Street Where We Lived

SELDOM has one small street produced such a diversity of talent, as that sleepy little enclave, Mary Street in Newry, now virtually a shopping precinct, thronged with traffic.

From those 22 terraced houses, sandwiched between the Variety Market and the Clanrye River, has emerged a plethora of politicians, priests, business and professional people, as well as a host of tradesmen.

Fathers Teave Carroll and Gerard McKenna, M.|P. for South Down, Michael Keogh, Councillors Gerry Mulholland, Owen McKevitt and Gerry Mulholland; business leaders, Liam O’Reilly and Hugh McCabe; chemist Felix McNally; Manager of McCann’s Bakery Frank O’Hare: School Principal, Malachy Delahunt, along with journalists Rowan Hand, Fabian Boyle and Hugh McKeown.

Tragedy struck two former residents recently, with the loss of their husbands. Teacher Kathleen Delahunt was bereaved by the death of retired Garda, Kevin Harrington at their home in Ravesdale.

And Dympna Lundy’s husband, Des O’Hagan has died at their Carrivemaclone home, less than a year since her son, Barry, was killed in a road accident. Her brother, Jackie, is seriously ill in the United States, where he has lived for the past 4O years.

But there was good news with the brief holiday at home of Father Teave Carroll, based at the Westminister Archdiocese since his ordination, 25 years ago. He has just concluded an evangelical mission to Korea and the United States.

Recalling those halcyon days of youth, he described playing football on the street every Sunday morning with Eric Anderson, Francie and Hugh McKenna, Felix McNally, Gerry and Jackie Devlin, Fabian Boyle, Edmund and Noel O’Hare, Paschal Kearney, Joe Donnelly, Don Hillen’ Michael and Peter Colgan.

Playing “pirates” among the skeleton stalls of the deserted market, they would swing along the wooden beams from stall to stall; have games of cricket or rounders in the Potato Market against the O’Hare’s from Courtney Hill; or “wars” against the lads from George’s lane, including the Markeys, with stones or wooden swords made from orange-boxes.

However, he stressed that they never got involved in battles with the High Street or Bridge Street Gangs, who were superior in numbers!

The elevated weigh-bridge in the Potato Market provided a stage, where the future Scoutmaster would produce and direct plays involving the local youth.

But it was not just the lads, who had all the fun. Mavis McKeown, now Mrs Billy Little, pointed out that the girls, including Bridie McCabe and Eileen McCabe, Mona Kearney, Madge Boyle, Susannah Cunningham, Marie Keighery, Astrid and Iris Hillen, Kathleen Devlin and Marie Heaney would play hop-skotch or swing on ropes around the poles.

There were also Dolly Turley, Kerry Bradley, Molly and Sheila Murray, Anne Brady, Kitty Reilly, Teresa Colgan and Patsy McKenna.

Mavis’ father, Hugh McKeown, an historian on the Port of Newry, sold electrical goods in the Market. And she referred to Hector, operating from the back of a lorry, who would try to beguile the housewives to take up his “bargains.” Also the debonair Geordie McGivern, with a trilby hat, and his patter about the fresh herrings.

She has three sisters, Josephine, wife of Hugh Loughran, - they live in Canada; Stella, who was married to the late Cecil Stephens, and Ursula, as well as a brother, Hugh, who was a journalist with the Irish Independent, but died some years ago.

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© Fabian Boyle 2001-2008