29 January 2017
Memory: Luke Clarke Memories 2
Carlingford Pipe band was re-formed in 1972 by the late Benny Fretwell, Des McCrum and Pat Joe Kearney who is still with us today. There were no shortage of members coming forward, pipes, drums and Uniforms were acquired and after many nights of practice in the Hall, The band was ready for its first outing. Cooley won the Louth Senior Football Championship and the band assembled at Charlie Gallagher’s House to greet the team with the Joe Ward Cup and lead them into the village. It was fitting that it should be Carlingford Man Terry Brennan, now Senator Brennan, or as he was better known “Scoby” who captained the team that year and the year was 1973.
The band participated in competitions throughout the country and won a number of trophies the high point was competing in the all Ireland pipe band championship in the Showgrounds in Cork city in 1980 where we came 5th in grade four which was a great achievement for a small band. The Band was invited to play in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York in 1989 by the Co Louth society spearheaded by a Knockbridge man Tommy Smyth, and aided by our own Kieran Murphy from Petestown, Cooley who was working in New York managing a bar/restaurant owned by PJ Reilly from Cavan . Kieran worked tirelessly raising funds, as we did from this side to get the band out to the Big Apple. We arrived in New York a few days before the parade and were met by Kieran who stayed with us for the entire six days. We played a few different functions , including the Bronx where we met up with Peadar Donnelly son of Michael Donnelly ,
Peadar emigrated to New York i think in the sixties .We had a few great sessions in PJ Reilly’s bar where Kieran worked. John Harold always wondered why we were always so punctual in the morning, dressed in uniform and ready to go. That was because we didn’t get to bed from the night before, all good fun .
What an honour it was to walk down Fifth Avenue with upwards on 1 million people lining the streets.
The following day the 18th of March we travelled up to Boston for their St. Patricks Day Parade. There we met with Joe “Gandhi” Finnegan brother of Paddy Finnegan and Uncle of Bridie Burke nee Finnegan. The parade in Boston lasted four hours. I was carrying the Tenor Drum! I was knackered by the end but it was well worth it. Harry Harold was worse he was carrying the Base Drum Brown Bull and all. We were so well looked after by the Louth Society. We met Hugh Mc Parland from the Boher who had emigrated to Worchester outside Boston in the late seventies. Hugh still lives there. It was a wonderful trip and will be long etched in the memory of all who travelled. A number of years later the band was invited to new Brunswick in Canada. I Unfortunately didn’t make that trip but Some of those who did might like to give a little info on it!!
You couldn’t talk about the period growing up in Carlingford without mentioning Carlingford Celtic days from 1973 to 1980. The team played in the Dundalk Summer League, starting in division 3 and winning. Two years later Carlingford Celtic won division 1. A lot of the boys had to juggle playing soccer and gaelic. In the 70’s Cooley Kickhams were a formidable team winning the Joe Ward Cup a number of times.
Unfortunately a lot of the great characters in and around Carlingford have passed away or have emigrated. The village is buzzing now at the week-ends but you could visit any of the local pubs now and not know one person there. There is no such thing now as congregating outside Brennan’s shop (now Dan’s Café) on a Sunday morning and discussing over an ice drink where you were on Saturday night or what you got up to maybe in Ballymac or the Nuremore hotel, Or, if you were brave enough pay Harry Magee a visit in the Fjord bar and get a slagging from Harry, as he would know all the news from your escapades on the previous night.
The ice drink was more inviting!!
Remembering Harry McGee and the Fjord Bar brings to mind some characters who enjoyed a regular game of Twenty Five in the Fjord. My dad Luke Senior, Joe Carolan, Paddy Donnelly, Hugh Magee, Gerry Morgan, Paddy Malone from Cooley, Tom Martin from Gyles Quay to name but a few. In the evening time at weekend s Harry Magee would switch the television off and the sing song would start. Harry would lead off with a lovely rendition of “She moved through the fair”. There was a host of singers available - Frank and Margaret Mc Cartan, Frank and Phil Flynn, Doris and May Armstrong, wee Mickey Rogan from Grange, Frank Hanlon also from Grange, Fergus Hanley from Greenore and Carlingford’s own Bing Crosby - Benny Fretwell . There was a couple from Belfast Stan and Eleanor Brooks who had a holiday home on the North Commons. Eleanor had a beautiful voice and was always requested to sing “San Fransisco”. Ian Mc Callister from Dublin a relation of the Armstrongs played the spoons and May Armstrong was an excellent whistler. Memories of great characters and great sing songs.
More > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
'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.
More > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
Grove RoadMore > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
Memory: Luke Clarke Memories 3
In winter time there was the pub quiz. There were the local pub teams and as it became more popular many teams from Dundalk and the surrounding area became involved. The team from the Fjord was very strong and won numerous prizes . On that team was Brendan Mc Kevitt, Dorothy Mc Gee (Harry’s wife) Brian Mc Kevitt (brother of Brendan) and Phill Small ( a sister of Paddy Small) who lived on the parade across from Anna Murphy’s shop. The building where she lived was originally John Reilly’s carpentry shop.
I also recall many Saturday nights in Billy Reilly’s Bar on Dundalk Street . This would have been during the late sixties early seventies. There was a shop as well as the bar and we would call to the shop which Billy’s wife Maureen ran and sit drinking minerals , eating chocolate biscuits and listen to the arguments in the bar which were generally about politics. There would be Paddy Thornton from Whitestown, Eddie Carroll from Willville , Patsy Mc Shane, Eddie Mackin , John Mackin , Charlie Gallagher, Jimmy Forty O Hare and George Brown .
George travelled to Carlingford by tractor which he named “Maggie”. The tractor was parked outside and Patsy Mc Shane would always get a lift home on the back of Maggie. I think Fine Gael was the popular party in Billy’s Pub. I presume that is why my father didn’t visit there on a Saturday night being a Fianna Fail man!
I remember one particular Christmas Eve, Eddie Mackin who lived in South Commons was just after leaving Billy’s a bit the worse for wear, and decided to go to Midnight Mass. I was serving that night, I think the year was 1967 and Canon Mc Donald was on duty. I remember the procession would leave the altar and go to the back door turn and go back to the altar. The bold Eddie was standing at the back smoking his pipe and carrying a six pack of Guinness. He got a wicked look from the Canon. Eddie blessed himself quickly and disappeared up the Rooskey Road.
James Mc Allister from the Grove Road was another great character who normally drank in P.J. O ‘Hares. James would greet you by saying “Up the Mediterranean”. One evening he was in O’ Hares eating the salted nuts that PJ had in small containers at the bar. Two American visitors came into the bar for a drink and started to eat the nuts on the bar. One of them asked PJ if he had any salted nuts and he replied that the nuts were salted. It emerged that James the Nun as he was called, was sucking the salt of the nuts and putting them back in the container!
Another customer of PJ’s was Jimmy Boyle from the Terrace. Jimmy was the best winkle gatherer in the peninsula. He went out in all weathers and knew all the hot spots where the winkles were more plentifull. In the summer time you could find Jimmy at Week-Ends outside Howes pub in Omeath selling cockles and mussels, that was when Omeath was as busy as Carlingford is now, I recall one occasion Jimmy was coming back to Carlingford from Omeath after a hard days work and decided to call into PJ’s for a pint. It was during one of the world cups tournaments. Jimmy never had much interest in soccer. He called PJ one side and said that Germany were awarded a penalty “straight in front of the goals” PJ smiled but made no answer.
Times have certainly changed and Carlingford is now a very different place to grow up in. There are up on twenty eating establishments in Carlingford. I can remember as a young fella standing outside Hugh and Maggie Brennans, being asked by visitors to where they might get something to eat. You told them to head for the Park Hotel in Omeath or Ballymascanlon Hotel.
Maybe if someone had plenty of time and patience it would be worthwhile to organising a primary school reunion from the old school, going back to Miss Quinn’s time and even further. I don’t think there are any from my school class living locally maybe a few. This might jog a few memories out there from past pupils who are spread out all over the globe. Or perhaps encourage others from that era who have a memory or a yarn to tell.
Maybe we could contact Kevin Woods and get something set up on the Carlingford People website and invite anybody who would like to record a memory to get in touch.
More > (0 comments)
29 January 2017
The Long familyMore > (0 comments)