Places, — September 30, 2009 14:54 — 0 Comments

Meadow revisited

In The Meadow of the long ago,  before we had reached our teens, we had the geography of our immediate hinterland off to a tee. In fact we felt we had ownership…


… of places like the Pighall Loanan leading from Helen’s Terrace to The Wheel, on Camlough Road, and the Tramline, running behind Killeavey Road towards Woods’ fields. It was all ours.

 

So we resented – and did our best to discourage – any outside interference. At first our parochialism was even more narrowly defined: our Slieve Gullion Road Gang would attempt to exact some small toll – marlies, toys or any trinket carried in pockets – from any innocent lad from some other street – or worse, some other gang – attempting to pass through on the way to town, for example. 

 

Gradually our inter-street competition took a more constructive dimension, when for example, some older men (we were ALL men, no matter how young) set up our first soccer league. Games were played out on the ‘big green’ in front of Iveagh Crescent. By this simple expedient we learned to identify our community as all of the Meadow: later, when we opposed teams from other estates and parts of the town, we made friends with boys of our own age from all over Newry. 

 

There was some parting of the ways at age eleven: this was not of our own making but the result of our iniquitous educational system that segregated the young between ‘grammar’ and ‘secondary’ schools at this stage. 

 

I passed the 11+ and went to the Abbey Grammar and thereby incurred the wrath of many of my friends in The Meadow, the great majority of whom never saw the inside of a ‘Grammar School’. I became somewhat of a leper – a ‘stew’, a ‘snob’ – for having succeeded.  

 

The gap heightened when I had ‘homework’ to do in the evenings, our time of most intense play, and they did not. Their friendship matured within the bounds of St Joe’s on the Armagh Road and in the evenings, which time was still their own to do with as they liked. If ever they had ‘homework’ to do, it was little and left mostly undone.

 

… more later …

go to start of Meadow stories ? …

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