48 hours on, Brocagh pipe-mender Jody Robinson is still pondering where he parked his car after popping in to Springisland supermarket in Coalisland to buy cheap toilet rolls and a chicken in a bag.
Robinson, who has been standing in the outside foyer, thinking, since Monday, thought he’d parked it on the left hand side as you come out but isn’t totally sure. He refuses to walk any further in case people laugh at him walking around looking for it.
Mrs Robsinson, speaking from her home on the loughshore, maintains he’s too proud to ask for help:
“Jody is stubborn. But he’d need to hurry up as there has been no toilet roll for two days now and the children are growing weary of docken leaves. The chicken will be bucked too.”
Meanwhile, an entrepreneur from Aghyaran claims he has a method to cure car-parking forgetfulness. He has invented a car key which, when pressed in an emergency, shouts ‘I’m over here’ in an accent of your choosing. So far, the most popular accents have been Gortin and Plumbridge.
It has emerged that seven schools in the county are currently forcing detained students to watch ‘There’s No Place Like Tyrone’ on loop as an effective deterrent against bad behaviour in the classroom, for anything up to two hours depending on the severity of the offence.
Parents have complained of their children being scarred for life or in floods of tears on collection, after having to sit through at least one episode of the current new series as punishment.
However, many schools have reported a marked improvement in behaviour for the first time since corporal punishment was banned in all educational institutions in the late 80s.
Cookstown parent Banty Sheehy confirmed that he’s all on for the new initiative, claiming that his son’s behaviour has now improved at home as well:
“I’ve threatened him as well with watching it at home and locking the living room door. This TV show could really change young people’s mind-sets and tendency to do bad stuff. 20 minutes of the programme and my young lad is begging for forgiveness.”
The Education Authority maintain that they will monitor the situation but added that hordes of screaming children trying to escape through the windows of detention rooms is not a good look for prospective parents and pupils.
Hilary McGettigan, Principal of Gortin Academy, explained that they will only use the ‘There’s No Place Like Tyrone’ treatment for serious misdemeanours such as nailing rotting fish to the underneath of the teacher’s desk or calling someone a ‘bollocks’,
Graham (61) maintains that spreading cow dung can reduce immediate temperatures by over 5 degrees within 10 minutes. He went on to suggest that it will eventually be used as moisturiser for anyone wishing to keep cool during sticky summer months.
“If my plans are heeded, I project that global warming will be halted for millions of years and might even recede. I covered my car in cow dung and never had to turn on the air conditioning once, helping the environment in doing so. People need to embrace cow dung and save the planet.”
Already, thousands of Tyronnies have been stocking up on cow dung for any imminent heat waves this summer, with many local pharmecuticals vying for the rights to patent new cow dung facial cooling sprays.
Gortin sauna-user Patricia McGrady (44) confirmed that she often uses cow dung on her face during sauna sessions:
“It definitely makes you cooler. When I use it in the sauna three times a week, it feels like I’m just sitting in a normal room. I hate saunas so this is great news.”
Meanwhile the pot hole on the Plumridge main street has been filled in with grass.
A Dungannon bouncer was celebrated across the county today after it emerged he managed to cut a soda bread exactly down the middle with a kitchen knife before loading it into the toaster this morning.
Patrick McNally, who, coincidentally, was sacked three weeks ago from his job in a bakery in the town for refusing to ice a cake with “Up Coalisland” on it, admitted it was a result of sheer determination as well as staying sober the night before:
“I’ve been slicing sodas for 44 years and never have I managed to slice her right down the middle. Last week I completely missed the soda and stuck the whole side of it into one section of the toaster. I’m delighted. If I can do it, others can with persistence and staying off the drink.”
McNally posted his achievement on Instagram, earning over 300 likes and 24 comments.
In other news, a Gortin woman reversed the whole way to Fintona last night.
Priests across the county were said to be rubbing their hands this morning after religious experts predicted a sharp rise in mass-going coinciding with England’s continued success in the World Cup.
In addition, over 300 cars were spotted heading in the direction of Knock as families step up their prayer ratio in the hope that Sweden play the game of their lives on Saturday.
Gortin priest Fr Mossey admitted he was delighted to see England progress last night:
“It makes no difference to me whether they’re praying for bad things to happen or not. I can see takings up £5000 this weekend in my church alone. That’ll pay for the trip to Ibiza, and the maid too.”
Candle sales were up 600% in Cookstown yesterday as families lit them during the penalty shootout and prayed to Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira in Colombia, to no avail. St Bridget of Sweden is expected to get a quare rattle over the next few days.
Meanwhile a 57-year-old man from Coalisland was chased from the town last night after letting a roar out of him when England scored the final penalty kick. Seamus Kelly admitted he forgot himself after landing a £27.50 bet because of the goal. He is reportedly currently hiding in the Bush Road heading towards Dungannon, ironically in a bush.
The Met Office has issued a yellow snow warning for outside Sally’s entertainment complex in Omagh at some stage in December probably.
The Met Office’s Chief Forecaster said there was a chance of yellow snow on higher ground in the town:
“Some showers, falling as sleet or snow on some higher ground, will occur at times through December and over the early part of 2018. The extent of the yellowness will depend in the time of the day outside Sally’s, with after midnight having a high percentage chance of being that shade of yellow. Inebriated country folk will most likely be affected due to their inability to avoid eating snow.”
In 2012, over 300 people from Gortin and Tattyreagh developed stomach problems after eating snow in the vicinity of Sally’s during the early hours of a Sunday morning. Tests later proved that all the snow at that time was most likely to have been yellow.
A PSNI official has urged rural people to stop eating snow.
by Plunkett McJunket
Due to the rapid increase of wind turbines being built in Tyrone in recent years, it has been confirmed that it will be the first entire county to be airlifted on a journey to Mars by June 2019.
The wind turbines will be turned up to full power, with the number of windmills simultaneously spinning set to airlift the Red Hand county to its new home on the Red Planet.
American tycoon Elon Musk and his company SpaceX have stepped in to fund the ambitious project in order to avoid any governmental delays in approving another infrastructure project.
“I’m delighted to support this fantastic initiative for the world and the people of Tyrone County. Their settlement on Mars as the first humans on the planet will be something to look forward to, even though I have trouble understanding what they’re saying”.
At the press conference in the Strule Arts Centre we heard people asking “Here lad where can I get meself and the cub a ticket for this aul airliftin’ windmill yoke?” as well as “Why do they call ye Musk? Sure there’s no smell atall off ye!” A bewildered Mr. Musk relied heavily on local translators from Gortin for assistance at the event.
Local residents in the county are said to be delighted at the change of scenery and the chance to explore new territory from the comfort of their own county. With a lack of rain in the weather forecast on Mars along with most water frozen underground, Tyrone County Finals would go ahead with waterlogged pitches becoming a thing of the past.
Industry leaders in the screening and crushing industry are delighted at the opportunities on Mars. A representative of a major screener firm was quoted as saying
“Jez boys we’re flyin’ now hi! We’re already the best in the world here so now we’ll be the best on thon planet too!”.
To facilitate the ambitious move of County Tyrone to Mars, traffic diversions along with digital signage on asteroids along the route will be in place. A police escort of the windturbine-powered land mass will also be deployed to ensure space traffic congestion is reduced as much as possible.
A launch event is being planned when the county arrives featuring a low gravity jiving country jamboree and Mars rover diffing competition. The first cut of turf is expected in late July 2019.
One of Ireland’s finest clock-menders has been stood down from fixing the troubled Big Ben clock in London after only two days on the job. The lucrative contract, thought to be around £40m, has been handed to a Swiss firm who came second in the initial contract bids.
Liam Coyle (62) admitted changing the chimes ‘for a laugh’ whilst setting to work on fixing the clock, programming the ancient tower bells to ring out ‘A Nation Once Again’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ during various hourly alarms.
Big Ben PR co-ordinator Harry Seals admitted the joke was a source of major embarrassment for the city:
“Coyle’s CV references were good and we had no indication he would do something like this. It wasn’t until we saw a group of Irish men jumping in and out of the river Thames shouting ‘yahoo’, ‘yeooo’ whilst drinking beer that we realised it wasn’t your routine Big Ben chimes. Coyle was replaced immediately.”
One reveller, Johnny Lavery from Belfast, revealed he couldn’t believe his ears when some of the Wolfe Tones songs were being sounded out across London on the famed bells:
“We’d been drowning our sorrows after the rugby but this cheered us right up. As soon as we heard ‘Four Green Fields’ we went clean mad and jumped into the Thames. It was a dangerous enough stunt to be at, what with pollution levels and all, but that music does stuff like that to us, so it does.”
Coyle arrived home to Gortin tonight to a hero’s welcome with over 8 people lining the hedge up to his house.
A 61 year old Gortin man is said to be ‘holding out ok’ after putting clothes out on the line which included a pair of black knickers not belonging to his wife.
Liam Coyne, who rarely did the laundry, put out the washing as a surprise for his wife who was nursing a hangover after the local bingo club had their annual outing. It wasn’t until Mrs Coyne came down for a glass of water that she spotted the rogue underwear flapping wildly in the stiff July breeze.
“I was about to give off about putting any underwear on the line in full view of the neighbours when I spotted a pair of knickers that I definitely didn’t own. After close inspection I noticed they had the logo AC/DC on them and him at that concert last week. He’ll be sleeping with Bosco the mongrel til I get answers.”
Coyne’s closest friend and fellow AC/DC fan Malachy Hamill (62) is at a loss to explain the appearance of the knickers but reckons Liam may have just bought all around him at stalls at the concert last week with excitement.
“Aye he went a bit mad alright with the merchandise at the concert. He had a carload of AC/DC foam hands and air fresheners. I’d say that’s the most likely scenario. Sure why would he hang out the knickers of some woman he tackled at the concert? That’d be mad.”
Hamill confirmed Coyne was ‘holding up well’ in the doghouse and was catching up on some reading with the help of a torch app on his phone.
A first pilgrimage to Fatima, north of Lisbon in Portugal, for St Gerard’s Parish in Gortin has been described as an ‘unsuccessful venture’ by parishioners after a rushed booking saw the 50-strong group land in a 2-star hotel in Lisburn for a full week.
The party arrived home last night after a two-hour journey on a Chambers Coach down the M1, disappointed at the overall religious experience although some of the contingent admitted that eating a piri-piri chicken burger at the Bad-Ass Burrito Bar in the centre of the town gave them some flavour of the Portuguese culture.
81-year old Dorothy McCann maintains she will try to take the positives out of the trip:
“At least we got to see the Shaun The Sheep movie at Lisburn Omniplex. It was funny. It didn’t quite heal my cataracts which I’d hoped praying in Fatima would do but all the same I laughed a quare bit and had a lovely pineapple Slush Puppy.”
Pilgrimage organiser Kevin Brennan accepted total blame for the mix-up and but refused any requests for a refund:
“I made the error, yes. I thought staying in Lisbon would be a great experience for the people of Gortin. I did find it surprising at the time when the travel agent said we could take the whole journey by bus. But Lisburn was good too. We took in a tour of Lisburn Methodist Church which was a highlight. It was well worth the money.”
Despite being laden with Euros, the parishioners were able to convert their spending money back into Sterling and spend seven days walking around Easons, Waterstones, Bow Street Mall and join the Aviation Society before travelling back to Gortin with tales galore.
A DVD of the Lisburn pilgrimage will be available on April 1st, retailing at £19.99.
The mystery of a dozen election posters of West Tyrone Independent Roisin Fogarty, which mysteriously went missing during the recent campaign, was finally solved yesterday when Gortin bachelor Jim Keenan (44) returned the stolen items to the politician’s office.
Keenan, once voted Gortin’s Most Eligible Bachelor in a two-way tie with 81-year old uncle Paddy Keenan, admitted he used the posters as a source of comfort and was ‘practising for a wife down the line’.
The twelve posters were strategically placed in various rooms and positions including watching TV, ironing, arguing, drinking wine, in the shower and on the treadmill amongst other places. The Gortin mechanic super-glued the posters to mop sticks he bought at a market years ago, sometimes adorning the sticks with dresses and outfits his grandmother left behind. Keenan explained his theft:
“Roisin would be the sort of woman I’d be after. Smart, cross, big arms and red-haired. I thought I’d get a bit of practice in before I go looking for a real woman. Any room I turned she was there, evening hoovering on the stairs. We had some deadly craic telling stories but she’s feisty enough too and gave me some rollicking after rolling home late a few nights from Mossey’s.”
Close friend and fellow single woman-hunter Harry King admitted he considered stealing a few posters as well but could only find a couple of DUP men still up:
“It was a brilliant idea. I’d come around for cup of tea and there’d be Roisin washing away at the dishes or when I went to the toilet she’d be in the shower though she was horribly soggy after a few days there. The only problem was when you’d met the real Roisin on the street and thank her for the soda bread this morning and she’d give you a quare look. That’s the thin line between reality and fiction.”
Gortin Community Group are currently counselling Keenan.
The bi-annual change of clocks brought havoc throughout Tyrone once again, amidst mass confusion as well as some confrontational scenes.
Following news on Sunday that a local bookmaker was caught out after forgetting to change his clock, many residents, furious at having an hour taken away from them, vented their anger at farmers, who they blame for the twice-yearly clock change. Three people staged a mildly-irate protest outside a farm in Cloughfin, with banners saying ‘It’s Our Hour – Leave It The Feck Alone’, and, ‘You Can Take Our Sleep But You’ll Never Take Our Freedom’.
Demonstrator Claire Doherty from Dregish, said,
“Who do thon farmers think they are taking an hour off everyone? Them with their farming ways, tootling along in their tractors all deliberate-like, just to annoy other road users. If it’s an extra hour in the daylight they want why can’t they just change their own buckin’ clocks?”
The farmer in question, 62-year old Kieran Gormley,told us:
“It’s got bog-all to do with me. Why would I want to lose an hour? I like my bed as much as anyone else. Or did we gain an hour? I always forget. What time is it anyway? If I’ve missed Bargain Hunt I’ll go off the bap. I’ve only just got the clocks all up to date from the last change. Some handlin”.
Technology has particularly given problems across the county, with one man from Drummurrer locking himself in his bedroom for sixteen hours with a baseball bat after believing a very meticulous, time-conscious burglar had broken into his house and changed the clock on his television and mobile phone, when in fact they had automatically updated themselves.
A family of seven from the Washingbay had their own problems.
“It was tara”, said mother-of-five Teresa McKernon. “All of us changed the big clock in the kitchen without realising everyone else had done the same thing, so we all went to to bed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon thinking it was 10pm. Thinking about it, the day did fly by. We were making our supper when we were still half-way through our chicken dinner. My husband was putting his pyjamas when he was eating his sherry trifle”.
A man from Gortin, 37-year old Sandy McMaster, also got caught out by the change.
“There’s was something last night on ITV+1 I wanted to see but I hadn’t got round to changing the clocks. I didn’t know whether to turn it on at the right time, the hour before, or the hour after. My head nearly exploded trying to work it out. Damn farmers”.
Retailers from across the county have reported a massive hike in sales of ‘going out’ clothes ever since American actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced the end of her marriage to her husband and Coldplay band member Chris Martin.
Paltrow’s announcement appears to have pricked the ears of many single men between the ages of 21-59 from Strabane to Brocagh, with many citing the fact that she goes for boys with plain names being a case for optimism.
Pat Quinn, a 33-year old boiler servicer from Gortin, admits he was straight onto the Next clothes website as soon as he heard the sad news:
“I spent £300 in the space of half an hour. Three pairs of cords (brown, black and navy), 12 check shirts and a pair of DMs. That should see me going out every weekend for the rest of the year and you just never know. I have a nice two-syllable name and if the Paltrow girl happens to be popping in for a quick pint in Mosseys any time soon, I’ll be looking the part. High hopes, like.”
Gerard King (51) from Edendork, who boasts celebrity past conquests including a second cousin of Finbar Furey and a girl who met Boris Becker, reckons he has the X-Factor to win the 41-year old Los Angeles girl’s heart:
“I seem to attract the great and the good. Just last year I curted a girl who went to school with Liam Neeson’s family gardener’s nephew. If I can get the Paltrow girl down to the bingo hall I’m sure that the Old Spice will work its magic again. Imagine having a girl called Gwyneth walking around Edendork on the end of your arm. You’d be deadly proud.”
In other news, women across the county have not reacted excitedly to the news of Chris Martin’s availability, with one informing us he sounded like ‘someone from Eglish or something’.
A recording-breaking episode of Countdown will be televised next month after it was revealed Paddy Hunter, from the Gortin Road in Plumbridge, beat Shirley Moore, from the Plumbridge Road in Gortin, 2-0 after 15 rounds. The low scoring game shattered previous records with reports of booing and mass walkouts during the 30-min Channel Four show. Studio producer Simon Grey reckons the episode will live long in his memory:
“It started badly when the presenter’s name was announced – Nick Hewer. The two contestants giggled at the name ‘Hewer’ for the first three rounds. For the first numbers round they were given 50, 100, 1, 3 and 2 and were told to make 156 – possibly the easiest calculation ever. Hunter came out with ‘four million’ whilst Moore announced ‘it’s a trick question – it can’t be done’. It went downhill after that.”
Hunter finally got off the mark when both contestants were given the letters d, a, n, g, e, r, o, u, s. Hunter proudly exclaimed ‘us’ whereas Moore again reckoned it was a trick question. The Plumbridge man celebrated his 2 points by roaring “you’re on your own ye boy ye, yeehaa”.
Grey reckons dialectal differences may have been to blame:
“Susie Dent, the dictionary girl, wouldn’t allow a succession of words such as ‘clift’, ‘cowp’, ‘feck’, ‘gobshite’, ‘the-marra’, ‘wheesht’ and ‘budley’. Then we had Hunter making lewd remarks to the letters girl Rachel Riley. The PSNI have reassured us that he’s not to come within 30 miles of her.”
The final Countdown Conundrum also wasn’t solved. EVILDREAD was meant to be revealed as DAREDEVIL. Hunter buzzed in after three seconds with “381” before shouting “EVILDREAD”. Moore simply shook her head, refusing to believe it could be solved at all.
The episode will be televised on November 31st. Producers are considering using Hunter’s successful practice round answer ‘arse’ to take the bad look off things.
It has emerged that a Gortin taxi washer, Ian Coyne (62), almost succeeded in selling his wife of 40 years to Liverpool Soccer Club for £2.8m three hours before the deadline for accepting new players yesterday. Sources have confirmed that the deal was only scuppered after she turned up for the medical and Liverpool discovered she was a 61-year old Plumbridge woman with a plastic hip, severe arthritis in both legs and a pacemaker in place.
Liverpool director of transfers, Kenneth Dogleash, admitted it sounded too good to be true:
“Yes, it seemed like all our Christmases had arrived at once. This boy with a fierce Irish accent rang us and said he had an offer to make us about a player called ‘Ouldoll’. We had been on the look-out for a cheap striker to act as cover for Sturridge and Suarez so this was a dream come true. He said his ‘client’ was a real battle axe, causing havoc wherever they went. He said Ouldoll was good up front for their age and had a powerful kick on them when angered. He added that his client had become an expert dribbler in recent years and had scored in every town in Ireland in their younger days. We settled on £2.8m”.
With a deal thrashed out, Jenny Coyne boarded this first plane at Belfast International Airport, thinking her husband had booked her in for a week’s health spa session in Liverpool:
“It wasn’t until I was met at the other side by three men in suits that I began to think that all wasn’t right. They kept giving me strange looks in the car. Why they put me through that fitness test I don’t know. The hip was squeaking like mad on that treadmill. The weights were easy though. This nice young man called Brendan Rodgers came in and said the deal was off but that I should keep my head down and work hard. I was a bit confused and gave him a hard boiled sweet but I took it off him and clipped him around the ear when he said ‘thanks oul doll’.”
It appears that this was Coyne’s second attempt at offloading his wife after trying to sell her on The Antiques Road Show in 1999.
It has emerged today that 3 in every 5 children in Tyrone today have nightmares about Joe Brolly, ranging from demonic chases across ramparts to receiving severe criticism of their drawings at school. ‘Brollymares’ have been on the rise this week after last Saturday’s torrent of abuse on everything red handed by the bespectacled U12 manager. Gortin GFC have set up a hotline for anyone suffering from Brollymares whilst local pharmacies in Beragh have reported an increased demand for strong sleeping medicine.
A 12-year-old fisherman from Ardboe told us:
“Jaysus boys it’s tara. Ghost oh like, I dreamt last night that he was my headmaster and he was dishing out all sorts of lines and slaps for wee things like blinking too often or sneezing. He kept saying pupils in Derry were smarter. It was like Simon Cowell only multiply that by probably a million. I dread sleeping now in case I have another Brollymare.”
Eskra woman Jenny McGarrell explained the catastrophic effects of the recent epidemic:
“You’d think every house in the area had the bubonic plague or something. I stood outside last night around 3am and the screams could be heard from every house at 5 mins intervals. Children are just traumatised with the whole shenanigans”.
Doctors have issued instructions for worried parents to read traditional horror stories like Dracula at night to their children to take their minds off the dastardly Dungiven demon.
Meanwhile there were angry scenes in Brackaville last night after a lifetime ban was placed on Brolly from ever setting foot in the parish by the village council. Local businessman Ray Campbell has offered £10’000 for the first person to catch Joe on Brackaville territory. An Icelandic exchange student who looked a bit like Brolly was released this morning having been held and tortured for three hours. His inability to speak or understand English finally stood in his favour.
An Ardboe octogenarian created havoc in mid-Ulster yesterday after setting out on a 37 mile journey to Omagh to visit a sister he hadn’t seen since 1988. James ‘Gonzales’ Quinn, a former eel skinner and well known for his speedy knife method, cranked up his 1957 Wolseley for a journey that would hold Tyrone to a standstill as 944 motors found themselves stuck behind him up the Omagh Road for almost four hours. One such driver, Peter Devlin from Carnan, explained:
“Jaysus it was cat. I was also heading to Omagh to pick up a part for a woman’s undergarment when I found myself directly behind Gonzales at the Cookstown roundabout. I remember being stuck behind him in 1996 but overtook him when he stopped the car near the Battery for a bite of a sandwich. This time, he wasn’t stopping. Twice I made the move to go by him only for Gonzales to veer right over the middle lines. Any other man and you’d think he was winding you up. Not Gonzales. He’s just a wild man at the wheel, and him doing 20mph.”
By the time Quinn reached Kildress, a line of 200 cars had formed behind him, mostly at a snail’s pace. One impatient passenger, reportedly a postman from Coagh, took a head stagger and went on a rampaging 70mph bolt up the wrong way, only to be catapulted up a side road towards Greencastle when Gonzales edged out at the last minute. Paddy McCann told us:
“I saw a cavalcade going past the house at Sandholes, so like any other right-thinking man I joined in. The whole family were greatly excited in the motor, guessing away at what the queue was for. I was thinking maybe a bouncy castle at Gortin but the wife was hoping for a half price day at the Centra in Drumragh. It was a bit of a let down that it was only oul Gonzales going up to see the sister. We didn’t reach Omagh til dark.”
Quinn has yet to return as police warn motorists to listen to traffic updates for information on his journey. The PSNI also confirmed they will not be prosecuting the line of toilet-stoppers during the ordeal.
With the recent news that sixty–four people in NI are currently claiming incapacity benefit because they are too obese to work, one man from Gortin has come forward to confirm that he, in fact, is one of the three from Tyrone included in the above investigation. Johnny Coyle, a 31-year old ex-timber merchant from the village, says obesity sort-of crept up on him out of nowhere and blames the foreigners for opening their delicious outlets in the greater Omagh area.
“Jaysus I’m tara embarrassed. I knew I’d put on a lock of pounds after everyone stopped buying timber from the yard in favour of them straw bales and I had to retire, but little did I know I’d actually ballooned to 31 stone from my fighting weight of 13 stone. I knew a couple of chairs had broken over the last year but I just put that down to shoddy workmanship in Fermanagh. The bed collapsing should have been a tell-tale sign. It wasn’t until I got stuck in the doorway of Mossey’s Bar back toilet that I couldn’t ignore the truth. I’d been eating too much. The government came around to weigh me and told me what I already knew. I’m the first obese person in Gortin. Stop eating or I won’t get a woman they said.”
Coyle has made it his goal to find out where the other two obese people in Tyrone are so he can set up an Eaters’ Anonymous Society. He also also promised to cut down on the Chineses, Indians, pic ‘n’ mix from Centra and the thrice daily fries.
“My runners have told me there may be a middle-aged woman in Brocagh and a young lad in Trillick around the same size as myself. I’d have to be sure though. You’d get some abuse if you asked the wrong person if they were obese. I’m just looking for moral support as we begin our descent towards an acceptable level of heaviness. It’s all about what you eat. A gradual change in lifestyle should do the trick. For breakfast, instead of the 5 bacon, 9 sausage, biscuits, gravy, cream hotcakes, dozens of scrambled and fried eggs and pounds upon pounds of melted cheese with ice cream on Fridays, cut out the ice cream on Fridays.”
The Gortin Pioneers’ Society released a statement saying they wholeheartedly supported Johnny but that you’d think he’d learn the lessons from his da who died after choking on a Frankfurter in 2001.
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.