Derrybeg Drive People

Any list of residents is a mere snapshot in time.  Some became long-term residents – indeed a few homes are still held by the original tenants, or children or grandchildren of the first tenants. 

Steven O’Connor returns home from St Patrick’s School to Derrybeg Drive

Inevitably there are errors in the list to follow, but the intention is good.

What follows is a few personal recollections of the good people who made up (some of) the original families who occupied Derrybeg Drive in Rooney’s Meadow.


Elsewhere here we have quoted from the Frontier Sentinel of 1947. The proprietor of that newspaper was Max Keogh who became MP for South Down. He was – with his family – awarded the first house in Derrybeg Drive. Among his family was Michael, who attended the Abbey Grammar with your editor and whose photo in the Senior Debating Team appears elsewhere on these pages. I believe he (the son) is a barrister today and lives in Rostrevor.

The list, though chronological, alternates between left and right hand side of the road. Facing Keoghs was Anthony Magennis who one-time worked in McParlands in Monaghan Street. Richard Lynas was number three and across at four was the family of Felix McGuigan, whose widow still resides here.  Brendan and Felix are both teachers and their only sister works in the Credit Union.

Louis Grant was next and this family now reside, I am told, at number 1 Orior Road. Bronagh was our contemporary. Peter Keeley (of the Paint Shop on Hill Street) passed away very recently. His children included Peter, Tommy, Jim, Noel and a girl. At 8, on the left-hand side as you enter Derrybeg Drive was Columbus Mathers where Barry Mathers still lives. Jackie O’Hare of 10 later moved to 3 Iveagh Crescent. Peter Mooney of 11 – father of Joan and Father Oliver, later moved to Clanrye Avenue. 

Just up the street at 12 was carpenter Patsy Fee whose daughter Mary is married to John McCaul. There was another girl who married Danny Baxenden and a boy Tony. Michael Madden was next door and his son Leo was a friend. In fact Leo was elected Chairman of Portsmouth Council. His sister Margaret lives now in Monk’s Hill. 

Thomas Chambers at 14 had children Gerry, Colum, Deborah, Denise and Grainne. John McKeown of 15 had children Jackie, Emmanuel, Gary, Peader, Francis, Jacqueline, Rowan, Kathleen and Paula. At 16 William Greer gave way to McAnultys. At 17, listed as Ed O’Brien was later the Morgans (Gerry of ‘Whiskey’ fame). Hugh McAleavey’s son has a shop on St Mary’s Street. 

Patrick McEvoy reared a large family at 20, including Peader, Owen, Joe, Micheal (RIP) Leontia and Anna.   Among the children of Patrick Hanratty were our mates P J and Seamus and their sister Leechie. 

Michael Mallon’s was the house next to the loanan. His children included Mary, Leontia, Tress, Michael, Tony and Gerard. The other side of the loanan was the children of Joe and Bridie Kavanagh,  Pat and his sisters Carole, Aine and Siobhan.

John Fearon of 26 (the house previously occupied by Edwin Harding) was one of the best-known characters in Newry. His children included John, Colum, Geraldine, Cora and Carole. 

John McElherron had originally the house we came to know as the Rocks’s.   Brian, Maura, Rhoda, Bobby and Kathleen Rocks were our friends. 

Across the road again, Patrick Campbell had a son Gene and a daughter who later married Eugene McQuaid of Damolly, where she still lives today.  James McAlinden of 29 had a son Brian.  Patrick Kinney (30) had a son Kieran who married Eleanor.  Their son Keith is married to Sinead (Donaghy).  The McCrums of 31 had Eamon, Terry, Liam, Finnona, Deirdre and Martin.    David Linden had children David, Jean, Lily and George.  Thomas Reilly, the barber had twin girls Mary and Kathleen.   N McCaul is listed at 34 Derrybeg Drive, more familiarly known as Gerry McDonalds.   Rames McGuigan raised a large family at 35. 

William Russell worked on the railroad.  William McKevitt’s children included John and Kathleen.  38 Derrybeg Drive at various times played host to William McCaul, the Lennons, Cunninghams, Ann and Malachy Mathers and (now) Wilbur Lundy.  The Bradleys were one time at 39 where the listed resident is Michael Murray.  Among Thomas McCabe’s children were Tony and Janice.   Of Daniel Coffey’s children we remember especially Eugene and Desmond.  At one time Rowan and Ignatius Hand lived at 48 where here is listed William Crockett. 

Tommy Reilly was father of Tom, who taught in St Mark’s, Kathy and Ann who married P J McCann.  Damien Quinn (our correspondent) one-time resided where Hannas live today and where Samuel Patton is listed.   Michael Linnie, who had Michael, Kevin and Patricia lived at 55 where Robert Moorehead is listed.  The McEvoys also once lived at 59 where William O’Hare is listed – now the home of Peter and Phyllie McCann.  Eddie Ruddy, the whistler, father of Peter, Christopher etc and who since has lived in Ballinlare Gardens, lived in what today is Ann Carragher’s house.  Sheila Fearon is listed in # 61 which is now, this long time, the home of Connollys.  The Mathers now live at 63 which was listed as the house of Charles McGivern.   Finally the last house of Derrybeg Drive – today the home of Damien McElherron and until recently that of Sadie Boyle, was then in the possession of Hugh McMillan.


Where is that full list of Derrybeg Drive residents to which I refer?

Have you no patience? 

I will publish that tomorrow.  Or Saturday ……

No need to hurry!!


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