By Landan Seamy
Local spy Sean McGrinny maintains he has discovered a resurgence of the Irish language in Tyrone, after a series of damning incidents.
“I wasn’t originally researching this” admitted Sean. “I had been out investigating something else and was annoyed when I drove to my sister’s house in Omagh for a break only to find that my parking spot was taken even though she’s put up a sign for me saying “strictly no parking at any time”.
“I’d waited angrily for 5 minutes pondering what to do when I noticed the culprit sneaking back to his car so I leapt out and challenged him as to why he had parked there. His angry reply showed a poor command of English. He kept calling me a horse and asking was I off my face. When I shook him and asked if he couldn’t speak proper English I distinctly heard the words “Pog mo Thon” which I remember from school means ‘kiss my ass’ in Irish.”
Undeterred, he pondered:
“It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps he’d ignored the sign as his main language was Irish so I let go off the scruff of his neck, yet not being given to rushed conclusions I simply deposited this piece of information in my brain and decided to keep an eye out for corroborating evidence. I hadn’t long to wait for the following morning I was dandering through Omagh town centre mulling things over in my head when I noticed a sign for an alcohol free zone where it clearly warned it was an offence to consume beer on the street and yet I saw a man sitting on the pavement playing a stirring and emotional rendition of the Mountains of Pomeroy on a tin whistle with a lovely can beside him.”
As things began to fall into place, McGrinny unearthed further evidence:
“A wee bit later I found myself at the bus depot. I was intending to use the toilets but as often happens in Omagh there was a sign saying closed for cleaning. Then a young bearded man walked up, stared uncomprehendingly at the sign and started to bang on the toilet door. I could tell from his dress and demeanour that he was a local man and not a foreign national yet everything he shouted was unintelligible except for a few words that sounded like ‘Jesus Christ’.”
As ever, McGrinny weighed up the information, using his experience:
“To the civilian ear this might have sounded like English but to the trained ear, i.e. my ear, it wasn’t, for as a spy I know that some names don’t vary much from language to language. When I’m next in the Free State I’m determined to go to mass somewhere to test this theory.”
The more I research my theory the more truth I can see in it. Everywhere that I see an order written in English alone I see bearded Tyrone looking men disobeying it. Take your pick of people walking on the grass; dropping litter; letting their dogs foul on footpaths, not giving way in their cars etc etc.
As a result of my discovery I am publically calling on the council to get rid of its policy of English only signs.”
Mrs McGrinny weighed in:
“Some people may think my Sean just wants to see bilingual signs go up since he’s a republican” said Sean’s wife. “What utter dung! The other night we were going through a protestant part of Dungannon and saw men dropping cigarette butts where it clearly said no litter. These men were not Irish speakers but most likely speakers of Ulster Scots and as a typical non-sectarian Republican, Sean’s message to the government will be to face up to reality and erect trilingual signs all over Tyrone”.
Perhaps feeling flattered by his wife’s interruption Sean looked bashful and said “no comment”.
One of Tyrone’s most cherished songs has come under attack from other villages desperate to put their own mark in the music world.
The village of Pomeroy is facing increasing resentment that not only do they have their own special Diamond, but they also have their own song, renowned throughout the world. Other villages are now promoting songs about their villages and townlands, including the mournful ballad, ‘The Street Signs of Plumbridge’, a song about unrequited love and clear, unambiguous traffic signage.
Mickey Daly of Derbrough Road in Plumbridge told us,
“That Pomeroy song’s mince. What’s so special about their mountains, eh? Sure, do we not have a whole clatter of them in Tyrone? That’s why we’re promoting ‘The Street Signs of Plumbridge’. It’s an instant classic”.
He went on,
“It’s about a pair of two young star-crossed dreamers who meet by the river in Plumbridge for a romantic tryst, surrounded by
roads with excellent traffic calming measures. Once this gets out the recording studios’ll be fighting off Nathan and Malachi and Andrea and all that lot with a sharp stick. This is going to be the next ‘Fields of Athenry’”.
Daly said that an extract of two of the verses of the song relate to the timeless dance of young love, yet set in a modern and contemporary
We met upon Glenelly bridge where cars reduce their power
They’re not allow’d to travel more than twenty miles an hour.
With stars above I begged for love, your embrace I did beseech
You updated Facebook, texted friends and soft did slur your speech.
With golden hair and winsome glance, your gentle form divine
You kiss’d me whilst the curlews sang beneath the Give Way sign.
My eyes did close in sweet delight when your lips on mine did linger
And only open’d in surprise at where you’d put your finger.
The final verse reflects on the sorrow of loneliness and of unreciprocated desire: –
We parted by the traffic lights and true I shed a tear
I’d had my heart so pierced with love, you’d had four cans of beer.
You captivated all my heart, my soul you did bewitch
Tho’ none can hold a candle to the street signs of Plumbridge.
Rumours surfaced last night that Hugo Duncan may have agreed to record another new local song, entitled, ‘The Pawn Shops of Strabane’.
A young couple from Tyrone hope to make it big in the charts by launching their debut single which could also put Coalisland firmly on the pop music map.
Using a cover version of the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers classic ‘Islands in the Stream’ with amended lyrics, Killian Grugan and Clare Toner, both from Brackaville, will release ‘Island in the Stream’ next month, inspired by the heavy rain experienced by the town in recent weeks, when at one stage Main Street almost turned into a river.
Unemployed sandwich-filler Toner, 22, agreed to share the lyrics of the first verse, which retains the same tune as the Dolly Parton version:
You do something to me that I can’t explain
Maybe it’s the people or the pelting rain
Or our Belfast links, it’s fifteen minutes there and back
Disneyland has nothing on our Newell Stores
Tiger Woods once played at Brackaville’s golf course
And our wemin he loved, Coalisland girls are mad for craic
The chorus then goes on:
‘Island in the Stream
Of that there is no doubt
Come see our deadly Spar
Take a lovely cruise on our quare canal
And we’ve the Central Bar, ha ha
And the Yankee Star, ha ha
Other verses remain a secret but Toner revealed,
“We’ve done a whole verse on the parking facilities in the ‘Island, and we were going to do more on transport links but we couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with Ulsterbus”.
She went on to explain how the idea came about on the spur of the moment.
“One day we popped into O’Neill’s when it was bucketing down for a quick one, and we had this wile idea. Let’s put the ‘Island on the map. They were playing Dolly Parton in the background and we both love Dolly so what better way to big up the ‘Island than re-writing one of her best songs? To be honest we were hammered by that time, but fair play we’ve carried it through. We’re going to be the biggest boy/girl pop group since them ones like Sonny and Cher, or Cagney and Lacey.”
Grugan, 24, a full-time ear defender, responded to questions over the accuracy of the lyrics, saying,
“Aye, well maybe a fifteen minute round trip to Belfast is stretching it a bit, but we’ve got to appeal to the tourists from Americay. That’s why we’ve mentioned the canal, see? And I’m sure I heard that Tiger Woods once played golf here. Or maybe it was Darren Clarke. Or somebody”. He went on, “There’s plenty songs that have put places on the map before. Where would London be without ‘The Streets of London’, Glasgow without ‘I belong to Glasgow’ or New York without ‘Viva Las Vegas’? Even ‘Mountains of Pomeroy’ made Pomeroy world-famous”.
Hopes are high for interviews in the London Times, Le Monde and the Coalisland Post. If the single is successful, the duo intend to record another re-written Dolly Parton classic entitled ‘Nine To Five-miletown’.
Strabane residents are today trying to get their heads around last night’s revelation by the popular ex-referee Barney Gallagher who came out and confirmed he has a bit of a notion of the Queen of England and that it has been going on since the 1970s. ‘Bacon’ Gallagher, a talented musician and one of the most ruthless refs on the ladies footballing circuit, was rumbled when his fellow band members noticed he would mistakenly slip in ‘Liz’, ‘Lizzy’ or ‘Beth’ to traditional Irish love ballads during gigs across the country.
Long time friend and fellow warbler, Ronald Stafford, claims it all makes sense now:
“We’d always joked about how Barney kept millions of stamps in his pockets and the way he’d take ages licking them. It was a bit odd. Little did we know that he was getting a kick from it. He’s the last man I’d suspect to have fallen for oul Windsor. Then I recalled the way he’d pretend to have forgotten lyrics. Just last week he sang “I’ll take you home again, Lizzy” and I swear I saw his eye glisten. He needs his head seen til”.
Gallagher came clean last night after he was caught humming God save the Queen during the instrumental bit of the Galtee Mountain Boy.
“OK, I admit it. But come on, surely you can all see it. That cheeky glint in her eye, the way she glides up and down Buckin Ham, that irresistible figure. I even went to see her at Cashel that time she was over, dressed as a Sion Mills woman. You don’t understand how hard it is for me to come out. Every time I sing the Mountains of Pomeroy, it’s for my Liz”.
Fellow band members are holding a meeting to decide whether Bacon can still perform the likes of ‘Sean South’ whilst harbouring his notion for Elizabeth.
Leaked plans from a source within Dungannon & South Tyrone Council have revealed that the Council is planning to spend the £400m budget, originally earmarked for the A5 road extension, on a huge party for the 150,000 lucky residents in Tyrone. An anonymous source told us:
“We were going to get the money taken away anyway so we might as well use it on something. We’ve not done the sums yet on how much it works out at per resident because our calculators don’t go to enough decimal places, but it should be the price of a whole clatter of pints for every man, woman and child”.
The original expectation was that the funds would be withdrawn and used elsewhere in Ireland or the EC for other projects. However, the source said that officials discovered that they can re-classify the £400m expense from ‘A5 Road multi-million pound upgrade’ into a category called ‘Miscellaneous Expenses’ without anyone noticing.
Plans are already underway to have a one-day celebration of all that is good about Tyrone, including Irish dancing, bull-fighting, tyre-kicking, dwarf wrestling, diffing, laundering, slagging, passing down clothes and St Bridgid’s Cross weaving. The leaked 10-point document outlines the plans for the event which will be organised by the Council, expected to take place mid-August:
- ‘Mad Musical Spectacular’, better than Band Aid. Featuring band made up of Bono, Philomena Begley, Paul McCartney and Dennis Taylor. Follow up with charity recording The Mountains of Pomeroy, featuring Sting on the spoons. Get Lady Gaga if Philomena not available.
- Derrylaughan to be re-classified as 2013 City of Culture. Persuade people in Derry that them getting it was an admin error.
- Get Derrylaughan re-classified as a City
- Free Moy Park chicken for every Tyrone resident. Utility bill as proof of address required. Cookstown Sausages instead for any vegetarians.
- ‘All Star Football’ featuring 1986 Tyrone versus the 1966 England World Cup Team
- Fly Pope and entourage over for the day as special guest of honour. Use Easyjet to keep cost down but agree to pay for Easyjet Meal Deal for Pope only, to include sandwich, Pringles and bar of chocolate of His Holiness’s choice.
- A lock of pints for every resident. Get Costcutters to do a deal.
- Free sick bag for every family.
- Bulldoze Asda in Cookstown. Build 3,000-foot statue of Peter Canavan.
- Bribe BBC producers for Tyrone to feature on ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’ every week for next 5 years
The day will be hosted by Ant or Dec, whichever is cheaper.
By Staff Reporter Shengas McGlumphie
Three Galbally men who will debut their three-man comedy show this Friday at the Cohannon Inn admit that with only days to go they have virtually no material to fill the ambitious two and a half hour slot. Plunkett Drummond, Plunkett Quinn and Plunkett Keown, all born in 1986 when Plunkett Donaghy’s dreamy locks was breaking housewives’ hearts in the All-Ireland, booked the gig after deciding their witty banter deserved a bigger audience.
“Us three boys were always having mad craic down the pub and we thought, Jaysus, people would pay big money to listen to this” said Plunkett Drummond from Corlea Road. “Even last Friday night we were out at Nugent’s in Pomeroy, and the craic was ninety. But no-one bothered to write any of it down and the next morning I couldn’t remember a thing. We thought we could really go all the way to the top, maybe even as far as the Community Centre in Galbally. Just look at other successful threesomes, the likes of The Three Stooges or the Three Degrees or the Two Ronnies. Big comedy trio acts raking in a whole lock of pounds.”
However, the group are struggling to re-create the magic by transferring the hilarious pub banter into a tightly-constructed, joke-packed, fun-filled, 2½ hour set.
“We did take a pencil and start scribbling notes on the back of the Auto Trader”, said Plunkett Keown, an unemployed fitter, “but we were laughing so much the writing ended up all shoogly and couldn’t really make it out the next day. The only words I could read were ‘Holland tractor’, ‘mushroom’, and ‘trousers’ and we can hardly squeeze 2½ hours out of that”.
In growing concern that they will not have sufficient material in time for the show, the three men have tried gathering at lunchtime without alcohol to see if they can produce any gems.
“It was rubbish. All we talked about was the new roadworks near the Rock. We’ve even watched Riverdance on Plunket’s VHS with Flatley doing all the high kicks for a bit of inspiration. That might be an option”, muttered Plunkett Drummond doubtfully.
The group now plan to extend the show to include traditional song, with Plunkett Keown singing ‘The Mountains Of Pomeroy’ accompanied by Drummond on the tin whistle. So far, the threesome have a story about a wasp landing on Plunkett Keown’s cheese and pickle sandwich during the Thrills in the Hills in Pomeroy last summer, and an anecdote involving a beer mat sticking to the bottom of Quinn’s pint glass. To date no tickets have been sold, but Plunkett Drummond remains hopeful.
“Tonight’s a last ditch all-out effort. We’re going to Tally’s to get properly hammered, but this time we’ll get the boyo on the next table to listen in and take notes. As long as we remember to ask him”.