Irish Army Summer Manoeuvres – By Mike Hackett
There was great excitement when we heard from a motorist – who had come to town from the Glendine direction – that an Irish Army Battalion was marching along beside the Blackwater river towards town. This was in the early 1950s – and such a potential thrill for us small boys was tremendous. We believed the driver – and we ran out the north road to meet the marching troops.
It was near Templemichael that we met them. Marching three abreast – and going at an easy pace – we watched in awe as hundreds of soldiers passed us by. We spoke to a few and they told us that they had walked from Lismore – and asked how far more was it to town. When we said three miles – they were relieved as they were getting tired at that stage. Then as the long column ended – around fifty men at the rear had green army bicycles and were walking beside their machines. We youngsters were thinking that those soldiers were old or injured – until someone told us that they were message carriers.
We followed the mile-long column into town – until they turned up at Cork Hill to go to the army barracks at the top. They must have been tired and hungry at that stage.
That was to be the making of a busy town for the Summer. Youghal would be crowded in any case – with the Strand ‘Booked out’ for July and August with holiday-makers. Then those hundreds of soldiers – as they stayed for weeks – meant packed cinemas, dance halls, pubs and entertainment venues. We were talking recently about Dan Duskey – and how his show moved to Youghal from Clashmore. The soldiers ensured Dan had a full house every night for many weeks.
The rifle range at Ballyvergan Bog was where all the real live firing was done – using proper bullets. Red flags would be flown at both sides of the range to warn walkers away from the immediate area. The salmon fishermen out in the bay would also be warned by the red flags – or they could have bullets flying over their heads. When the firing ceased – the kids of the area would search the firing positions for used bullet casings – real brass – but a boy would want a lot of them to sell to the scrap dealer. They were mostly kept as souvenirs of the rifle range.
Manoeuvers that took place out in the slob-land – behind Tallow Street – were fascinating for us kids. Soldiers with real rifles –but no bullets – were on their bellies pretending to creep up on the ‘enemy’. And we watched it all from the slob boreen – without going into the fields filled with soldiers in the rushes. They had the sticky weed all over their uniforms and hats to disguise themselves. One soldier came over to us – asking where he could get a drink of water. We offered to get some for him from home – a few hundred yards away – and so we did. We got a ‘sweet tin’ with some tin ponnies – and brought the tin full of water down to the soldiers. They were happy with us – they were parched.
We had to go home to fill the tin with water again for some more soldiers – and when that was gone – one man took his hat off and passed it around to the others. They put in a penny each and we ended up with a small fortune (by our standards). It was a nice gesture – and we could imagine going to the cinema matinee a few times.
Like all professions – army life had funny and amusing sides. One tale told of three army L.D.F. privates – on gate duty at the barracks. Then every time an officer passed by – one gave the order to the other two to present arms. The commands were issued as Gaeilge. One soldier was very good at presenting – but the second man was not – and was watching the first guy – so he could copy him. Of course the second guy was always a bit behind. An approaching officer spotted the hesitancy and lateness of the ‘learner’ – and he asked him to say the command for presenting arms. “Not sure” replied the soldier “But I know it when I hear it”.
George Swayne was based at Fermoy while serving in the army and was a good G.A.A. player for his native Youghal. His team was due to play one evening at Copperalley – while George was at Fermoy. He was so determined and fit – that he borrowed a bicycle from the army chaplain – Fr. Dan O’Connell – and cycled to Youghal to play a game of football. When the game was over – George washed his muddy feet under the tap by the gate – and cycled back the twenty-five miles to Fermoy. As it was then after hours – He was wondering if he would be challenged at the gate of the barracks. He needn’t have worried – because on duty at the gate was Danny Feane – who was engaged to a neighbour of Georgie’s.
The man taking the salute at the march-past in the photos was Oscar Traynor – (1886 – 1963) Minister for Defence. Those snaps were taken at North Main Street, Youghal in 1951 – at the conclusion of the army manoeuvres that year. Oscar Traynor also served as Minister for Justice and Minister for P&T when Fianna Fail were in Government. In his younger years – he took part in the 1916 rising – commanded the Dublin I.R.A, Brigade 1920-21 – and fought in the Civil War.
The photo with the jeeps and field guns is of the Motor Squadron from Fermoy – taken at Upper Strand.
Mike Hackett. … See MoreSee Less
Kylie O Donoghue
Best of luck 🍀
Best of luck🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪
Youghal native and Berlin based designer, graffiti writer and muralist D.VE creating his latest artwork called ‘Tidal Wave’ at Green Park, Youghal, County Cork. His work is much respected and seen on the streets of Berlin and other capitals.
The large scale mural with a marine theme has been approved by the council. ‘Neptune’ the god of freshwater and sea forms part of the three panel artwork which is appropriate as the great river Blackwater ends its long journey to enter the open sea at this spot.
Another pottery relief art mural depicting Youghal’s maritime history by ceramicist Tony Breslin M.A. can be seen on the walls at Green Park at the river end of the park.
Plans are afoot in making the historic park a key part of the infrastructure of the town with the renewed interests in green spaces.
Locations like the front strand, the boardwalk, the slob bank and green spaces have ‘become living rooms’ for people during the coronavirus pandemic.
More info on his work here:
www.instagram.com/diveonreentry/ … See MoreSee Less
Absoloutly love this!
Fantastic… just so sorry to have missed the artwork in progress. My grandchildren would have been so impressed too!!
That is amazing. I hope I get to see it soon. 😁
That's lovely well done
Wow lovely xxx
Amazing work. Well done
What an amazing additional to the town!
Nate Oscar Twomey it’s looks awesome
That looks fantastic 🌊🌊🌊
Brilliant. Well done 👏👏
My two favourite places
RECEIPT FROM 17th CENTURY WEST WATERFORD ‘HEALER’ FOUND IN YOUGHAL ATTIC – Story By Christy Parker – A family renovating a newly purchased house in Youghal have discovered a 17 th century land sale receipt signed by historical west Waterford figure and alleged faith healer, Valentine Greatrakes.
The handwritten acknowledgment of £860-7s-5d was one of several intriguing items found in a house in Grattan Street that was formerly the home of the late seaman Mikey O’Brien.
Other discovered artefacts include a plaster bust of Irish Home Rule campaigner and Land League reformist Charles Stewart Parnell. The house’s new residents are Aimee O’Connor and her sons Daniel (11) and 20 year-old Loughlin. The family moved to Youghal last October from Waterford city and have strong family links with Lismore and Ardmore.
Ardmore Shipwreck: Aimee was born in Dublin but grew up in Vancouver, Canada before returning to Ireland at 17. Speaking of strong family links to the east Cork/west Waterford region she says her great grandfather on the paternal side “was Daniel Lawton, a policeman who was involved in a well-known ship rescue attempt in Ardmore in 1911”.
Constable Lawton was one of seven men who rushed to assist the crew of the schooner Teaser, which sank in a ferocious storm. The policeman pulled a fellow rescuer from the water before being himself being similarly rescued shortly afterwards when a crew mate pulled him back on board by grabbing his belt. “That belt hung in our family home in Lismore for decades in recognition of it saving his life”, says Aimee. Sadly all hands on board the Teaser were lost. The seven men who tried to save them were later awarded medals by amongst others, King F George V, in London.
More contemporaneously, Aimee’s dad Noel, hails from Lismore, as does his brother Jimmy who now lives in Ardmore. Another brother, Pat, is a successful film director (Ballroom of Romance, Cal, Circle of Friends), in New York.
Tucked Away: The receipt was discovered by Loughlin in a glass case alongside a brief biography of the ‘healer’. “It was triple-wrapped in paper and stuffed in an attic corner”, he says. A small inscription on the case names Youghal printer Thomas Field, who married a cousin of the Youghal shop’s previous owner, John Lyndsay and who were the parents of present proprietor Bill Field.
The document is dated May 7 th 1680, three years before Greatrakes died and relates to a land deal involving a relative of his. The text is quite ornate but has been deciphered by local historian David Kelly as follows: “Ye 7 th of May 1680, received then from my cousin Mr Barry Perot, ye sum of six hundred and eighty pounds,seven shillings and five pence in payment for rents due to me for his holdings in ye County of Limerick of Sir Robert Southwell’s estate as by ye within particulars annexed as witness to my hand ye day the same above I say received ye said sum of…’ (£680-7s-5d) (Signed by) V A Greatraks
The receipt is signed as the alternative ‘Greatraks’ and also references others present, namely W Greatraks, who was probably his father, Thomas Croker and John Neesham, notary public (civil servant involved in business matters).
Cures, witches and critics: A farmer by profession, Valentine Greatrakes was believed by many to have miraculous healing powers and criticised by others who saw him as a well-meaning quack who couldn’t cure a side of bacon let alone a life-threatening disease. Some labelled him a Satanist, a Republican instigator or just plain deluded. He was also a witch hunter and was one of the ‘witch testers’ in the trial of alleged Youghal witch Florence Newton, in Youghal in 1661.
A former Cromwellian soldier, Greatrakes was born in Affane, west Waterford on February 14 th 1628. His alleged healing talents first emerged in 1662 when he claimed to have experienced an ‘impulse’ to cure what was termed ‘the king’s evil’ or scrofula –a tuberculosis derivative affecting the neck. Deeply religious, he soon proclaimed a God-given ability to cure an increasing variety of maladies, from migraine to blindness to cancers. He offered free treatments in rudimentary ‘clinics’ he set up in barns and stables in west Waterford and in Youghal.
An associate of the Boyle family, he is believed to have lived for awhile in Myrtle Grove. Sometimes he succeeded in his task and sometimes not but regardless, attracted huge crowds. Ironically, Youghal magistrates eventually banned him from practising in the town for fear the large crowds would spread disease! (Social distancing wasn’t a factor either!) Greatrakes earned the nickname ‘The Stroker’ because he would ‘stroke’ the afflicted area, while allegedly praying and sometimes applying his own saliva simultaneously. Those who claimed to have been healed said their pains would transfer to their extremities before dissipating completely. Eventually the Bishop of Lismore, staunchly unimpressed, forbade Greatrakes from laying hands (or spit!) on anyone due to not having a physician’s licence from the Church to do so, as was the norm.
Undeterred, Greatrakes continued his vocation, his mission taking twice him to England where his powers failed before the King but where he found better results when decamping to London slums. He eventually grew disenchanted with the mixed reviews and retired to his farm around 1667, though he may have still practised his healing occasionally. He died in Affane in 1683. Sizeable deal Mr Kelly says the receipt is interesting “not particularly because of Greatrakes, who was renowned locally more than nationally or internationally, but for the considerable sum of money involved. With land at that time possibly valued under £5 per acre, it would suggest a very large tract was involved”. The historian adds that the transaction has no direct connection with Youghal and would not describe the receipt itself to be of high monetary value, despite its historic interest. As for the Stroker’s reputation, David is sceptical of his claims. “He seems not to have contracted any disease himself from his patients”, he notes, “and it may be that he successfully treated people with minor ailments that would fade in time anyway”.
Back in Grattan Street, the bust pertaining to Charles Stewart Parnell is likely to be one of many such works coated and sold as copies of an original in the early 20 th century. Similar examples have apparently been exhibited in Dublin and in Waterford. Other items discovered at the house to date include a samples of Youghal bricks, two large display cases of world flags, vintage, unopened bottles of spirits from around the globe reflective of Mikey’s sea travels and a marvelous gentleman’s wardrobe with itemized drawers carefully labelled.
The compact back yard features as set of three wall murals depicting Youghal scenes and Ardmore tower. The interior of a stone shed where the bust was discovered is still chock-a-block with paraphernalia and, Aimee speculates, may yet divulge further interesting items.
“Its a gorgeous house with a wonderful atmosphere”, says Aimee, “and whatever alterations we undertake will be done with utmost respect for its history and the people who have previously lived here”.
Story courtesy of Dungarvan Observer … See MoreSee Less
YOUGHAL COMHALTAS LAUNCHES FUND-A-BLOCK EXPANSION APPEAL By Christy Parker – Comhaltas Craobh Eochaille has launched a fundraising appeal in which donors are asked to sponsor building blocks that will be deployed in a €220,000 extension project at its Brú na Sí cultural centre.
The fund-a bock initiative involves an estimated 2,500 blocks to be used in constructing the extension’s outer wall. They will be available in various numbers under a four-tier scheme, starting at a basic €50 for a single block.
In return, sponsors will acquire “a minimum of three entries for a series of prizes, including €5,000 cash, a €1,000 holiday and numerous other awards” says branch chairman Micheál de Buitléir, adding that “they will also have their name or logo printed on the wall”. Planning permission has already been acquired for the works.
“Rather than just sitting back waiting for the day when we can return to functioning indoors with a complete programme, we want to press ahead with what plans we can move forward”, the chairman explains.
Aimed at both private individuals and corporate partnerships, the funding appeal is structured as follows:
Platinum Partner €1000 Sponsors of 20 blocks will be accredited on the virtual plan and Company Logo displayed on our Feature wall,12 chances to win €5000 and numerous other prizes
Gold Partner €500: Sponsors of10 blocks will be accredited on the virtual plan with company Logo displayed on the Feature wall to every €500 and get 6 chances to win €5000 and numerous other prizes.
Silver Partner €100: Sponsors of 2 blocks will be accredited to every €100 sponsor on the virtual plan and name to be displayed on the feature wall and get 6 chances to win €5000 and numerous other prizes.
Buy a Block €50: One block will be accredited on the virtual plan and your name displayed on the feature wall, each €50 donor and receive 3 chances to win €5000 and numerous other prizes.
Because Comhaltas is a registered charity, tax relief is available on every €250 donation
The extension plans come amidst ongoing strong interest in Irish music & dance in the area, allied to increased requests for branch membership. Mr de Buitléir says this is particularly gratifying given the “severe and prolonged disruption to activities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic”. The extension will provide more space for tutoring and practice.
“Those supporting this project will be helping present and future musicians to fulfil their potential, while also supporting native Irish culture” the chairman states.
Present membership of Craobh Eochaille stands at approximately 120, mostly but not exclusively, young people. Meanwhile a comprehensive schools programme helps to ensure future membership for the highly successful organisation.
The largest capital investment in Brú na Sí since it was built, the extension is “not just a response to demand but also a sign of confidence in our future”, says the chairman. The development comes 29 year’s after Comhaltas Craobh Eochaille was founded by 12 people gathered in a loaned, remote and disused cottage three miles outside Youghal.
The first performance was held within weeks at the same spot. Since then the branch has toured Ireland and several countries abroad, including Wales, Holland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Republic, America, Canada, Mexico, and China.
Comhaltas Craobh Eochaille ceased being a nomadic entity when it built its Brú na Sí base in 2003, at a cost of €250,000. It added a car park extension (€56,000) in 2009 and a new access road (€98,000) in 2017. The branch is regarded as a major contributor to Youghal and east Cork’s tourism sector, both through guest appearances and home-based culture nights at Brú na Sí.
Contact: 087 7934 504 E-mail: email@example.com
Story courtesy of Dungarvan Observer … See MoreSee Less
YOUGHAL RNLI RESCUES KAYAKER SUFFERING FROM SEVERE HYPOTHERMIA By Christy Parker
Youghal RNLI did itself proud on Sunday (July 11th) after a man entered the water when his kayak capsized near Knockadoon beach. The individual, in his 50’s, suffered severe hypothermia in the incident after spending about 50 minutes
in the water. Another, female, kayaker, aged in her 40’s and who was with the man, dialled the emergency services
on her mobile phone after he his attempts to get back on board his kayak repeatedly failed and he had
started to panic. Youghal RNLI’s Atlantic 85 Class RIB launched within eight minutes of receiving the call at 3.26 pm.
The crew of Jason Ansbro (helm), Jack Nolan, Joe O’ Connor and Kevin Daly reached the scene, some 4 km distant, within a further 10 minutes. "Just as they arrived, the man had managed to get back into his kayak. However was suffering from extreme hypothermia and needed medical attention", reported Youghal RNLI deputy launch authority Mark Nolan. The Youghal Coastguard also attended the scene. Both kayakers were wearing life jackets and weather conditions, says Mr Nolan, were “very favorable, with little or no wind”.
The pair, who were from the region, were taken on board the lifeboat and brought, along with their boats, to the Youghal lifeboat station, where they received medical attention. The man was subsequently brought to Cork University Hospital, where he was expected to make a full recovery.
Noting how the rescue evolved, Mr Nolan says the incident underlines “the huge importance of always carrying a means of communication when engaging in any maritime activity”. It was the second rescue in which the Youghal RNLI was involved off Knockadoon this year. On Easter Monday (May 31st), the service was hailed for its role in saving the lives of a man and four teenagers after their two small boats overturned in more difficult waters.
Story courtesy of Dungarvan Observer … See MoreSee Less
Fair play Youghal RNLI and all concerned. Top job 👍
Well done lads