Where are they now?

It was that comment about the young debutante who genuflected before entering the stately pew in the old Florentine caf

I started reading back over the ‘Where are they now?’ lists and adjudged they all deserve to be elevated to Main Pages status before their forthcoming removal from Discussions Threads (.. ‘Nothing lasts for Long’ as Joni Mitchell sings on her supurb ‘Travelogue’ album.) 

I have retained most pseudonyms here also. I know some real identities and like to guess at others! Maybe you will enjoy that aspect too! Finally apologies to our regulars (especially those who didn’t use pseudonyms) whose names are not here included. They’re still there on the Discussion Threads!


Horst Jankowski

In the course of our walk in the Black Forest the other day, Franz Beckenbauer and I overheard some nostalgic members of the Newry diaspora asking ‘Where are they now?’

We were quick to jot down the following list:

1. The Joy Bells (Sunday evenings)
2. The Chinese Burn (Put out your hand!)
3. The lead drinking cup on a chain in the Abbey School yard (Join the queue!)
4. The Maypole & Shepherds
5. Griskins ( Anderson’s of Sugar Island)
6. Curley’s Chip Shop ( Jim Reeves on the jukebox)
7. 12 aniseed balls for a penny (18 if you’re over 60)
8. Goosegams
9. The Chapel Entry
10. Going Round The Hill (St Clare’s Convent)
11. Herrings Alive! ( Bring out your plates)
12. When your lunch was called your ‘piece’
13. Sleeping suits ( What a superfluous crease in the trousers!)
14. Fly papers (The last public hanging in Newry)
15. The Holy Family Confraternity ( ‘Happy We Who Thus United join in cheerful melody’)
16. The men’s aisle and the women’s aisle in churches
17. The Rag Store (Monaghan Street)
18. The Mascot Annual Christmas Dance ( Even money you win the draw!)
19. The Back of The Dam
20. The Frontier, The Savoy and The Imperial
21. Pledge Pins & Fainnes ( What a laugh a minute they were!)
22. Bread poultices (Put out your leg!)
23. The two shilling selection box for Christmas (Join Our Christmas Club)
24. Sunday Nights at the Parochial Hall

(“Do you fancy a mineral?”-  “Would that be an occasion of sin?”)
25. Eye patches on spectacles ( “You have a lazy eye!”)
26. Ear muffs (“You have a lazy ear!”)


Meanwhile back in the Black Forest, the Newry exiles were reminiscing at such a speed that Beckenbauer and I had to resort to shorthand to keep up with them:

27. People who poured their tea from cup to saucer ‘to cool it’
28. Martin, Nesbitt and Irwin (Newry Town‘s half-back line?)
29. Mystery tours (Three times round the Big Clock with the blinds down)
30. Black diamond patches on sleeves when a close relative died
31. ‘Offerings’ at funerals
32. Awnings outside shops (“We’ll stand in here outta the rain”)
33. Fried Christmas pudding (Close your eyes and you’re a child again)
34. “Dear Santa, please bring me a gun and ‘pooch’ and a packet of caps.”
35. Magnifiers strapped to 12 inch televisions (What next? Lucozade wrappers for colour?)
36. Ronson Variflame lighters (A dragon blast of eyebrow-singeing flame)
37. Dobbin for football foots and ‘tube-and-covers’
38. Black-shawled grandmothers
39. Fathers giving children a ‘spin on the pedal’ of their Raleigh three-speed bicycles
40. The white National Dried Milk tin with the navy blue writing

41. A spoonful of malt in the mornings / cod liver oil / concentrated orange juice
42. A spin on the Monaghan street railway gates
43. Radio Luxembourg (“208 – Your station of the stars”)
44. The pig market in Needham Street (Where I first heard an auctioneer in full verbal flow)
45. People with mottled legs (“Sit well back from the fire!”)
46. Sukie Sunkap Orange (“What was IT made from?”)
47. Navy and fawn duffel coats (Some people are still wearing the originals!)
48. ‘Fawn’ – Now there’s a word you seldom hear these days ….
49. People who wore plastic bags on their heads when it rained
50. A peerless pint of Bass in Tommy Casey’s (Well worth waiting for)
51. Seven O’Clock blades
52. Paris Buns, life-size Wagon Wheels, Snowballs and ‘Slim’
53. Marbles: waterloos, taws, glassies and wee dingers. (“Where did they all go?”)
54. Marble talk 1 (“Knuckle your trig and shoot like a pig!”)
55. Marble talk 2 (“Back slappins doesn’t count. There’s no back in a marley!”)
56. The breadcrumbed skating rink outside McCann’s Bakery when it rained
57. ‘Upstairs model’ bicycles (“Mister, your back wheel’s catching up on your front one!”)

And finally, exam results ….
What a change from today’s 10 A stars, 2 A’s and a B.
Back then, a gardener needed one ‘hoe level’, a farmer … one ‘hay level’,
and a joiner … ‘one spirit level’.




The smell of Mansion polish.. Blue bag in the washing.. The Newry Telegraph.. The Frontier Sentinel.. the Sun and The Comet comics.. Radio Fun.. Film Fun.. mothballs in the wardrobe.. Crookes Halibut Oil capsules.. scones made on the griddle on the range.. Guinness XXX.. Monk Ale.. Radio Eireann before school (Whelahan’s of Finglas, Gael Linn, The Walton programme (“The Songs our fathers loved’)..Jimmy O’Dea (‘Hands across the border’).. (O)Callaghans hardware shop with the earth floor.. Timoney’s ice-cream in Canal Street.


Getting paid (peanuts) for gathering raspberries out past Savilbeg on the Rathfriland Road…the first day in LONG TROUSERS (how embarrassing) at about 12 years old.. dark blue jeans with a GIGANTIC turn-up, all light blue around the ankles.. the old round-pin electric plugs.. and before that.. GASLIGHT in the house with delicate mantles and a constant hissing noise.. the aunt outside Newry whose light was a Tilley Lamp with methylated spirit… Friar’s Balsam in boiling water with a towel over your head when you were chesty (and Vick rub on your chest)… Minnie Kennedy’s ring blessed by the Pope for curing a stye (nobody seems to get them now, but I can guarantee that it worked!)… impaling a snail on a thorn and burying it to cure warts (ditto – don’t ask!).. Lion ointment for whitlows… squeezing boils (‘biles’) with a Yale Key (hole over the head of the boil) – YUK!)… nettle soup when times were especially hard… ironing stains out of clothes with a sheet of brown wrapping paper… sheets from flour-bags.. a fine comb for nits (and apparently the latest research shows that that’s more effective than chemicals!)… little sachets of shampoos like ‘Vosene’.. using a bit of bread as a rubber for pencil writing ..Cardinal Red tile polish…Cherry Blossom shoe polish (can you still get it?).. NHS orange juice… singlets!…. scrubbing half-moons on the footpad outside the Big Door…


Aaah! It all comes back… down the Big Slide on a flattened cardboard box.. burning the ‘banks’ (accidentally, of course).. and don’t forget the other big water-hole the GREEN Motion.. and up the Bullet Road to the Nutwood.. and didn’t Valerie Hooks father have a High Street shop up by the corner with Church Street?.. and The Rock and Jones’s fields (with the tempting orchard 🙂




Trays of day-old chicks twittering loudly as they were loaded on the green UTA bus to Belfast at the depot beside Woolworths.


A penny worth of Brandy Balls served in a newspaper cone in Jimmy O’Callaghan’s grocery/confectionery in Market Street. The brown shopcoats and the smell of tea and onions blended, the Cardboard Parrot coated with DDT that killed flies in the same shop, girls with their hair in curlers, women with “turban” headscarves. The elegant pews in the “Florentine” cafe where one young debutante thoughtlessly genuflected to loud cheers from the assembled young bloods…. the tailor in Gallagher’s shop window, North Street


a)”Flingers”, primitive frisbies made from lollipop sticks.
Normally there were five lollipop sticks held together by their own tension, but you could make “six-stickers” or even “4-stickers.” Some referred to them as “boomerangs” but they seldom came back of their own volition.
(b) “flying saucers”, the silver caps of milk bottles which could be carefully removed from the bottle and washed free of cream. By holding the rim firmly between first and second fingers and briskly “ficking” them , they could be made to describe graceful trajectories.

(c) “Pixies” , knitted helmets for girls with a phallic projection at the back of the head.

(d) Corduroy “jerkins” with zip fasteners for boys.

(e) Advertisements for “Aer Lingus” on Michael Coyle’s coal delivery cart.

And various


And what about “Knifey-knifey” at great risk to your feet?


Anybody remember playing “Jacks” with 5 wee stones?


Does anyone remember playing with a Hoop. This was a single bicycle wheel propelled and steered along the street using a piece of stick.


Yes. Still got a scar on my right cheek just on the cheekbone where I tripped and hit the wheel rim. Wish I’d used a hula-hoop.


what about this one – getting a wash at the jar tub (sink)


Wasn’t that a ‘jaw box’, Sandra?

Cloaky: You didn’t mention paper planes. What an art! Some with a tail and wings, made with new A4 page: some of the jet type. The former, if thrown with index finger along the top, thumb and second finger beneath, would describe several most graceful loops before making a perfect descent and landing!! I still make them for the grandchildren, who crush them immediately. Another lost art??


Marble Talk 3.  ‘Fuggy Annie Dowdle in the Wee Town Hall’.
I haven’t a clue what it means but we used it a lot along with ‘Knuckle your trig and shoot like a pig’.


Here are a few more:
The Bucket (fancy a dance)
The Flo (see you in there for a coke)
The Satellite (where we ate the greasiest chips in the world)
Spricks (how many did you catch)
Guest Teas (whose table are you sitting at)
1 p Dainty (chewing for ages)
C& C Drinks (which flavour was best)
1/- worth of cream from The Shelbourne


Black Jacks.. sherbet powder with liquorice ‘straws’.. liquorice ‘laces’.. gob stoppers.. Five Boys chocolate.. Cadbury’s Chocolate Splendid.. Lemmon’s sweets.. Sloane’s liniment..toffee apples.. Inglis (?)penny biscuits.. the watering trough in Trevor Hill.. the Big Clock!.. the ‘Golden Teapot’ teapot!


Ball bearing carts – looking for spare timber at Fisher’s to make them.
Parochial Hall and Town Hall dances on Friday nights.
Marbles and conkers.
The ghost at the Abbey School!


Bag of broken biscuits from Woolies.
Liquorice pipes.
Brandyball sweets.
Clove Rock sweets.
Treacle Apples.
The watering trough at River Street.
Door to door collection of refuse to feed farm animals.
Rope around the trees for swings.
Round pink bubble-gum.
 1. The Milkman coming to your Street selling
Buttermilk by the jugs. (I hated the stuff)
2. Tommy Byrne with his Tricycle operated ‘Ice Cream
3. The Mineral Man selling various flavours of Pop,
usually six were purchased much cheaper than from the
4. The Breadmens Vans daily deliveries. (Arthur Mc Cann,
Bernard Hughes and Sam Warwick.
5. ‘Big Chief’ white sliced pan bread.

Sliding down High St rocks on piece of cardboard.
Pocket money from selling sticks round doors for firelighters.
The rent man calling every Friday night.
Tin bath in front of fire on Sat evenings.
 1.collecting blackberries and bringing them to Gavigans.Benny Connor once took out his uncles seven cutthroat razors and we used them to cut the berries off the bush
2. School ceilis in the Parochial Hall with John Murphy and a young Susan Mc Cann
3. The bus to the Adelphi in Dundalk on Sunday nights.
4. Carnival tents in Camlough, Mayobridge, and other places.
5. Dances in the Osbourne in the Point
6. Rockview Rangers and Barney Fitzpatrick
7. Hot orange in the Florintine

Whitening for gutties (powder storm as you walked)
Creamola Foam (add to water for a flavoured drink)
Standing on Dublin Bridge as the train went past (black faces and coke in your eyes)
Swinging on the structure of Dublin Bridge.(great fun)
Hanging onto the back of the milk lorry for a spin (let go at the right moment)
Throwing duckies into the tide to retrieve the ball (the game must go on)
Walking on the glar in the tide if the duckies didn’t do the job (the game had to go on)
 White dog turds on the street?

When an ‘impertinent brat’ got a ‘cuff on the lugs’.
 Or a “box on the jaw”

. or got the face ate off him (especially if he had a bad eye in his head)…
 Or… You’ll laugh the other side of yer face;

Or… I’ll draw the back of ma hand across yer face;

Or… When one of your mates was eating an apple and you wanted him to share it with with you;
“Leave us yer root”.


.. or got the face ate off him (especially if he had a bad eye in his head)…


I’ll bet you know more…………………






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