Thursday, 24 February 2011

Paddy Gillespie - Smuggling

This wonderful interview with veteran smuggler Paddy Gillespie was carried out by Dolores O'Kelly from the Raphoe FRC hub of the History Links Project. Click on the videos below to view the interview in full (3 parts). You can also turn subtitles off and on by clicking on the 'CC' option at the bottom of the youtube player.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lifford - Work

I looked after children when I was 13 for Ann Lynch. I was off one day sick and I went up the next day and she asked me why I wasn’t there the day before. I said I was sick and she said ‘I’m as sick as you are, I’m expecting!’ I didn’t know what she meant!’ Isia Porter

I worked in Lifford shirt factory (Gallagher’s) when I was 14 1/2 . I went in as a ‘clipper’ first. It meant clipping off all the loose threads. There were loads of different jobs, your clothes would be white with dust. I also was a message girl. You worked from 8.30 to 6. If you made a mistake they would’ve ate you. I started in shoes and ankle socks, and I went to work on a bicycle from Ballindrait. In the evenings I worked in the cafe owned by Katie Mc Cusker. I got 10 schillings for working the whole weekend. Katie was very good, she was a brilliant baker. And a very hard worker.. – Kathleen French

I worked on farms from a very early age. I worked with frozen food in Malahide, I only lasted two weeks – it was too early in the morning. I worked with an uncle of mine in Waterford in a pub, serving pints of porter. It was directly opposite the CIE goods depot. It was mainly large bottles of stout. The pub bottled its own stout at that time. I also worked in the summer to help get rid of the warble fly. Cattle used to be full of them, they used to go mad with them, it’s eliminated now.’ Bob Kavanagh I drove a confectionery van for a fortnight during holidays. It used to be sweet cakes and scones. – Bob Kavanagh

In the 1950s I began work selling ice-cream wafers in the local Ritz Cinema in Lifford. Mr. Barry who lived out in Drumboy House owned the cinema. My job was to cup up blocks of ice cream into nine sections and add wafers, which were then put into a tray, which I carried down the aisle during the intermission. The wafers cost thruppence (three pennies) each and there was a great demand for them as the cinema was always very hot. The block of ice cream 1/6 pence but when I cut it up in nine wafers it sold for 2/3 pence, a very good profit. Paddy Friel was the Commissioner and Kathleen Dooher worked in the box office. Maggie Porter and others collected the tickets at the door. Hughie Mc Cormick worked the projectors. Huge crowds attended the cinema as all the new films came to Lifford first; The ones I remember still are ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘The Song of Bernadette’, ‘The Quiet Man’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’. I enjoyed the work as I was able to see all the films and it was great fun, - Margaret Giblin

I went to work in Porters shirt factory the month after I was 14. My first job was message girl. This was to go up stairs to the cutting room to have a new collar cut for the collar stitches, and also to find the mechanic when the machines broke down. I worked from 8:45 until 5:45 and if I worked a half day on Saturday my wage was £2.09. Sometimes running late in the morning the boss could see us coming, but he would still shut the door on us. We would just stand around for 15 minutes or so until he opened it again. – Maureen Hegarty

‘I worked as a darner for Moygashel. Darning was needlework by hand repairing faults in the big nets of linen. It was quite good. I started at fifteen and worked there for three years. Then I worked in London on the buses. Women were paid the same as men on London transport. I loved it, it was good fun. There were loads of Irish on the buses back then. Our first bus was at four in the morning and we’d leave all the cleaners into London. On Saturday night the Irish were all drunk, only about half of them ever paid!’ – Carmel Parkes

I left school around about 16 or 17 years old and went straight into my father’s farm. Nowadays someone going into farming would usually go to an agricultural college for 2 to 3 years, but it was in at the deep end for me. The farm was a mixed farm, we did not specialize in any one enterprise. We had a little bit of everything, dairy cows, potatoes, barley or oats, sheep and dry stock. One was never (or hardly ever bored on the farm). I think the only boring job was the thinning of the turnips. Thinning turnips meant wrapping two large bags round your knees, then getting down on your knees and pulling out the surplus turnips leaving a space of about eight inches between every plant, it was very boring down on ones hands and knees all day long, especially if one had no company.

The milking had to be done every morning and evening (all hand milking). The thrashing of the barley and oats and the potato harvest wasn’t bad, it meant a gathering of folk together and where you get a good crowd of people there was usually good craic. I spent all my life on the farm and although it was a tough life I would not have changed it. – Joe Mc Cormick

Raymochy - Work

I went to work in Lindsay's, it was really the village store. Everything then was loose, bread, biscuits, tea. They sold everything from a needle to an anchor. Wool, gloves, oil for lamps. The bacon came in a big roll sliced and it was loose as well. Snuff was a big thing too. – Margaret

I started in November in 1962 or 1963, I was 14 at the time. I used to cycle about four miles to get to work, eight miles a day. Coming back was the worst because it was all uphill. I fell foul of the law in my first year because I had no light on my bicycle, I got three summonses, one for the front light, one for the tail light and one for the reflector, the judge threw the case out because I was so young! I started mending, it was a very specialised job but then I was changed to twisting machines, which twisted all the different strands together. First of all they had to go to an assembly binder and then they were brought to a twister. I was paid 31s a week. Finished material came out of the mill, like blankets and the army green material for the army. It was excellent quality material. The thread came from England. – Teresa

If you’re born into something you don’t think it’s unusual. Anybody that done farming would say that their education was damaged. Our family grew flax and were very big into it. I went to a place called Ray and a man said ‘I know who you are, no call to speak’ because of my father and flax. – Paul Gallagher

I suppose my first ever work was during holidays on the farm. Forking hay on the trailers, helping Johnny Flood build the high stacks. You started off into tram-cocks and then built it up. It would have been five meters in diameter at the base. It had to slope out to protect it from the elements. People had great pride in their stacks. The corn stacks had to be thatched with rushes and then roped. The straw ropes were put into big bundles called clews. A good stack would have had two tonne of oats. – Billy McKinley

I went to Scotland at 16 and a few months in 1969. I got into Glasgow at 8 o’ clock in the morning. I was very inexperienced when I arrived, Derry was the furthest I’d ever been. It was a very big forbidding place. There was no-one with me on the first journey. It only took a week to get things sorted out. I worked for George Wimpy building all the big new estates. It was all picks and shovels at first, the ganger would mark the distance and we would dig it. After a year I worked with John Lawrence, another house builder, who was a chairman at the time with Glasgow Rangers. I was received alright; everything was so strange and different. Every pitfall you had was your own doing because you didn’t know the ropes. There was a lot of Irish there at that time. They stuck together but people from the Laggan didn’t seem to stick that much, maybe just in the pubs. I think they were more independent. A lot of Laggan people were Scots anyway. I went to R.J. McLeod civil engineering working on roads and bridges, which was a lot more interesting work. It was far more diverse work. I stayed with them for 38 years. – Tommy

My first job was with Glasgow Corporation but I got married when I was 20 so I had to resign. It was only two years. I worked in the city assessors department, preparing rates notices and things. That was 1964, but that rule was rescinded in '66 or '67. It was a good job but busy, I lived right beside it but I was always late. Eventually I got a job in the housing association until I took early retirement. – Maureen


Billy Davis

Paul McLaughlin

Michael Meehan

Elma McClean

Kevin Cunnane

Tommy Shiels

Maureen Shiels

Paul Gallagher

Billy McKinley

Leonard Roarty

Ena McClean

Liam McLoughlin

Ann Carrol

Liam Holmes

Virginia McLoone

Raphoe FRC - Work

I remember in June I’d done the Leaving Cert. I went in next September to stand in front of a class and when I saw the kids I burst out laughing. I remember this wee fella, he was a beautiful looking child. I thought I’d tell them a good story, about Adam and Eve and a tree in the Garden of Eden. I didn’t know you had to be careful about the words you used. Anyway this wee fella drew a car with people in it, and the devil behind. That was God driving Adam and Eve out of the garden! – Dolores O’ Kelly

It would nearly have been accepted by the teachers in the schools that the country children would have been off school in September gathering potatoes – 10 working days. You would’ve went out at seven in the morning till it got dark at night. In my day you would have got trousers and the wellies tucked in. We gathered the potatoes into a big basket, a handle on each side. Two carried it and there was a pit in the middle of the field and you tipped it into that. It was ok if you were carrying with someone at same height. You gathered up from one end and you met at the middle with two coming from the other end. The spinners put the spuds out and if they had no bag on they were spread everywhere. It was backbreaking work, the next morning you would’ve hardly been able to get out of bed, but then you got used to it. The farmer’s wife brought out the food. Sometimes if the mornings were frosty your hands were freezing and you’d have to warm them on the exhaust of the tractor. The potatoes used to go into bags and were sealed at the house by a potato inspector, and then would go on to the boat in Derry. If you were out any longer of the school I remember the sergeant coming up on the bike from Raphoe way up over the hill to tell my father we had to go back to school. Later on they used to have potato squads, sometimes consisting of twenty gatherers and the squad man was paid so much an acre and then he paid the gatherers. - Tilly Hyndman, Elizabeth Russell and Sharon Clarke

I used to get £7 a day for gathering the pirties (slang word for potatoes). Then I started in the Donegal Creameries cheese factory in Letterkenny in Ballyraine. The cheddar cheese was made for the Japanese. A woman got £46 a week, and a man got £48. That was just an accepted thing then, that was called the man’s wage. We made big squares of cheese and we wrapped it up in brown paper and it was sealed then in an oven. – Tilly Hyndman

I made tweed in Convoy, sometimes Donegal tweed. I went there when I was 14 we went on bicycles about five miles. There was the spinning section, the dye room and the weaving, and the mending, and the warping. Warping was preparing the thread for the weaving. When I went in there at the beginning I had to clean the machines. There were four of us and the older women would’ve ate ya if it wasn’t clean enough. I changed then to work on four machines weaving. The ladies toilets had six cubicles and there was one big one, and we used to smoke in there, sometimes one fag (slang for cigarette) between us. I got paid £1 10s a week. We gathered potatoes then on a Saturday, we were much better off. During the dinnertime the men would be all eating and we would just take a bite and sat on the trailers to put in our rollers in our hair for the Saturday night. We walked then to the dances. – Elizabeth Russell

I started work in England. I was a bus conductor in London when I was 17 ½. My route was from Uxbridge to Shepherd’s Bush. They were electric trolley buses and they ran on two wires overhead. Sometimes the big booms above the bus would come off and it was big offence at the time if the driver let that happen. Then the Route Master (Red double Decker) came along and they were lovely buses. First of all I had to forge my birth certificate to get started, you had to be 18. I always remember my father saying that was a good pensionable job. I stayed on the buses for about three years. It wasn’t an easy job, especially for someone going over there so young. You soon got to the know the territory and the fares. The inspector could just jump on and check the passengers ticket and if someone had the wrong ticket you were marked for it. It wasn’t well paid, it would’ve been about £9 a week. One day a man came on and he paid me a bag of halfpennies, he should’ve had 44 he only had 43. He offered to give me more money but I was giving him the change back in halfpennies! He didn’t want them back! Anyway I refused to take the halfpennies. I knew they weren’t legal tender once they were above a certain amount. I was perfectly within my rights but it was a wild handling. One day I met Eric Morcambe and Dickie Henderson, they just jumped on the bus and stood on the platform, which was illegal, but it was pouring rain at the time and they had no change, they asked if it was ok and I said it was as long as the inspector did not come on. I never seen two boys as light footed coming off a bus. They just leapt off and up the stairs of the studios. They were very funny, they had a real comic demeanor, it was infectious. – Hugh Doherty

When I left Galway I was at home for a while and I got a job in the training centre in Letterkenny. The first day I went to work I knew nobody. I walked in the door and they all stared at me. There was two girls who knew me from St. Johnston and they showed me around. I remember the manager was very sharp. If he saw you moving he’d ask you where you were going! I got to work in the morning with a boy who worked in the creamery. He took me to my work. I had to finish when the transport stopped. – Michael Devenney

I suppose my first work was gathering potatoes, I got married just after school. When the children got a bit bigger I worked in Adria in Strabane. I worked the twilight shift from quarter to six until eleven. I had five children and I watched them during the day and then I worked in the evening. I enjoyed the work you had a great laugh. One job was sewing the gusset into the tights. Usually when you were working a supervisor would’ve came round every half hour and examined the tights. One time they made a batch with three legs by mistake. Another job was auto-turning in the sock department. You put the socks onto a hoover (type of machine) and it turned them outside in for the toe seamers. If you were slow you were holding other people back. You knew in the first hour whether you were going to make you’re targets and if you thought you weren’t you’d have to work through your tea break. – Sharon Clarke and Tilly Hyndman


Dolores O’ Kelly

Tilly Hyndman

Sharon Clarke

Elizabeth Russell

Michael Devenney

Hugh Doherty

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Raphoe Volt House - Work

I worked in Earle Whyte’s drapery shop in Ballybofey. I was just filling in a gap while I was waiting to do nursing, It was quite pleasant, I was a messenger. I also worked in Strabane and smuggled material across the border. – Jean Wilson

My first job was in a restaurant where I was a cashier and serving coffee. I got my coffee every day and there was a bakery attached so I could eat what I wanted. The hours were long but I got lots of pocket money. You used to get things like custard slices and there were loads of different types of pies. – Jean Wray

I did work in an old peoples home doing accounts in the morning. I got under £2 a week. It was lovely and the staff were lovely but I was stuck in an office. I went to London in 1964 to work in the Institute of Bankers. I remember at the time the computer filled the whole room. It was used to store the records of the people who did their exams there. The computers worked on binary code with cards and lights. – Ann Kavanagh

I just left before the exams started in the royal. My first job was ‘dropping’ potatoes (planting) out of an apron. You got a bag and made it into an apron and you got the potatoes into it. The drills were open in the ground and you walked along and dropped the potatoes. When you were finished you would fill the bag again. You would cut the potato in two to get the seed and plant them then. It was all manual labour. You would have been sowing the corn and making ready the ground for turnips. There was no precision sowers at that time, it sowed thick at the time and you had to go along after it and thin it out. – John Patterson

My first job was a primary school teacher in Killygordon. I earned £28 a month. I taught with Gretta Maxwell. – Anne Thompson

When we came back from Australia we bought a brand new Volkswagon beetle. It cost £810. To go from Lifford from Dublin cost £22 return. – Anne Kavanagh

When I left school I went to work for my uncle at the threshing. It was just at the stage where it was coming to the end of the threshing. I loved the work, I really enjoyed it, it was hard work but it was great fun because neighbours gathered round and helped each other. At that time the men were all fed where they were threshing at. Whenever I was growing up there was always about ten men at the dinner, everybody ate together in the room at the big table. There was both Catholic and Protestants. Whenever I was going out to work with my uncle the class division came about, men were divided up between the rooms based on class distinction, for example land owners and farmers. I was getting about £5 a week at the time. I did that for a few years in the early 60's then the combine harvester took over. I started to farm then on my own. Farming then was always great fun, it was always cheery. Now farming has become a very lonely occupation. – Harry Wallace

I worked as a social worker in Strabane. When I got the job I needed a driving licence, you couldn’t drive on your own in the north, I practiced with my father at the time. The third week I was working there I was made to make the tea, I went to make the tea, and lo and behold there was man with a gun behind me. He told me they’d planted a bomb and to get out. So we got out and told a police officer, but he hadn’t the authority to close the road so we stopped the traffic ourselves and then the bomb went off. My wee car which I had to borrow money for had four or five holes in the roof of it. Then we moved into a gate lodge at Greenfield. We were trying to sort it out for ages, there were no heaters there, and the men didn’t know how to change the plugs. We were only there a fortnight when we were blown up again. We had to work from home then, it was difficult, all our records were destroyed. In saying that I found it a very interesting job. I went to the door to a man in Aghyaran. I started to say my name and he stopped me and said ‘say no more!’ He asked his wife to come and asked her who did I look like, and she said my mother’s name, who used to call around visiting the sick 25 years before! – Heather Cromie

My first job was on a poultry farm, where the owners studied different methods of rearing hens. They had houses with hens in battery cages, houses with hens in deep litter and pens of free range hens. There was also a hatcher from where day old chicks were sold. One of my jobs would have been grading and coding eggs and looking after the incubators. The farm was beside a river and the local dump and when a flood came it was a day’s sport for the owner, his dog and the male employees shooting at the rats as the rising waters invaded their homes. I lived with the family in their supposedly haunted home and was paid £7 10s 0dd per week. – Mary Carlin

'I used to babysit a lot at the weekends in a big farmhouse (Rankin's) when I was 13. I worked in Davey McCrabbs sweet shop each lunch time from 1 until 2 Monday to Friday while at The Tech in Raphoe (renamed Deele College). There was just the three of us helping to give the student's sweets. The shop had a wooden floor and counter, there was no till you just counted all the money. Davey done all the weighing of the sweets. The sweets were all on shelves in big glass jars, they sold cola cubes, pink and white bon bons, midget gems, tayto crisps, love hearts, candy cigarettes...he sold real cigarettes too, mostly in singles. I really enjoyed my time in the shop I got paid £1.00 each day.' - Teresa Duffy

Strabane - Work

The Training Centre in Ballycolman was where you went after you left school. You done sewing, cooking, bricklaying, upholstery and electronics. You could also work in the office. We were there for two years. It was a good place to be. There were class for numeracy and literacy. – Elizabeth Molloy and Rhonda McShane

Porters out the Derry Road was a big employer. My auntie Brigett worked there and got me a job there. There were two departments, one was a cutting room and downstairs was a sowing. – Elizabeth Molloy

In Porter’s, I remember the tube of the iron came from the roof. Everyone had an iron. You’d iron the shirt and put it in the packet. It was very friendly, everybody got together, it was very good. – Collete

It was hard to get a job when we were young, it still is. You had to have good qualifications. I went for two interviews, one was a cleaner, the other was a bus assistant. Out of that I worked for Strabane District Care. – Roseanne Molloy

Dad was a labourer. I remember him going away in the morning with a yellow coat and yellow trousers. Dad also fixed machines at the mill where my mum worked. Mum loved the mill. - Roseanne Molloy

I went to Dorans newsagent after school on the back street. They owned a home bakery as well, and used to sell the fresh bread in the shop. It was a good place to work. People would come in every morning to get their papers, like clockwork. The pay wasn’t good. I used to get £2 75d a week. Pat Doherty

My mother was a dressmaker. She made all our clothes. She made our confirmation outfits. They were lilac shirts with wee box jackets. There were pleated skirts. Mrs. Haughey next door was good at embroidery and made wee daisies and lapels. We had white hats too. Everybody admired them on the day. – Pat Doherty

Our Granda used to cycle from Castlefinn to Kilmacrennan for the work where he worked as a farm labourer. He stayed there for the week. Granny used to stay at the house and knit while looking after seven children. – Roseanne Molloy

I worked in the Department of Social Services at the time of the flood. I was only there about a week and it was a mess. There was a big amount of money given out from the office after the flood to help people. We got a lot of overtime to deal with it. People were still complaining they didn’t get enough. I was there for three years, it was great craic. – Annette Mc Namee

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Raphoe FRC - Childhood

Old £1 and £5 Notes 1950/1975 - Courtesy Hugh Doherty


'I have memories of my mother dying when I was four. I remember the wake, these big ladies came in to dress her up. She died in 1950 from TB. I was the oldest. I remember we travelled quite a lot. In the 1950s jobs were at a premium, you had to go where the jobs where. I got upset one time and I remember going outside and lifting the stones of the ground and throwing them into the clouds crying out to my mother for leaving us. I remember when she was still alive, my father had a big box of corks like you would have had for bottles, and he cut them into shapes like chairs, and that was my first doll house.'- Dolores O’Kelly

'I remember when I was very young we were staying in Dooaghery, a grand aunt of ours had gooseberry bushes. I led out my siblings and we cleaned the bushes. We were so sick we kept everyone up at the house all night.' – Dolores O’ Kelly


'The worst year in school was the year when they didn’t change to daylight saving time. It used to be dark until nine o’clock in the morning when we were walking to school. My father used to teach the catholic wains their catechism, while the teacher was getting on with her other work. It was a protestant school so it was very unique. Everybody was the same in those days it didn’t matter what religion you were. Everyone had very little.' – Tilly Hyndman

'I remember on day one at school, one of the boys put a shoe on top of the door and the teacher opened it and the shoe fell on top of her. The boy who done it was made stand in the corner all day.' – Michael Devenney

'I remember my first day at school and I remember it plain as day. We got a break and I stood in the yard staring at the town clock all day. I thought it was amazing, I’d never seen anything like it. We never used to get into the town.' – Tilly Hyndman

'The cane was the worst part of school. The children used to have to hold one hand out and got six slaps on one hand and six on the other hand. I remember one day the master came in and asked what ESB stood for, and one of the boys put up his hand and said ‘Please sir, Eggs, Sausages and bacon’. Well he was taken up to the top of the class and caned for it!' – Tilly Hyndman

‘Whenever I was in second class we were in a prefab. When we went out for lunch we left the door open and the chickens from next door got in. We came in and tried to chase them out, but they all went into the corner where the paints were, and the mess they made! Paint and feathers everywhere.’ – Sharon Clarke

‘For lunch we had a bottle of milk and food was called pieces. We used to hide milk in the shade of a tree in case it would sour. Everyone knew their own milk.’ - Hugh Doherty

Food and Cures

‘The potatoes went to seed in the summer so everyone ate rice. You used to make a big pot of rice and you’d take the cream from the milk and put it on top of the rice. Beestings was the milk for the first three days after a calve was born. It was full of antibodies. My mother used to make cheese. She used to put the cream in a wee wooden tub and eventually make cheese from it. Everyone used to call over for some of it.’ –Elizabeth Russell

'Cures were always around then. Nobody had the price of a doctor. Sometimes they used to make a rub from mustard and it was put on your chest if you had a cold overnight and brown paper was put on top of it.' – Elizabeth Russell

‘There were cures for ringworm and measles. You would put a red circle around the ringworm and rub it with a wedding ring. It was very effective.’ – Tilly Hyndman

‘There were eleven of us. There was seven girls in each room. One night Daddy heard a bang, he got up to see what it was. One of the girls had fallen out of the bed and didn’t even know it.’ – Michael Devenney

‘There was also a cure for the warts. You’d cut a potato into four and rub the wart with each part of it and then you’d throw the potato away somewhere where it would rot. As the potato rotted the wart would go away as well.’ – Sharon Clarke

Sometimes in the country people who had enough money would have bought extra so there was supplies for local people.


Ministers called out to the house. Christenings were also sometimes carried out in the house. In the Church of Ireland you weren’t meant to take the child out until it was christened.

In the Catholic Church christening was carried out on the third day, and it was carried out by the godparents only.


'We used to go out and knocked on the doors and we’d have the door tied, so when they went to open it they couldn’t. We went in one night to a house and we went past a window with the false faces on us and there was a girl in the kitchen with a can of milk and when she saw us she let out a scream and dropped a tin of milk.' – Tilly Hyndman

Christmas Mummers in 1950’s Oughterlin

It appears that this was an old English folk custom, associated with the winter Solstice (shortest day). It was celebrating the soon return of the Sun and the triumph of good over evil.

Early December each year in the 1950’s, Oughterlin schoolboys of twelve to thirteen years, would learn traditional rhymes and practise singing to go out in the Mummers at mid-December.

The Mummers represented seven characters and dressed accordingly, using false faces made out of cardboard, coats turned outside-in and sometimes wellingtons on the “wrong feet”. Part of the rhymes could be varied to suit the local audience.

The first character in the door was:

Room Room

Room, room, my gallant boys,

Give us room to rhyme.

We’ll show you some activity about this Christmas time,

With your pockets full of money and barrels full of beer

We wish you a merry Christmas & a happy new year.

If you don’t believe me, in what I say,

I’ll call in Prince George! And he’ll soon clear the way.

Prince George

Here comes I Prince George

From England I have come

I have fought in many ‘s the war

But never came undone

Samson thought he was a brave man

But he couldn’t conquer me.

“You’re a liar Sir!”

Take out your sword and try me!

(George is killed)

Doctor, Doctor, is there a Doctor?

Doctor Brown

Here comes I wee Doctor Brown, the best wee Doctor in the town.

I cured a woman from Oughterlin who swallowed a crowbar and a harrow tin. (thought to be the teacher?)

I cured another from Carrigart, who ate the shaft out of a donkey cart

And I cured a man from Glenvar who ate the engine of an old Ford car.

I could cure the gun without the gout and if there were nine devils in I could knock ten out.

I have a little bottle in my inside pocket !

Hocus! Pocus ! Rise up dead man and fight again! (life restored)

If you don’t believe me, in what I say, I’ll call in Jack Straw.

Jack Straw

Here comes I, Jack Straw, the funniest man you ever saw

through a needle through a pin through an old harrow tin

Through a riddle, through a reel, through an old spinning wheel

Through a sheep’s shank, shin bone or through a barrel of treacle

If you don’t believe me, in what I say, I’ll call in Beelzebub


Here comes I, Beelzebub, and over my shoulder I carry a club.

In my hand a frying pan and I’m not afraid of any man.

If you don’t believe me, in what I say, I’ll call in Devil Doubt.

Devil Doubt

Here comes I wee Devil Doubt

I’m the man with the crooked snout.

Money I want and money I crave

If I don’t get money I’ll send you all to the grave.

If you don’t believe me, in what I say, I’ll call in Johnny Funny.

Johnny Funny

Here comes I, Johnny Funny, I’m the man ‘collects the money

All silver, no brass, bad coins won’t pass

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

But if you haven’t got a ha’penny, God Bless you.

So ladies & gentlemen sitting by the fire,

put your hands in your pockets and give us our desire.

After some money was put in the money box the entire group would sing a song or two.

In some houses more money would be offered for an extra song.

At the end of the night the proceeds would be divided equally among the Mummers.

List of songs:

On top of Old Smokey

Goodnight Irene

Mocking Bird Hill

Wild Colonial Boy

Doggie in the Window

Dawning of the Day.

- Hugh Doherty


Hugh Doherty

Michael Devenney

Dolores O' Kelly

Sharon Clarke

Elizabeth Russell

Tilly Hyndman