The Glenelly Rockin By The River Festival organisers have reminded punters that they won’t be trigger-shy if things cut up rough during the Nathan Carter concert and have especially warned women who may let excitement get the better of them. Having watched with interest the goings-on in Belfast at the weekend, Glenelly officials were quick to ask for a loan of one of the water cannons but added a sinister warning:
“Let us assure you, we’ll be testing this yoke to its capacity. And it’ll not just be water coming out of it if people don’t behave.”
Organisers have drawn up a list of potential troublemakers, topped by women from Plumbridge who have a reputation for going ‘buck mad’ when they hear country music.
“Yes, it is true that Plumbridge women are high on our radar, especially after they wrecked the hall during Hugo’s charity concert last summer. Any sign of wrecking during Carter’s concert and they’ll be getting the hose on them. Even if we think we don’t like the look of someone they’ll be sent 60ft into the air without warning. We’ll show these PSNI ones how it’s done.”
The use of dye in the water has not been ruled out as well as throwing in a distinctive odour.
“The Chinese wouldn’t be behind the door when it comes to using dye. We’ll be spraying pink at drunken lads. Also, a fertiliser will be added if Carter is inundated with women’s knickers. Tam Jones emailed us to say he wished he’d done a concert in Glenelly if that had been the policy back in his day.”
Organisers have added that there’s almost a 99% chance of the water cannon being deployed during the More Power To Your Elbow concert on Saturday, simply to give the locals a “much-needed wash” for Mass the next day. Shower gel will be added.
Following on from yesterday’s news that Greencastle had tabled a motion at the Tyrone Congress that the Sperrins be moved from their present location, it has emerged that they have received vociferous backing from Kildress, Gortin and Donemana. In an added twist to the sensational developments, Glenelly, Strabane and Plumbridge have promised to fight tooth and nail to keep the mountain range exactly where it is for varying reasons. Donemana’s Richard O’Neill explains the stance of the four pro-removal townlands:
“Yousins in the rest of the county don’t know what it’s like to wake up til this giant thing towering over you everyday like big mad parent. Every buckin day. And what it is? A big hape of moss and bogland – useless to man and beast. They talk about the beauty of Mullaghcarn Mountain. It’d be damn well beautiful to me if it was sitting in Benburb or Trillick. And it’s freezing here. The sun can’t get at us. Sure you only have to look at the complexion of us indigenous peoples stretching the whole way across to Lissan. You’d think we’d been in solitary confinement all our lives with the gaunt skin and bags under the eyes. There’s so much we can’t see here – Portrush, the Aurora Borealis and the North Pole. It’s just not fair and another thing – there’s no drying at all here if the wind is coming from the north. That gigantic useless lump of turf blocks the whole thing. We’re calling on the Tyrone Sperrin Society to consider moving the range to the south west of the county of maybe abroad to Portygal or Egypt.”
Glenelly’s tourism spokesman, Eddie Parton, refutes the claims of the foursome:
“Listen, if them mountain glipes from Kildress hadn’t cut down all the trees 6000 years ago then it’d be a thing of beauty. They’ve greedily bogged the land out with their incessant burning of things. They’re always burning things down there. The Sperrins are crucial to tourism around these parts. Hikers usually try to go up them only to find it’s too wet and soggy and just freewheel down to here or to The Plum to buy coats and flasks and things. The Sperrins are here to stay I say. What about that lovely song concerning Slieve Gallion Brae:
My name is Joe McGarvey as you might understand
I come from Derryginnet and I own a farm of land
Are there better lyrics on the planet than that opener?”
The four protagonists have been slow to distance themselves from a telephoned threat from a group calling themselves the Strabane Slashers to the tourism board warning that if the vote doesn’t go in favour of the removalists, they’ll blow the mountain range up anyway. Richard O’Neill added:
“We do not condone the use of explosives to rid ourselves of this monstrosity but let’s not get carried away. There’s worse things in the world than a couple of lads from Strabane blowing up the Sperrins.”
The Tyrone tourism board are to make a decision next week. They will also try to ask the Sperrins themselves by listening to the ground with a cocked ear.
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.
A Gortin soup-maker, Marty Og Coyle, was arrested yesterday close to his own house after he was found to be steering his Nissan Sunny with a pair of pliers. Police noticed something unusual about the offending automobile as it took an extremely wide turn onto the Fintona Road which Coyle currently lives on. They also recognised that the driver was having difficulty straightening up the 1988 model. Out on £15 bail, Coyle took up the story:
“I was at my mother-in-laws and was mad keen to get away and home to see Joe Mahon on Lesser Spotted Ulster. He was in Plumbridge this week. I was maybe a bit excited and yanked the steering wheel clean off the motor just as I reversed back. Luckily I’d a pair of pliers in my pocket so I took it from there. I cannot see what the problem is. Granted, it’s a bit slow straightening up and I am taking the bends a fairly wide but sure everyone knows me in Gortin and usually steer well clear.”
The PSNI were left no choice but to confiscate the car when they asked Coyle to step outside. He proceeded to climb into the back seat, into the boot and eventually managed to get out when an officer opened the boot from the outside.
“What’s the big effin deal? That’s how I’ve got out of that motor for nearly ten years now. I’d get home, beep the horn and one of the weans would run out and lift the boot up. I’m not doing any harm. I haven’t hit another motor yet. I bet them cops are ramming into lads every day. I’ll be back in her before long mark my words, as soon as I get break pads.”
The car has since been crushed.
The remaining three members of the PBPB (Plumbridge Black Pudding Boys) are still said to be at large after a raid on their underground premises saw two arrested and a confiscated black pudding estimated value of around £120. The five-strong gang have been terrorising other black pudding vendors in the greater Plumbridge area since 2008, cornering the market on the blood-filled sausage. The recent tip off came about after one of the five let it slip to Fr Toner in confessions that he’d fallen out with his comrade over the bulk price of a recent shipment.
“I know confessions are meant to stay confidential but this was simply too big an issue. The poor quality of black puddings in Plumbridge recently has been unbearable. We’ve envied the Gortin and Crannagh lads eating away at their Cookstown Meats puddings whenever they wanted to. Here, with the market monopolised by the PBPB and their terrible Croatian import, life had been almost unlivable, especially in the morning. The clergy were no different. I dare any man, woman or child in The Plum to say they function well without a slap of black puddings in the morning. If they do, damn them to eternal hell.”
PBPB leader Jack Rafferty confessed to Fr Toner that relationships within the group were at breaking point over the pricing system. With the locals dependent on the group for their fix, some wanted to charge them £9.99 for 30g, three times the going rate for the Cookstown variety. This came soon after a previous fallout when Rafferty chastised one of their member for excessive strong-arm tactics. Fr Toner continued:
“Rafferty said there were holes already in the initiative after a junior PBPB member made a show of himself by staring threateningly at a traveling meat van in the area. Although it went unnoticed Rafferty knew some were getting too big for their boots by staring and all.”
Fr Toner said he won’t be revealing any other confessional secrets in case anyone was worried. He went on to claim that he’s put a curse on the on-the-run remaining members that they suffer from severe diarrhea for the next 12 months.