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The Lisburn Exiles Forum is dedicated to the memory of James Goddard Collins (The Boss) who single-handedly built LISBURN.COM (with a lot of help from many contributors) from 1996 to 29th November 2012. This website was his passion and helping people with a common interest in the City of Lisburn around the world is his lasting legacy.
Were/are all the Irish sentimental, or was it just my experience to know those that were? I have heard the toughest oul drunks reciting Poor Dog Tray, and I’m Sitting On The Stile Mary, (The Irish Emigrant’s Farewell).
my experience is, all exiles, no matter where they come from are sentimental. But seldom want to return to their place of birth. There is a German saying, when translated means " We are all foreigners somewhere ". To quote James Joyce " Exiles went abroad for a short stay, which was to take in the rest of their lives " I still have a cherished letter written to me by my old english teacher, Dr Semple, where he wrote ." someday your children will visit Lisburn and say. This was his own, his native land "
keep writing it,s an experience to read your comments
i,ve often thought that we,re so lucky to be the last generation to have the upbringing we had and also the place as well. everything at hand in the town and the countryside on the doorstep.
there was no peer pressure at school regarding clothes runners etc everyone was in the same boat and anyway it wasn,t important.boys and girls at primary school more or less went their own way after school and nobody was out to impress. more into what game to play next.
i dont even remember the bullying we read about all the time at school nowadays,.. we had playground fights etc but we seemed to have our mates and wee gangs centered i think round the wee area you lived in?
so all the things you all write about riding to the loch carbide bombs swimming in the lagan theres also a lot more people and materialism has taken over. so it.s all sad and we are the last of the lucky ones..
there again i have a friend here from dublin who goes back as often as he can, as i do, and to a city? other irish people when they hear you,re going back on a holiday ask in amazement w hat are you going back to that place for? i couldn,t wait to get out of it so it,s a strange world.
good luck tom
Once again, an entertaining batch of posts.
Tom: I have to confess that I have long ago joined the materialistic world, though I’m happy enough to drive a comparatively old car, whilst keeping the money that I might have spent on a new one in the bank; a bit like Donald, with whom I share the taste for inexpensive wine, probably for the same reason. So, materialistic, yes, ostentatious, no.
Upbringing, I’m not sure that I would regard myself as fortunate. I suppose I must agree that people who apparently have the advantage of a well-balanced family background, plus a good education, are not necessarily any more content with their lot. I have worked with such people, degrees and all that, and found them to be as mentally screwed up as myself. School bullying? Yes, I believe it did take place in my days, though being small did not necessarily attract bullies. I want to laugh at this point, remembering Ronnie Corbett, (about my stamp), saying he was a school bully. There WERE a few smartly dressed kids at my school from time to time. They were the ones most likely to be picked on, probably because we ‘rough ones’ were jealous of them, without knowing that. Gangs? A gipsy boy once joined our school, and in the schoolyard, within days, picked a fight with the school’s toughest kid. It was an evenly matched affair, and, when stopped by a teacher, (both got the cane), opinions were divided as to who had won. The following day the gypsy boy set about selecting who should be in his gang. He picked two or three obvious scrappers, and then asked them who else he should select. I remember to this day the strange feeling of satisfaction at being pointed out.
Don, your memory is sharp, and your tales entertaining. I think you had more sensible icons and aspirations than I, and the mental and physical attributes to follow your dream, but, trusting your description of your background, we have several things in common. The ‘mixed marriage’ parentage for one.
When asked by teachers what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say, “ A teacher or a writer”. As I commented on here, the nearest I ever got to a headmaster was the length of a cane, and you’re looking at the nearest I ever got to writing.
Here I go again – me, me, me.
Today is my 61 birthday, I remember over 50 years ago standing at the corner of Mill St Hilden and asking Sean Hughes ( who later took cloth ) his age, he replied 14 and I thought how old ( I was 8 then )! Jackie Reynolds, a journeyman fitter in Mackies once said to me as an apprentice ," someday you will look back and think, that was a short life! ", how right he was.
In the last time I think often about my Grandfather, Tommy Watters, starting work in the Mill as a "half timer ", working in the Netting Department barefoot ( not because he had no shoes but the netting machines had to be operated barefoot ) until he was 70 and then as a pensioner carrying on working as a park ranger in Hilden park for one pound and 50 pence per week!!!!!!. To crown it all then having to sit at home and wait until one of his sons came around and took him out for a drink! There was no free health coverage ( my mother died of cancer of the womb because the child she was carring died in her womb and there were no regular checks to detect this ).
I remember an eviction in Bridge St, Hilden , when you left or were sacked you had to vacate the mill owned house. A local paper printed a photo of the family after the bailiffs evicted them and set their few sticks of furniture on the street.
Donald, another fine piece. Many happy returns. I am sure that you, even more than I, have much to ponder besides Lisburn websites and forums. Is it nostalgia that brings you here? I read books about gardening and joining clubs, but it doesn’t light my fire. The Empty Raincoat, by Charles Handy, is a thought provoking work, but would appeal more to a higher executive trying to come to terms with retirement. I am happier to read the stuff written here. I’m sure I knew more of the families named on the site. I just cannot remember them after such a long time. Your most recent post, referring to sad happenings to Lisburn /Hilden families conjures up in me memories of (real) back street abortions, wife beatings, and suchlike. (Sorry Tom, my recollections are not as sweet as yours). However, as I have said, we, or I, lived through those times, and still sometimes wish I was back in those days, because the Lagan swimming, sprick catching, beautiful sunny days outshine all the bad times.
Don, you also made me think of a Belfast girl that I met a few years ago, who told me that her sister went out with Van Morrison. I was highly impressed. I saw Van The Man in concert a few weeks before that.
Dabbler, I think that everyone, not only the Irish, who leaves their homeland, eventually becomes sentimental. We exiles have been away so long we try to cling to memories more than the home birds, especially with the pressures of modern day living, we like to escape to the good old days. I have always enjoyed antiques and memories of Lisburn as I knew it, so when I was in Lisburn four years ago, I expressed an interest in the same, and ended up being called a “nostalgia nerd” (by educated people)
An interesting survey was done in the US a few years ago, with the question: If you could go back and do one thing over again, what would it be? 70% plus answered that they would like to live the 60’s again.
My memories are more in line with Tom's, having the country side on our doorstep was a blessing. My mother along with a neighbour, Maggie Mc Cann, took us for walks on a Sunday to Curries Glen at Ravarnette for a picnic by the river. And if the long walk didn’t tire us out, we took turns and carried a big old wind up gramophone with records that weighted a ton by themselves. Could you imagine suggesting that to kids today?
Has anyone else noticed that kids go through music fads like hip and rap when they are teenagers, but once they pass the twenty mark they start taking an interest in the 50’s and 60’s music..? Even lots of old songs are being recorded by young artists, which show that not only did we have the best of times, but also the best of music.
When my son was a teenager I occasionally had to ask him to turn down his music. He used to joke and say that when I got old, he was going to take me out for a drive on Sunday’s, lock the car doors, turn up the windows and blast the rap music. Now five years later he says the same thing but the music has changed to “The house of the rising sun” the 60’s hit by the Animals, what an improvement, maybe in another five years it will be Connie Francis!
was very interesting reading your replys. incidently i love a bottle of wine as well and i,m lucky that the cheaper priced wines are usually the most stronger taste which i prefer. i,m also lucky to live in australia where i reckon we make the best wines in the world. back in uk i,ve tried german french spanish and to me they are all very insiped..in aussie wines you can taste the sunlight in my opinion.
as regards hardships in growing up they were always there and still are, i bet there,s people in your street in danger of losing their houses due to loss of a job? or gambling or whatever. there,s people drinking too much and maybe going ten rounds with their wives and children.
and yes it was all going on in lisburn all those years ago and still is. but i don,t think that detracts from happy memories of childhood. i spent some school years in mcckeown street which wasn,t renowned for it,s stable families or wealth or position and some in low road. but what i remember most is school holidays when we were off from breakfast to late at night parents waiting with sticks at ten at night?? days werent long enough"
schooldays were playing tig skittley rounders. winter nights were blowing cigarette cards and queing for first house of pictures in fleapit
so with all the hardships it was an unsupervised and relatively safe childhood and the following generation had to be more looked after supervised and didn,t have the freedom and lack of stress that we had. so thats why i think people like me are nostalgic and look back we had a happy time and it,s sort of bonded in with lisburn
incidently i also drive an old car through choice
had it from new it,s a 91 holden v6 and i do big mileages w
ith it still good luck tom
Between the two of you,you make my day, it is terrific to read your postings. I for one am a nostalgic sentimentalist and you both conjure up a lot of Lisburn between you,long may you continue. Tom McCabe, Fraser Wilson, and the Ingleston boys are all old friends from my past and a past I would not change, as I said before on another posting. Liz, Maureen, Sally and Maggi, you are all obviously a lot younger than I, but going by your contributions to the forum, I would most certainly have liked to have known all of you.
Hi Tom, you have made my day, well at least my morning, hope the day improves for me. You even made my laugh and smile which was a miracle. Such beautiful put together memories that I identify with so well. And the wine that has the sunshine in it, well I too enjoy a glass of wine, but wouldn't know as much about it as you. Are you sure there isn't a bit of moonshine in there? It used to be that porter was the drink in my memories, I hated the sight and smell of the stuff. The past hardships were indeed a result of it largely, but strangely was accepted as a way of life. Now it seems it is the young single people who are alcoholics, a serious problem today, which just go to show that every era has its problem, and continues that way.
Have a good day, Tom, thanks for memories, Liz
Terry I was just reading your comments and I have to say I agree with them. I don't get home very often but whenever I do I realise the Lisburn I knew has changed to become another place altogether. My Lisburn has the same little houses with the same little people living there. The same little shops with the same sweets and lollipops. It's not Lisburn the city but Lisburn the wee town that I am nostalgic for. I know it no longer exists in reality but it does not stop me from visiting it in my mind and now on the forum. No boat fares to pay or plane fares. Bliss!
Hi Maureen, nice to see you back. I have been trying to find an old school photo of your brother Colin, Barry McCloy and myself taken at the Central, but no luck yet. I’m one of those people who doesn’t throw anything out, as a result I have about twenty boxes of ? (I’ve forgotten what’s in them) that I have hauled everywhere for the past thirty years. I have always intended to sort them out, but so far I haven’t had time, one of these days…