Concerts in Carlingford Parochial Hall in the 1940s and 50s
A packed hall was guaranteed for the annual concert organised by the local clergy, usually, I think, by Father Keelan. We are talking here of the 1940s and 1950s. I say annual but there may have been more than one concert some years.
The talent was mainly local but two well known professional singers were regularly featured: a bass called William Broderick and a tenor called Johnson who often graced Covent Garden and other London venues. Both hailed from the North. One of their regular numbers, always accorded great applause, was The Bold Gendarme with its chorus: We’ll run then in (repeated 4 times) for we are the bold Gendarme .”Are you there Mor, i, ar, i, ty” may also have been one of their repertoire and It was probably they who rendered a great favourite at all concerts, Jerusalem.Their duets were the high point of the night.
A very popular performer was Bridie Finnegan (mother of Stephen Malone) known as Cooley’s Delia Murphy. One of her pieces was “If I were a blackbird” and possibly also “Courting in the kitchen” Bridie always got a great reception.
Another regular was Lily Woods (aunt to Kevin of this website) and if memory serves me right “Birds in the garden all day long” was her standard piece and also, I seem to recall, a song which started with the following line (and please excuse the spelling) Chirri chirri be - I long to see, my hearts desire.Lily was a big GAA fan and followed the Louth senior team at home and away. Her brother, the late Fr. Ambrose was a useful footballer and Peter (Kevins father) was active on the County Board and chaired it for a period.
Hugh OHare or Big Hugh as he was fondly known (father of the late PJ) always entertained us with “Dear old Dublin Bay” And so I’m on my way, to dear old Dublin Bay, that why I’m feeling gay, for oh I know, my Molly O, is waiting there for me, waiting in dear old Dublin Bay. One of Big Hughâ?Ts favourite sayings was your country’s bucked.His generation seldom if ever used the F. word.
Matt Donnelly (Brendan’s father, bar owner and hotelier and supplier of electricity before the coming of the ESB to Carlingford) brought some style to the stage for he was always immaculately and very stylishly dressed. His usual song was, I think, “Scarlet Ribbons” which he rendered with some emotion.
I don’t know the name of the Glenmore man who sang a humorous song but I do recall all or most of the words (not sure if I have got Miss Blains Christian name right) and record them here for posterity:
“Monday I meet Mary ,Tuesday Mary Jane ,Wednesday I meet Miss McCann and Thursday Tessie Blaine ,Friday Nellie Hopkins ,Saturday Judy Small ,and Sunday night I stay at home for fear I’d meet them all.
I wrote a note to Mary addressed to Mary Jane, went by mistake to Miss McCann, care of Tessie Blaine , opened by Nellie Hopkins and read by Judy Small and thats the way they found me out, and I had to pay for all.
A very good singer was Joe McCann who lived and farmed at the Grove. Padraig ONeill now lives in the Grove house. Joe’s favourite piece was “Come into the garden Maud” a song one would associate with a Victorian drawing room. Joe kept a bull which served/serviced the local cows. When a cow was looking the bull she was said to be “looking away” a rather quaint and not inaccurate description of her condition. Goats needing loving attention were brought to the “bachelor”
Mrs Tinney, who taught in the girls school (infants and 1st and maybe 2nd class), was not, I think, involved in these concerts although she was an accomplished pianist. However it is most likely that some of her pupils were. Cecelia Dunne (nee McKevitt) remembers being ushered onto the stage to recite “I have a little shadow which goes in and out with me”. Another recitation which probably came from the Tinney classes was “Postman, postman hurry up the street, never mind the girls you chance to meet, you make my heart go pititi pat, as you knock on my knocker with your rat-tat-tat”.
Mrs Tinney gave piano lessons and composed some songs one of which was Carlingford Town.A widow, she cycled from Greenore and back every school day which was good going for a heavy smoker which she was. She reared a talented family: her daughter Mary became an Ambassador after a career in the Dept. of Foreign affairs and her grandson, Hugh, is a renowned pianist.
By the way, Mrs Tinney’s counterpart downstairs in the boys school was Miss (Nellie) Quinn and she too cycled daily to and from the school from her home close to Paddy McCann’s pub (later Daveys) near the border. Bold boys had to hold her skirt or stand in the corner but she rewarded good behaviour with sweets bought with her own money. She was a lovely and loving woman.
The man who ushered Cecilia McKevitt onto the stage was Cathal McAllister from Dundalk who performed the M.C. role for the concerts.
Bobby Graham and Billy Locke were always a big hit in Newry at pantomimes and concerts and while I don’t have a clear memory of them performing in Carlingford I think that they probably did grace our parochial hall on some occasions.
No doubt I have omitted many performers but not intentionally. I’m sure Kevin would welcome readers memories of these concerts and for my part I would welcome any corrections or recollections readers may submit.