Stories & Poems
The Slopes of Finnaghy
I tilled my fathers gardens in the springtime of my life
I had to harrow what he ploughed and his horses for to drive
With a rein hung on my shoulders one horse looked back to see
If ‘twas safe for me to cultivate the slopes of Finnaghy.
Behind a team of horses my father had great skill
He sowed and reaped the harvest for farmers in the hills
To thistle thorn we paid no heed ‘twas picturesque to see
As he made the sheafs while cutting corn on the slopes of Finnaghy.
‘Twas in the school at Coolderry when a youth my dad did shine
He shared good books with another youth destined to be sublime
After fifty years they met again in nineteen fifty three
When that world famous churchman returned to Borrisoleigh.
In my dreams I saw a reaping goat in the dyke down memory lane
A spear and jackson crowning knife that caused us much back pain
A horse drawn mower engine my tearful eyes did see
‘Twas used to power the mowing bar on the slopes of Finnaghy.
When Woods Pierce Doyle and Bamford made their dream machines
And Case had built a thresher and an engine powered by steam
Harrison McGregor had a major part to play
And the trusted horseface shovel still working every day.
I’ve dried my tears and realised ne’er them times will come again
John Deere have left the Waterloo boy sitting in a drain
To see the modern tractors doing fifty mile an hour
The working horse lost at great cost to tractor super power.
All Irelands gallant farmers you are legends of the land
God only knew what you went through your industry to expand
‘Twas horses now ‘tis tractors what ever next will be
An aeroplane dropping robots on the slopes of Finnaghy.
By Patrick Oliver O’Halloran. The Ragg,
Air to Dear Old Barney Hill.
My Leyland Leopard Truck
I drove an old Leyland Leopard with rust she was peppard
By the Suirside down Thurles way
She was one of a fleet on the road hauling beet
That big cat would be purring all day.
Her suspension and engine are well worth a mention
I bought her in Cork by the Lee
She had many balled tyres, leaking cab and loose wires
And I drove her all over tax free.
With fifteen tons of beet I joined the long fleet
By the factory out in Ballycurrane
Through the weigh bridge wash in and the weigh out again
With pulp for Mountview Barnane.
An hour to unload I was back on the road
Bound for Nenagh via Borrisoleigh
With its great golden valley winding road lovely scenery
How ‘simply terrific’ to see.
A corned beef dinner to me was a winner
I eat it out on the high way
I’d eat a big tin sure glutton’s no sin
With fag butts I’d fill the ash tray.
Sugar import beet export and beet haulage transport
T’was me and my Leopard’s down fall
We parted best friends on a hill hairpin bend
Coming down the Curlew mountains great falls.
What a loss to beet growers they were the seed sowers
Sugar factory workers and all
Only in memory lane our four factory’s remain
Many Happy New Years to you all.
By Patrick Oliver O’Halloran. Inch.
The beautiful handicraft is haunting my dreams
Adorning our country’s bright colourful scenes
City town country village stone wall hedge rowan tree
Combining with nature where ever you’ll be
Restaurants street furniture both tidy and neat
Where tourists and locals each other do greet
And the great hanging baskets of colourful flowers
Dangling oe’r sidewalks midst copperbeech bows
To slumber neath sunshades on riverside seats
Where silence is golden in the soft summer breeze
Or to climb with the pilgrim through heather sweet thyme
Up high rocky mountains to icons divine
Whilst touring the country by road and rail train
Take a little time out of life’s busy fast lane
Look out your side window great scenic to view
And sip a small sup of the old mountain dew
If you’d like to meet leprechauns ghosts or banshees
I can put you in touch with the great seanchai
They live in the mountains by brooks braes and streams
Where they sell bottled folklore from off licence shibeens!
‘Tis in field of legends and Croke’s field of dreams
We watch soccer rugby and GAA games
Domestic and wildlife everywhere you can see
Round the picturesque homesteads of this great country
Many great world leaders behind our Taoiseach did stand
In his successful search for peace in Ireland
The pages of history great names will unfold
Of who sat round the table for the green white and gold.
by Patrick O’Halloran.
Old Battery Wireless & Michàel O’Hehir
You followers of football and hurlings fast play
That old battery wireless was a gem in its day
Then Radio Eireann would announce oe’r the air
They were handing us over to Michàel O’Hehir
The roar of excitement as O’Hehir set the scene
The Artane boys band came oe’r like a dream
He hoped we could hear him at home and elsewhere
The old wireless brought poetry from Michàel O’Hehir
From all over Ireland and Croke Park sublime
O’Hehir gave his listeners a real thrilling time
Round that old battery wireless seated on sugàn chairs
We captured the spirit of Michàel O’Hehir
Nineteen forty seven in New Yorks polo grounds
Cavan beat Kerry to win the All-Ireland crown
What great Gaelic football described oe’r the air
Via that old battery wireless by Michàel O’Hehir
In the GAA birthplace where the river Suir flow
The famed Semple Stadium saw the greats come and go
When we charged the wet battery and bought a dry spare
We were then every ready for Michàel O’Hehir
O’Hehir you sent greetings far over the blue
To Chicago, Melbourne and Montreal too
We now send you greetings best wishes so rare
Farewell battery wireless and Michàel O’Hehir
Patrick Oliver O’Halloran
Sweet days of my childhood, sweet home of my birth
The cross by the wildwood to thousands gave mirth
Where the fiddler and piper played up the sweet tune
And the lads and the lassies were all in their bloom
Full often when a youth, I was longing to see
The bright Sunday morning, the day for some glee
And when evening came on I was glad of the chance
To go down to the cross and take part in the dance
From Latteragh, Glenmore and Glenbreeda they came
From Borrisoleigh to take part in the game
From fair Templederry crowds came on the scene
And they all joined in dancing the Orange and Green
My sweet Currabaha you’re the same now as then
The cross is still there, but where are the men
They have gone through the world, I do not know where
Now the Sundays are lonesome, the cross it looks bare
The picturesque old school house is knocked to the ground
Not a trace of its old walls are there to be found
The grass is now growing where often I stood
In front of the Master to learn if I could
The Master was cross and he oft dealt a blow
To me on the head – let me like it or no
But the Master has gone to enjoy his reward
Given to him by the Sovereign Lord
My sweet Currabaha I smile when I see
Your fields decked with daisies, it’s a pleasure to me
On a bright Sunday morning to wander alone
And breathe the fresh air of my own native home.
ln the middle of the street in Borrisoleigh
The Fountain flowed freely down from the hill
When the people did come
With their buckets in their hands
To the Fountain that flowed down from the hill
Flow freely along from mountain and glen
Through the streets that I love in Borrisoleigh
With the hills all around and the springs beneath
It flowed like a dream down from the hill
Come winter hail and snow, it never seemed to cease
It always flowed freely down from the hill
Where the hurlers of yore drank spring water galore
Going down to train for the next hurling game
The Fountain is now gone & the people come no more
To talk about the weather & the next hurling game
Those memories live on; of the people we met
At the fountain that flowed
Down from the hill
by Derry Bourke, Nenagh Road, Borrisoleigh
Another Tipp legend of the great hurling fame,
Has passed on to heaven and God’s hall of fame,
He starred by the Suir, Shannon, Liffey and Lee,
His name Liam Devaney from Borrisoleigh.
The Gaels have been faithful to that great of his time,
And the sages have written Liam Devaney sublime,
The pages of folklore for ever will be,
Echoing Liam Devaney from Borrisoleigh.
He received many honours at home and away,
Because of his skill on the green fields of play,
His homestead decorated with All Ireland gold,
About his deeds playing the game many stories are told.
To Thurles the birthplace of the famed GAA,
His dad & Mick Mackey a visit would pay,
He told Jim Devaney if you’re playing on men,
You’ll remember my passing through Borrisoleigh.
He’ll be missed by followers of the great hurling game,
At the cattle mart farmers will mention his name,
On an old rusty bicycle I’d travel to see,
Liam Devaney in action for Borrisoleigh.
‘Tis my heaven on earth to go down memory lane,
And to echo great athletes I’ll ne’er see again,
Those decades of glory remembered will be,
By all the gold winner of Borrisoleigh.
Patraick O’Halloran, Inch.