Directly behind Fearon’s cottage was St Coleman’s College with its extensive grounds and football field. This was the place of many a pitched battle between ourselves and the college boys, who objected to our rite of passage across their field.
These wars usually ended with us throwing sods, stones and other such missiles on to their football pitch. Then from the relative safety of the towpath we would stand back and jeer at them as the master made college boys clear the pitch of all the foreign objects that we had thrown.
A couple of hundred yards beyond the second lock was the back entrance to the St. Coleman’s college complex. This back entrance was a roughly surfaced lane that led up to Hickeys Lonan which would eventually take you up on to the main Armagh road.
Part way along this lane on the left hand side was another small whitewashed cottage; this was the home of the Loy family. The cottage was set back amongst the trees bordering the college grounds and always appeared to have a gloomy aspect about it. Possibly this was due to the fact that the little house faced north and the high trees in the college grounds to the back shaded this small abode from the southern sunlight.
In the laneway at the front of this cottage we again have the ubiquitous hens scampering about; poultry always appeared to be a feature of the old canal side cottages in those days.
Old Mrs Loy who lived there always wore an old black shawl and I can remember my Mother taking me down there once when I was very young, I think we were going to buy eggs or something like that from the old lady.
This lane joins the towpath to the Armagh road by way of Hickeys lonan. The man who gave his name to this lonan was William J Hickey a young man who was murdered during those troubled times in the early nineteen twenties.
The story has it that after he was taken from his lodgings by the Black and Tans, Mr Hickey’s dead and mutilated body was discovered here on this lonely lane leading to the towpath.
… towpath: the truck …