1960 Ballinlare Gardens Newry

ballinlare gardens newry

Ballinlare Gardens, in 1960, was the home of our readers Mark Byrne, Peter Cunningham and Brian Fitzpatrick (and I hope, other readers) … and they will especially enjoy reminiscing on the following list of their good neighbours of a former time.

Ballinlare Gardens 1960

1 James Turley

3  Patrick Rafferty

5  Peter Kenny

7  Thomas Teggart

9  Ernest Shaw

11 John Kerrin

13 Thompson Brown

15 Sarah McComb

17  Hugh Mathers

19 James Treanor

21 Bartholemew Toal

23 Bridget O’Hare

25 James Campbell

27 William Campbell

29 John Byrne

31 Patrick Campbell

33 John Hillen

35 William Bittles

37 Robert McCormick

39a James Maguire

39b Josephine Loughran

39c Hilda Chapman

39d John Murray

41 Luke Quinn

43 Kevin Byrne

45 Patrick Kavanagh

47 John Mairs

21 William McCracken

4 David Graham

6 Laurence Hands

8 Thomas Mullan

10a James McCavitt

10b Peter Hollywood

10c Patrick McDonald

10d William Gribben

12 Brendan Byrne

14 Patrick Fitzpatrick

16 Michael Cunningham

18 Eugene Clancy

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2011-07-22 14:06:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Pluffers

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When the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ drew to a close, we were compelled to seek elsewhere for casual distraction. 
 
Come early December there was little left on the trees and bushes except those berries of minimal food value and which had little attraction even for the birds of the air.  Still, we could put them to use.
 
You are probably aware that a few weeds – such as the wild parsley – have a hollow stalk with a bore not dissimilar to that of the average haw berry.  We had a fair share of wilderness about us – today these plants can only be found where man has not encroached on nature’s preserve:  the Tow Path and The Rampart spring to mind.  My walking companion and I harvested a few recently to make ‘Pluffers’ of them.  And for a few moments behaved like children again!
 
The favourite practice ground was ‘The Matinee’ at one of our three local cinemas [Savoy, Frontier and Imperial] on Saturday mornings or afternoons.  With a pluffer or two in one pocket and the other stuffed brimful of berries, we made a scramble for the back seats.  (Just a few years later we would have a very different reason to seek out the back seats!).  From our vantage point we had an 180˚ field of operation as we deftly, every few seconds, picked off unsuspecting targets. 
 
Our companions in the seats in front of us were now at a distinct disadvantage.  If they were to turn around and shoot back, they’d likely choose the wrong target and thus become the subject of concentrated reprisal fire!  Also the light emerging from the projector above would identify both them and the Pluffer in their mouths to Aul’ Torchy.
 
They would usually content themselves with making further trouble for Torchy.  That limelight above would cause any object traversing it to blaze up like a lighted match.  We weren’t so foolish as to play with matches so: but if we could convince Torchy that the rolled-up balls of paper we flipped with our thumbs were lighted matches, well, that was his problem, wasn’t it?
 
 
Everybody’s favourite target, of course, was ‘Torchy’. 
 
It is with a sense of deep remorse and contrition that I now recall how we tortured these poor souls who obviously had a very trying and poorly-paid occupation.  I do not remember the name of even one.  They were ourselves of just a few years time: desperate for any job, part-time or otherwise.  But for now they were The Enemy! 
 
They could see in the dark somewhat better than us, not merely from their advantage of carrying the eponymous torch, but from being better adjusted to the constant gloom in which they worked.  Still they were repeatedly bombarded with volleys of ‘peas’ from our home-made ‘pea-shooters’.   How to react was their chief dilemma.
 
Occasionally a companion would be caught red-handed and unceremoniously ejected on to the street.  The chorus of whoops and cat-calls in support of this unfortunate ‘victim’ would cause a few minutes of total disruption that spoiled the film for even the serious viewer.  Old ‘jook-the-bullets’ Audie Murphy would be forgotten, as a much more exciting drama played out in the cinema!
 
Then Torchy would resort to an appeal to our better nature.  This brought just howls of derision and uncontrollable laughter.  Then he’d try identifying and isolating the ‘ring-leaders’ along the end-seats where he could better control them.  This required the previous occupants’ co-operation, which was seldom forthcoming.
 
His best defence was attack. 
‘I saw you there, young McCann!’       he’d roar.
‘I know your father!  You’re for it when you get home!’
 
The most successful Torchy was the one who could so identify a greater number of the Pluffer-blowers; the fear of retribution from older brothers, or father or mothers, finally quietened most of us.
 
At some point, his short-skirted female equivalent would appear with a dainty tray of goodies for sale projecting horizontally from her midriff.  It contained drinks, ice-creams, sweets, crisps and the like.  We were convinced that management raised the central-heating temperatures just before, in order to boost sales.  Mostly the sales were made in the dark with a tiny torch-light helping the girl to make the transaction.  One needn’t worry about the quality of the goods for sale (it was usually of the worst kind!) for disappointed customers would readily advertise their annoyance.
 
‘Yer crisps are RATTEN!!’ was a normal enough reaction, broadcast to the whole cinema – and sure enough, no more crisps were bought!
 
The film ended, we’d spill on to the streets, blinded by the harsh afternoon sunlight, but oblivious of the danger, we’d veer recklessly across and through the traffic, roundly smacking our own haunches and straining on non-existent reins, trying to control the runaway horses we imagined we were riding.
 
(To be continued..)

Originally posted 2004-11-29 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Towpath: WIN

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Across the road from ‘the pipe’ was Chivers Factory (the Jam Factory), nowadays called the WIN Business Park.  The front fa

WIN Business Park today

It was the sort of place that I would have loved to explore, but we would have got short shift from the men who worked there if we had attempted to venture in through the front gates.  Even in the evening time, after work for the day had finished, we still didn’t dare explore the wonders of the Jam Factory for fear of the night watchman.

 

Scott’s big house was beside the Jam Factory. There was a large orchard to the rear of this house.  At certain times of the year we used to try and relieve the good people who lived there of their surplus apples.  They were not amused by this and usually resorted to putting the dog after us.

 

This point on the canal side is officially the end of Canal Quay and becomes the beginning of the towpath.  As we travel onwards and around a left hand bend on the towpath we come to the first of the thirteen locks on the inland canal (Not counting Victoria Lock on the ship canal).

 

This first lock was known to us as Riley’s Lock.  Mr. and Mrs. Riley lived here; they had two sons Tommy (who later reared a family in The Meadow) and Pete.  Mr Riley was the lockkeeper here in the days when the canal was in commercial use.  They had a pretty little side garden bounded by a picket fence. Mrs Riley also had a hen house in this garden and there were always hens wandering around somewhere or other.

 

Behind the lockkeepers cottage was Brady’s Field. We used to play in this field; strangely enough it was one place that was not classed as out-of-bounds to us.

 

‘Mum we’re going down to Brady’s field to play.’

 

‘Ok but mind you stay away from the canal!

 

And I’ll skin you alive if I hear that you’ve been near that pipe.’

 

… personal tragedy …

Originally posted 2008-11-27 09:40:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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