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Posted by OULD STOCK AGAIN on June 22, 2005 at 23:18:43:

In Reply to: Re: FRANCIE PHILBIN posted by JDP on June 22, 2005 at 17:41:05:

I vividly remember Francie Philbin. Early in the 1900s his father, Anthony Philbin, had a gunsmith and locksmith's business in Castle Street, probably around where the book shop is now located. He lived in an area opposite what is now known as Church View Villas. There were a number of people living there, including the Lapparths and Michael Martin. They were snowed under during the great snows of 1947 and were rehoused. Their living conditions were deplorable, smalls sheds or hovels, where they cooked their meals and slept. Difficult to accept that people were living in such substandard conditions in the late 1940s. Francie, a humorous character, wore a hat with the brim turned up. He had a long flowing beard and carried a blackthorn stick. He served with distinction,like many other Castlebar men, in the Great War, 1914-1918. When he returned from the war, he was asked: 'What was the army like, Francie?' Quick as a wink, he replied: 'A grá, they tamed the lion but they couldn't tame Philbin.' On one occasion, he attempted to climb Croagh Patrick on his donkey and a photo of Francie, at the first station, was published in Castlebar Magazine some years ago. There are lots more stories of Francie, one of Castlebar's most famous characters, and there are many more from that era who deserved to be remembered. Tough people who lived through tough times. More anon.

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