’ men,’  says Betty.  ‘A tell ye up to yer teeth, there’s forty geese there destroyin’ the lock o’ corn,  as sure as there’s wan’.
       “‘Well well,  two or forty,  or a hun’er,  A’d better drive them aff”,  sez Danny.  And so he did.  When dinner time came she put out
the spuds and laid a drap o’ milk an’ a bit o’ butter out for him;  but went and sat in the corner herself,  an’ threw her apron over her head, and began to cry 1ek a bayin’ shee.  “‘Betty dear,’  says Danny,  What’s this for?  Come over and take yer dinner lek a good woman, and let us be thankful,  instead of flyin’ in God’s face.’  ‘Now indeed,  I w-w-w-wull’ not’,  sez Betty.  ‘To say such a thing as that there wuz only two ge-ge-geese ther when A seen a whole score’.  “‘Oh,  t’ hell wi’ the geese;  let them go and be shot,  woman,  and sit for’id to the table’, siz Danny.  “Indeed and A’ll not till you own to the truth’, sez Betty.  “Well not a bit did she ate,  and next mornin’ she didn’t rise at all, but when Danny spoke kin’ly,  and brought a bit o’ breakfast to her bedside,  she asked him to go for her mother and relations till she’d take lave o’ them afore she’d die,  as there wuz no use livin’ ony more,  when all the love was gone out o’ him.  “‘But Betty dear,  why do you go on this way?  What have A done’? sez Danny. ‘Don’t you say there wuz only two geese there, and at the very lowest there cudn’t be less than a dozen.  Cen’t ye admit the truth,  ye conthrery Christin’ an’ let us hiv peace’.
       “Instead of makin’ her answer,  Danny walked over to her mother’s house,  an’ brought the oul’ woman,  who was about ninety,  over, wi’ two or three of her family;  and they laid siege to Betty,  but they might as well be preachin’ to a stone wall,  an’ she nearly made them believe that Danny was to blame.  “‘Now call him’,  says she,  ‘an’ A’ll let ye see who’s wrong.  Danny,  If ye don’t intend to send me to me grave,  spake the truth like a Christin,  an’ don’t be heapin’ sins on yer miserable head.  All lave ye no back dure,  for A’ll only insist there was three geese,  but A’m sure there was six at the very laste.  Wasn’t there three geese in the field when A called ye out?’  “‘Och’, Betty dear,  ‘niver min’;  let there be three-an’- thirty if ye like,  but don’t let us be idlin’ and tormentin’ our people here.  Get up in the name o’ Goodness, an’ ate a bit’,  sez Danny.  “‘But wasn’t there three geese there,  A say,  Danny?’  sez Betty. “‘Ah,  deng the wan but two if ye go to that’, sez Danny.
          ‘Ochanee!  Isn’t this a purty story’,  sez Betty.  ‘Go home,  go home all of yez,  and get me coffin out o’ the town and bring it over about dayli’ goin’,  an’ joost gi’ me wan night’s dacent wakin’;  A won’t ax the two,  for A don’t want to gi’ much trouble to the neighbours,  an’ indeed A think A culdn’t stan’ the ungratitude and conthrariness o’ them that ought to know better,  an’ feel for a body.  Efther all that A done an’ slaved for him,  an’ give up Neddy Murphy for him,  that was six inches bigger an’ a carpenter besides’. “Well,  thinkin’ it might gi’ her a scar’,  they went an’ brought a coffin from Castlewellan that was ready made at the time,  wi’ some fresh shavin’s in the bottom; an’ the weemin’ that gethered as soon as the coffin arrived ordered out the men till they’d wash the corpse.  “She said nothin’ till the men wuz outside;  but then she gi’ a yell out o’ her an’ asked how dar they think that she wanted washin’.  It might do well enough for a rale dead body,  but she was thankful it hadn’t come to that wi’ her yit, an’ if she seen fit to die it was no concern o’ theirs;  and if anywan tried to lay a drap o’ water on her hide she’d lay the marks of her ten nails on their face! 
          Well, she was got some way into the coffin,  an’ a clean cap and frill put roun’ her face;  an’ as she wasn’t pale enough,  a wee hussy shaked a lock o’ flour roun’ her face.  But afore the men an’ boys wur lit in she asked for a lookin’-gless,  an’ when she seen what a sight she looked wi’ the flour on her visage she got a towel and rubbed ivery bit of it aff again.  “She bid Danny be called in,  an’ put her sister an’ her mother in charge,  in his hearin’,  to be kin’ and look efther poor Danny efther she wuz gone;  Until such times as he’d get another to take her place,  which she supposed wudn’t be very long.  For although he was hard and conthrary to put up wi,  thank goodness she knowed her duty,  and she supposed he cudn’t help his nature,  and it wuz better as it wuz afore they’d grow too ould and she might get peevish and loss her temper,  and they might become a botheration to the neighbours be fightin’ an’ scouldin’ day in and day out.  ‘A’ll bet ye now efther all’s said an’ done,  he won’t give in to the three geese’.
          “Well,  the minit the geese wuz mentioned, Danny put on hes hat wi’out a word,  and walked out. “So night come on an’ the kennils wuz lit, an’ the tobaccy an’ pipes wuz laid out,  an’ the poor dead woman had to listen to a good dale o’ discourse not at all to her lekin’,  an’ the talk went on this way:  “‘My-a-my,  disn’t the corp look mighty well?  When did she die,
  poor woman?  What ailed her,  did ye hear?’ ‘Indeed A believe it wuz gusopathy the schoolmasther called it joost now,  somethin’ wi’ goose’ in it onyway:  ye know the way the skin goes all of a sudden coul’ wi wee white risin’s on it—they call it a goose’s skin.  Mabbe she had it bad,  an’ Danny cudn’t bear it,  an’ so she died wi’ grief’.  “‘Poor man,  hel’ll feel her loss for a week or two:  she wuz a savin’ woman’.  ‘Ah,  but hadn’t she a bad,  bitter tongue in her head till herself maybe toul’.
          “‘Deed,  A think Danny will bear her loss wi’ Christin’ patience.  He’s a young man for hes years:  he disn’t look fifty— he’ll be gettin’ hes pick o’ weemin.  A think poor Betty was very savin’ an’ laid by a lock o’ poun’s.  Won’t the new woman feel comfortable,  and maybe put win’ un’er the money.  A narrow getherin’ always takes a wide scetterin’.  “‘It’s my notion Betty was in too big a hurry to die’,  sez another oul’ huzzy.  ‘From her looks there,  she might bury two tailyurs yit,  an’ maybe get a big lump of a farmer for her third husband. Well,  it kennit be helped,  but A wudn’t lek to be warmin’ a bed for the best woman in the townland if A was Betty.  She’s at peace at last, the craythur;  an’ mighty hard she foun’ it to keep the pace wi’ her neighbours whun she wuz alive.  Who’s that ye sed used to be goin’ wi Danny on odd Sunday evenin’s afore he got married to Betty?  If ghosts are allowed back on Sunday evenin’s,  poor oul’ Betty’s wull ha’ somethin’ to fret her in a short time,  A wud say.’
         “Well,  all this time the poor dead woman’s blood was rushin’ lek mad through her;  an’ somethin’ was swellin’ in her throat the same as if she was goin’ to be choked,  but still she niver opened her eyes or her mouth.  Poor Danny come up efther a time,  an’ leanin’ over her face he whispered,  ‘Betty,  isn’t it time to be done wi’ all this foolery?  Say but wan rasonable word,  an’ A’ll sen’ all these people about their business’.
“‘Ah,  ye wee good-for-nothin’ crather,  ye haven’t the spirit of a man’,  sez Betty,  ‘or ye wud niver bear all they’ve been sayin’ about yer poor neglected wife these last hours.  Wuz the three gees there?  A’m askin’ ye’.  “‘Not a goose but two if ye were to be waked for a twelvemonth’,  sez Danny.  An’ aff he went,  an’ sut in the corner till daylight.  He tried her again the next mornin’,  joost as the lid was goin’ down on the coffin,  an’ the men were goin’ to hoist it on their showlders,  but not a fut wud she move unless he’d give in to the three geese.
         So they come to the graveyard,  an’ the coffin was lowered down into the grave,  and joost as they were preparin’ to fill It up,  poor Danny went down,  an’ stoopin’ to where he had left some air holes in the lid,  he begged Betty even efther the holy show she made o’ the pair o’ them to give up her thickness and come home lek a sinsible woman.  “‘Is the three geese there?’  wuz all he cud get out of her.  An’ be this time hes patience got so thin an’ he was so bothered for the want o’ sleep,  and torment o’ mind, that he lost hes head,  an’ jumped up,  an’ began to shovel the clay lek mad down on the coffin.  “The first rattle it made scared the wits out o’ the buried woman,  and she shouted out:  ‘Och let me up!  Sure A’m not dead at all;  let there be only two geese,  Danny darlin’ if ye like’.  “‘Oh be this and be that’, sez Danny.  ‘Ye spoke too late.  People have come from far and near to the funeral,  and we kennit lit them loss their day for nothin’;  so for the good name o’ the family don’t stir’.  An’ down went the clay in shovelfulls,  for the tailyur had lost hes senses.
          “Of coorse,  the people who wur there wuldn’t lit the poor woman be buried against her wull,  so they reached for Danny an’ hes shovel, an’ he fell in a lump on the sod.  “When poor Betty was brought back to life,  the first sight she seen was her man Danny lyin’ wi’out a kick in him,  and wan o’ the neighbours sez to her to let
Danny be put down in her place,  an’ not give so many people a disappointment after comin’ so far.  An’ wi’ that Betty giv the man a slap across the face,  and not mindin’ the figure she cut in her grave clothes,  reached for poor Danny and roared and bawled for him to come to life,  an’ she’d never say a conthrary word to him again as long as she lived.  So some way or another they brought the tailyur roun’;  but how her and him cud bear the
sight o’ others afther that is more than A know Howanever they soon got into their ould ways o’ goin’ again,  an’ whenever Betty foun’ a tart answer comin’ to her tongue,  she thought o’ the rattlin’ o’ the clay on the coffin,  and the three geese that wuz only two efther all;  an’ if they didn’t live happy . . . That’s the tail end the oul’ people used to put to their fairy stories,  but as the oul’ man said this wan was true,  it ken afford to do wi’out a tail!”


Chapter 11


"A wuz joost listenin' the wireless the other night an' man there wus a gran' programme
of oul' songs on that 'id lift the cockles o' yer heart!

When a party of Belfast ladies touring the Mournes called at Kilkeel two of their number made enquiries about Hugh Marks,whose reminiscences they had been reading in the “Mourne Observer”. On finding Hugh they congratulated him on his stories,and here they are happily posing with him for a photograph. They are Mrs. Doherty, Erskine Street (left), and Mrs. M. Howard, Gawn Street.

        “It’s hard to bate the oul’ ballads an’ the oul’ yarns.  A heerd wan wan time:  A’m sure it’s over a hun’er years oul’.  It’s all about
County Down - some man that knowed County Down well put it together an’ d’ye know what A’m goin’ to tell ye,  it puts me in min’ o’
what A done meself times ago.  Wud ye lek to put it in?”  Well,  when I heard the Words of  “My Own County Down”, I felt it was indeed well worth putting in. ‘Different wans wus at me to put in some more o’ Harry Purdy’s pomes about Annalong”,  continued Hugh,  “but sure A don’t know no more”. Well, in view of the interest aroused by the publication of Mr. Purdy’s rhymes in the  “Mourne Observer”  we were able to secure some further Verses from the same pen,  which we print below with a few explanatory notes.
         “Oh,  ye want another story or two?”  Continued Hugh.  “Well,  A heerd tell of an oul’ woman wan time.  She wuz a tarrible hard
lookin’ case,  but her looks didn't
put her a bit about and divil the hair she cared what onybody thought about her.  She always claimed that she wuz the ugliest woman in the County Down,  and wudn’t a bin a bit plazed if onybody conthradicted her about that! An English gintleman that wuz visitin’ in the town called to see her wan day.  Indeed,  she had lots of callers,  for she wuz good crack and cud ha’ toul’ yer fortyin in the cards.  Well,  durin’ the coorse o’ crack it come roun’ about funerals,  and d’ye know what she toul’ yer man?  ‘Whin A die’,  says she,  ‘Ad lek somebody to put me lekness up on the back o’ the hearse and when the people sees it divil the man, woman or wane’ll walk behin’ it,  and damn the wan A want ayther!  Be good to me whin A'm livin’,’  sez she.  ‘an’ don’t be botherin’ about me whin A'm dead’.  “An’ then she sez to yer man,  Wud you say now,  sir,  that A wuz the ugliest lookin’ woman in the whole County, sir?’
      ‘In the whole wurl’,  mem,’  sez he, ‘in the whole wurl
. . . An’,  man dear,  that plazed her all to pieces,  So it disn’t take much to plaze some people. Wan word makes the difference wan way or the other,  but it’s not iverybody that that wan wurd’d suit.  Many’s the body got a slap in the mouth for sayin’ far less than that wurd! “Well,  this same oul’ body hud a sister called Fan Jin,  and she was a wee knowin’ saft.  Well,  wan Sunday Fan Jin walked into the Church in the middle o’ the sarvice cerryin’ two buckets o’ wather on a wudden hoop.  “She niver drew bow till she wint up to the front o’ the pulpit where the clargy was prachin’.  An whun she did she left down her two buckets and puts her two han’s on her hinches,  an’ afther weighin’ up the clargyman for as good as five minutes,  she yells at the tap of her voice:  Well,  the Lord direct our pasthurs,  but ye’re about the ugliest-lookin’ man A iver laid me two eyes on’.  An’ wi’ that she reached for her hoop and her two buckets and walked out o’ the Church!  “Och,  there wuz some dhroll kerakters times ago.  There wuz an oul’ fella up in Attyecall an’ he wuz always late for Mass.
     “Wan Sunday mornin’ he wuz slitherin’ along whun a naybour man shouted at him:  ‘Put an inch to yer step,  Mick,  ye’ll be late’.  ‘Och, they’re far behind that kennit folly,’  sez Mick,  ‘Sure A know the first of it onyway!’ “An’ then there wuz another oul’ fella wan time,  an’ he wuz workin’ at a big farmer’s place ‘down the counthry’,  puffin’ flax.  Well, this wuz Saturday and the boss wanted change to pay the workers,  so he sint a wee fella away to get the change of a poun.  A poun’ wint a long way them days.  The lad come back and said nobody wud give him change.  ‘Houl on,’  sez Pat,  ‘All get it for ye,  boss’.  ‘Don’t forget to come back’ sez the boss,  reachin’ yer man the poun’.  So aff Pat wint an’ right enough he come back an’ handed the boss the change.  But whun it wuz counted it only come to nineteen and sixpence.  ‘There’s a sixpence short,’  sez the boss,  ‘where did ye get the change?’ ‘Och,’  sez Pat,  ‘A called in at Pat Smith’s pub and ordered a half-un’ o’ whuskey,  an’ whun A drunk it A handed Pat the poun’ note.  A knowed well enough he wudn’t change it unless A wuz buyin’ somethin’.  He wuz boun’ to change the poun’ or gi’ me trust,  and ye know well enough,  boss,  Pat’s not a man that wud do that’.
        “Well, there wuz wan time Pat had a brev drap o’ drink on him an’ wuz lyin’ as full as the Baltic in Pat Smith’s yard.  Well,  there wuz a funeral on that day,  and the hearse stapped at Pat’s dure comin’ back and the driver wint into the bar for a drink.  Now,  some a’ the boys thought they’d play a joke on the hearse man an’ what d’ye think they done but reach for Pat and put him into the hearse and close the dure on him.  A while afther the hearse man come out an’ got up on the hearse and headed for home.  Well, wi’ the joultin’ o’ the hearse along the roads,  for there wus no tar Mick Adams them days,  didn’t me boul’ Pat come to himself and started meel a murdther inside. Well,  the life and sowl wuz scared out o’ the driver,  but he whipped up hes horses an’ they wunt gallipin’ mad,  but the hardther they went the hardther the yellin’ and shoutin’ wuz comin' from the inside o’ the hearse.  Iverybody thought the hearse man wuz away in the head an’ whun he got to the town a crowd gethered an’ he kept shoutin  ‘The Divil’s in the hearse!  The Divil’s in the hearse!’ “Well,  the unmarciful yells that wuz comin’ out o’ the hearse wud ha’ wakened the dead,  an’ the divil the man wud go next or near it to open the dure.  At the last o’ it somebody wint for the clargy to get the Divil out
’ the hearse,  for there’s no two ways about it, iverybody thought it wuz the Oul’ Boy hiself that ‘wuz in it.  Well,  along comes the clargy,  a brave age o’ a man, wi' his Book in un’er hes oxther,  an’ he started to read Scripthure, iverybody wuz stan’in’ speechless, an’ whun the clargy had done readin’ he goes up and pulls the dure open an’ out draps Pat!  “Well, from that day till the day he died all Pat got wuz  ‘The Divil’  or  ‘The Divil in The Hearse’,  but ye dar’int ha’ lit him hear ye sayin’ it or he wud ha kerried the head o’ ye”.


            With thy back against the ancient land, thy bosom to the tide,
            Like a gallant ship at anchor triumphant thou dost ride;
            From Warrenpoint to Holywood each hill and valley smiles;
            Lough Strangford bathes the margins of three hundred fairy isles;
            Dear to my heart thou still shalt be, let fortune smile or frown,
            Home of my joyous infancy, my own County Down.

            Beside thy ancient castles I have sought the earliest flowers,
            Along the lovely bleaching-greens I’ve whiled the summer hours;
            I’ve launched me for Ram’s Island shore adown the River Bann,
            And in an Ardglass fishing smack have reached the Isle of Man;
            From Newry to Belfast I’ve strayed by farm and market town,
            Through the highways and the byways of my own County Down.

            I’ve scaled the lofty Donard’s side, to meet the rising sun,
            I’ve cleft the wave of Lagan when my schoolboy task was done;
            With blood as pure as mountain breeze I’ve snuffed thy mountain air,
            And proved in boyhood’s golden years what boyish hearts will dare,
            And now a vigorous heart and limb such youthful pastimes crown.
            Thy sons shall be a wall of fire, my own County Down.

            From many a graceful hillock’s top the gladdened eye surveys- 
            In Ards, Lecale, or Dufferin, Kilwarlin, or the Maze-
            The snug and sheltered cottage, the hill of waving grain,
            The marks of peace and industry throughout the fruitful plain;
            The ivy on the village church that wraps its turrets brown:
            ‘Tis a county well worth fighting for, my own County Down. 


      “The Volant”,  a well-known Annalong schooner of reputed speed was driven by the fury of a winter storm into the strand at
Newcastle.  Gallant efforts were made by the local life-boat to salvage the ship and rescue the crew,  but despite the herculean efforts
of the life-boat men the crew remained in imminent danger until the ebb tide left the ship on terra firma.
    Mr. Purdy described the event in these rhymes-


            The year ‘31, before Christmas Day,
            The ship with spent mainsail refused helm to stay;
            The crew, badly battered, could now do no more,
            And the ship struck the sand at Newcastle shore.

            While running due north the top-sail went flop,
            And the stem of the ship struck a devilish old rock;
            The starboard streak being made of unseasoned teak,
            The bow part was splintered and the ship sprang a leak.

            Captain Will on the scene, as of yore in a fuss,
            Kept babbling in French and made Harry cuss;
            The ship was not covered by Prudential or Marine,
            And part of the cargo was dumped close to Golf Green.

            “Kilbroney” was notified and did not long linger,
            But with foot to the throttle came down on the Singer;
            The ‘phone and the post and also the tele.,
            Were brought into use to warn Brown, Greene and Kelly.

            Little man of Kilhorne—a shipowner of note,
            Was there giving orders till he agitated his throat;
            Now what of the crew, who were badly put out,
            With no one to offer either brandy or stout.


            A short time ago, before winter and snow
            Had cut away summer’s bloom,
            This noted sloop, with sails to suit,
            Set sail for far distant Troon.

            Long weeks went by, with hue and cry,
            And no tale of the ship’s long tack;
            And everyone asked with bated breath,
            “Oh where is our brave Captain Mack?”

            Now few are aware of the Captain’s care
            Of chills that bring a bad cough,
            So he sailed her far beyond Strangford bar,
            And anchored in Belfast Lough.


            Sailor Joe of Kilbroney had some Curly hair,
            But now the old scalp is freckled and bare;
            He is fond of a sea-trip, as you may suppose,
            And in the Volant, in summer, he goes.

            Once rounding the headland called Mull-of-Kintyre,
            The captain shouts out—”Is the motor on fire?”
            A storm was then blowing like thundering guns,
            And for Campbelltown bay the Volant then runs.

            Down the ladder Joe runs with characteristic pluck,
            To find out the cause of the trouble—bad luck;
            For twisting with spanner, as motor Work goes,
            He received a hard knock on the side of his nose.

            Two summers ago he went down to Kilkeel,
            And sailed in that ship to Isle of Man—Peel;
            He ate mackerel and herrings that came from afar,
            Cooked by Chambers, “the boy” all mucky with tar.

            To Ayr the ship sailed with a favouring breeze,
            Where a post-bag awaited, w’d make anyone sneeze,
            There were old papers and postcards and an umbrella, too,
            And to add to his luck—an old woman’s shoe.


            It was the dandy little Jem that sailed the Irish Sea,
            And the captain brought his brother to bear him company.
            Daring and bold was Captain Mack as ever held a helm,
            He passed no bays or harbours safe when the clock struck ten or eleven.

            One wild June day, off Derry Bay,
            The wind back round north-east,
            Mack steered her out on the Atlantic deeps,
            While the billows frothed like yeast.

            As the ship bowled north on the mountainous waves,
            And the wind increased to a gale,
            A terrific squall, like a lightning ball,
            Split open the stout main sail.

            ‘Pull down that sail”, Captain Mack then shouts,
            As the ship lay down on her side;
            “I’ll mend that rent with needle and hemp,
            While we sail on the Atlantic wide”.

            When the sail was down, with the brother’s frown,
            But Mack was not in a flurry,
            He stitched away on the wide broad sea,
            And sang sweet Annie Laurie.

            “You’ll drown us all”, the brother did bawl,
            “You crooked Mourne goubeen;”
            “Very well,” said Mack, and he changed her tack,
            “I’ll drown you where the water is clean”. 


      Billiards used to be a very popular game in Annalong,  and many amusing incidents frequently occurred.  Keen but friendly rivalry existed between exponents of the cue,  who were locally known as— “Peep Oh”,  “Navy Man”,  “Kilbroney”,  “Wishey, Wishey, Wishey”,  and occasionally a visitor called “Harry”.  A game between the latter and “Kilbroney” was thus described—

            In reply to a sonnet quite recently sent,
            Describing a game called “Harry’s Lament”,
            His opponent was Joey—no other big crony,
            Who comes on his car from far-famed Kilbroney.

            All round the green table sat watchers galore,
            While Joe kicked up heels after his 31 score.
            J. Pierce among these with red face and grey hair,
            Shouted “Peep Oh”, “Bold Joe, you are every bit there”.

            Big Tom in the corner with head bended low,
            With deep-chested voice keep saying, “Good Joe”.
            Then Harry in a rage, although but a guest,
            Tossed over the red, the cut and the rest.

            Navy Bob, “The Silent” always little to say,
            Sat quietly gazing while chewing away;
            But chatter-box Ernie of miniature frame,
            Would frequently say, “Yes, Joe, that’s the game”.

            Ex-Captain the Frenchman, with Cambridge accent,
            Sits muttering in Gaelic, with head and back bent.
            He says: “Harry, be quiet, and play like a man,
            Try your best to beat Joey—that’s just if you can”.

            Now Harry will go up for Saturday’s fun,
            And challenge again at two bob to one;
            And he’ll sure beat wee Joey at every try,
            Winding up billiard season, and then say “Bye-bye”.


She lies snugly in winter, like a par of old shoes,
With no expenses to meet except Jones’ light dues.


Chapter 12


        I have never met a man who can hold his own where repartee is concerned like Hugh Marks. His vocabulary is racy, of the soil; his “Irishisms” come tripping off his tongue, and the twist that he gives them makes what he says all the clearer, stronger and funnier.

     ‘A min’ wan time”,  he recalled,  “A wuz at an oul’ show that wuz on in the town,  och it’s a good lock o’ years ago.  It wuz a holy show of a show.  Iverybody wuz fed up 1ookin’ at it,  for there wuz nothin’ at all in it.  Then the oul’ fella that was runnin’ it got up an’ started singin’:
            ‘When the oul’ hen crows
            Sure iverybody knows
            There’ll be an egg for yer breakfast in the mornin’. 

       “Well,  A cud stan’ it no longer,  and A ris up in me sate and shouts,  ‘Heth, me brev oul’ buck,  you ken well afford to hiv two eggs to yer breakfast when ye see all the fools that come in here and paid their bobs to listen to yerself and yer eggs’!”
      Here are some further examples of our shanachie’s wit and humour.
        “A wus goin’ up the Mountain Road wan day when an oul’ toff stuck hes head out iv a motor.  A knowed be the way he spoke that he was an Englishman.
      ‘Where does that road lead to,  Paddy’?  sez he.
      ‘Who toul’ ye me name wuz Paddy?’  sez I.
      ‘Oh, I just guessed it’,  sez he.
       ‘Well, whun ye’re so good at the guessin’ ye ken joost guess where the road leads to’!  A made answer.
            “A wuz in an atin’ house in the ‘Point wan day when two fellas came in an’ orathered their dinners.  They wur a bit gammish lookin’  Well, before the mate was put on the table wan o’ them stuck hes spoon into the mustard pot thinkin’ it wuz somethin’ for atin’ before males and put a good dolloper o’ the stuff into hes mouth.  Well, hes eyes filled up wi’ water and the tears wuz runnin’ down hes cheeks in strames.  “‘What ails ye?’  sez the other fella.  ‘A wuz joost thinkin’,  sez yer man,  ‘o’ me poor father,  the day him and me got wir dinners here last.  A min’ him suppin’ a spoon o’ that stuff the same as A done now.  It wuz about a year afore he died’.  “Well,  wi’ that the other lad puts a big spoonful in hes mouth too and he to the coughin’ and splootherin’.  ‘What’s wrong wi’ ye,  Jammy?’  sez the first fella. ‘Och, de’il the much wrong’,  sez Jamey,  only A’m joost thinkin’ its a hell o’ a pity ye didn’t die afore yer father!


         “A heerd a good un’ wan time about a Tullyframe woman.  She brought her wee fella to the town to see the docthor.  It wuz oul’ Dr. Evans that time.  ‘What’s wrong wi’ the boy?’  sez he.  ‘Och, docthor dear,’  sez she, ‘he’s poorly,  poorly’. ‘How long has he been poorly?’ sez the docthor.  ‘Och,  a long time,  docthor,’  sez she.  ‘To tell ye the truth he niver wus what ye wud call crool stout’.  ‘What did he begin wi’?’ sez the docthor.  ‘Wakeness,  docthor,  fair down wakeness’.  ‘Where wuz the wakeness?’  sez the docthor.  ‘All over him,  docthor. Johnny,  show the docthor yer tongue’.  An’ wi’ that she pulls Johnny over neardher to the docthor,  but Johnny didn’t want to go any neardher and give hes ma a dunt that nearly knocked her aff her pins.  There wuz no signs o’ wakeness about him.   “Well,  onyway the docthor looked him over and sez:  ‘A’ll gie ‘him a tonic’.  ‘A what, docthor?’  sez she. ‘A tonic’,  sez the docthor. ‘An’ what sort o’ a thing’s that, docthor?’  ‘Oh, somethin’ to build him up and make him ate’, sez the docthor. ‘For the lan’s sake,  docthor dear,  don’t gie him nothin’ to make him ate more than he dis.  Dear knows but it’s little enough that we hiv,  and as it is he ates more than hes da and me put together. Indeed A’m thinkin’ it’s that that makes him so wakely.  As the sayin’ is A wish him hes health but nothin’ more iv an appetite.  In troth,  docthor, if he starts atin’ more than he did afore it’s to the Workhouse A'll be bringin’ him,  and me an' hes da an’ the rest o’ the family along wi’ him. ‘Give him this medicine then,  accordin’ to the directions on the bottle’, set the docthor.  ‘Thank ye,  docthor,  but A want a note for the school as well,  docthor’.  ‘I can’t give ye a note’,  sez the docthor.
      ‘An’ what am A goin’ to do?  The wee craythur’s not fit to go to school:  he’s that wake,  an’ if A don’t get a note the Intendance man’ll summons me’.  ‘This boy is quite fit to go to school,’  sez the docthor,  gettin' cross. ‘Naw indeed he’s not,  docthor’,  sez she.  ‘Ivery time A make him ridy for it A hiven’t the heart to let him go and if ye wud gi’ me a line the Intendance man wud take the word of a dacent gintleman lek yerself that’s the best docthor in Irelan’.’  “Well,  be this time the doctor wuz fed up and he shoved her away and called for the nixt Patient.  Well,  wi’ that she started and gie the docthor all sorts o’ abuse.  He threatened to send for the police,  and the nixt Coort day she wuz up at the Bench and fined
for not sendin’ Johnny to school.  There wusn’t a heet wrong wi’ him at all,  ye know,  all she wanted was a certificate and that way she cud get keepin' him at home to gether spuds’. “Och, boys aye”,  went on Hugh,  “the oul’ people wer tarrible droll
times ago and there wuz no harm wi’ them ayther.  It’s a different worl’ we’re livin’ in now entirely.  The people’s not the same no way:  no fun or frien’ship in the generation that’s goin’ now.


          “A min’ wan Fifteenth of August A wus in Rostrevor—och,  it’s well above fifty years ago A’m sure—the time o’ the oul’ waggonettes: ye’d hardly be oul’ enough to min’ them.  Well,  there wur two drivers from Kilkeel an’ Annalong watherin’ their horses in the Square,  an’ wan o’ them shouted hard at t’other—A think the other must’a been a wee knowin’ deef.  ‘Johnny’,  yells the first wan,  ‘A’ve come away wi’out me steps.  Ye might len’ m the loan o’ yours, for min’ what A’m goin’ to tell ye,  it’s a load of gey weighty weemin A’m drivin’ the day’.  An’ he give a nod at hes passengers as he spoke.  There wuz six o’ them.  An’ heth A’m tellin’ ye it wuz the truth he wuz sayin,  for there wusn’t wan o’ them in un’er fifteen stone weight if they wur a poun’.  “An’ wi that the other driver spakes up and nodded at hes load, all brev hefty wans too, an’ all weemin’.  ‘What the hell d’ye think’,  he says,  ‘is it that A’m drivin’ a load of buttherfiies or what?’  “If ye had seen the looks on the oul’ girls’ faces—ivery look they gie yer men wud ha’ spayned a foal!


        “Well, there wuz an oul’ pair livin’ up the road a lock o’ miles out o’ the town wan time.  It’s not that long ago an’ A daren’t mintion their names.  Well,  the oul’ man took a donce—he niver wuz crool stout at the best,  an’ wan mornin’ the oul’ woman got him dead in he chair.  That wuz on a Wednesday an’ she wuz in more bother about drawin’ hes oul’ age pension on Friday than she wuz about the loss o’ him.  So she made up her min’ that she’d keep him to Saturday afore she’d lit on to the naybours that he wuz dead.  So,  when onybody wud come to the half dure and ask what way wuz the oul’ man the day,  she’d say,  ‘Brevely,  thank God,  he had a fair good night last night’.  An’ onybody she’d see passin’ that wusn’t goin’ to inquire,  she’d lit on she wuz talkin’ to the oul’ man:  Sit up and take a bit to ate,  Mick’  or  ‘Wait till A prop this boulster behin’ yer back,  it’ll make ye rest aisier’.  “What d’ye think o’ that now,  and him goin’ on for three or four days dead?
         Well,  she worked that way wi’ him till Friday wuz past and she knowed she wuz safe enough for the pinsion.  An’ the first man she seen goin’ down the road on Saturday mornin’ she out on him yellin’ lek a bayin’ shee.  ‘Och, John,  the poor oul’ man’s gone at the last o’it. Ochanee he looked rightly afore A wint out to strib the cow an’ when A come in wi’ the drap o’ milk he wuz lyin’ back in hes chair joost as ye see him,  John,  an’ A cudn’t get a mute out o’ him.  John dear,  what A’m A goin’ to do at all wi’out him?  We pulled a right stroke together for over fifty years.  It’s me that’ll miss him for he wuz a good man to me.  John,  wud ye get wan o’ the boys to run down to the town and ordher the funeral things’.
         ‘Well,  she drew the pinsion for the both o’ them that day an’ she waked him joost that wan night and buried him on Tuesday.  Now wusn’t she an able wan!  An’ min’ ye,  that’s not a lie or a kerried story—ony o’ the oul’ timers in the town cud tell ye about it.  It wuz the longest wake iver held in Mourne.  “It wuz this same oul’ man that wuz in the Kilkeel fair wan time.  Whatever sort of a dale he made in the fair he wusn’t too well sitisfied an’ as he wuz goin’ home in the cart wi’ a naybur man he made a wee pome:
            ‘The bargain’s bad in ivery way,
             The wife’s the worst part,
             Drive on the cart’.


      “An’ then there wuz wan about the flowerers (hand embroiderers):
            ‘Och it’s aisy knowin’ the flowerers whun they go into town,
             Wi’ their long masled shins an’
wi’ their perricoats hangin’ down,
             Wi’ their boots half laced an’ their *piercers be ther side;
             An’ sez oul’ Mr. Crutchley,  ‘Ye’ve made yer holes too wide’.
       [* Piercers were sharp instruments for making small holes in the handkerchiefs, around which fine stitching was done].
            “Ye see,  that song wuz made be some naybur weemin that had somethin’ agin’ the flowerers.  The flowerers wur ivery bit as good as them an mebbe betther,  an’ ivery bit as well put on too,  but somebody wanted to try to make little o’ them over jealousy about boys or somethin’.
      “There wuz another oul’ song too.  A hiv only the wan verse o’ it:
            “Have A a wife?  Bedamn A have,
              But we wur badly mated.
              A hit her a powerful clout wan day,
              An’ now we’re separated.
              Some days goin’ to me work
              A meet her on the quay:
             ‘Good mornin to ye, me’em,’ A say,
             ‘Och to hell wi’ you’, sez she.” “An then—
            “There’s plinty o’ raysons for drinkin’,
              There’s wan that comes into me head:
              If a man disn’t drink when he’s livin’
              A’m dang sure he’ll not drink when he’s dead”.
      “An’ there’s a whole lot in that.  If ye asked me how to live to be a long age,  A’d say:  No worry,  a little bit o’ jollification now and then, for ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’,  an odd drink,  a good smoke,  a bit o’ good crack,  and a good song.  It’s hard to bate that”.  I agreed that it was.
         When I inquired if ever he had been ill, -Hugh replied,  “Well, A carried a stick for 3 years wi’ pains.  A was takin’ pills and medicine an’ the docthor toul’ me to take things aisy,  but A got tired lyin’ around and A tould him if A follied hes advice much longer A wud soon not be here at all.  So A become me own docthor:  A threw the ould pills and bottles away an’ the stick along wi’ them,  and barrin’ for an odd wee stoon of rheumaticks there’s nothin’ else
wrong wi’ me,  thank God.  A walk two miles to the Massforth Chapel and back and it disn’t take a flinch out o’ me.  Thank God A’m happy and contented;  only the worst of it is ye don’t have much to spare out of the oul’ pension when ye keep iverything goin’.  But it’s a good job to get it and maybe we’ll soon get another rise”.

        Well,  that concludes my talks with Hugh Marks.  I must say I enjoyed them very much,  and I hope our readers enjoyed them also. Before parting,  Hugh quoted me a wee poem.  He wouldn’t admit he composed it himself-—he is a modest wee man Hugh,  but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had.  It is called  An Old Man’s Rambles”,  and is printed below. 


When A was a wee lad A had a wee moiley cow,
A wee yella dog, an’ a wee banty hen;
Indeed in a way A have little more now,
But A thought A was the quare fella then.

The wee moiley cow had no horns on her head
But she gave lashin’s of milk ivery day,
An’ the wee banty hen, it’s a pity she’s dead
For ye should ha’ seen the eggs she cud lay.

But the wee yella dog was the best of them all
For wherever A went he was there:
If a river was between us he wud come to me call,
An’ whatever I had he got share.

Up among the heather and down along the glen,
Or rollin’ in the meadow in the hay;
Boys, right enough, but we’d the great times then,
Him and me together all the day.

The years go by and me step’s gettin’ slow,
An’ me eyes are growin’ dim;
The wee dog’s dead, aye long, long ago,
An’ A’ve niver had another dog lek him.

When the last Call comes and A step into the Dark
To wherever an oul’ man goes,
A kind of way think there’ll be a friendly bark
And a welcome from a cool wet nose.


Hugh mentioned before we parted that he had been asked to “put in” an old song—”wan wi’ a thread o’ green in it.”
“A niver was much o’ a man for ‘party’ work”,  he added,  “but A don’t think it’ll be taken ill be onybody.
Sure it’s only an oul ‘Come-all-ye’.”

From Mr. Arthur Doran’s Collection
(Air: The Rising of the Moon)

God bless the men of Mourne and their glorious banner too,
Which still waves above them proudly, as it did in ‘82;
When the drums beat up the marching, 5,000 men were seen
And 10,000 hands were ready to uplift the flag of green.

When grey Mourne saw the sunburst, he raised high his cap of snow,
And saluted Erin’s banner with his features all aglow;
And his children they booked up to him, a kind father he had been,
For they loved him next to Erin, and their own immortal green.

When they raised the flag of Emmet, all was silent as the grave,
Gazing on their martyred hero, who had died their land to save,
And the eyes that flashed like sapphires told what Erin might have been,
Had the pikes one day been carried by the Mourne men in green.

From beneath those grand old mountains came the sound of drum and fife,
All the sleeping echoes wakened and proclaimed a newborn life,
Forth from every hill and valley, rushing like an Alpine stream
Came the true Sons of St. Patrick in their manhood and their green.

O God bless you, kindly Mourne, you’re still foremost in the van,
Like the brave who rushed to battle in defence of God and man,
May your hills be rich in verdure of the brightest emerald sheen.
And peace be on your dwellings, boys that day who wore the green.

O God bless you, kindly Mourne, you’re still fit to be seen,
O God bless you, kindly Mourne, and your MOURNE MEN IN GREEN.

(Said to relate to an assembly which took place in Lower Mourne about 100 years ago, and composed by a Mr. Maguire).


From a Mourne Man’s Scrap Book

In days gone by the big event of the year was the Annalong Regatta. A group of country girls walking down the road
to the Regatta at Annalong inspired the following lines:

We see the sun a-slanting through the hedges in the lane,
We hear the laughing breezes and the thrushes’ song,
And we’re headin’ for the harbour, and hope it will not rain,
As this is Regatta day at Annalong.
The oul’ taypot on the shelf held a tidy bit o’ money,
For we have skimped and saved to put a bit away,
Of savin’s from the flowerin’ an’ a bob or two we got of sonny,
To have a bit o’ sport in Annalong the day,
We’ll call in wi’ Mrs. Linton an’ then xvi’ Mrs. Bill,
An’ take all the nice boys along,
The mist is curlin’ up and spreadin’ o’er the mountains,
An’ we’re goin’ to have some stir in Annalong.


These verses were written following a talk the writer once had with an old man who used to attend the old school in Moneydarragh,
which, for upwards of 200 years, stood convenient to “The Big Stone” beside Hauchian’s River, where the present school is situated.
This poem tells of this one-time scholar’s last visit to his old school and of the memories it brought back to him.

I stood to-day in a school-house old,
Where my young steps were light and free,
Through summer’s heat and winter’s cold,
And all my life was yet to be.
There were bashful girls and beardless youth,
And dog-eared books all scattered about,
And the master’s likeness drawn with truth
On a slate with corners broken out.
I stood, and all those careless days
O’er my worn heart came drifting back;
The songful ease, the lightsome ways,
Which in all after years we lack,
Oh, the early loves, and the laughing girls,
The innocent idyls without alloy!
Oh, the angel in pantolets and curls,
Beloved by me—and that other boy!
Ah, the way she balanced between us twain
Comes back with harrowing force to me!
For the true proportions of bliss, ‘tis plain,
Are never wrought out by “the rule o’ three.”
Weal, we know of nuts by the empty shell,
And never the bed of a brook so dry,
But the smoothness of its stones will tell
Of a stream that used to go rushing by.
I take my place among those that were,
Content to feel that I have had my hour,
The bud is rosy and sweet and fair,
But the fruit comes only after the flower,
Romance and history aye repeat,
And love and youth sustain no loss,
For another girl sits in that angel’s place,
And two other boys throw billets across.


The clouds so soft and fleecy white
That chase each other through the day,
Now, at the eve of the coming night,
Are changed to sombre grey.
And as the sun sinks lower still
Into the crimson-tinted west,
It seems to shed o’er yonder hill
A halo formed at Heaven’s behest.
The rays of the fast-setting sun
Here in the lake a reflex find,
Like unto one whose course well run,
Departing, leaves to those behind.
Our heritage of faith and love,
Of battles nobly fought and won,
Memories that point to realms above,
Revive again at set of sun.
Though bright it shines throughout the day,
O’er mount and vale, o’er hill and stream,
More glorious its departing ray
Than brilliance of the moon-tide gleam.
But now the crimson-tinted sky
Is clouded o’er: no more I see
The tinted stream, its ruddy dye
Has changed, and what appears to be.
A cloud of deep and sombre hue
Hangs low’ring all nature’s plan.
Dim night has come, and now unto
The God of nature and of man.
We render gratitude and praise
That He who made the sunset’s glow
Ne’er stints it wond’rous glowing rays
From us weak mortals here below.

Note.—The shades of evening were gathering when the writer visited Lough Island Reaveythat beautiful lake near Kilcoo, Co. Down. All was quiet around save for the rippling of the waters and the cries of the gulls and other wild birds as they went winging o’er the lake. As I looked around at the hills with the farmhouses nestling on the slopes,  I reflected that here must have come in the Penal Days a crow of devout worshippers to assist at the Mass offered up on the hillside. Not a sound, not a murmur broke the stillness that seemed almost awesome, and it appeared to me that here by those lone banks in this almost perfect solitude, may be found the greatest rapture end delight. In making this faint tribute to a beautiful spot, the writer’s foremost thought has been that some far-away reader who once dwelt there may find the little scene depicted more clearly in his memory and that he may be filled anew with deeper affection for his native place, linked to home and kin by the chain of remembrance that binds one to one’s country.


Four score of years I’ve borne my cross,
In sunshine and in storm;
I’ve had my gain and felt my loss,
Known grief and pleasure warm.
I’ve sailed my barque o’er life’s fierce sea,
When calm and tempest-tossed;
And joy and peace have come to me,
By pain and trouble crossed.

I’ve seen my loved ones droop and die
‘Neath winter’s chill and gloom;
And watched the years go swiftly by,
With light and joy and bloom;
I’ve clasped the hand in friendship here,
So warm, and tried, and true,
And sought to check the falling tear
When parting came to view.

The flowers are just as fair to me
As when in youth’s brief hours,
Their fragrant beauty I could see
In Nature’s charming bowers;
Their precious sweetness lingers yet,
To cheer my lonely way,
And teach my heart to ne’er forget
The bloom of childhood’s day.

I see the rainbow in the sky,
In all its colours bright,
The same fair sentinel on high,
To thrill the gloom with light;
As when I had no grief and care,
And tears were all unknown,
With those I loved beyond compare,
The friends at home, mine own.

The years have come and gone, and I
Still share the cares of life
With friends who have not gone on high,
From this lone vale of strife;
Four score of years in storm and calm,
I’ve done my best on earth
To prove I’m worthy of the balm,
Life’s glorious new birth. 


The writer feels certain that a man who has attained the age of eighty years must occasionally be given to retrospection on the years
which he has spent and in which,  undoubtedly,  there would be many ‘lights and shadows.”  A boy in his ‘teens very often recalls to mind his childhood days
- the days he spent with his playmates,  some of whom even inside that short space of time have become estranged from him.  He ponders over those happy days which, alas!  have passed all too quickly.  It is truly said that childhood’s days are the best and happiest days in a lifetime.  A man in the evening of his years must have experienced many joy and sorrows.  In the foregoing verses, the writer has endeavoured to give some of what he thinks a veteran’s reminiscences would be.


On the 18th of October the day that we set sail,
From Newcastle with our cargo of yellow meal,
Our course being through by Hilltown,
And our Captain’s name McFall,
We were bound for foreign countries,
By the head of Atticall.

We had not long been started
When it blew a dreadful gale,
Our captain gave the order,
For the crew to shorten sail,
The sea being rolling mountains high
And the night being very dark,
We thought that we would get advice
At the head of Mourne Park.

For hours we were tossed about,
And then a dreadful thump,
She struck a stone on Aughrim Hill,
And we all took to the pump,
We pumped away for hours,
We were nearly dead with cold,
The water gained upon us
Being inches in the hold.

When we could pump no longer,
We gave up in despair,
And soon our signal of distress
Was flying through the air.
Our Captain pulled his trumpet out
And loudly he did bawl,
And down she went stern foremost,
At the head of Atticall.

The water it was very deep,
It took us to the skin,
We had a poor chance of our lives,
As none of us could swim,
We thought of our wives and sweethearts,
That we might see no more,
When Tug Wilson threw his muffler,
And pulled us all ashore.

He brought us down to Kilkeel barracks,
And got us all a bed,
There was not a man among us,
But had staggers in his head,
So now my song is ended,
It’s enough to please you all,
By telling you our shipwreck,
At the head of Atticall.

This song was supplied by Mr. Artie Cunningham, of Corcreaghan, Kilkeel.  It is a “gag” song and His Lordship the late Earl of Kilmorey was very fond of hearing it.  Shortly before his lamented death he suggested to our representative that we should publish it.  It was written more than 50 years ago and we were unable to discover the name of the composer.

(Taken down from John Collins, Maghereagh)

The sky was dark,  the wind was high,  and bitter looked that day,
When ten stout boats with gallant crews set sail from Dundrum bay,
A fisher’s dangerous life they lead and now they’ve left their home,
Upon a wild and deep blue sea a winter’s night to roam.

And as they parted from the shore and those they loved so dear,
man stood up and waved his hat and gave a lofty cheer,
That cheer was answered from the shore and many a wife and child,
With upraised hands prayed God to save them from the waters wild.

Among that crowd a young girl stood, her name was Fanny Bell,
She climbed the rocks to bid adieu to those she loved so well.
Young Fanny Bell was true and good and of a temper mild,
By all who knew her she was called the widow’s handsome child.

To young MacGuinness she was pledged, a heart so true and fond,
United they were soon to be in wedlock’s holy bond.
She ran to her mother’s humble home, the tears stood in her eye,
 "Oh mother dear, ‘tis much I fear, there’s danger in the sky.”

She scarcely had those few words spoke when the sea gave a mighty roar,
She hastened from her mother’s side and ran back to the shore.
Along that shore with many more, she wandered six long hours,
She never felt the bitter cold of stormy sleet or showers.

Many a look those fishers took to see if help was nigh,
They were too far off, the storm increased, all human help went by,
Boat after boat has sunk and swamped beneath the big green waves,
And seventy-two fine fishermen they all met watery graves.

Newcastle town is one long street entirely stripped of men,
And near to it a village small has lost no less than ten,
 In Annalong a Widow woman three sons from her were torn,
So widows, orphans and sweethearts may now weep in deep mourn.

And all you now that sing this song give a pity and a sigh,
And think of those poor fishermen who were doomed that night to die.
Another version taken down from John Cunningham, Maghereagh.
It was a misfortune that happened of late,
The year eighteen hundred and forty-three was the date,
On the thirteenth of January that fatal day
Those boats were well manned from Newcastle Bay.

Great praises are due to old William McVeigh,
That morning going out to the men he did say:
“This morning reminds me so much of fourteen,”
Says he: “My brave boys in the bay don’t be seen.”

They said to each other they could not be beat,
“There’s no waves in the ocean can make us retreat,
Our lines they are strong and our boats they are stout,
For that very reason we will venture out.”

Four miles they rowed Sou’-east from West Annalong,
To a landmark called ‘The Bleachyards” where the waves they run strong,
And for to fish haddock they joined in a fleet,
And happy and merry together did meet.

The storm increased about twelve o’clock,
When the ocean did foam and the billows did rock,
They hauled in their anchors to race for the land,
Each man standing ready with an oar in his hand.

Great praises are due to Captain Chesney’s son.
In the midst of all dangers from the quay he had sprung.
He swam o’er the billows like Lysander of old,
And of young William Purdy he quickly took hold.

He saved him from drowning when death it was near,
And with a true valour made death disappear.
He dragged him along with the help of an oar
And only for that he’d ne’er have seen Mourne shore.

There are some of them buried in the churchyard of Kilkeel,
And some of them buried in the Meeting-house field,
And some of them buried in Massforth as of yore,
Or lie quiet contiguous around Mourne shore.

Thanks be to God who ruleth the sea,
And comforts the comfortless by night and day,
May he look after the orphans who often sigh sore
For the loss of their parents around Mourne shore.

**Another disaster, in 1814. 

The following ballads, which were supplied by Mrs. James Quinn,  Ballinran, were written over 50 years ago by the late Dan Haughian, Glenloughan,  Kilkeel,  a well-known poet,  who in his day could well have been termed “The Bard of Mourne”.
Mr. Haughian died in U.S.A.


Sad is the heart that now beats in my breast,
Since to me has been wafted from the land of the west,
The news that my comrade, the youthful and brave,
The dear Thomas Colgan is laid in the grave.

When the letter I opened and in it I read,
That my loved companion in Montana was dead,
It filled me with anguish, I pondered and wept,
For the loss of that true friend who in Bute City slept.

Oh! Thomas, dear Thomas, my trustworthy friend,
When in your last moments I know you did send
A wish and a blessing away o’er the foam,
To the green hills of Erin and the fond ones at home.

Oh! Thomas, dear Thomas, ‘twas little I thought,
When last that we parted at the door of thy cot,
That the parting was final and we’d never meet more,
Or have a ramble round our sweet Mourne shore.

But such has it been, every age, every clime,
And so shall it be to the end of all time,
For when friends are united, prove faithful of heart,
Fate will o’ertake them, and tear them apart.

                                                            D. HAUGHIAN. 


If I had to live again,
The years that I have past,
I know where I would love to start,
And where to breathe my last.
It would not be a foreign home,
Nor on a gilded clay,
But gladly would it be within,
The wee house on the brae.

The grey old loanin’ passing by,
The mosses right below,
And o’er the ditch beyond the hedge,
The whin and heather grow.
A fairy thorn is at the door,
A lot of turf and hay,
And big green trees bend down to kiss
The wee house on the brae.

When o’er Mourne the rising sun
Appears and looks across,
It sends a greeting up the road,
And brightens up the moss.
And when it’s sinking in the west,
It seems to smile and say,
Farewell until to-morrow,
To the wee house on the brae.

When I was working in the fields,
Oh! I remember well,
How eagerly I longed to hear,
The chapel’s evening bell,
And then I’d gather up my things,
And hurry on my way,
Across the rough old moss fornenst
The wee house on the brae.

Upon the step, my mother,
She’d be knitting at the door,
And with the ball the kitten
Would be playing on the floor;
The big turf fire’d be blazing
‘Neath the kettle for the tay,
Awaiting our returning,
To the wee house on the brae.

It’s good to sit and picture,
The times that one has had,
But though we love to think those thoughts,
They make a body sad.
I’m far from home but praying,
When I come to pass away,
It’ll be with the friends around me
In the wee house on the brae.

                                          D. HAUGHIAN.


Village fair, oh! village sweet,
Round which hills are closing,
With fervour many a time I greet
Thy name before reposing;
Thy scenes I cherish and revere
Though oceans us now sever,
I love thee more each passing year,
My own, my fond Rostrevor.

Nothing that could please the eye,
Is round thee, village, wanting,
With fields of green and clear blue sky,
And hills and vales enchanting,
And to harmonise with Nature’s charms,
The honest swain with true endeavour
Keeps hedgerows neat and tidy farms,
Around my own, my fond Rostrevor.

A thousand beauties deck thy plains,
High o’er the road the trees are meeting,
The hawthorn decks, the winding lanes
And the daisies are the sunshine’s greeting.
The cuckoo loud his name is calling,
The lark is singing, soaring higher,
And sweetly on the breezes swelling
The music from thy lofty spire.

To green Kilbroney churchyard old,
‘Ere close of day I oft repair,
To read the names inscribed in gold,
Upon the tombstones there.
A prayer I breathe for those who sleep,
Beneath the soil they often trod,
And bid farewell and leave them keep
Their peaceful slumbers with their God.

Village fair, oh! village sweet,
Thy scenes are dear to me,
Though other climes my eyes may meet
I’ll still remember thee.
Joy, peace and sunshine long be thine,
May thy sons in faith ne’er waver,
And virtue guard each humble cot,
Around my own my fond, Rostrevor.

                                               D. HAUGHIAN.