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Travelling People

Ardmore Memory and Story - Traditions

11. Travelling People
There were certain personages who paid periodic visits, mostly at Pattern time. Among them were:

God in the Bottle who succeeded in inserting pieces of wood into a bottle in the form of crucifixion figures; these he sold to several clients.

Ginger Doyle reputedly a learned man and one time student for the priesthood.

Rua Ward bard of Armagh and Ulster.

Maggie Lennon whose speciality was artificial flowers.

Paddy Lawlor who said he had travelled the world; he used to stay at Duceys and play cards at Burkes.

There were several others who came from time to time and seemingly always got hospitality at Conways of Clarkestown.

Up to about 30/40 years ago, people waited for the tinkers to come around to buy a quart tin with a handle (very suitable for boiling eggs) or a bucket. Evidently they were skilful tradesmen and called themselves tinsmiths. Presumably the name tinkers was derived from that.

Over thirty years ago and later the travelling families with whom we became familiar were the Hogans and the O'Connors. The Hogans settled eventually in a house in Tinnock and the children went to school there.

Mrs Hogan was a frequent visitor to Melrose guesthouse (among several other establishments too) and my sister always saved a good helping of food for her; she brought away the containers and returned the empties later. On one occasion in particular she asked for some dripping as well "to fry the mackerel your nephew sold to Stephen". My sister was intrigued at the idea of Richard actually selling fish to Stephen (Hogan) and was reassured by Mrs Hogan that such was the case, and she said they had as much haggling over them, as if they were beasts at a fair.

At that time the laws of strict abstinence prevailed and selling mackerel each Thursday evening was an occupation in which teenagers who had access to boats and fishing lines keenly indulged. There was great competition between the different groups in getting to the convents in time, and furthermore, the nuns always looked for the larger fish not realising that the medium-sized ones were more tasty and better bargains. There was a stage when my car was used by my sons on Thursday evenings, to do mackerel sales to the farmers around.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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