Armagh Road Quarry

Landfill in abandoned quarries has been the favoured method of waste disposal about here for generations. What few abandoned granite quarries that remain are too small and indeed are now being further excavated so that housing can be built there – witness the permanent ‘woodpecker’ drilling beyond Quinn Bennett’s former home on Barley Lane, for example.

I wanted to tell you about the filling, two generations ago, of the former quarry facing Taylor‘s Loanan on the Armagh Road.

Got you there, didn’t I?  The road down to St Joseph‘s School.. where Colum Gilmore has his car-repair business. Tommy Taylor kept thirty or forty milking cows in the fields there. Indeed he also had the fields across the road and above the Brickey Loanan (ah come on!  You know where THAT is!!) where Violet Hill Avenue/Mountain View Drive and Clonmore are today. And across from that where the Nylon Factory was built.

Tommy was a Protestant and used to give the use of his fields for the Twelfth. They were more relaxed times and the people of Linenhall Square would sit on window-sills and watch the marchers pass by in the morning. Then some of the lads would go up to The Field and slip under the Marquee where the refreshments would be stored in crates. Indeed they were known occasionally to ‘borrow’ one or two bottles of lemonade.

O K!  We’re getting there!!

Facing Taylor‘s Loanan there is still a row of ‘gentry’ houses – my friend Jennifer Malone lives up near the end, closest to the Brickey. Lockingtons coal merchants also built a home up there. Much to the annoyance of the residents of old – and among those were the Hosfords of the Monaghan Street garage – the Town Dump was later located there. Indeed the new houses behind Jennifers – where Mickey Reilly, Diane and the girls live; can’t think of the name – are built on the site of that dump. Now, the Quarry in question was behind that again and between the Armagh Road and Rooney’s Meadow. The land today is owned by Micky McGovern.

To continue with the story……………

There was a lane leading the 150 yards back from the road to the top of the quarry. And many businesses used the ‘hole’ in which to dump their unwanted refuse. In particular, Haldanes (Hallidine’s, as often referred to by less-pernickety townspeople of old) building suppliers.

Among the ‘porters’ – ‘hauliers’ in today’s spake – were two big strong lads, Paddy Jennings (father of the Pat you know) and Pat Keenan and they used big, strong Clydesdale horses to draw their carts full of sticks, shaving and sawdust. These contents would be tipped from the top into the quarry.

Young adventurers (as young as eight to ten years) would venture up the few hundred yards from Linenhall Square to the quarry. Looking down, all they could see – 10-30 feet below them – was a sloping pile of soft, sweet-smelling sawdust – an invitation too good to miss. One by one they would leap into space and toboggan on their rears to the bottom. It became the favourite summer sport. Though that pile was clearly interspersed with sharp shards, no serious injury is remembered!

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