T’as Murphy and the donkey

One of the town’s great characters, T’as Murphy of Dromalane has agreed to share a few reminiscences on Journal with us. We are honoured.

‘We used to have a wee house up by Derrybeg. Ach, well before the estate was built. Sure, it’s before Dromalane itself was built, for I’ve lived there since 1950, when that estate was built. Indeed I’m in the same house today with my wife Kathleen and my boys – men really, now. Some boys!

Anyway I was talking about before. My mother didn’t like that oul house: we had to go to the well for water. But that’s a different story. I’ll tell you that another time!

It was of the coal I wanted to talk. We had to make a regular journey into town to buy the coal.

No deliveries, them days! First we had to borrow Mulligan’s donkey and cart. The fun began there. He was an awkward oul bast**d, that donkey. Never wanted to be caught. We’d make a circle round him but he’d escape. We used carrots, sticks, everything. Eventually we got him cornered and hitched to the cart. Then we headed off to town.

Peter was driving – holding the reins and me and Dermot were beside him. We could go to McKinstrey’s Yard or Lockington’s Yard. That day it was Lockington’s. Trouble was, they had no coal. There was a coal boat in the docks. We could get what we wanted there. Trouble was, that was across the bridge: in those days, it was a wee wooden bridge at the bottom of Bridge Street.

Would that donkey cross that wooden bridge? Would he, hell!

… more later …

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