John McCullagh May 18, 2004
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We have basked in summer temperatures for weeks, strolled the canal banks admiring the cherry blossom, and now the hawthorn is in full bloom.  Let’s share Carmel’s reminiscences!

‘Yesterday I walked an English lane.  The cloudless blue sky nestled contentedly atop the green hill.  The cows chewed the cud. The birds sang.  The hedgerows were blanketed in hawthorn – how I wish I could bottle that scent – and the poppies wore their best frocks and danced flamenco in the breeze.  Idyllic.  And yet, and yet………..how I wished I walked an Irish lane.

A Newry lane, byway, hill or field. The choice was endless in those far off days when I rambled with my Dad. Regardless of weather, Sunday was our walking day.  Come hail, rain, snow or sunshine, dressed appropriately, we’d set out.  Our “together” day, my hand in his and my young legs striving to match his purposeful strides.

The Bessbrook tramline was a favourite walk, with me attempting to jump from sleeper to sleeper while keeping eyes and ears alert for the sight or sound of an oncoming tram.

The Camlough road and the three blind fields.  Why were those fields known as blind fields?  As a child I accepted the name and didn’t question.  There we’d gather watercress from the brooks and streams and if feeling peckish, a snack of “bread and cheese” from the hedgerow would suffice.

The Fathom Line at the outset appeared endless but always there was the hope of sighting a boat or ship with cargoes of coal or oil or other essentials.  And of course we never walked the Fathom Line without an empty bottle!  As I recall, about half way along there was a barrel into which splashed spring water…….pure nectar…… and always so very welcome on a hot summer day.  Sometimes the promise of a drink from that spring was the only incentive my young legs needed to continue the walk.

The Warrenpoint road with its greyhound stadium and gypsy encampment and much further along, Narrow Water with its castle and bluebell wood.

The Rathfriland road with its ash grove and the hospital where I was born.’

So many walks!  So many miles!  So many happy memories!                                                                        


 

 

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