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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.
As almost everything I write about Lisburn happened sixty yeas or more ago, I don't think I'll upset anyone. And anyway, it must be obvious to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of anyone I name that I regarded them with fondness. Many, perhaps most, of those I have named were Catholic, the religion that my old ma insisted I follow as a child. The Coulters were not. I may have previously written about the tongue-in-cheek mudslinging between my ma and old George, who spent half his life leaning out over his half door. Mrs Brown crude, did you say, Arlene? You obviously didn't live near our streets. Wee Edie, George's wife, kept out of 'arguments'. She always had her Orange Lilies peeking from behind the net curtains, and 'Wee Maggie' would often pull his leg about them near The Twelfth. Good job she didn't literally pull his leg, as one of them was wooden. Where did he lose his leg? No idea. If the wooden one had any value, somebody would have pawned it. The sons, Alec and Billy/Willie. were keen Linfield fans. Willie had ciggie cards depicting all the team. Alfie McMichael was a favourite. Full back, I think. I believe that I wrote long ago about Willie and his glass 'bomb'.He partially filled a glass jar with water, added carbide, screwed on the lid, and we all ran down the lane from 'the Green' and waited for the bang. Nothing happened, so Willie went back to inspect his work, and it exploded as he bent down to pick it up. The cut on his cheek must have required quite a few stitches, and left a lifelong scar.
I remember Alec showing John Martin some photos, and John calling me to see them. "Footballers!" announced Alec, laughing, and I can still feel the crimson rise to my thirteen-year-old face as I looked at the picture of a nude young woman.
A disgrace and no doubt you were then in a perpetual "State of Grace"! and imagine having to look at brazen hussies photos displaying bags of ankle.
How innocent we were then, we were so drilled and our faith was so indoctrinated into us we were afraid almost to breathe. I remember thinking once as a schoolboy if on a Friday , a day of abstenince which,according to the Catholic Church when eating meat was a mortal sin and punishable by eternal ****ation what would happen to my soul if a piece of meat which I had eaten on Thursday and lodged between my teeth loosened itself on Friday morning when I slept and I swallowed it when sleeping would I have committed a mortal sin. I mentioned it here before that many of the previous generation, including my gran were convinced that Heaven would be solely inhabited by Catholics.
One incident comes often to mind when during the annual mission in St. Patricks when we had to renew our Baptismal Vows and renounce Satan with all his works and Pomps. The Priest, from the pulpit called for the congregration to renounce Satan. We were supposed to answer " Yes, we renounce Satan ". One member of the congregration got a little bit excessive and shouted " F++K him the Bast**d "! I will not say who he was as he still lives in Lisburn.
I like it.
Young Protestant Alan Cree once accompanied me to Drogheda to see Oliver Plunkett's head. Alan's cynicism was sacrilegious to my holier-than-thou ears.
I thought you were going to say it was Mary Flanagan swearing.
Another one about the Coulters: I was in Linenhall Street one evening with my ma when two drunken men stared to fight. It is a very, very long time ago, but I think one was Alfie Cowan from Bradbury's Buildings against a larger man. Well, old George happened to be at his half door, as usual, and he sent Alec out to assist the smaller man. Now Alec was never known as a hard man in the town, but that must have been because he kept out of trouble because that big man was knocked all over the place by Alec's fast left hand. When wee Maggie congratulated him, Alec laughed and said he never really hit the man, he 'just kept him off with one hand'.
If I write a lot about drunkenness and violence, it's because I saw a lot of it.
Sorry Donald The person in question is a long time dead Regards Ted
I remember the lady you mentioned, she sat at the rear of the church and could not help herself swearing as she suffered from nervous illness. Another lady from Hilden when she answered the prayer with "God have mercy on us", could be heard all over the church. I remember Oliver Plunket´s head in the church in Drogheda also, it was very frightening. I once bought a postcard displaying it and showed it to some colleagues in Mackies, There were also some odd comments.
Sorry to hear that XXX is no longer around Lisburn, he was another character
Hi Donald, The lady at the back of the church was Mary Flanaghan (RIP) as kids she use to facsinate us as we couldn't understand why she wasn,t put out for cursing, and of course you had Jimmey Mc Cormick also at the back right hand side who use to nod at you and if you nodded back it was kept up all during Mass God but children can be cruel in there innocence, Donald the names are coming thick and fast at the moment and there seems to be a story to them all Regards Ted
I went to school with Alan Cree , his photo is on our class photo , at Lisburn Central . Wonder is he still alive ?
I saw that photo.
I was sorry to hear that Alan died a long time ago.
That piece of yours was funny & true of the times. Could write a book about the jibes & slings & arrows of quick witted, down -to- earth people of yesteryear.
I like Mrs. Brown, she reminds me of some of them I recall in the Low Road. Never lost for words, tho' no "F=ing" then. Those women, who reared families through the War years. Tough but kindly when required to each other, even mortal enemies.
Thanks for the memories & the smiles. Pat
p.s. Mrs Brown (Brendan O Carrrol) owned Finglas Castle, Dublin, at one time, when we lived there & we booked it for Bronagh's 21st birthday. On the night, as the party, some from the North, went on very late, he left us to our own devices, as to the drink, trusting us to leave the money on the bar, which everyone did, as he was such a nice man.
We heard later he failed in this venture, as his business partner let him down. His was not an easy life, so I am glad he has made it eventually. One of the old brigade.
Thanks for that very Irish bar story, Pat
This is my grandfather and brother
Pleased to meet you. I prayed by Tommy's body in George's living room.