May Procession 80 years ago

If you listen very carefully, you might still hear these wonderful young people singing gaily over all the decades … you know the song … why not join in ?

Bring flowers of the rarest, bring blossoms the fairest

From garden and woodland and hillside and dale

Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling

The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.


O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today

Queen of the angels and Queen of the May

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today

Queen of the angels and Queen of the May.


Sing gaily in chorus, the bright angels o’er us

Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth

Their harps are repeating, the notes of our greeting

For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.


O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today

Queen of the angels and Queen of the May

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today

Queen of the angels and Queen of the May.’




This lovely photo, donated by Patricia [Trish Gregor-Murray] who also supplied the text below,  shows a procession of some of Newry’s little people (May Day) at St Clare’s Convent about eighty years ago.


“My darling mother Maureen and her sister Josephine are shown.

They are the daughters of Joseph Cullen and Margaret Curran.


My grandfather, Joseph Cullen is the son of Peter Cullen and Margaret McArdle of 30 St Mary Street, Newry. Peter was the Clockmaker and Watchmaker.


Francis, the eldest son died at the age of 17.


 Patrick was another son  He played the piano for the ‘silent movies’ at the Frontier Cinema on John Mitchel  Place.


John, who worked with his father, carried on the watchmaking business at 30 St Mary Street, after the death of his father. He attended the Town Hall clock and the clocks at St Clare’s. Sister Louis OSC confirmed this when she showed us around the Convent, when my husband and I visited her.


On your site was listed my grandfather, Joseph Cullen and his brother John. I now know, thanks to your site, the Regiment Johnny (as he was more fondly known) was in. He walked with a limp due to the tread of a tank breaking and the tank then running over his leg.


I wonder if any or your readers would remember 30 St Mary Street with Mr Cullen the watchmaker?


The address had other connotations as some of ‘the boys’ were sneaked out the rear and off onto the river from this address!


So many stories to tell, so little time.  Johnny was in a public house one night and a bet was taken that he would not be able to take apart and put together again a large Canadian watch in a set time.


The big fellas eyes popped out when he saw one piece become so many. Sure enough, Johnny won his bet.


John Cullen died on the 6th February 1938 (Unmarried).


Joseph Cullen died 11th June 1968.


Francis Cullen died 25th September 1903.


Patrick Cullen ?? (Unmarried).’


Patricia also supplied the following:





These are on the photograph:


Mary Margaret O’Rourke (Cousin- Father: Thomas O’Rourke, Mother: Mary Ann Curran).


Maggie Woods of North Street.


Mary Catherine Holden of Church Street.


Mary and Maggie Trainor of John Mitchel Street.


Mary McCall (Had a brother Mick) of High Street.


Cora Mullen – uncle had a sweet shop in Hill Street.


Sarah McAteer of Warren Point Road.


Mora Fitzpatrick of North Street.


Miss Fitzpatrick-Teacher at Poor Clares


Sister Monica Monaghan.


Sister Mary Michael.


Sister Mary Clare (Used to sell Religious books etc..)


Sister Mary Anthony- Head of St Clares, High Street, 1930/32.


Other names remembered:


John Kelly of John Mitchel Street – Used to sell ‘penny sliders’ from his ice-cream hand cart.


Barney Cunningham of John Mitchel Street.




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