Still going home - from afar

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Posted by murrisk on March 29, 2001 at 12:25:42:

Past the TF and the cottage where the caretaker for the graveyard lived.On past the entrance to the graveyard with its curved metal "cemetery" sign, sometimes painted silver and sometimes painted black How many older emigrants have been unable to find this entrance to the graveyard since the metal sign was taken down? Maybe a stop a Griffins for an ice pop and years later, after a dance in the TF, for a Fanta and a smoke. On past the entrance to St. Patrick´s Avenue (Avenue has a nice ring to it). Opposite it, the mental hospital farm yard which was at the end of the "railing of spears" which fronted the county hospital. In times past, the farm yard had huge doors but the entrance was later bricked up leaving a window space with vertical iron bars and a wooden shutter. As kids we could jump up and grab the bars, hang on and chat to people inside like Paddy Malone -a small semi toothless friendly inmate who always wore wellingtons. Paddy always seemed to be preparing or drinking a white enameled mug of tea. And he wasn´t alone! The external high wall of St. Mary´s ran from the county hospital to Lovers Lane. Ironically, there was no other physical restraint around St. Mary´s. Maybe it just to keep the people on the road out. The gate lodge was the main entrance to St. Mary´s and I think it was always staffed by a Loftus family. Josie Loftus nee Dwyer, lived on after her husbands death and was always a cheery soul. On past the gate lodge and opposite it, on the avenue, the crucifixtion scene. On westwards, hugging the high wall of St. Mary´s when it rained for imaginary shelter and sometimes sheltering in the little gate set in the wall that gave entrance to the doctor´s houses - people like Sheridan, Kelly and later Gilvary. On past the end of the avenue where there was only the high wall and open fields down to the lake with (later) spoil from the the Moy drainage scheme, though now grassed over, still apparent along the river. Up ahead on the right, Quinns and Luddens,beyond them the entrance to Gillespies and the little triangular field where touring cicyclists camped in summer. Next the river linking Saleen to Loch Lannagh and beyond it Conways, Gilboys, two houses usually occupied by doctors at the county hospital, McCormacks, Fords, Colemans, Mongans, Camerons, Downes, Hobans, Duignans, and then McDonalds lawn(Mountgordon).´Across the road from Duignans, The Yews owned by Deviney of Breaffy (travelling shop) and lived in by Brody and Frieda Malone and their b&w terrier Sammy. A road ran behind Malones to Kearneys, McGoughs and on to the farm of Tom Fox. Lovers Lane started opposite Conways and the high wall of St. Mary´s continued up the lane to the bridge over the river. Joe Egan, a county engineer, built a house here in the early 1960´s and this is the only segment of the wall still in existence. Egan´s house was built on the rise where my dog, a small collie named Trusty, used to wait for me coming from town. The same dog used to accompany me into the Wimpy and sleep under my seat in less fastidious and less regulated times. The rest of the high wall was demolished in 1963-64 and replaced with a low cut-stone wall (old stones reused). I laboured on this job in 1964 with people like Tom Heneghan of Milebush and Patrick O´Boyle of Leiter, the ganger. This was probably one of the last times a large number of stone masons worked on such a large project in Castlebar.

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