John McCullagh May 4, 2005
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The Newry General Holiday was held in the past in September and the various transport services ran cheap excursions to other towns and cities. One of the most popular was the Great Northern Railway Special to Dublin.

This journey required two trains: the first was the local Newry to Belfast train which stopped a few miles north of the town at Goraghwood. Those travelling to Dublin disembarked and changed to the Dublin train travelling g in the opposite direction. This was reversed on the return leg. Families saved for months in little money clubs to cover the costs of this trip.

My sister and I were accompanied by my mother and aunts Cassie and Josephine on one such trip. We had a great day out with lunch at Clearys and shopping galore.

All went well until the return leg. In September it grows dark around eight o’clock, the time we were due to travel home. Blackout conditions applied and although the train was lighted, the stations were dark once we crossed the border. It was impossible to see out. However my mother spotted several Newry people in carriages further up the train. We decided to wait until they made a go.

 Before we knew it the porter was shouting,

Belfast. Terminus. All out!’

We had missed our stop! Several families spent the night in the GNR waiting room, returning next morning with the milk, to the obvious relief of waiting relatives who had no idea what had happened.

 I left home on 2 October 1954 and sailed away to England to begin a nursing career with my friend Irene.  I met my future husband in the local church on 4 October. But that’s another story!!

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