Kavanagh: The Green Fool


While deliberating whether Patrick Kavanagh would be acceptable as a ‘local’ poet to our readership, the great irony struck me: that Kavanagh himself, from the black hills and sour fields of Monaghan, struggled to demonstrate the universality of man in his verse and indeed celebrated his people, their time and their landscape to encapsulate the problems of mankind, and of the artist through all regions and ages.

In short, he feared lest he be seen as just a ‘local’ poet!

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Blackmen or not?


There was a programme on Radio Ulster recently about the Bessbrook Mill.  It reminded me of a story told to me by Billie McCaigue who was, at the time, a Unionist Councillor for Newry Town. 

During the Second World War some Divisions of the American Army were stationed in Bessbrook prior to their departure to France.  One afternoon one of the soldiers came into a shop in the village and the young lady asked,

‘ Sir, what can I get you?’

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Art MacCooey


The most famous graveyard in all our area is doubtless that of Creggan, just outside of Crossmaglen, not least because it is the last resting place of the celebrated Bards, Padraig Mac a Liondain (1685-1733), Seamus Mor MacMurchadha (1720-1750) and Art MacCumhaigh (1738-1773). 

The grave of Mac a Liondain is marked by a plaque erected by Eigse Oirialla, an organisation harking back to an even earlier period when the clans of Armagh, Monaghan, East Fermanagh, South Tyrone and North Louth were united under the great House of Oriel. (The name too is commemorated in the beautiful Oriel Trail, a glorious walk well-signposted through the magnificent Cooley Peninsula!).

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Hummerly Bummerly Counting

More curious counting:
Yen, twa tippling
March, mapplin
Mapplin how
How harry
Bow barry
Biddery gan
Gan gibby
Gilby nowd
Dis cum towd
Ten you marry.
One-ery, two-ery, dickery davey
Allibo crackery, ten-ery lavery
Just contendium merricum time
Hummerly, bummerly, twenty-nine.

‘Ye’re not as slow as ye walk aisy!’ says Gwendelene McEvoy to me, as I trumped her ace.

‘Aye’, says Peter Cunningham, ‘the softest part of him is he’s teeeth!’