Boyle Some Decades Past. The Crescent North Side.
This imposing building, as is the case with nearly all courthouses, was completed in 1828 and the complex contained the courthouse a Bridewell and Keeper’s House at a cost of £1, 126/11/0. The word Bridewell came from the original short term detention centre, as opposed to long-term jail, which was built in London in the late 1500s’. Since it was situated beside St. Bride’s Well the name continued for this class of building. The role of the detention centre in Boyle declined and became redundant in the early 1900s’ . In 1984 Boyle Social Services organised a very successful and extensive restoration project with the aid of the AnCO which was completed in 1987. It became a facility for a number of Social and Information Services. The Bridewell section was preserved for the most part and is a very impressive piece of building workmanship and well worth a visit. It ended as a Courthouse a number of years ago, A Committee is currently engaged in the Courthouse becoming a central venue for a model railway exhibit and possibly other projects. The Courthouse exterior has been a rallying point for meetings, celebrations and other activities over the years. It rear rooms were used for Town Commission meetings and election counts and a room there housed a humble library for decades. The Courthouse was a central building in the Election of Count Plunkett in 1917 and an impressive seminar remembered that election there in the spring of 2017. Count Plunkett is noted on a stone insert in the front wall. There is also a chain strung on the wall which I presume is to indicate its role as a centre of justice and retribution. In 1966 a plaque of a bust of Paraic Pearse was unveiled and there was another similar event in 2016. I whiled away a god few hours at courts there when I first came to Boyle. A regular there was a Mister Mattie Keaveney from St. Patrick’s Street who was legendry for his legal and general knowledge. (Again if you want more on The Courthouse see The Moylurg Writers Book Vol. 1 page 91 for article by Ann McGivney & 94 for a paragraph on Clewes Hall by Bertie Ahern the St. Patrick’s Street.)
This was named after a man called Clews who was a regional rent collector for the Rockingham Estate. It had a distinctive front and why he built it is not referenced. It later became a school for the Protestant Community with Miss Nelson as teacher. Later it was a hall associated with Jack Stewart with a billiard room at the rear and badminton in front. It was used for dances with The Havana Band of the Cryans and The Crystal Band of May and Tommy Conroy and co. The big social event was Jack Stewart’s Annual Dress Dance in the 30s’. later it became an electrical shop of McDermott’s J.T. Emmett, Tom Murray and then Gerry Emmett. Currently is has the photographic display and workshop of Darren Purcell’s ‘Visionary Studios’.
William Brennan father to Patsy and Liam. A good tailor with his wife a dressmaker.
Freddie Heran connected to the Ahern family of St. Patrick’s Street. A post office official. Then a Miss Mattimoe. A Guard Doyle there for a short time. A Matron (Roscommon Hospital) Doyle.
Guard Brennan whose son Geffrey was a top Gaelic footballer played minor for Roscommon and played later for Cork and spent a lifetime in the bank.
William McCarron, Station Master. Daughter Bernie married to Gerry Leyden a member of the Leyden coal family Arigna. Mick worked at the railway station. Paddy a footballer. It is suggested that Paddy went to England became a newspaper reporter. Lotttie worked in Boles of Boyle for a long time.
The O’Donnells. A member of the family, Sonny, married to Alice McGill a sister of Harry.
The Gothic Lodge. First a Mister Monson then a Vet. Named Billy White there for a long time. Two daughters Olive and Heather who went to a secondary school in Main St. run by Jack Naughton a native of Kingsland. White followed by another Vet. Johnny Beirne and then Eric Toolan.
The Cryan brothers of ‘Crescent View’ and The Havana Band. Leo on drums, Ml. who had been in the British army played the Clarinet and Francis who played the melodeon. He was their M.C. at dances and walked through the dancers playing his melodeon announcing dances and encouraging dancers with a regular catch cry ‘grab your grannies for an old-time struggle’. One of them was a caretaker and resided for a period in the then Catholic Club now The Family Resource Centre. Their father, Michael Cryan, played with the Connaught Rangers Band circa 1905.
At the end there was a series of small houses on that same side with Miss McDermotroe, ‘Birdie’ Doherty, Mister Feely (Billy’s dad), and Johnny Molloy a returned ‘Yank’, John Alec McDermotroe and family with surname Skillander.
(There are some challenges in nominating the residents of some of these houses as there is with all streets so, as always, corrections and additions welcomed).
The Crescent was in earlier times known as Clover Hill or Clover Terrace.
Making Roscommon and Age Friendly County
I happened to attend a presentation ceremony in King House related to the title. I came away with a nice brochure-as I often do- outlining the ‘Age Friendly Strategy’ 2016-2020. It is a fairly comprehensive booklet and I’ve just flicked through it as of now. More ‘study’ is required. The basis of the whole programme is that services and businesses would do things, big or small, to make a difference to that growing and very significant cohort of people in the population i.e. older or senior people. Things touched on were the challenges for people living alone and how living conditions for them can be improved with home help, amenity grants for home improvements to enable senior people to remain in their own homes for as long as reasonably possible. Because this is invariably where people wish to remain. Realboyle has published the Boyle town businesses that participated and the recipients with their recognition certificates. It is surprising that more businesses and services were not on board. The reality of reaching out to senior people is that it makes good business sense anyway. It is also promoting the kind of courteous interaction that should be the norm between the senior customer and the provider. Little things often make deep impressions.
I don’t know to what degree it exists in other countries but perhaps the biggest innovation for senior people in this country was the introduction of ‘Free Travel’ on public transport. This has made a huge impact for the grey brigade. It has also been of great benefit to business in many towns through the country to which these people travel because of this innovative benefit.
I imagine Roscommon is pretty age friendly as it is so I guess that the aspiration is to improve on that which I am all for of course. Is feidir linn.
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ 50 Years On
This famous Beatles album with its iconic cover design rewrote the rulebook of rock music on its first release in the U.S. half a century ago, on June 1, 1967. It’s an exceptional, magnificent psychedelic masterpiece .
Amongst the songs on the album are;
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds/Getting Better/She's Leaving Home/When I'm Sixty Four.
It is now re-released and is certain to be of huge interest again in its revamped presentation. Those were the days.
Sunday With Miriam with guest Seamus Mallon.
Last Sunday morning I listened to Miriam O’Callaghan talking to one of the politicians/activists I most admire Seamus Mallon from Armagh. Seamus was one the foremost politicians with John Hume, Austin Currie and Gerry Fitt in the SDLP of Northern Ireland during the long dangerous period of the Northern Ireland Troubles from the late sixties to the Good Friday Agreement. I had a documentary on Seamus Mallon recorded a couple of years ago and was trying to retain it but lost it. The courage of those men in the face of gross intimidation from their opposition but also from elements within their own nationalist community was immense. I wonder how much of that period of history is ‘taught’ in second level secondary schools today. We should know about and never forget the likes of John Hume and Seamus Mallon. ( I imagine it is available on podcast though I am a raw searcher of same).
On a much lighter note if one has the time to search for a podcast of Liveline with Philip Boucher Hayes (sitting in for Joe Duffy) there are two stories from the last week that are worth looking for. One involved a lady from outside Ennis looking for a lost funeral booklet which included the names of sympathisers who came to a relation’s funeral in flood days of January 2016.
The second was a man’s account of the day of his First Communion in 1955 and of how he missed the early first communion mass, was treated like a V.I.P. at a later mass and got tallyho from his teacher the next day for missing his mass.
Both stories were told with humour and a total lack of concern for the medium or the huge listening audience. They had good stories and they lost nothing in the telling.
Bunting in Boyle
It is always great to see bunting flying in towns to celebrate special occasions or events. However a rule of P.R. is that shortly after an event has happened the posters, signs and bunting should be removed and stored for another day. There is also the financial consideration.
It seems as if it is hurling that is going to give whatever entertainment we will get in the GAA calendar for a couple of months until the real business end of the season at least. This coming weekend sees Down v Armagh/ Carlow v Dublin/ Meath v Louth/ Kildare v Laois; a few duds there so that leaves Limerick v Clare in the Munster Hurling Championship as the pick of the weekend.
The champions League Final between Juventus v Real Madrid has great possibilities on Saturday in Cardiff.
The British and Irish Lions also begin their tour in New Zealand on Saturday, just a short few days after arriving so that will give an idea on how they will fare in a very difficult tour. The poor performances of the Irish Lions who played for Leinster and Munster in the recent semi-finals of the Pro 12 did not inspire much confidence that they can set the tour on fire.
Aidan Lavin’s Boyle Junior lions travel a distance also to play St. Aidan’s on Saturday at Ballyforan at 8.
Big Stories of the moment; 1. U.S. President withdraws the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. 2. The U.K. Election. 3. Varadkar v Coveney. 4. Garda issues in Templemore etc. 5. Homelessness.