John McCullagh January 5, 2006

I thought I’d begin a series on ‘Hidden Newry’. Our first item couldn’t be more conspicuous! I guess I’ve passed by the house below ten thousand times without paying the slightest bit of attention. You must say where it is. First, a story!

You may have believed that the practice of imposing financial sanctions – or offering rewards – depending on whether a construction job was finished before or after schedule, was new. Not at all.

This house was constructed way back in the 1920s. As soon as construction was complete then, it was common practice to fly a flag from the chimney, to indicate that it was ahead of schedule and that the workers engaged on the project were entitled to some financial reward.

There was a small problem. No flag could be found! My mate’s father (to remain temporarily anonymous!) was a tradesman there. He knew where he could ‘borrow’ a flag. He returned not more than a few minutes later and hoisted the flag on the chimney.

There was considerable unease among his workmates. Not all were happy to stand beneath the fluttering Union Flag! The donor was a local Orangeman of his acquaintance!

However, the magic soon worked. The owner spotted the flag, knew its significance and ponied up a crisp

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