The Laundry Van: In the days before washing powder, automatic driers and washing machines in the home, people resorted to ‘steam laundries’ or ‘home laundries’ especially for such large items as blankets and bed linen. There was more demand for them in winter, when drying at home was impossible. The van would collect the soiled items and the laundry list and return then cleaned and ironed items several days later.
Allotments: These were strips of fertile soil on the edge of town where families who lived in ‘entries’ in town could grow some fresh vegetables to supplement their meagre diet. At Monaghan Street, the town ended one hundred yards above our home – the Town Dump was on Rooney’s Meadow where Clanrye Avenue is today, and across the way and fifty yards further on the Camlough Road side, where there are now pensioners’ dwellings were our ‘allotments’. They were known as The Plaits (either a local pronunciation of ‘The Plots’ or a reference to the shape of the cultivated landscape as tilled land dipped towards the river!).
Corr’s Field: This ran from The Pighall Loanan (at the other side of The Plaits) up towards Derrybeg Villas and was very steep where it abutted the Camlough Road. It could not easily be cultivated and only occasionally had cattle grazing. This lent it to us as a play and adventure area (the steep bank was overgrown with bushes and briars where ‘catapults’ could be harvested by our brothers) where we could play in the Derrybeg river that ran through it. At Easter time it was overrun with Newry families coming to roll their gaily-painted hard-boiled eggs and have a picnic.
Excursion Trains: As well as grand occasions like the Newry General Holiday and the Fifteenth of August, we have weekly excursion trains to Butlin’s. It was often the only holiday people could afford and some families could not even afford that!
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