Abbey Street Businesses recalled with James Reddiough

The recent passing of Andy Forde prompted the scribe to reflect on the commercial life of Abbey Street in bygone decades.  Andy of course had a lovely grocer shop and deli in the centre of the street and it was always full.  He would always be dressed in the white coat and blue apron and […]

Abbey Street Businesses revisited.

Recently this columnist wrote an account of the businesses in Abbey Street and Joe Langan of the Men’s Shed in Ballina spoke to me about it and he offered to give me a fuller account of the many businesses that were in Ardnaree during his childhood in the 1950’s.  What passed was a delightful morning […]

Dr. John Crowley – the first TD for North Mayo recalled.

Dr Crowley was a Medical Officer in Ballycastle for 33 years and is buried in Doonfeeney cemetery with the remains of his son, Finbar, who died at the age of three and a half years.  Dr. Crowley played a leading part in the fight for independence in north Mayo and Cork also and took his […]

Tadgh O’ Leary – his Life and Times 1879 – 1959

He was born in Lehid,  Ardea on the Kenmare Peninsula in South Kerry in 1879.   He attended De La Salle College in Waterford and qualified as a teacher studying from 1899 to 1901.  He undertook a further course of study during the time he was a teacher in 1912 – 1913 and was awarded […]

Oatlands House and the RIC

Oatlands House was built in 1859 by Charles Downing a Justice of the Peace who bought the O Dowda Estate in 1854 after it was declared bankrupt under the Encumbered Estates Act of 1849.  Downing also built Bonniconlon Lodge and he was ejected from the village by the Land League in December 1880 and then […]

The Passing of Big Tom – A Tribute by James Reddiough

The world of Irish Country Music was under a deep shadow this week at the passing of Big Tom McBride. The Mainliners and he played together from 1963 to 1975 and when they broke up in May 1975 the very successful band made front page headlines on the Evening Press. By 1989 the Mainliners had […]

The Night Big Tom Came to Town

Last October’s Late Late with Ryan Tubridy must have brought back memories for many of the country and Irish days that are now making another comeback. Who better to personify those days than Big Tom Mc Bride from Castleblayney and what a reception he received when he appeared at the end of the show a […]

The Days in the Bog are Numbered

By 2030 the turf machines will no longer harvest turf or peat to burn in power generating plants so the news tells us. Turf was important during the war the Turf Board was established as a semi state during the 1930’s and later renamed Bord na Mona in 1946. Turf was the main form of […]

1916 and the Decade of Commemoration

A special decade of commemoration has been organised by government.  It is a decade of centenaries that is there to remember the historic events that influenced Ireland from 1912 to 1923 and it is already underway.  The highlights for this year are the Rising and the Battle of the Somme to recognise the different traditions […]

The Wakes of Yesteryear

My mother tells of how when they were young they would go to the dance in the local hall and on the way home they would go to the nearest wake house to keep the family company until day break and then head off home.  We have become accustomed to the strictly private notices on […]

The United Irish League in Mayo

The United Irish League was founded on the 23rd January 1898 after a public meeting at the Octagon Westport, by William O’ Brien MP.  A broad range of nationalists was present.  The League pledged to show reverence for the ideals of the men of 1798 to provide poor relief to alleviate distress, to deal with […]

Bob Briscoe and the Struggle for Freedom

Robert Briscoe was born in Dublin in September 1894 to Jewish Lithuanian parents and it is believed that the family name could have been Cherrick in Lithuania.  His father was a self – made man who had a number of jobs and ventures until he owned a business and was the owner of a furniture […]

An Meitheal – ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine le Seamas Reddiough

Fadó, bhiodh na daoine ag teacht le chéile chun cabhair a thabhairt dá chéile chun obair na feirme a dhéanamh.  Meitheal an tainm a bhiodh ar na grúpaí oibre seo.  Anois agus an samhradh linn is fiú smaoineamh ar na grúpai seo agus an craic agus an ceol a bhain leo sna blianta atá imithe […]

Gene Stuart – A Country Star who held Mayo dear

The world of Irish country music was greatly saddened by the news of the death of Gene Stuart from Killeeshill, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone on the 11th February 2016 at his home after battling with cancer.  As one who loved the music of Gene and met him a few times it was indeed tragic news. There […]

An Seanchas Cois Tine fadó le Seamas Reddiough

Is iomai oiche a chaithfidis cois tine sa teaglach ag caint agus ag seanchas ar feadh an tráthnoóna. Tá mo mhameo básaithe agus imithe ar shllí na fírinne le breis is seacht mbliana ach tá an scéalaíocht fós I m’ aigne. I gcónaí bhiodh slua mór daoine ar chuairt sa teach seo againne agus bhi […]

An Ghaeilge mar a Bhi Le Séamas Reddiough

Bearfaidh mé neart ama agat nó duit. I will give you plenty of time An muitheann tú mé? Do you hear me? Seo, beo, tioc. Come here to call an animal Ni thig liom I cannot Tá mo sháith agam anois ni iosfaidh mé nios mó I have enough will not any more An bhfuil […]

Bonniconlon’s Ballroom Boom

Martin Judge built The Grove in 1950 and the first dance was on the 20th May 1951, with Jack Ruane and His Band and the admission was 5s. Martin Judge bought the site for The Grove from the Loftus family who had a house there in earlier years. The sale was completed in 1952. There […]

Remembering Alfie Calleary of the revolutionary Generation

Alfie Calleary was born in Killala on the 3rd October 1895.  He attended secondary school in St. Muredach’s College, Ballina and graduated from University College Galway with a BE in 1916 where he was a Volunteer in the University Battalion of the Irish Volunteers.  He set up as civil engineering business in Pearse Street Ballina […]

Taking to the fields and hills in Summer time by James Reddiough

The Aeriocht is not something of which we hear much today – they were held under the auspices of the Gaelic League in the outdoors and they were the same content and format as the Feis which came along later. They were held from the early 1900’s onwards until the 1950’s and 1960’s. dating back […]

Down all my Dublin Days a memoir of the fair City by James Reddiough

On the occasion of the Junior All Ireland Football Final I took the opportunity to visit a part of Dublin that I lived in some years back. That is Cabra and Phibsborough and the area around Dublin 7 where I used to board when I worked in Camdem Street in Dublin 2 during the mid […]

The Bonniconlon Man who became Superintendent of Dail Eireann by James Reddiough

Thomas Loftus was born in the townland of Knockroe, Bonniconlon, Ballina, Co. Mayo on 19 September 1894 to John Loftus and Bridget Loftus (nee Gallagher). They had a small farm there.  A Company of the Irish volunteers was formed in Bonniconlon in March 1917 and a Sinn Fein club was founded around the same time. […]

Mayo Fans always loyal to John Glen by James Reddiough

John Glen has been in Mayo recently in the past few months – he played the Hall in Glenamoy with Pat McKenna in December 2016 and the Hideout Lounge in Foxford in February 2017 and both nights were enjoyed by his loyal fans form this county and neighbouring counties of Sligo and Roscommon who remember […]

Judging Ernie O’ Malley and the Republican legacy in the Modern Age by James Reddiough

It was my great privilege a few years back to meet the son of Ernie O’ Malley in the Grainne Uaile Newport at a lecture on his father entitled Fighting against the Pale and at this lecture a controversial point was brought up if O’ Malley was such a staunch Republican why did he accept […]

Dr. Kathleen Lynn and her legacy to the Medical Profession by James Reddiough

Doctor Kathleen Lynn was born in Mullafarry Killala Near Ballina in north Mayo in January 1874 to a well off Church of Ireland family and yet she would devote much of her life and career to the poor and advances in medicine for them and she founded the first Children’s and mothers hospital in 1919 […]

The Village Hackneys of Yesteryear by James Reddiough

In the Ireland of fifty to sixty years ago there were very few cars and people had to walk, cycle or go by cart to the town and village to shop.  Then along came the motor car to the small villages now as far back as the 1930’s and 1940’s there were hackneys in the […]

Traditional Shop Fronts to make a comeback by James Reddiough

A new scheme has been introduced by the Ballina Municipal area in north Mayo known as the Traditional Facades Grants Scheme.  The aim of the project is to provide funding to businesses that opt to return to the old style shop fronts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in order to enhance the […]

Canon James Shryane of Achonry 1891 – 1960 by James Reddiough

Recently I saw a piece in this paper about the possible use of the parochial house in Foxford as a community facility to welcome people who had travelled long distances to masses.  They would rest for a while and have a cup of tea and then return home. This feature reminded me of when my […]

The Yan Goulet Monument at Kilkelly with James Reddiough

It is some thirteen if not more years that I began to write about the east mayo brigade and met an excellent character from the Kilkelly area to assist me Jimmy Duffy Jimmy knew most of the veterans from the old days and he spoke about them with fondness and respect.  Finally and thankfully we […]

The Spalpeens and seasonal labourers to England by James Reddiough

There was never much of a living to be made from a small holding in the west of Ireland and in Mayo in particular.  This meant that farmers from these areas had to leave for English farms to earn a living to raise their families and maintain things at home.  Many left on the harvest […]

Will Galway Beat Mayo? Book review by James Reddiough

There was never a Sunday when the two kind neighbours in Graffy would not bring us to see the big game between Mayo and the maroon of Galway it was highlight in our lives and a great day out to see the two rivals play in Castlebar and Tuam in the heat of what were […]

The Lanes and Alleys of Ballina and Ardnaree By James Reddiough

The recent visit of Vice President of the US Mr. Joeseph Biden to Ballina centred around garden from whence his ancestors came in 1835.  Garden Street was one on of the most populated areas in Ballina from the earliest records in 1856 to 1932 when the people moved into the new hosuing develpments in Circular […]

Ballina Streets before and after Independence by James Reddiough

The street names go back to the 1820’s and they are documented in Pigot’s Directory of 1829.  Most of the street names around the town centre and between the Centre and Belleek castle are there and this would have been the extent of the town. The street names in 1829 that were included in the […]

Ballina’s Street Names Revisited by James Reddiough

Joe Healy was from Ballina and he took an active part in the War of Independence and the Civil War.  He went on the run into the South Mayo area where he was surrounded and shot at Stonepark near Hollymount on the 5th June 1923.  Michael Tolan was from the Shambles in Ballina and lived […]

A Sense of Time and Place by James Reddiough

There was a time when time was just that time and people got things done in season.  This was important in an agrarian society where the farm work had to be done at the proper time of year and this meant a lot to the people.  They did not rush things and prepared thoroughly. My […]

The Origin and Growth of Towns and Villages in Ireland by James Reddiough

Celtic settlement was the earliest influence in the development of towns and villages in Ireland. Glendalough is one of the best examples and the monks tended to build in remote spots and on the other hand the friars were wont to build in settled populated areas. There was some degree of Viking settlement on the […]

Ireland’s Answer to Jim Reeves by James Reddiough

Jim Tobin started his career with “The Firehouse” in 1969, after singing with a local band in Co. Meath called “The Craftsmen”. He spent the next 12 years with them at the top of the country and Irish field of music.   It all started by chance when Jim auditioned for “The Times” show band from Mullingar, the band were in […]

Denis Sheerin the story of a Freedom Fighter by James Reddiough

The Military Service Pensions Collection has made it possible for historians to chronicle the lives of people who took part in the fight for freedom and this is true of the person in this essay Denis Sheerin who was a very active volunteer in the battles with the British and the Free State forces from […]

Remember their names with Pride – Ballina’s Patriot Streets with James Reddiough

The majority of the street names in Ballina celebrate or commemorate the people who gave their lives for the cause of Irish Freedom from 1798 until 1923. These people either gave their lives during the 1798 Rebellion or else over the period 1920 – 1923 during the Civil War and the War of Independence. Some […]

A Visit to the Resting Place of Margaret Barry with Paddy Joe Tighe

I was born on the 29th December 1942 in the village of Ardery in the parish of Aghamore Co. Mayo which is three miles from Tooreen village where the late great Monsignor James Horan of Knock Airport fame worked as a curate from 1944 to 1959. He was born in a village called Tooreen in […]

Recalling the Boarding House by James Reddiough

When I was in my late twenties and into my early thirties I stayed in a boarding house in Dublin in the north west of the city.  It was a comfortable house with 8 rooms, 3 wash area and a dining room cum sitting room with a kitchen.  I lived there from July 1996 to […]

General Michael Kilroy Recalled by James Reddiough

Michael Kilroy was born in Derrylahan townland, Newport on 14 September 1884. He was the son of Edward and Matilda Kilroy and one of ten in family. He was a carpenter and coachbuilder and learned his trade in Claremorris when he was 16 years and lodged with the Stratford Family in Mount Street, Claremorris. He […]

The Country House dances recalled by James Reddiough A Step back in Time

The country house dances were once an important part of the social calendar of the rural parts around and indeed in Ballina. They were called balls and they were held to celebrate special events in the life of the people and they were held mainly in the winter but in the summer too. They were […]

Playing football in the local fields by James Reddiough

My mind goes back in time to the late 1980’s when Mayo were in the first All-Ireland since 1951 a- a total of 38 years. That year I was teaching as a trainee in Bofield School and I took the senior pupils and organised a match in one of the fields in Graffy with them. […]

The Irish Top Songs of 1966 with James Reddiough

The Late Late Show paid tribute to the development of Country and Irish music over 50 years in recent months. And what of the songs from Irish artistes that made the charts in 1966 and were at number one for some time? Well there was Lovely Letrim the country and Irish ballad by Larry Cunningham. […]

The Card Playing houses of Yesterday with James Reddiough

The car lights are all around me as I drive to Ballina through Bofield Cross and it is the evening of Big Market Monday or Luan an Mhargaidh Mhoir as the old people used to call it. The last Monday before Christmas is also the traditional time for the holding of the card game in […]

The Tractor in Rural Ireland by James Reddiough

There are many things that we take for granted in the countryside now that we did not have in the past and the tractor is one of them. Before this the ass and cart and the horse and cart were the main items of burden and the work was done in the fields using them. […]

The Rambling houses of Long ago with James Reddiough

Years ago when there were no televisions and very few radios then people would go visiting to each other’s houses. This was called rambling and later there would be a programme on the radio in the fifties called The Rambling House where the era was celebrated. The fifties was the swansong of the rambling house, […]

The Trades and Crafts of Yesteryear by James Reddiough

The folklore collections of the various areas in Mayo tell us that there were several trades and crafts in the county over the years. They thatched houses and set bones and made wheels for carts in their workshops and in the fields. There were coach builders too and people who could weave a basket from […]

The Role of the National School in rural Ireland by James Reddiough

The two teacher school is under threat due to falling populations in rural areas. These schools date back to the early to mid-eighteen hundreds. They were opened in the 1840’s and later schools were opened in the eighteen nineties due to the will of the people and the fact that the landlord gave a site […]

Variety concerts and dramas recalled by James Reddiough

Lent was the traditional time for no dances in former times. Yet the ballrooms of the country did not remajn silent they merely changed their form of entertainment when the people of the area and surrounding districts took centre stage and became stars for the night. No longer did the dance band or the show […]

The weigh and crane houses of former times by James Reddiough

Mount Gable looms over all and nearby in the Joyce Country is Clonbur a small market town in the north west of Galway. There is an interesting feature in the town the Crane House or weigh house once commonly used items in the town and cities of Ireland on a market day. The crane house […]

The Car and the changes in Rural Ireland by James Reddiough

For six years I had no car and had to walk from place to place with the help of friends and relatives for a lift when needed. Imagine the time when people had to walk from place to place because there were very few cars in the locality. This is not all that long ago […]

A Reflective Memoir on the Fortunes of Mayo Football – 1980’s Retro Style by James Reddiough

It is Monday 31 August 2015 and Mayo has lived to fight another day as I leave Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum. I am reflecting on the previous day in Croke Park and how Mayo came back versus Dublin in the All Ireland Senior Football Semi Final.. What is it about Mayo footballers that they can […]

Michael Collins and the Mayo Connection by James Reddiough

There is no trace of Carragowan School today it was located on the N5 just on the Ballyvary side of Bohola, one of the teachers there in the early decades of the last century was Kitty Collins – Sheridan who was none other than the sister of General Michael Collins who was killed in ambush […]

Food for thought – food in days gone by James Reddiough

Food has varied greatly over the years and we as a people as used to new and foreign foods from all over the world our supermarkets and restaurants reflect this change but not so many years ago there was a fixed diet and people tended to eat at home as opposed to the phenomenon of […]

The Laurel Ballroom Bofield by James Reddiough

This ballroom was one of the many halls dotted around the county Mayo in rural areas when there was a much larger population in the countryside and people were very fond of dancing and had danced in the house and at the crossroads also in the case of the area here Bofield Hall or the […]

The Grove Ballroom Bonniconlon a step back in Time with James Reddiough

Martin Judge built The Grove in 1950 and the first dance was on the 20th May 1951, with Jack Ruane and His Band and the admission was 5s. Martin Judge bought the site for The Grove from the Loftus family who had a house there in earlier years. The sale was completed in 1952. There […]

The Day Mairtin O Cadhain Visited Bonniconlon a bilingual column by James Reddiough

This piece looks at a moment in time when the noted Gaelic writer and scholar Mairtin ó Cadhain interviewed Sean Loftus in 1957 and as the interview was conducted as Gaeilge then I have decided to make this a bi – lingual piece. The article is based on a taped interview lasting about 75 minutes […]

Music making during the Penal Times by James Reddiough

Would you believe that under the penal laws it was illegal to have musical instruments of any kind? Where else did the playing of the spoons, bones and the gentle art of lilting come from? Where did the tradition of the rambling house and the house dance or ceili come from but from the days […]

Father Eddie O’ Hara – One of the Leaders in the Development of Mayo Football by James Reddiough

There are many heroes in the history of a club. Fr. Eddie O’Hara was one of these, among his pastoral duties he also devoted much time to the development of the GAA in the parishes where he worked. It was he, who at the time of being chairman or President of the County Board in […]

Enniscrone Volunteer honoured in his native Place by James Reddiough

Recently this writer paid a visit to lovely Enniscrone to see the recently unveiled memorial plaque to Thomas Howley who held the rank of Section Commander in the Ballina Company of the North Mayo Brigade in 1921. The monument had been unveiled by Rose Conway Walsh and it paid tribute to the man who gave […]

Dr. John Madden – one of the Men of the West by James Reddiough

Dr John A. Madden was born in Belderrig Beg, Ballycastle on the 8th August 1896. His mother was O’Donoghue from Gortleatilla, Glenamoy where the family had a grocery shop. John Madden was educated at St. Muredach’s College, Ballina, and at UCG and UCD where he qualified as a Doctor. He was a member of the […]

Attymass Church Re dedication recalled with Jimmy Reddiough

The Bishop of Achonry Dr. Fergus performed an impressive ceremony of re dedication of the church of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph at Attymass on Tuesday 15th July 1958 in the presence of a large number of fellow clergy and the parishioners of Attymass. The western people of the 19th July 1958 recorded the […]

Fredrick Robert Higgins – The Country Poet of the City by James Reddiough

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of leading Irish poet Frederick Robert Higgins and the 75 anniversary of his death; this piece looks at the life and work of a poet who had an influence on literature in early 20th Century Ireland. It is some 25 years ago in 1991 to 1992 […]

The Show band Era in Co. Mayo by James Reddiough

There were some leading show bands from this county. Jack Ruane Show band, Doc Carroll and his Royal Blues, Shay Cribben with the Riviera; and the Brose Walsh Band also. Jimmy Higgins called Mayo the land of a thousand dances and they also had a large number of bands. What about Vin Brogan and the […]

A Yule Tide Memoir by Jimmy Reddiough

People tell this writer that in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas they would go to town for their seasonal requirements and the shops would be open until 9pm. It is amazing what recollections they have of Christmas one of them was the Christmas Box in gratitude from the shopkeeper to the customer for […]

Aeriochtai in Bonniconlon through the years by James Reddiough

There was an aeriocht held in Bonniconlon in September 1920 and it was addressed by members from the Gaelic League and Sinn Fein there was an ad in the Western People. It was advertised for the 5th September but not sure if it was banned due to the troubles of the time. There were leading […]

Bofield A community in time by Jimmy Reddiough

For decades now it has been accepted that the Irish for Bofield is Gort na mBó or loosely translated the field of the cow or the dairying place of the cow. The fact that the place had this name first was due to Beaufield House being there and the area around it – in fact […]

Bonniconlon Show the early years 1950 – 1951 recalled with Jimmy Reddiough

For the general reader around the country, Bonniconlon is a small village situated in north Mayo about five miles south – East of Balllina. The agricultural Show and Gymkhana is the major social event of the year and is held in the Fields around the village each Bank Holiday Monday in August. It is highly […]

Bonniconlon Village through the years by Jimmy Reddiough

The earliest name that we have for the village is Muine Chonnallain or Conlon’s thicket and this is believed to be named after a merchant in the district called Conlon who lived in the area in the seventeenth century. There are two town lands called Bonniconlon West and Bonniconlon West and the village is mainly […]

The Big Snow of 1947 recalled with James Reddiough

The snow was as high as the fences that year and people did not know whether they were walking on the road or on the walls or in the fields as they made their way to the nearby village. The harsh conditions and the scarcity of fuel and food made life difficult for both man […]

Television and the changing times In Ireland by James Reddiough

P Jones a radio and electrical engineer in Connolly Street , Ballina was the first man to bring Television to Ballina and the programme was a Cricket match from England via the Belfast transmitter – this was back in 1955 seven years before RTE came on the air for the first time. The All Ireland […]

Social dancing is sweeping the land with James Reddiough

Forget your troubles and your worries and trip the light fantastic at the nearest venue to you and you are sure to find plenty this weather. What? The social dancing scene of course. Its mega at the moment and if you pick up your Western People each Monday and study carefully then you will see […]

Doc Carroll and the Royal Blues 1963 – 1972 by James Reddiough

They were Mayo’s and the West’s most famous show band and the first band west of the Shannon to reach number one in the Irish charts in 1966. They were formed in Claremorris in April 1963 and one source says it was 1962 but whichever they were a top tier show band in the west […]

Celebrating Little Christmas – Oiche Nollaig Na mBan by James Reddiough

The 6th January is called the feast of the Epiphany but it has another name in Irish social history Little Christmas or Women’s Little Christmas or in the Irish language Oiche Nolliag na Mban. This meant that the twelfth night was a special one for women who had many responsibilities both in the house and […]

Decimalisation in Ireland – how much is that in the old money? By James Reddiough

Decimalisation was discussed during the 1960’s and preparations were made for the changeover and this resulted in the Decimal Currency Act of 1968 and once Britain decided to decimalise then Ireland followed suit.. There was a further Decimal Currency Act of 1970 that added provisions for the changeover not related with the issue of coins. […]

Honouring the Humble Spud and the Harvest Days by James Reddiough

The potato has been part of the diet for centuries ever since the time of Walter Raleigh. It was set in the moory lands and clay alike and was essential for each meal. At one time each household planted their own supply and kept it in a Souter rain pit that kept the potato fresh. […]

Holy wells places of pilgrimage a step back in time with James Reddiough

Holy wells are dotted throughout our county of Mayo. Some are in town lands in remote, rural areas and others are in villages or on the outskirts of our larger towns. They pre date Christianity and were in use as places of worship in pagan times. They are dedicated to patron saints and a cemetery […]

A Memoir of the Summer of 1987 with James Reddiough

Patrick was in the park Paddy Hillary that is and Charles Haughey was in the Dail as Taoiseach having taken power from Garrett Fitzgerald earlier in the year and he was leading a minority government then. The Irish national lottery had been launched and the first scratch cards went on sale too. Johnny Logan was […]

Respecting and Remembering Michael Davitt by James Reddiough

Some weeks back on the Nuacht RTE programme it was reported that the Davitt Museum at Straide is in danger of closure if more state support is not given. Surely it is time for a campaign to ensure that the national shrine to a remarkable man is not lost because of lack of resources. At […]

The Career and Mission of a visionary priest by James Reddiough

The soul and body should be grateful for simple things like the daffodils in the garden and the sound of bird song and the pealing of the chapel bells from the nearby church of Attymass close to the home of this writer as they ring over the Sunday morning air. Perhaps it was thoughts such […]

A Stroll through Ballina History 75 years ago by James Reddiough

The Irish Tourist Association conducted a survey of Ballina town in August 1942. The aim of the survey was to determine the suitability of Ballina for tourism in the period of the Second World War. There were 6,000 persons living in the town 75 years ago and there were 6 hotels – The Imperial, Hursts, […]

Shopping in Rural Ireland long Ago recalled with James Reddiough

When this scribe was a child my cousin and I used to cross the fields to the local shop Strogens in Cartron in the parish of Attymass. It was a room in the house and we loved to go there on messages so that we could buy sweets and enjoy them on the way home […]

Bonniconlon in the 1930’s – by Paddy Ruane R.I.P

Paddy Ruane died on the 24th July 2015 and here is a piece that he wrote about his native Bonniconlon and it is printed here in full I am sure that readers from all areas will be interested in his survey of the village in 1936. Bonniconlon in 1936 was a village of 30 houses. […]

Recalling Christmas in the 1950’s and 1960’s with James Reddiough

The Christmas of 50 – 55 years ago was a simple yet happy affair. We would go to the lanes and fields and collect ivy and holly and cut a Christmas tree too. The candles were taken out in preparation for Christmas Eve also. The trip to the shops and the market would be planned […]

Recalling the Liturgical Festivals of Yesteryear with Jimmy Reddiough

On the Western People pages of the 7th June 1958 there is a short piece with the head line 500 Children Take Part in Big Display.  The event or display was the Foxford Liturgical Festival when children from all the schools of the Deanery of Foxford in the Diocese of Achonry took part in a […]

Jim Reeves Tour of the West of Ireland

Gentleman Jim Reeves came to Ireland in late May 1963, and his promoter Philip Solomon booked him for four venues in the west in Mayo, Galway and Sligo. He was in Galway City and County on the 31 May and in Mayo and Sligo on the 6 June 1963. There has been much written about […]

Emigration through the ages

Joe is a friend of this writer and we meet on a weekly basis for a chat and a sing song. This is like it must have been for Joe when he worked in England all those years ago. He would have a sleep on Sunday morning and then rise to prepare for the day […]

Mother Recalls the social life of the early 1960’s

My mother remembers well the early 1960’s c. 1961 before she left for England in 1963 when in their youth and prime as the song goes they would light a fire for the 24 June on Carraig or Carrick hill in Graffy/Ellaghmore. They would then hold an outdoor dance at nearby Ellaghmore crossroads where, as the bard from Graffy […]

Are ye going to the fair at all?

The leaves are turning and the winter is nigh as I type this column on days gone by. As it gets colder and the time changes I am prompted to use the term mart weather for some reason this was the time of year when we went to the mart in Ballina, this mart was first established in […]

Mayo Ballrooms Land of the Thousand Dances

In his memoir of the show band and the ballroom era, Are Ye the band? Jimmy Higgins wrote that Mayo was the land of the thousand dances. There was a huge dance scene in Co. Mayo over the years something that continues today with the social dancing scene. It is true to say that those […]

Eddie Masterson Remembered by James Reddiough

Eddie was born in Tubbercurry and was the first Irish songwriter to enter the British charts with the monologue A Tribute to Jim Reeves in December 1964. Larry Cunningham recorded the song and it was in the Top Ten here too during January 1965 – some fifty years ago. The story goes that Eddie wrote the song […]

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