Donnelly Canada

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Arts & Recreation

When I was young by Richard Barber

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Submitted in April 2009 & May 2010

In the days when I was a young lad knocking around Tierworker in the early 1940s there were lots of old traditions which happened in them days, some of which are only a memory now. Here are some of them.


In the early 1940s the annual Tierworker sports day was one of the big occasions of the year. Originally, it took place in the field behind the Chapel which was owned by Mr. Finnegan who owned the shop near by.


Moybologue Moat & Dance

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These verses (see below) entitled “The Moat of Moybologue” and “The Moybologue Dance” were submitted by Peter McCabe, formerly of Tierworker and now living in a suburb of Dublin. Peter and his brothers and sisters have deep roots in Tierworker.

As a former neighbour and close friend of the McCabes when I was a child living in the adjoining townland of Greaghnadarragh from 1935 to 1947, I have very clear memories of hearing Peter’s father, the late Ted McCabe, reciting these verses during his regular visits to our house almost every Wednesday evening. He would sometimes be joined by another neighbour, Andy Meleady, although Andy’s regular time for a visit was Sunday nights from about 7:00 p.m. to midnight.

Reciting verses such as these from memory was just one of the pass-times enjoyed by people in the ceidhle houses before the arrival of electrification, cars, and radios to rural Ireland. It was part of what is called nowadays the “oral traditions”. (A rough translation ofceidhle, pronounced kayley, is “visiting”).

Below are photos of two of the people mentioned in the poems.

countryman mattmelady
Jem Farrelly of Blackhills, nicknamed The Countryman Matt Meleady of Copponagh, c1950

These particular “poems” are witty social commentary and gentle satire on the people of the neighbourhood. They were probably composed in the 1920s. I have included a column offering some explanations of the verses and the references. For this, I am indebted to Teddy and Peter McCabe and to Richard Barber. Our interpretations may not all be correct, and they are certainly incomplete.


Life & Times

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Notes on the Life & Times of people around Tierworker

(Introduction to be written)



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Notes on Arts, Culture, & Recreations enjoyed by people around Tierworker

(introduction to be written) 


The Eyes That Shone - from Ireland to Canada in the 1950s

But a word of warning! The Eyes That Shone is not a saga filled with horrible tragedy and dysfunctional relationships, but rather a celebration of family lives in Ireland and Canada, in other words, a happy story featuring:

  • Memories of life on small farms in Ireland before 1950 and before tractors and electrification, when growing food depended largely on human sweat and muscle
  • Recollections about people and events in the Department of Public Works of Canada where the author worked during the period 1957 to 1991
  • Intimate perspectives on living and dying, politics and religion, home and family