Monthly Archives: October 2012
Despite earlier predictions of a record-breaking savagely cold winter in mid-Tyrone, locals in Kildress have received communication which casts doubt on that original analysis of a seasonal hardship. Kildress is one of the last townlands in Ireland that still maintains a clan-like system with a leader voted in every four years, one calendar month after the American president is sworn in. He or she is elected on their ability to be at one with nature and possess the talent to predict weather changes in the immediate future as well as long-term for the important farming community. Current leader, Tommy Higney, a surprise choice four years ago, was exposed last night by his secretary as a fraud:
“It was that time of the year again when Tommy was being constantly approached to give his pronouncement on the winter. I knew he wasn’t a natural at that. He told me to phone up the NI Meteorological Dept and put him through. I heard the whole thing. He asked them what they thought about the winter coming. They said it was likely to be cold enough. He said rightso and then told everyone in Kildress to stock up on wood as it’ll be a cold one.”
Higney didn’t stop there though. So that the locals thought he was a truly reliable leader, he kept in touch with the Dept for constant updates.
“Every time he phoned he’d get more accurate news. The second time they said it would be even colder than they first thought. Tommy went straight out and told the locals to cut down even more trees and store them for winter. The third time he was told it’d be a severe winter. Same story again, Tommy declares after mass that they need to prepare for the worst winter in 100 years by stockpiling wood.”
Fearing for his community’s well-being he made one more call to the Meterological crowd to ask how they arrived at their analysis for the coming season. Secretary McGurk explained:
“I heard the whole thing. They firstly told Tommy that this’ll be the worst winter on record be he asked. He flipped out and asked how they could predict this worsening scenario. Yer man said it was classified information but as Tommy was an avid weather watcher, he’d let him in on the secret. They predict the future by watching Kildress people and their tree-cutting habits. The more they cut, the worst the weather was going to be, said the official, and they’d been cutting like mad lately. Tommy nearly choked. I barely muffled my laughing.”
Mary McGurk immediately exposed Higney’s backhandedness and declared herself a runner for the forthcoming elections.
Despite repeated warnings to evacuate the area coupled with gusts of up to 85mph, three Carrickmore tourists continued to ‘drink on’ in a beer garden in downtown New York, sparking public statements of disbelief and awe from the highest authorities.
Barney Shields, Tommy Gormley and Kyron Woods had flown out to New York for three days on Sunday on a post-season blow-out which they had planned for ages. Despite warnings of treacherous conditions and the unmissable wailing sirens, the three Carmen men headed on down to O’Neill’s Pub anyway on 37th Street for a ‘lock a pints‘ as the storm hit the city, maintaining that they were always going to get the most out of the much-anticipated trip.
Woods, 36, who’d never set foot outside of Carrickmore before, explained their stance:
“We’d been looking forward til this for ages, boys. There’s no way a drop of water was going to spoil my three days in Amerikay. The Yankee barman wasn’t prepared to stay on after our 5th pint with the wind gathering an all but we toul him to leave us the keys. A nice man, he agreed and ran off. The beer garden was a bit ropey what with the umbrellas flying about, falling bricks and the sheets of hard rain but sure it was no worse than playing Derrylaughan down by the shore on a similar day in March.”
An impressed President Obama mentioned the threesome’s actions during his national address this morning:
“….and some say we are a weak nation. If that’s how the world sees us, well then it’s time we borrowed the willingness to stand firm in the face of adversity from those three Carrickmore heroes in 37th Street. The world watched as they faced up to Hurricane Sandy and said, ‘we ain’t going nowhere’. Up the Carmen I say. Up the Carmen.” (great applause and chants of ‘Carmen’ from Congressmen and women)
Woods, a little perplexed by Obama’s comments, told us:
“I don’t know what he’s waffling on about. I’d already bought six rounds. Them there hoors had only bought four rounds each. I wasn’t leaving til it was all evens. There’s nothing worse than being stung when doing rounds.”
Shields and Gormley were too delicate this morning to comment.
One of Benburb’s most colourful characters, Jessie Jordan, has publicly denounced Hallowe’en as a ‘load of balls’ and has refused to partake in any ghoulish festivities around the spookingly week-long festivities in the sleepy hamlet. Driving along Benburb’s ‘Golden Mile’, Jordan’s Butchers is conspicuous with its lack of frightening decorations which adorn businesses such as Mackle’s Craftware and Mullan’s Alternative Medicine Shop on the same road.
“Let me get this out of the road straight away. If any child even thinks about knocking on my premises on Wednesday they’ll be met with a black pudding to the gob. Trick or treat? The trick will be for the accompanying parents dislodging the lamb chops from their backsides. The treat will be all mine watching their tearful retreat. It’s a pile of dung. I’ve already sabotaged five bonfires around the Moy and Eglish. Apple-bobbing? Think I want to dip my bake in a bowl full of the slabbers and snatters of cousins and the like? I’d rather ate a pig’s arse through an electric fence.”
Jordan’s vehement refusal to celebrate the pagan festival seems to date back to an unfortunate incident in 1977 when his mother baked an apple tart for consumption after the bonfire. His sister, Denise, explained:
“Jessie never really forgave my ma for that. He thought he’d play a practical joke whilst everyone was out dancing around the bonfire, half naked. He snuck in and attempted to ate the apple pie and then blame it on the dog. He didn’t know my ma had put the traditional 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p inside it. She was a generous woman and usually splattered a rake of each coin amongst it so everyone would win a good bit. Poor Jessie threw the whole thing into his mouth. We found him on the floor spitting the last of his teeth onto the floor. It was a bloody sight. He was called Gummy Jordan for years.”
Benburb holds its breath.
A domestic argument over the length of time spent in the shower has broken Augher’s peaceful aura and threatened to destroy the perception of the village as an ideal holiday destination for people from America and France. Henry and Gretta McMeel had always been considered the pin-up couple for the Augher Tourism Board with their strikingly good looks, lovingly approach to each other and their harmonious effect on the area. All that changed last night when a passer-by, Barney McKenna, overheard a heated exchange emitting from one of their back rooms.
“I was just dandering home from looking at the sheep up the road when I thought I heard raised voices coming from McMeel’s roadside dwelling. Hoping to get a bit of juicy information, I pinned my ear to the window of the back room as the curtains were pulled. I heard Henry saying ‘you’re always fcuking keeping me back washing your oul fcuking hair. How come it takes me five minutes and that includes a fcuking shave. Thirty-five buckin minutes I’ve been sitting here watching this XFactor shite. I could’ve had four pints in me by now for fcuk sake.’ Well, to be honest I almost collapsed from the shock of it. We’ve always looked up to the McMeels. I’ve never heard anyone curse in Augher before. What else does that monster do behind closed doors.”
McKenna continued to divulge information on the exchange and said it wasn’t all one-way traffic, or words to that effect.
“It wasn’t all one way traffic. Yer woman was further away from the window so I only caught bits. I heard her say ‘hairy-arsed bastard’, ‘spend more time in the shower ye smelly hoor’ and ‘alcoholic bollocks’. I can tell you, I don’t know if I can look at the McMeels in the eye again. I told the parish priest and he went into some form of convulsion. This mustn’t get out.”
The Augher Tourism Board has barred all talk of the incident and has warned McKenna that any further gossiping about it will be fatally dealt with.
GLENELLY. Former captain Joseph McCullagh becomes the first man to leave Glenelly for pastures new. There will be a going-away do in the community hall with music supplied by the Plumbridge Brass Band and Joseph’s uncle, Mattie McCullagh, who’s singing songs from the musicals. Festivities start 8pm tomorrow. Come along and see Joseph off in style before his long trek to Bundoran.
MOY. 13th Annual Camel Wrestling Event. A little known fact is that the only two camels in Ireland kept as pets both live in the Moy. This remarkable coincidence has lent itself to a yearly wrestling competition held between both even-toed ungulates. With 6 wins apiece this year’s fight promises to be a real humdinger. Ice cream made from camel milk will be provided for children. First bell rings at 7pm tonight.
TATTYREAGH. Annual bath for brides and grooms-to-be. Come along and witness the bathing of soon-to-be newlyweds in the Ballynahatty Water. Tradition in Tattyreagh dictates that all weddings in the area take place in November. At the end of October, all couples intending to tie the knot that year bathe in the freezing waters as relatives gather and clap. No showers are to take place between then and the wedding. That’s why the women hold flowers, to disguise the odour. First dipping at 11am Sunday.
STEWARTSTOWN. 100th Gurning Competition. Famous for its natural gurners, this year’s Stewartstown gala promises to be special as the centenary gurning weekend gets underway today outside the bank at 2pm. With competitions for all age groups and genders as usual, organisers have opened to competition to pets and livestock. Dan McCann is aiming for the ‘Most Miserable Bollocks’ title for the 5th consecutive year.
Probing questions have been beginning to circle around the Clonoe Parish area after it emerged that no one has won the Derrylaughan lotto since its inception in 2001, even the £50 for three numbers. With last week’s winning numbers of 1,2,3 and 4 bringing the tally to 750 weeks without anyone winning more than a tenner for two numbers, punters are asking if this is the toughest lottery in the world.
Asking a £5 entry fee, the Kevin Barry’s lotto is one of the steepest in the entire country, with sellers targeting long distances from Moortown to Majorca. Ballinderry man, Jody McGuigan, summed up the current inquisitive mood:
“With the jackpot now standing at £1.3m it’s hard not to do the Derrylaughan lottery. Like, our own one is about £900 and any time someone wins it you can be sure it’s a McGuckian or a Muldoon. But there’s something funny going on down the shore. I remember reading in the bulletin once that the numbers for the Derrylaughan one was 13, 34, 41 and 66. Sure the buckin envelope only goes up to 26 numbers. I spotted it but said nothing for fear of being sent to the mad house again.”
McGuigan decided to pay a visit to Derrylaughan last Sunday to see if his suspicions were with substance. What he saw will live with him for the rest of his life.
“I went down to watch Derrylaughan play Dromore and had a sniff around. I just wish I’d taken my camera. The clubroom was akin to something you’d see in the Slieve Russell. There were butlers from Derrytresk, maids from Brocagh, a fancy reception where you were given an ash tray of nuts if you sat down at all. The toilets had golden railings and the toilet roll was some kind of velvety tissue from Japan. The car park was full of Mercs, BMWs, 2010 Nissans and boys walking around with bicycle clips on. I saw the chefs making the aftermatch meal of ‘lobster and Mousseline of pattes rouges crayfish with morel mushroom infusion’ and that was just for the away team.”
Derrylaughan Lotto committee chaiman, Michael Saggart, refused to comment and just encouraged people to keep dreaming of that £1.3m prize money before instructing his driver to bring him to somewhere that sells crowns.
Metal set of drawers. Stood the test of time. Sleeps six children. Great for big traditional family. DREGISH
Collection of old people. Retirement home fire-sale. No real bother apart from wiping and scraping. DUNGANNON
Cheap Divorces! End the misery today! OMAGH
Home-made portable toilet. Great for attending GAA or soccer games or going to a march. Serviced recently. GLENELLY
Have you had a heart attack or died? We can help. Cardiac Discussion Group. ARDBOE
Freshly cut Christmas Trees. Can be delivered by December 28th. Local produce. FINTONA
Part-time head-lice puller. Great with children. BROCAGH
Turkey for sale. Only partially eaten. Wasn’t stuffed. STRABANE
Donkey with a red cowboy hat on. Answers to Hetty. Do not look direct in eye. EDENDORK
A group of European scientists have confirmed that people from Loughmacrory live longer and are also more rampant at night. This revelation came as no surprise to the locals who have kept their longevity and virility a secret for fear of outsiders inter-breeding with them and damaging their golden gene pool. The report also suggested that those who lived on farms in Loughmacrory were particularly romantic at all times in the day. Retired headmaster, Hugh McAleese, admitted that although he was happy to see their name on the world map, he was also wary of boys from Omagh, Tattyreagh or America attempting to attract their girls such was their new-found reputation.
“We’ve known this for years. I’m 121 and have no signs of wear and tear. The average age here is about 76. My father had no record of birth but he reckoned he was over 150 by the time he succumbed to a hunting accident. Although there were only 14 in our family he was said to have fathered 60-odd around the country. He was a farmer and there seems to be a correlation between farming and copulation. Them farming girls would be running around buck naked after lads all time of the day. I think it’s the smell of silage and the noises from the livestock. By all accounts, my da was as randy as they come,” McAleese said before offering a seductive wink.
McAleese put forward his theory that because most farming house had no upstairs, it left the farmers with more energy at night not having to climb a flight of 12 steps or so like those houses in Mountfield or Creggan.
“Speaking from personal experience, I went from a three-story house in Drumnakilly to a small farming bungalow at home after I inherited my father’s farm. The wife saw some change in me. I’d come in at six, slap the dinner into me and sure most of the time we just lay down on the spot. We didn’t know whether we were coming or going with all the antics we’d be at. Long healthy lifestyle, endless horizontal dancing – we’ve the life of it in Loughmacrory. C’mere and give us a kiss ye wee cat.”
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board are looking into the potential of a tourism hotspot for stag and hen nights but are sure to meet resistance in the village. In 1996, a similar attempt to tap into the area’s mysticism saw a government official stripped and superglued to a gable wall outside the pub.
An exceptionally acute man-flu episode is apparently rifling its way through Tyrone this week, allegedly originating in Ardboe. Today, Strabane men were reportedly suffering from symptoms which suggests the whole county’s male population is now probably affected. Tyrone women, who are immune to the illness, have been exhibiting unusually less-sympathetic-than-normal responses to the epidemic. Con O’Farrell, a poor sufferer from Brackaville, explained the early telltale signs as well as offering advice for fellow male victims.
“Jeepers, it’s deadly boys. I started snifflin on Saturday night and told the woman I couldn’t light the fire cos of it. Although she was suffering from a migrane herself and was 8 months pregnant, she showed no sympathy at all and the slabbers running clean off me like. The other lads around here said their women were the same. No grief atall. The next day I was hurting everywhere and, again, no TLC was offered. I’ll tell you how bad it was. After she made the dinner, I had to lie down for an hour. I usually do the dishes and all and bejaysus I couldn’t do them cos of the slight pain in my body and the snifflin. I thought I was going to die like. The pain and suffering must be worse than childbirth. Be strong lads.”
Other Tyrone men reported ‘not feeling right’, with many too frightened to help out around the house with fear of collapsing of something. Others confirmed that they found women became sarcastic, cold or unsympathetic towards them. Similar responses were reported by women in Derry, Armagh and Fermanagh.
“Ah fer feck sake”, Deirdre Henderson from Fintona told us, “I have high blood pressure, women’s problems, piles and have borne 13 children. I make the breakfast, get the children out to school and that oul bastard is lying on the couch with a duvet on him watching Loose Women, all because he has a snattery nose and a gentle cough. He won’t even lift his fingers to change the remote for himself, whimpering at the children to help him. I urge all Tyrone women. Stand firm against these shower of useless hoors. The next time he says he thinks he’s coming down with something, he will be. My fist.”
Male doctors have urged Tyrone men to stay positive and remain at home as one cough could infect another batch from a neighbouring townland.
One of Cookstown’s most colourful characters, Anton McCaffrey, almost single-handedly ruined the Fr Rock’s finest day when he caused ‘untold distress’ to Eskra mothers during his face-painting service at the Intermediate final. McCaffrey admitted he’d had a skinful before the game down at Mulligan’s but believed he was still half-sensible enough to bring joy and mirth to the youngsters who attended the replayed decider. Setting up his stall at the far side of the Healy Park goals, well away from the majority of stewards, McCaffrey charged the children £5 for a face-painting of their choice, or £7.50 for the face and a packet of crisps. One Eskra mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, was shocked when her little Johnny returned to his seat:
“I knew something was up when I escorted Johnny over to the face-painting table. The artist was slumped over and appeared to be throwing up lightly under the table, cursing the weather. I also spotted a bottle of spirits which I initially thought was for cleaning purposes. When my lad returned, the stadium erupted into uncontrollable laughter. Johnny had asked for the face of Batman. What he got was simply thick black paint completely covering his head, back and front. All you could see were his big white eyes. He even painted his tongue black. He looked nothing like Batman. I paid £5 for this.”
As other children slowly emerged back from the stall, the damage was unfolding. Young girls who had asked for a pussy-cat faces came back as grotesque devil-like creatures. One elderly supporter needed cardiac resuscitation after being tapped on the shoulder by a young boy painted as a grim reaper. He’d also been given a scythe. After a dozen children returned as demonic terrors or with just an X across their face, a now extremely intoxicated McCaffrey had resorted to just brushing a single thick stroke across the child’s face, in black mostly, before chasing them away with his strong Cookstown brogue ringing in their ears such as ‘now feck away off back til Eskra.’
Tyrone GAA reps are looking into it.
Tens of thousands of men and the odd woman flocked to Newtownstewart yesterday after news spread of visions at a house on the Moyle Road. Former Newtownstewart lingerie model Yvonne Kelly thought it was just another normal morning. She got up and fed the ass which they keep in the utility room over night and headed up to shower for the day ahead. Little did she know her life was about to change.
“I was showering away and giving myself a good scrubbing as we were dunging out Uncle Hugh’s bedroom yesterday. I slipped into a daydream, staring at the shower glass door. It was then that the visions started. I squinted at a water droplet and I could have sworn it looked like the Queen of England’s head that’s on a stamp. Then I saw a dolphin in another. Over the next twenty minutes I saw Louis Walsh, Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton, Elvis, Dana, Birdie Sweeney, Brian Dooher and one of my neighbours. I called my husband in and he just stared at me in the shower, saying nothing. I think he was stunned.”
Word soon got out and people as far away as Ardstraw descended on Kelly’s house to see the visions from themselves. Unfortunately the shower door had dried up but a few lads from Gortin worked out that Yvonne had to be in the shower, washing away, for it to work. As soon as she stripped off, the visions in the water droplets began again with many in the room claiming they were seeing wondrous things like badgers, cats, melons, Brian Cowan, Bruce Forsythe and Massey Fergusons.
“Jaysus I’ll not forget that day”, said 19-year old Gary Turbett, “The things I saw will live with me forever. All my mates managed to get a look too. It was magnificent. There were plenty of cameras going so at least the visions will last a lifetime.”
Yvonne’s husband, Larry, called proceedings to a halt when he came home from work, chasing the male-dominated congregation away from the bathroom and toweling down his now chronically wrinkled wife. Despite pleas to extend the visions for another day and to set up a shrine of sorts, Larry Kelly issued a statement to the Tyrone Tribulations saying there’d be no more visions and sure there was nothing holy about them anyway.
Long waiting times for all ailments at Clonoe surgery have forced many in the area to take matters into their own hands and perform DIY repairs on themselves. Although their crude methods of rectifying simple illness or sores has resulted in further complications, locals claim they’re better off this way instead of sitting in waiting rooms for up to two hours at a time. Patsy McCabe elaborated on the medical misfortunes that have plagued the East Tyrone townland in recent months.
“Some handlin. I had an ingrown toenail for weeks. Last Wednesday I made an appointment to see Dr Devlin and was sitting in that waiting room with people snattering and slabbering for two hours. I though ‘feck that’ and just upped and headed back to the garage. Whilst inside I fired up the blow-torch, took a slug of plum poitin and burned the bastard clean off the side of my foot. It was indescribable pain at the time but far better than sitting in that room for a couple of hours. The downside is a permanent limp and the bleeding hasn’t really subsided.”
McCabe’s methods have been adopted by many in the parish now with many not even phoning the surgery for advice or prescriptions. Josie Ferguson noticed that a wart on her little finger was getting bigger in recent months and was hindering her when mashing spuds or slapping children.
“Jaysus it was a hoor of a wart. I says to Mickey I can’t be bothered with it anymore and was going to phone the doctor. He stops me and says not to as the queues down there was scundering. He made me drink a bottle of sherry, clamped my hand to the table and shot the wart off with a small gun we keep for chasing badgers from the back door. To be honest, he shot the whole finger completely off and I was a bit pissed off initially when I came round after passing out in pain. But when I hear of the waiting lists I’m glad Mickey shot me. You soon get used to nine fingers and I’d have no hesitation shooting a wart off anyone, anywhere. Even a verruca”
Dr Devlin has implored the locals not to engage in any more DIY surgery as it wasn’t safe. He says it’s only a matter of time before appendix or gallstones are tackled by impatient sufferers.
Derrytresk anthropologist, Felix Hughes, was on the receiving end of an ear-bashing from the new PP last Sunday after he was spotted by early-rising parishioners cutting his hedge on the roadside between the hours of 6am and 8am on the Sabbath morning. The bold and brazen 70-year-old was reportedly “going buck mad” with a scythe in the semi-darkened mist, his comb-over flapping manically in the fearsome Sunday wind. Local busybodies, a gaggle of holy women in their 60s, reported the events to Fr Duckingstool who originally hails from Clonmore. He used his homily to take public issue with Hughes’ dawning activities:
“Well, well, well. I’ve seen it all now. My retired predecessor warned me about the Hugheses. Didn’t bother with the Dues he said. Didn’t receive confession he said. Didn’t spend much at the Mission stalls he said. But never once did I expect to hear the news I heard this morning. Cutting the feckin hedges they told me. Poor Susie, and her with the women’s troubles, said she nearly crashed her bike into the whin bush at the bottom of Hughes’ rampart. Bare-chested she said. Comb-over dancing wildly in the young foggy sky she said. Damnation awaits Felix Hughes.”
Adoring parishioners gawped in disbelief as the details of Hughes’ toils were played out in all its heathenly colour. Piecing together all reports, it appears that he was scything away for the guts of two hours that morning, greeting shouts of derision from mass-goers with either the middle finger or a show of his arse. Although Felix himself wasn’t present at the service, his wife and children were made to endure the whole sordid detail by standing up at the request of Duckingstool. The Good Father is reportedly considering returning to Armagh after the shock and is contemplating cursing the Derrytresk GAA club for the next half-century.
Hughes refused to comment on the whole shenanigans, instead firing a warning shot over reporters with his air rifle he uses for nicking school children who walk over the grass on the other side of the hedge but still on his land.
I SAID NO ONE MOVE
Two Stewartstown mechanics have been refused bail after a botched robbery attempt in the local Post Office. McKnight and Hobson were attempting to rob the popular PO during lunch time yesterday only to be foiled by a misunderstanding between the pair. McKnight shouted “b’jaysus, nobody move” after securing the doors tight. All staff and customers obediently stood still whilst his fellow robber moved to collect the money from the counter and was promptly shot in the leg by his nervous partner. Case adjourned until Hobson recovers.
A SLOW DAY
A robbery in Coalisland was foiled when police managed to arrest the villain after two hours from the commencement of the dastardly deed. Murray held up the town’s chip shop and tied up the owner only to find there were few takings in the till (£9.50). He proceeded to put on the shop’s overalls and worked for two hours serving locals chips, fish, mineral and sausages in order to boost his takings by which time the PSNI arrived and arrested him. The judged sentenced Murray to three months but commended him on his work ethic.
A canny Strabane off-license vendor saved the day after an initially successful robbery of the till in the town’s Winemart. The Sion Mills robber, Mr Tomney, held up the off-license and filled his bags with the takings. He then demanded a bottle of whiskey from behind the counter. The fast thinking cashier, Mick Lundy, asked for ID to prove he was over 18. Tomney supplied it before making off with £45 and a bottle of Ardbeg single malt. Lundy immediately phoned the police with the naive robber’s name and address. The were waiting for him as he arrived home. Tomney is out on bail.
The Omagh Witch Trials began yesterday, the first of its kind in Ireland since 1467. Thirteen women were reported to authorities last weekend of possessing hag-like appearances and mumbling incoherently at the end of the night in the town square. The defense pointed to the fact that they were simply a group of Tattyreagh girls dressed up for the night to the best of their ability and were simply palatic by the time they spilled out onto the street at 1am. The prosecution, the Reverend Willy Smith, said he’d never seen such she-devil behaviour since a night out in Maynooth in 1969. The trial continues.
One of the smallest villages in Tyrone, Cranagh, have today unanimously rejected the digital switchover movement and vowed to keep their analogue aerials flying high for the foreseeable future. The tiny Glenelly Valley community are reported to be the only settlement refusing to make the switchover in the UK, although what they plan to do in its place remains unclear.
“It’s a load of balls,” claimed 92-year old native Maire Ni Houlihan. “Pure dung. Testicle talk. Remember the time they were going to dig up half of Tyrone for lignite – well this is the same shite. It’s a scam. Everyone knows no one pays their TV license in Cranagh so this is the government’s way of grabbing our dough. That Thatcher girl is capable of anything. They turned off BBC2 last week but so what. I’d rather watch my piles enlarge than that. We’re not for changing.”
The pigeon-Irish speaking villagers are holding a meeting tonight to see what they can do to entertain themselves in the days, months and years to come when the analogue signal dies. The 66-strong population are confident they can fill the void with good old fashioned pulling together and creating ad hoc entertainment. Community Centre manager Harry Johnstone has already drawn up a ‘Roster of Enjoyment’ for every night in the week.
ROSTER OF ENJOYMENT
MONDAY – Yarning about old days and making scarves. Roll call and notices about births, deaths and birthdays.
TUESDAY – Strong man and woman competition. Barrel lifting and staring competition. Moroccan-themed smoking.
WEDNESDAY – Midweek Reflection. Tales about banshees, leprechauns, graveyards and digging up men. Punishments for bad children.
THURSDAY – Recitations for different age groups. Irish dancing. Disco dancing. Samba dancing. Dirty Dancing. Stretching.
FRIDAY – Blind Man’s Buff followed by bottles of stout and babycham for the women. Romance time for the older ones. Children in bed by 8.
SATURDAY – Sports. Football, cricket, rugby, bowls, wife-lifting, synchronised swimming, polo and Jack Changes.
SUNDAY – Holy day. No shouting, kissing, rowing or general bad manners including wind breaking.
“I firmly believe our decision to go digital-less will instigate further such stances across the county,” added Johnstone. “Cranagh is the guinea pig here but also the flag bearers for not bending over and allowing the politicians to tell us what to watch. We’ll be the most cultured village in Ireland. We don’t need TV! To be honest, I’ll miss Joe Mahon’s programme but sure the 3G signal is great here and I can watch it on my…….sorry….delete that there.”
I met a girl in Beragh and she said her name was Sarah,
And I thought she was as fair a lass as ever wore a shoe;
So I went and sat beside her, and with tay and buns supplied her,
And to soften her I tried her with a lozenger or two.
Researching the census back then, we can narrow it down to two Sarahs: Sarah Grimes and Sarah Rodgers. Beragh women were great for tea and buns and it was oft said that that combination usually had the females in the area weak at the knees. Lozengers would be a delicacy in Beragh even yet. This man was no pauper.
Then later I got bolder and I nipped her on the shoulder
O I nipped her and I told her I would take her on my knee;
But she said, “You’ll be in bother, for I’ll go and tell me mother,
I’ll go home and tell me mother if you’re impudent to me.”
Nipping is an old Beragh custom between courting youngsters that still exists today. Usually around the age of 15, a Beragh father will sit down with his son and explain nipping. You only nipped a woman you were prepared to take a box in the face from. You never nipped big girls with strong arms. This rules out Sarah Grimes as she was a Feis arm-wrestling champion in 1923.
But she said it with a twinkle, and a brow without a twinkle,
And her laugh was like a tinkle that invited laughin’ back;
So I started to provoke her, and to hoke her and to poke her,
Till she vowed that I would choke her, and her stays began to crack.
It appears that the narrator was a bit of a nuisance and began poking away at young Rodgers who pretended to be rather affronted. Again, this was extremely civilized behaviour in Beragh, with the girl now being nipped and poked. All part of the mating process down there.
Says I, “Now don’t be silly, I’ve a farm in Drumnakilly,
And the more it may be hilly, there’s a handy bit of bog,
We’ll be happy there together with a bullock in the heather,
And the goat upon the tether and the donkey and the dog.”
This was the clincher for Rodgers. To be offered a farm, a bit of bog, a bullock, a goat, a donkey and a dog was like suggesting a diamond ring made from the most expensive gold in Ireland. There are Beragh women today who believe this was a made-up story like Cinderella or Mary Robinson such is their desire to be even offered a bullock.
Then it wasn’t long we tarried till the two of us were married,
And home the donkey carried us as the presents made a load,
And on them Sarah sittin’ with a clocker and a kitten,
As we jingled like a flittin’ up the Drumnakilly road.
The clocker may have been an instrument Beragh women were given back then to hit their men with if he continued to nip and poke after the initial courting phase. A rolling pin of its day.
But the night was getting chilly when we came to Drumnakilly,
I could hear the bleats of Lily as the graith came off the ass;
Says I, ” I’ll get a bucket, for I dunno how she stuck it.”
So I lifted wan and tuk it up to Lily in the grass.
The graith was a clamping device Beragh men put on their women’s backsides to prevent other suitors from pinching their arse. Even today, Beragh women who are engaged or married wear a graith under their jeans if they head into Omagh for the night.
Well, the goat was very willin’, and the bucket bravely fillin’,
But the milk was nearly spillin’ when I heered an awful squeal,
And then there came a clatter over stones and lyin’ water,
It was Sarah on the batter up the loanan to the field.
On the batter today means drinking heavily. It’s unlikely Sarah would have been necking poitin that early in the relationship. That usually came after the 5th child. Batter here meant roaring and shouting, like a normal housewife in Beragh. Beragh women are said to be the angriest females in Ireland due to the sheer laziness of the men.
She was leppin’ like a lion and her petticoats was flyin’,
She was roarin’, she was cryin’ fit to waken up the dead;
O she come without delayin’, and between the gowls and prayin’
I made out that she was sayin’, “John, the Divil’s in the bed!”
It is obvious here the narrator had a few rivals who were extremely jealous of the marriage. Many men dressed up as devils back then as it was said Beragh women were particularly fond of the dark arts, nipping, poking and being on the batter. Sarah seemed to have a man waiting for her in the bed as the narrator was out milking a goat. With her graith off, she was exposed.
I run in to see the Divil with a mind to spake him civil,
And behold ye Sarah’s Divil was a hairy oul buck goat,
With a smell for human noses that was anything but roses,
And a beard on him like Moses and a dickey at his throat.
The narrator appears to be either naive or unwilling to admit that there’s a good chance that he had his eye wiped just hours after being married. Gortin men were famous for their hairiness and Dickie-bows. Sarah Rodgers may have regretted her decision to turn a blind eye to the hairy devil and enjoy the moment whilst her hard-working husband was out milking the heavy goat, and ran out screaming a batter to make the whole thing look good. The bad smell confirms the man was from the Gortin/Plumbridge area where they ate a lot of wild garlic.
Says I, “Me neighbour Micky must have done it, for he’s tricky.”
But a goat that wears a dickey is a goat I can’t abide,
And because a man that smelled him would incline to do it seldom.
I cut the ropes that held him and I chased the buck outside.
Mickey McVeigh, the neighbour, was a bit of a ladies’ man but it’s unlikely it was Mickey. By this stage he’d been unintentionally castrated by a visiting freak show.
O sometimes me and Sarah dresses up and goes to Beragh,
But she’ll niver let me wear a dacent dickey like the rest,
And the thing that is uncivil is to mention Sarah’s Divil,
The Drumnakilly Divil with the dickey on his chest.
The marriage was a sham. There’s no doubt that the Gortin opportunist had a bit of success with Sarah in the 2-3 minute window he had. The poor narrator was not to speak of the incident again and dicky bows were a no-go area of conversation.
86-year old ex-taxidermist Bill Dougan from Trillick yesterday claimed there was ‘nothing but shite’ on the TV these days and has encouraged young people to take up ‘road boules or something like digging.’ The unprovoked outburst occurred after watching The Late Late Show on Friday night only to be presented with no one he’d even remotely heard of or interested in.
“I’ve been watching TV since the 1940s. My aunt Kathleen was a landowner and used to charge peasants a fortune for using her toilet, the only one in Trillick until 1962. She used the money to buy a big TV, again the only one in this area. It was a Crosley 10-428 bakelite dark brown table top one and she allowed us to watch it once a week. There were some great shows back then. Bonanza, 321, Glenroe, the news, The Plough and the Stars, Eurovision, The Riordans and the weather. Now it’s all lesbians and people ridin. That Tubridy boy. He has an eye for the buck naked women and tee-total boys who cry on that show. Best, Higgens and Behan are spinning in their graves.”
Dougan is worried about the future of the Irish people if the current TV content remains. He has called on young Irish men and women to turn off their sets and get out onto the roads to embrace the qualities we once held dear.
“Listen, Albert Reynolds needs to make a stand here. What type of Irish person are we launching on the world now? In my day we were hard working, hard drinking, racist, sexist, untidy, funny and unreliable. Those are the qualities we historically cherished. I see these young people walking around Trillick all cleaned up and the boys with tattoos, pushing prams. They all go to work on time and come home on time. There’s hardly any form of discrimination at all now. They’re watching all them politically correct messages in soaps and chat shows. Is this the kind of Ireland we want? I blame Pat the bollocks Kenny. At least Gay Byrne disliked some of his guests. Get Byrne back on the TV before all is lost. I caught my son doing the dishes a week ago. I may be 86 but a box to the head fairly stung him.”
An innocent attempt at a practical joke has ended in bloodshed as Katie Quinn’s entire herd were murdered in cold blood last night on the shores of Lough Neagh. With the hunting season in full flow, a group of shooters from Urney arrived in Derrylaughan after the news spread across the country regarding a gang of ravenous foxes who had been wreaking havoc around the general lowlands area. Quinn had been approached by the eldest in the Urney crowd, Larry Turner, to see if it was OK to shoot on her land.
“I thought it was good manners to ask permission. To be fair, Katie was very forthcoming and said that as long as we didn’t dung all over the place we were free to let loose on the foxes. She made one request though. I’d noticed a rancid-looking donkey standing behind a wall before she even mentioned it. She said that whilst we were out shooting, would we put a bullet into the donkey as it was too old, blind and lame and she hadn’t the heart to do that to Joxer who’d been in the family since Halley’s Comet visited in 1986.”
Turner thought this was an opportunity to take a hand out of his fellow-shooters and told them that Katie had denied them the chance to shoot on their land. He also added that she was abusive towards them and said Urney was a hellhole full of wasters and bolloxes. He proceeded to tell them that he’d teach her a lesson and shoot her donkey. Little did they know that this was a prior arrangement between Quinn and Turner. Katie takes up the story:
“At first I thought he was a handsome young man. We came to an agreement that they could shoot on my land as long as they shot my poor Joxer. It was either them or the knackers yard in Coalisland and I wouldn’t give that shower a penny. I heard the shot and looked out to see poor Joxer drop to the ground, on his way to his eternal rest. What occurred afterwards will live with me forever.”
As it turned out, Turner was so convincing that, when he shot the donkey, the rest of his crew shot indiscriminately at all the cattle in the field in order to reinforce their anger at her supposed rudeness. The destruction was unimaginable as the field was strewn with murdered cows. One cow survived the ordeal and is currently receiving trauma rehabilitation. The Urney lads were chased down the Reenaderry Road but escaped up through Tamnamore.
The mood in Dromore has been described as darker than the deepest recesses of outer space since their senior football side were defeated in the county final last Sunday. Not since 1838, when an English tourist labelled Dromore as a ‘bleak poor hilly town’ in a holiday brochure, has the ‘Large Ridge’ found itself wallowing in a slough of self-pity and despair. No bins have been collected, cattle milked nor men washed since the loss four days ago and the outlook shows no sign of improvement. Housewife Katie McCarron refuses to see any light at the end of the tunnel:
“It’s buckin ridiculous now. Jaysus, I know the football is big an all in Dromore but these lads need to catch a grip of themselves. My husband, a stalwart on the team, hasn’t taken a shower since Sunday morning. He’s still in his muddied kit, just sitting and sleeping on the couch watching reruns of Starsky and Hutch. The only time he rises is for the toilet but he’s even too depressed to flush it. He’s normally very aware of his appearance and was a rather gorgeous man. Now, he just looks like an oul hobo from Omagh. Not one fcuk does he give right now about anything. He should be shot with a ball of his own shite.”
With rubbish piling up on the roads and loanans, cattle at bursting point and drunk men staggering from The Central Bar, pishing all over the place, women have given the male population 24 hours to snap out of it or they’re going to start flirting with lads from Trillick.
“I’m giving my lad another day. If no improvement, I’m heading down the Galbally Road and grabbing one of them Trillick boys. They’ll never be left in that post-county final depression, let’s be honest.”