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Rhona Donnelly’s 90th Birthday
Tuesday 16th February, 2010
On her 90th birthday Rhona sang the following song which she remembered from her youth
Pay attention all farmers I think it’s worthwhile, To pen these few lines it will cause you to smile. Of a boon of flex pullers that started one day, Around Greencastle near Barney Shan’s bray. There’s the Donnelly’s and Bradley’s and McCrory’s as well, McCullagh, Jim Morris and Tracey’s so swell.
From Greencastle to Cookstown was too much for a bike, So Sam Logue drove the tractor both morning and night. There were great cheers of laughter and cries of delight, When they reached the pubs and some have got tight. Eddie McCullagh the leader, a man of renown, Always a smile or never a frown. Travelled by car, but didn’t stop long, So he left Jim Pack to work hard and carry on.
The mornin’ they started would make you afraid, You would think they were soldiers going out on parade. As they started o’er the fields McKeown gave command, Better do the work well boys and tighten up the bands. Such a sight to be held on a bright August morn, As they started o’er the field, them men strong. The beats soon came out and the boys were so keen, Sam Logue thought them better, Than the flex pulling machine.
So now to conclude, my pen I will dip, To the farmers of Tyrone, I will give a tip. To avoid disappointment book early in June, Greencastle Flex pulling boon.
Craig a Choic
by Edward J Donnelly (1934)
This poem was composed by Rhona’s father, who was headmaster in Greencastle for over 30 years, he died in 1936.
Craig a choic (pronounced ‘craigachoke’) is a small hill off Mullydoo Road, past Gerald Coyle’s. An old coach road called the Green Road runs past it.
Maggie and Jamie Coyle actually existed, but had trouble with their cows’ milk going sour (attributed to the vindictive wee folk). The hero with the dog was Rhona’s eldest brother Packie, the insurance man.
Now Craig a Choic don’t you go near, Lest you might die of fright and fear.For fairies lurk beneath its rocks, And ghosts and witches sleep in crocks.
Now James and Maggie chased a hare, From feeding on the mountain bare. It milked their cows at break of day, A witch it was, the people say.
They followed it to Criag a Choic, With graip and pitchfork and a rope. To kill the witch so like a hare, And end their troubles forever there.
At craig a choic the hare went in, To a rabbit hole beneath a bin. And James and Maggie came dashin’ fast, James a the hare a big stone cast.
Then all at once a witch they saw, At the mouth of the hole, a pipe in jaw. Smoking quite calmly, smiling grim, At the fool she’d made of Mag and Jim.
“Come on ye cods” she screamed so wild, “You’re bigger cowards than any child. I’ll teach you a lesson to stay at home, And mind your baby that’s weeping alone”.
With that a great big cat came out, From behind the witch, t’was black and stout. Its eyes were flaming red and fierce, Its jaws so strong could iron pierce.
When James and Maggie the cat they saw,The witch cried out “Haw, Haw, Haw, Haw. Now take to your heels” she said “and run, Your life’s in danger this is no fun”.
One spring at them, the cat did make, And James and Maggie to their heels did take. And down the mountain they quickly ran, To where they saw a tall young man.
A greyhound he had, a great big dog, That many a hare had killed in the bog. He dashed at the cat that was at their heels, And James and Maggie took through the fields.
The cat ran back, with all her might, To where the witch was fuming mad with spite. The hound came on in dashing stule, And saw the witch beneath the pile. Of old grey rocks standing high and tall, Which formed behind a mighty wall.
A great loud bark, the dog he gave, He dilled the witch – into her grave. From that day on her power was broke, And now she lies buried at Craig a Choic.
Rhona Donnelly (90th Birthday) - Old Greencastle School Photo
Pete McCullagh, John Coyle, Paddy McGurk, Peg McCullagh, Jenny Coyle, Mary Ellen Keenan, Nan Tuohey, Bridie McCullagh, Maragaret Daly, P. Bradley, Francis McCullagh, Charlie Morris, Barney Coyle, Charlie Donnelly, Mickey Keenan
Charlie Tuohey, Kathleen Rodgers, Michael G. McCullagh, Bridie Morris, Mamie Morris, May Rodgers, Maureen McCullagh, Mary B. McGurk, Josie Rodgers, Anna Rodgers, Maggie McCullagh, Margaret Keenan*
Frances McCullagh, Dan Donnelly, Johnny McCullagh, Steven Morris*, Vincent Morris, Joe Coyle, Myles McCullagh, Laurence Daly, Steven Morris, Frances Tuohey, Jim O’Neill, Tommy Keenan
Information marked with a (*) may be incorrect