Hellos, Cheerios…………. and in between – a myriad of salutations, warmest of welcomes, generosity of hospitality, people, weather and scenery.
All of this provided the recipe for one recent wonderful week back home in Newry and
The main purpose of my trip was to meet with other Newry folk, who, like me now live away from their beloved home: a group of people who, until a few short weeks ago had never met – apart from chatting on the WEB – and who fell easily into each other’s company like life-long friends. But then isn’t that just one of the attributes of Irish folk in general and Newry folk in particular? The craic was mighty and memorable. Souls and brains were searched, prodded and probed into remembrance and the nights were long! And to say that the grape, the grain and the "black stuff" flowed…would be the understatement of the year to date! I think I can safely say that a good time was enjoyed by one and all! I shall resist commenting further on the antics of Sally, Pauline (ex.Mayor of Newry), Jenny, Sandra, Dan, Jim, Eileen and Richard.
As for myself………my days were full of visiting family, friends, acquaintances old and new and re-visiting the scenes of my youth. I was sumptuously wined and dined and marvelled at how sophisticated the Co. Down of my memories had become! Time marches on and progress paves the way.
One wonderful afternoon was spent at a Folk Session at Fiddlers Green, Rostrevor, in the company of the editor of this fine Journal, his sister and niece and my friend Jenny O’Hanlon, who was visiting from
And now I have a yen to play guitar! I even managed my first lesson on that instrument before leaving Newry – courtesy of one Peter MacAnulty. Many thanks, Peter! If it should be that it is the only lesson I ever have – I shall remember it well!
Another abiding memory is of being a member of the Newry Journal Quiz Team and participating in a quiz to raise funds for Concern……..and winning! Well done the two Johns, Mary, Flo, Sally, Pauline, Richard etc. Apologies if I have neglected to name anyone!
And so the week went speedily by and too soon it was time to leave. As I packed my luggage I pondered on my Newry of now and my Newry of many years ago.
Yes – streets and buildings that were familiar to me have been reduced to dust and new roads, shops and housing estates have emerged. But people make a place – not bricks and concrete. And the people of Newry are as warm and welcoming as ever.
For me, the best of Newry is in my head and heart.
And so…….it’s "Cheerio now – until the next time".