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Carling People & The Cooley PeninsulaCarlingford Genealogy

A Photographic Record Of The People & Places of Carlingford & the Cooley Peninsula

Memories Of Carlingford Co. Louth

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Viewing entries 10 through 12 (Total entries: 83)

Sean Boyle
'Quick, it's raining. Get the jerseys in!'
Growing up in Cooley in the 1950s and 1960s
I always had a great feeling of belonging to the Cooley Kickhams. Maybe it was because I was born into a footballing family and Cooley Kickhams were always part of our lives.
Perhaps it was because my father (Mike) and mother (Madge) were the custodians of the Cooley jerseys during that period and for many years afterwards.
The jerseys were always there. When they were not neatly folded in a case they were either being washed or dried or sewn or just being aired. They could be out on the clothes line or on the hedge or when it was raining, hanging around the fire drying. These were no ordinary lightweight jerseys but the heavy jerseys knitted by the nuns from Omeath.
I remember one evening in 1956, the year a reformed Cooley Kickhams took part in competitions, when my father came home with a second hand (I think) suitcase for the Cooley jerseys. He also obtained a stencil set from somewhere and that very same evening set about stencilling the name COOLEY KICKHAMS on the front of the case. I seem to remember that one or two of the letters were missing and they had to be painted on as accurately as possible.
There was always panic around the house as match days approached. In those days there was only one good set of jerseys and keeping them clean was tough, especially after a wet and mucky match day and remember, they had to be handwashed! Apart from the cleaning element, there were always the inevitable rips, holes, collars hanging off etc. I seem to remember two colours of spools of wool, green and gold, for mending. I presume they also came from the nuns in Omeath.
As children growing up we were not always that fond of looking after the jerseys. To us it was an adult job but we were always willing to help out. Of course the weather played an important part in the upkeep of the jerseys. There was not a finer sight than to see a set of colourful jerseys blowing in the breeze from the clothesline, perhaps an uncommon sight these days but quite common in years gone by. Those summers were sunny and dry and rain was a rare occurence but it did rain sometimes and often in our house came the dreaded command from my mother, 'Quick, it's raining and the jerseys are out. They'll be soaked!' Everything had to be dropped and the jerseys taken in and placed on the backs of chairs and on tables and on stools and as near to the fire as possible to continue the drying process. Indeed I often remember the call coming very late at night after returning home from a night out!
On match days our house often resembled a dressing room as the jerseys were got ready. On bright dry days I remember my father getting the jerseys sorted out for matches on the front lawn. They had to be folded neatly, always in a special way, and placed in the case, starting with the number twenty at the bottom so that they would be in the correct numerical order for giving out as the team was named.
The jerseys were looked after in our house for over thirty years and were very much a family affair. My mother and father took great care that every Cooley Kickhams player wore a kit that looked and smelled as fresh as a breeze as they ran out onto the field of play.

Tuesday, June 18 2013 - 08:45 PM
the long family
Tuesday, May 28 2013 - 11:59 PM
Michael McCartney
First Published in The Dundalk Democrat in 2009
An open letter to the villagers of Carlingford.

Forty six years ago on October 8th 1963 my mother held me in her arms as I took my first breath and came into this world. Last Thursday on October the 8th 2009 I held my mother in my arms as she took her last breath and left this world. It was a birthday I will never forget.

Johanna McCartney’s funeral was held last Saturday October 10th in Carlingford and as I walked through the ancient streets with my mother’s coffin on my shoulder, my aunt from America said to me, “when I die, I want to die in Ireland.”

With the Cooley mountains to my right and Carlingford Lough to my left, we walked past Saint John’s castle. I couldn’t help but wonder how many times since the Norman knight John De Courcy established Carlingford in 1184, had this scene been repeated. It felt good to walk in the footsteps of ancient Irish history. Comforting.

We stopped for a moment of pause outside the restaurant and bed and breakfast business my mother built and still owns. Originally called Captain Corelli’s and now known as The Baytree, it was a big achievement for her.

Johanna McCartney first came to Carlingford from Belfast in the early 1990’s. At the time she was a grieving widow getting over the death of my father Valentine who died from asbestosis. She was looking for a new life and a new start.

We knew the area well as we had holidayed for years in an old stone cottage at the River’s Foot in Gyles Quay. The Cooley Peninsula always held a special place for our family and it was fitting that my mom moved there to start afresh.

It’s often said that Irish villages treat newcomers with reserve and call them ‘blow-ins.’ In Carlingford this was not the case. The villagers treated my mom as one of their own and the feeling was mutual.

Seven years ago my mother suffered a stroke that robbed her of some of her independence. Not to be beaten, she relied on the telephone to communicate with the world. It was common for me to take ten phone calls a day from her.

My mother’s wake lasted for two days. A steady stream of villagers came to the house and I wish I had a Euro for every time I heard them say, “she was quite a character.”

I only found out during the wake that her friends and neighbours in Carlingford were also being telephoned ten times a day. They took her calls with a big heart and with no complaint. The villagers of Carlingford give more than they take. She’s gone now and I wish the phone would ring. Telecom Eireann will miss her.

I want to thank everyone in Carlingford for the love and support they showed my mom and my family. It’s a beautiful village with a community that should be proud of their ability to offer friendship to others.

My mom was glamorous. A go getter. A good listener who made you feel you were the only person in the room. She didn’t hide in the shadows. She was proud of Carlingford and did all she could to make the village blossom. They have lost a rose but gained a memory of a wonderful person.

May she rest in peace. She was a class act.

From her loving son Michael.

Michael McCartney,

Coastguard Avenue,

Helens Bay,

Northern Ireland.
Saturday, May 18 2013 - 05:04 PM


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