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Spring in Blackhall

(by Mary Briscoe (nee King), 1879-1955)


Will you come little maiden and ramble with me

To that clear shining lake near the old chestnut tree.

Where the wild duck abound and the swans come and go

And the waterhens hatch in the sedge down below.

There are thousands of warblers whose song will enthrall

And what is their song? It is Spring in Blackhall.


Come! The daffodil meadow is fair to be seen

With blooms peeping up from their mantle of green

Like bright golden carpet, they nod and they sway,

There are wee fairies dancing and what do they play?

Sweet music you'll hear as the waves rise and fall

And what is their tune? It is Spring in Blackhall.


You will see the wild cherry right now at its best

With fair dainty blossoms the bright tree is dressed

If you peep through the branches right up to the sky

You'll feel close to heaven with angels nearby.

As I hear them sing softly, other days I recall

For this is their song, 'It is Spring in Blackhall'


Shall we climb the high tower and look at the sea?

Or a shy little squirrel alert in some tree?

I remember the people who once passed this way

When spring was awakening, just the same as today.

As I walk through the laneways, I think of them all

And I feel they'll come back when its Spring in Blackhall.




In Termonfeckin

(John Brodigan)
(Written c.1880, concerning the setting up in 1879 of the Termonfeckin Branch of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish language, a forerunner of the Gaelic League. 'Newtown's old steward' was a John Dagg.)


Of late this world so much has changed

That nought should make us wonder

Or think good people are deranged

If they but make a blunder.

Now in Termonfeckin, what's the go

They want to understand

To read and write and thoroughly know

The language of their land.

With this intent Newtown's old steward

Commenced his aspirations

And boldly said he felt assured

It would be done by patience.

He next a meeting did declare

And young men good invited

They placed him promptly in the chair

Which made him quite delighted.

To fill the post of Chairman vice

Two men were nominated

And Peter Carolan was the choice

Of all there congregated.

For rule and orders to devise

They appointed a committee

Those seven men sedate and wise

Who would do business for a city

To give the name of every man

That is my fond desire

Well there is Mr. Sheridan

With P and J Maguire.

And there is Mr. Flanagan

A man of stately air

And Mr. Wogan who is named

To fill the second chair.

Bill Johnston too, though R.I.C.

Is likewise on the list.

He is going to leave I understand

And sorely shall be missed.






(by Revd. J.F.G. Magill)

(Born in Dromara, Co. Down, Rev. John Fulton Gilliland Magill (1875-1953) was appointed curate-in-charge of Termonfeckin in 1941. Rev Magill must have been taken with his new parish because he wrote the following poem about it not long after his arrival.)


Termonfeckin, Termonfeckin,

Beauteous village, country’s pride.

On the river Ballywater,

Sweeping onward to the tide.

There, the castle of the primates

Standeth yet - impressive sight.

There two Fanes with spires resplendent

Seek to guide our steps aright.

Modest village, yet with ‘Big Street’,

It’s a place of consequence!

Come and see it, you will love it

And make there your residence.






An Old Timer’s View

(To the air of The Rising of the Moon)

(by Nicholas Sharkey)

(Nicholas Sharkey, ‘The Bard of Clogherhead’ wrote this poem in 1967 for Tommy Simpson, the then Principal of Sandpit School, as the latter acquired an interest in the workings of the County Council.)


Please tell me Mr. Simpson, when the day is going to be

We’ll have car-parks and flush toilets on the back road to the sea.

And the humpy bridge abolished that’s causing such revolt

To the tearing reckless speed hog when he gets the rattly jolt.

To speculate, ten thousand might give it better shape

Whisper to the County Council and you’ll see the members gape.

For the NFA might block it and ban the golden shore

Else dip deep in the pocket as the rates are bound to soar.

From the scenic burrow there’s no way but turn back

Long before the great MacMurrough it has been a cul-de-sac.

Appeal then, tax the tourist, the petrol and the beer.

For the slaughter on the highway makes us wish it twice as dear.

The town and county got too small, likewise the pubs and bars.

It seems to me a free for all since the rabble got the cars.

They’re no asset to the locals, they’re confusion in the shops.

They’re a headache to all the farmers, opening gates and spoiling crops.

They’re a menace on a Sunday, with cold rudeness how they pass

And they make us wish for Monday when we suffocate at Mass.

Our best friend is St. Swithin when the basking idlers strip

He turns on the pressure and the semi-nudists skip.

A homogeneous Fuhrer some day may clear the mess.

Between the Jews and Vietnam it’s anybody’s guess.

Then give us back the halcyon days of tall hats and cigars

For the roads are like a shambles since the rabble got the cars.






Memories of Old Terfeckin

(by Frances Harmon)

(Submitted to the Society by Marie McLaughlin. Written by Frances Harmon, Big Street and sent to her uncle Paddy Harmon in Woodriver, Illinois, USA in 1960. Frances passed away on 29th March 2014 in her 100th year.)


There’s a village by the sea

Where I first saw light of day.

More about it I will tell you

If the time is yours to stay.

It nestles in a valley

Bedecked by Nature’s lavish hand

With a river running through it

On its way to silvery strand.

A chapel on the hill

Overlooks the school nearby

Where in childhood’s happy days

We went with many a sigh.

The bridge, a favourite landmark

Sees battles fought and won

By Youth and Age who congregate

From noon to setting sun.

Down Strand Road we’ll wander

Gaze on its fields and dells.

The castle, the wood, the river

And the stones of Trinity Well.

The castle, a living memory

Of generations long ago

Their names are on its storied walls

Where now the lichens grow.

Up Thunder Hill we’ll ramble

No chapel now is found.

But the village hall stands proudly

Where once was holy ground.

Rath Wood looms dark and gloomy

The sea looks angry too

But the Big Street is embracing us

With its ever lovely view.

Our little tour is ending

One more place left to see.

Where, branches bare, of memories rare

It stood, the old Big Tree.

Here rest awhile and ponder those

Whose feet once lightly trod

Our eyes on churchyard yonder, pray

Their souls rest, aye with God.

Our journey o’er, our hearts reach out

With the glow of memory

To those dear ones who are far away

From their village by the sea.


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