Interview with Charlie Finlay

Interviewer: Malachy McSparran

Charlie: Charlie Finlay

Interviewer: I was asking you the other night about Nicholls.

Charlie: Nicholls?

Interviewer: There was Nicholls in High Street.

Charlie: Aye. There was Robert and Sean and what’s this you called the other one?

Interviewer: Denis is it?

Charlie: I think it was. They’re all buried up at the Church of Ireland.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: There’s a vault there.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: That’s right. Oh I mind them.

Interviewer: Were they coal merchants?

Charlie: Aye they shipped in coal, they had their own sail ships.

Interviewer: Did they?

Charlie: Aye. They had big massive boat and they brought it in at Red Bay.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: And she lay along the pier and they discharged coal and sold them off the boat and then they went away to Scotland for another load. I’ll tell you where they lived. They lived in High Street where Charlie McLarnon in late years made a bakery out of it.

Interviewer: Aye right.

Charlie: It’s there yet, the house. I think maybe some of the girls are living there yet.

Interviewer: Aye Jean.

Charlie: Aye. Well that was the same house. It’s a white-washed house with a wee window in the gable and Charlie McLarnon bought and it, and it was all knocked and rebuilt up and they put rooms in it you know for a bakery and all. That was where they made their bread. Before that they made their bread up the entry where the new shop of McAlister’s is.

Interviewer: Is that where they did it?

Charlie: That entry. There was a big outhouse at the back and that’s where they done their baking and the lived in two wee houses in High Street there.

Interviewer: The Nicholl’s, did you never remember any of them a blacksmith?

Charlie: No. No but I remember three or four blacksmiths in Cushendall.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Four, I’ll tell you who they were. The latest there was Eddie McCormick and his brother Pat, ould Pat McCormick.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: They were … oh the house was tumbled at the end of the bridge to make the road down there.

Interviewer: Aye that’s right.

Charlie: Well then there was Jimmy McIlroy and Joe McIlroy in Shore Street.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: They were older people, they were Blacksmiths.

Interviewer: And was there …

Charlie: And there was another man come in late years, he was more up-to-date, Jimmy McAllister.

Interviewer: That’s right, aye. He was more up-to-date. He was in about the back of where Harry McCormick’s was.

Charlie: Aye that’s right.

Interviewer: I remember him myself.

Charlie: Aye you would.

Interviewer: Well I think that man died then I think.

Charlie: He did aye. He had three sons. He had Pat and Tony and I think James they all went to America.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Actually I think they died out there.

Interviewer: Well do you remember a dummy, a man that couldn’t speak, working for him?

Charlie: Aye I did. He come from Larne.

Interviewer: Is that where he come from. I remember him just.

Charlie: Aye.

Interviewer: That was near the time he finished up.

Charlie: A good worker he was too.

Interviewer: Aye that’s right. He couldn’t speak.

Charlie: I remember him well. I went for wee jobs with my father with him. He blew the bellows up and down.

Interviewer: Is that right. Aye?

Charlie: And done the striking with a hammer. Ould Jimmy the smith was a very cross man.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: And God the language if it didn’t strike right and when they were turning a horse shoe. I mind an older smith again, you wouldn’t mind him anyway. He lived as you went up to the chapel in Cushendun.

Interviewer: Aye. Who was he? He wasn’t a McCormick too was he?

Charlie: No he was not.

Interviewer: Is this on the high road?

Charlie: Just after you leave the cottages in Knocknacarry to go over to, to go up to the Chapel.

Interviewer: Oh Mickey Laverty.

Charlie: Mickey Laverty.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: There was two of them, two brothers.

Interviewer: That’s right. There was.

Charlie: The house is still there. There was a house built on the same site.

Interviewer: Aye that’s Paddy Hamilton’s house. Paddy Hamilton is in it now.

Charlie: Aye. Oh they were good ould smiths too and then there was of course in later years Charlie McAuley in Knocknacarry.

Interviewer: That’s right, aye.

Charlie: You asked me one time did I mind the people that built Rockport. Well the people that built Rockport come into my head there the other day, they were people they called Higginson.

Interviewer: That’s right, aye.

Charlie: They built it.

Interviewer: They were Moira O’Neill’s connection, the poet.

Charlie: Aye. She took the name of Moira O’Neill but she was really Higginson to her own name.

Interviewer: Aye that’s right.

Charlie: Old Tommy O’Neill’s father and mother came out of a place they all Pomeroy in Tyrone and they contracted Higginson to work.

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Charlie: Old Rennick was the gardener and Mrs Rennick was the housekeeper.

Interviewer: Right.

Charlie: That must be well over 100 years ago. When Tom Rennick died he was 98.

Interviewer: He was a very old man, I remember him well. Well you were talking about those blacksmiths out at … there was supposed to be a blacksmith at the old mill, now wherever the old mill was according to a notice I saw, McCormick at the old mill, Cushendall. Unless it was out here where the broken black bridge was. I don’t know whether that’s … Well then do you remember the fellow up at Cairns there?

Charlie: Lougher.

Interviewer: Lougher.

Charlie: Aye John Lougher.

Interviewer: Aye. Well was he a smith?

Charlie: Well he was a blacksmith but he was retired in my time.

Interviewer: He was what in your time?

Charlie: He was retired.

Interviewer: Oh he was retired.

Charlie: He was a wee stout man and he used to come down into the village for his messages.

Interviewer: Well did he smith at a time or was his father a smith or what?

Charlie: I doubt it was him. I was only about 10 year old.

Interviewer: He was McCambridge isn’t that right?

Charlie: Aye.

Interviewer: Lougher.

Charlie: Lougher that was his nickname. And then you were talking one time about Crommelin.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: When I left Cushendun to come and live in Cushendall when I was 14. I would mind more about that than I would about here.

Interviewer: I just see the postcard up there of the hotels and I was just thinking about the Bay Hotel is away now.

Charlie: It’s away. There’s a better one down the hall there.

Interviewer: Do you remember the Bay being built? Do you remember the Glendun being built?

Charlie: Sure my father built it.

Interviewer: Aye, do you remember that?

Charlie: Ouch aye, God save us I was at school.

Interviewer: Were you?

Charlie: Aye. I’ll tell you I was taught at Knocknacarry School there, the school master was a Master Clougher.
Interviewer: Funny he was the school master when I went to school but only for a year and then Delargy came.

Charlie: That’s right. Mrs Doherty taught us.

Interviewer: That’s right she did and right and cross she was.

Charlie: And at the far end of the school there was dividing doors.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: So that they could have a dance or anything in it.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: And Miss Wilde was the girls teachers and she lived round in Cregagh.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: I mind that.

Interviewer: That’s right. Well your father built the Glendun but he didn’t build, he had nothing to do with the Bay then. The Bay was built in later years was it?

Charlie: Ouch aye. The Bay was built in the late ’30s. A man called Elliott from Portrush come and done it. I’ll tell you when the Bay was built. Glenmona was burnt in 1921.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: And Elliot in later years come as the builder to rebuild Glenmona.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: He was … McLaughlin.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: And he used to live in Portrush, he was a Portrush man, a very nice man Eilliott was, smart man. He was boss over Glenmona getting it built and a while after he had Glenmona built he had lodgings in Cushendun and he was supposed to have taken a liking to it and our ould boy went into liquidation about 1929 or something and everything was sold by the bank but the ould boy had built every stone that was in it. For the Bay, Elliott, they bought the Glendun off the bank and then Elliott come along and he thought he would build the Bay, he built the Bay himself. It was the same crowd of workmen that done Glenmona brought them all from Portrush. They stayed in the hotel when they were doing the building, they built the Bay but the Bay was badly built. Do you see instead of roofing it they just put a wooden floor on it and felted it.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: It was all rotten when your man … had it and sold it to them.

Interviewer: But when they built it at first it was only one storey.

Charlie: One storey, all flat.

Interviewer: All flat.

Charlie: All flat and they put an extension room or two at the back for staff to sleep in.

Interviewer: Oh I see. Then he put on a second storey. Who I wonder did that, was it Elliott?

Charlie: Oh aye Elliott done it himself.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: They had it and they made a great success out of it. It was the best paying …

Interviewer: Remember there was bus loads of people came there, Upton Tours and that.

Charlie: Belfast and everywhere.

Interviewer: Aye there was buses came.

Charlie: That’s right.

Interviewer: I think they were cashing in on the café you see, bringing them there by the bus loads.

Charlie: Aye. Oh it was a going concern that and then there was different ones bought it after that. There was a man from about Carnlough in later years bought it, White.

Interviewer: That’s right White.

Charlie: He was failure in it, he sold it and your man down in Knocknacarry …

Interviewer: McQuillan.

Charlie: McQuillan.

Interviewer: Well did Elliott die in Cushendun then, the first Elliott?

Charlie: They died in it but they were taken away to Portrush for burial.

Interviewer: Were they? Aye. I don’t suppose there’s any of them left now?

Charlie: Aye there’s one in a home outside Ballymena. A daughter of mine who is doing home help is in it.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: Betty Elliott.

Interviewer: Is she still alive?

Charlie: She was a Mrs Gregg.

Interviewer: Oh aye I remember her, she married Bernie Gregg.

Charlie: Aye. Well he died long ago.

Interviewer: Oh aye. Is she still alive, is she?

Charlie: She was alive up to a year ago?

Interviewer: Is that right. Well Namoni dead I take it?

Charlie: Oh aye Namoni. They started up in the Seaview Hotel in Carnlough, owned by McNeill of the Londonderry, she started in it. It’s an old people’s home or something now. Do you mind you were talking one time and you asked me about Crommelin.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Did ever you hear no more about him?

Interviewer: Ouch I didn’t hear much about him. Sure there’s nobody about that remembers him now.

Charlie: Well Crommelin and a brother, he was a wee bit touched and he done silly things, like going to work and things and doing jobs up side down and Captain Crommelin, he called himself Captain Crommelin but I don’t think he was in the army, I think he was doting at the best of times, his wife was called Katy, they’re buried down in the Churchyard there.

Interviewer: Are they?

… Is on the headstone and I mind one time he took a silly notion, around 1919, he took a notion … and this silly brother was given the job to hide a bone but the bone was buried, maybe never was a gold but it was buried in the … So Tom Rennick was working with the ould boy fishing and it was in the winter time and they had nothing to do and they used to go round and do wee jobs for Crommelin. So he sent for them this time and they went down and he told them it was a big secret that a gold was buried and he says I trust you two men to look for the gold and if you can find it. Of course they were getting paid for digging. Well they dug, one, two, three, four caves and they didn’t get anything and there was some parts of them soft but the one cave, I think it’s the second cave going in on the left hand side, it was a bit wider in the mouth than the first wee one and we used to go in and play in it but I mind they were digging for gold in it and they knocked down a good bit and they found it wasn’t as hard to dig as the rest, that it might have been dug before. So the dug down until they were down about three foot to they hit the rock and on the rock they come on three big shackles that were buried and there was seven of them and every one was a foot apart, they measured the ground. So the ould fellow says if there’s gold buried this is the marker. So they dug all the shackles out, took them out tapped the ground below all around and everything was solid rock. So the ould fellow says there could be nothing here. They couldn’t understand why they were all buried a foot each apart, seven big shackles they were about half a stone weight each, big sail ships. So they sent round for Crommelin, showed it to Crommelin replaced them all as they got them, showed Crummlin oh my boys he says the gold can’t be far away from here but the gold was never found.

Interviewer: I doubt it was never found.

Charlie: Crommelin owned all that ground that the café was built on.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: And when out our bit we bought that ground out off Crommelin. He sold out at the time.

Interviewer: Then he sold out all the rest of the ground didn’t he?

Charlie: Aye.

Interviewer: Did you ever hear anything about the church that was up on the top of the hill there?

Charlie: You see up on the gable end of it that’s still standing there’s a great big black stone with writing on it.

Interviewer: That says “Cushendun Congretational Church 1834”.

Charlie: Is it still showing?

Interviewer: It is still showing.

Charlie: Get away. I mind seeing that and reading it when I was young.

Interviewer: What age are you now Charlie?

Charlie: I’m 97, getting on.

Interviewer: You’re getting on but you’re a fit man for your age.

Charlie: Well I go out for wee bits of walks up and down the road here. Can’t sit here every day. It passes the time.

Interviewer: I was asking about your brothers the last time. Was it Hugo that played in goals for Cushendun at a time?

Charlie: Hugo.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Aye he got married to … It’s a son of his that’s a school teacher there.

Interviewer: Is that right.

Charlie: Hugo died young.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Went to Canada and he came home from Canada and got a job in Portrush, salmon fishing for Lord Antrim, the nets. He was married Katy … a nice girl she was and they had one son. He is a school teacher.

Interviewer: Was there none of the rest of the brothers played hurling?

Charlie: John but there was an ould boy lived up at the head of the village …

Interviewer: McKiernan.

Charlie: McKiernan.

Interviewer: I heard of him.

Charlie: Well I mind your father Archie, James, two great hurlers they were and … highlights in them days and many a time Willie was short. He used to keep the whole thing going and he had meetings and all in McKiernan’s and there was some great teams. Dunloy come to play in it, Loughgiel, The Connolly’s from Loughgiel, great hurlers, big men. Oh I seen some great games over in Scally’s field.

Interviewer: That McKiernan I think disappeared and nobody ever knew where he went to.

Charlie: Never heard tell of him.

Interviewer: I heard that.

Charlie: He went away to sea you know back and forward in the winter time in his younger days. I didn’t mind him at school. I mind him well for years futtering on ould motor boats fishing all day. He went to Dublin and got a job with a Jimmy Redman, there was a daughter of his married to somebody over at the turn over there.

Interviewer: Aye Alex McGavock.

Charlie: That’s right. She was a Redmond.

Interviewer: That’s right, Lizzie Redmond.

Charlie: She was Lizzie and there was an older girl they called Mary.

Interviewer: Mary married a fellow called Nicholas Boal.

Charlie: Are they living yet?

Interviewer: There’s none of them living.

Charlie: Lizzie was a lovely girl.

Interviewer: Aye she died up Larne. Alex died up there too. Alex was on the buses a long time.

Charlie: That’s right.

Interviewer: Alex might have been a bit older than you but he was not much.

Charlie: Maybe a year or two.

Interviewer: Just a year or two.

Charlie: He was at school at the same time as me in Knocknacarry.

Interviewer: You’ve no photos of Knocknacarry when you were at school.

Charlie: No.

Interviewer: Well then you mind Mrs McBride starting her hotel I suppose.

Charlie: Oh God aye sure we had a great time in through it. That was the ould mill.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: My grandfather had something to do with that mill. It come a wild hurricane and it was from the north west and apparently it was a half … roof on it, like a hayshed now.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: That was just wood and felt, felted over the wood and with the north west gale lifted the roof and left it lying over in Slanes. I mind Henry Andy and us in playing through the building. There was two or three, there was a big family of the Andy’s in it. Jimmy Andy.

Interviewer: Aye I remember Jimmy Andy.

Charlie: And there was one they called Jack, he went away to sea and married a Liverpool girl and never came back. He was a sea, deep sea skipper.

Interviewer: And there was Paddy Andy wasn’t there?

Charlie: Paddy was a great big strong man.

Interviewer: Where did he go?

Charlie: He went to Canada. Never wrote home to say whether he was living or dead. He never was heard tell of and there was a big man went the same morning to Canada, Johnny Padiag.

Interviewer: Padiag, aye.

Charlie: Johnny Padiag.

Interviewer: Johnny McNeill.

Charlie: Of Turnamona.

Interviewer: He went the same day.

Charlie: He went the same day.

Interviewer: Did he never come back?

Charlie: No or did he? John of the Burns told down in McBride’s one night we were talking about ould times, some one of them came back and he had no legs or something and he was living about Ballycastle. I couldn’t mind what it was about.

Interviewer: I have a notion that Johnny Padiag did come home now.

Charlie: Some one of them did.

Interviewer: Maybe went to Ballycastle as you say I think that’s right.

Charlie: In Ballycastle and is in a wheelchair. That was three or four years ago.

Interviewer: I was asking you the last day I was talking to you, I was asking you about the boat races and the gig races and that.

Charlie: I should have a photo of that. Who gave me that?

Interviewer: Do you mind that boat they had in Cushendun “ The Maid of Moyles”.

Charlie: I had a row in her.

Interviewer: Was she any good?

Charlie: Very fast boat.

Interviewer: Was she?

Charlie: She was built by a boy they call McGoor and what was this they called the place in Scotland, up the Clyde somewhere?

Interviewer: Gruig or somewhere?

Charlie: He was an expert rower himself.

Interviewer: And did he built this boat?

Charlie: He built that boat for them.

Interviewer: I think she’s still at …

Charlie: Dunbarton.

Interviewer: Dunbarton is that where she was?

Charlie: Apparently a lot of boats came from Dunbarton to Cushendall and Ballycastle in them days, made there.

There is two of my brothers on that.

Interviewer: Where was that taken?

Charlie: That was taken down at Cushendall shore.

Interviewer: Aye. Was there four on her?

Charlie: Oh aye.

Interviewer: Who was the cox? Who was the wee fellow?

Charlie: That was a fellow by the name of Andy Stewart he was a gardener up in Turnley’s.

Interviewer: And who are the four?

Charlie: John McIlroy, our John would be next, Hugo would be next and Hugh McIlroy that’s the ould butcher, he used to be the country butcher.

Interviewer: And who is the man on this side then with the suit on him?

Charlie: That would be …

Interviewer: Aye that’s just like …

Charlie: He was in charge of the rowing then.

Interviewer: The “Glensgirl” and the “Glensman” were there two boats called that?

Charlie: The “Glensman” was built by Pat O’Loan up in Glenville.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: A beautiful boat, beautiful work. Them crowed there rowed her and thought she was very stiff to row, no give in her.

Interviewer: Is that right.

Charlie: Never won a race with her.

Interviewer: Oh aye the Bay was built there all right. That is not such a wild old one George when the Bay was built like that.

Charlie: The “Glensgirl” came out of Dunbarton to here and … then to Ballycastle … and she’s hung up in an ould shed upside down and she took a twist and them crowd there that was rowing were doing well … up in Carnlough first crew out of Carnlough.

Interviewer: Well that “Maid of Moyle” is she still to the fore. I think they sold her up the shore somehow.

Charlie: They lent her to somebody up the shore and she … and she’s like a new boat. They never should have lent her at all. You see there’s no committee or that left here.

Interviewer: She was stored down there at big Captain Dan’s up there I think.

Charlie: She was stored on … making creels there and she was kept in there.

Interviewer: The store as they talked about.

Charlie: The store was that wee store with the steps that took the water away. She was in there for I mind dances in that. She was kept a while when she come first, the coastguard station was there then. The coastguards was in it

Interviewer: Is that where the Maud Cottages were built?

Charlie: Aye. I mind them tumbling the boat house. It was the same man that built them. After he built that he come over and done the Bay. They were built as the same shape as the houses in the square.

Interviewer: That’s right. Tell me about those Nicholls again. They were friends of John Nicholls in Ballycastle weren’t they? Were they not the same Nicholls?

Charlie: They would be.

Interviewer: Somebody told me that they were the same Nicholls as John Nicholl.

Charlie: They were very smart ould men.

Interviewer: Did they do any gardening?

Charlie: Well the one at home might have done a bit of gardening. He didn’t go to sea. Robert and John were the two that sailed and some local ones.

Interviewer: They sailed their own boats.

Charlie: He never went to sea. He might have been a gardener.

Interviewer: You never remember any building in at the back there that would have been like a forge or that?

Charlie: That would all have to be tumbled for Charlie McLarnon made his bakery there. Aye there must have been ould buildings in there, aye.

John McBride was the Head Gardener.

Interviewer: Then he was made Lord Cushendun.

(can’t make this out)

Charlie: When my grandfather’s term, or lease was up in a week or two he thought it was only a matter of form … take it or leave it. Grandfather that built McBride’s Hotel, it’s still standing.

Interviewer: It’s still standing.

Charlie: I think there is some dispute.

Interviewer: I think that’s right. That’s the old Glendun.

Charlie: That’s the house I was born in. That was the home house. The ould fellow built bits and pieces on to it. One built on that way and another built on that way, like a dog’s hind let.

Interviewer: What was down there where they built the Bay?

Charlie: Just grass. A big long strip of grass they called the rope walk. That was where they stretched the ropes that they made in the mill.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: That was what they called the rope walks.

Interviewer: They are sinking some money in it now.

Charlie: God save us they’re away down a mile into the heart of it.

Interviewer: Desperate. Wild what digging they did.

Charlie: Sell that … now they need it back. Did they do any building yet?

Interviewer: They’ve started to build now. I noticed there the other day that they’ve started to build but I wasn’t down at it lately.

Charlie: God only knows what kind of a show it will be.

Interviewer: I don’t know. We could do without it I think.

Charlie: I know one thing they never should have let the Bay be tumbled.

Interviewer: No they should not.

Charlie: … tumbling our place … the one we were reared in and my grandfather built that house for my father when he got married and then just after that … he died.

Interviewer: There was a back bit of that Glendun was burned one time at the early part of the war, the back bit you know where the bedrooms were. Do you not remember that? I think in was in the early part of the war. It was burnt accidentally.

Charlie: It’s a very strong building the Glendun.

Interviewer: How many boys was in the Elliott’s, just one?

Charlie: One, Eddie.

Interviewer: Eddie.

Charlie: He went down South and never came back and there was two girls Namoni and …

Interviewer: Betty.

Charlie: Betty and then there was the Andy family, do you mind them?

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: Ould Andy.

Interviewer: And Percilla

Charlie: And Henry and Jimmy.

Interviewer: That’s right. Well do you mind the Banks there?

Charlie: Oh aye. You wouldn’t mind Sandy Banks.

Interviewer: No I don’t.

Charlie: He was a friend of mine.

Interviewer: Ould Tommy went away to England and was never heard tell of again either.

Charlie: Aye. I think he died at home at the last.

Interviewer: Did he?

Charlie: I think he was the last one knocking about. I was only a lump of a cub about 14 and Tommy was a good age of a man at that time.

Interviewer: Do you remember the time Johnny Baker collapsed and died riding up the Mill Brae?

Charlie: It was on a Sunday.

Interviewer: Was it a Sunday?

Charlie: Sunday. He got a new bike and some other young fellows down there, they had a bike each. Of course they were not like the bikes now with the gears on them. They had to ride up the Mill Brae. They went up the Ballyeamon Road a wee bit and came down at great speed, of course there was no motors in them days, to see how far they could go up the Mill Brae and at the top of the hill he dropped off the bike and half way up it. I mind it was a Sunday. Mary Baker she married one of the Archies.

Interviewer: Aye Johnny Archie that’s right.

Charlie: Mary Baker and me would be about an age.

Interviewer: Well do you remember the McCleary’s then?

Charlie: Oh I did aye. Willie and Kevin, I mind Kevin.

Interviewer: Jim.

Charlie: Jim aye.

Interviewer: There was a Hector in it.

Charlie: Aye Hector. He was the wild man from Borneo. That boy went to Canada. When he came home our Hugo had a ferret, the bloody thing would have ate you. They put them in a hole or two over in the brae there at the back of Cushendun, he lay in and the rabbits wouldn’t come out.

And Hector came home from Canada on holiday and they took off in the morning looking for rabbits here and there. You could see they were all in the holes. Heard we had a ferret. So he come down to see the ferret. So he says I must get that ferret and put his hand in his pocket and gave us a lot of money for the ould ferret and lifted the big box up on his shoulder and away he went. Took it up home. Took him out a day or two later and threw him into a hole you know and never muzzled him and the bugger went into the hole and went to sleep and when he came out later … and shot him.

Interviewer: That was the end of the ferret.

Charlie: Willie was a nice man.

Interviewer: Bill.

Charlie: Bill they called him.

Interviewer: Jack I think could be crabbit.

Charlie: Jack was very crabbit. Jack was in the Belfast shipyard. They used to have wee boats down at the shore, boating people.

Interviewer: That’s right.

Charlie: These high heels came out for the ladies shoes at the time and the floors of the boats were all gate floors, they were about an inch apart you know, like slate lathes so you couldn’t damage the bottom of the boat and as soon as people would go down looking for boats Jack would look to see if they had heels, the heels would go down through and damage the bottom of the boat. He said they would make a hole in it.

Interviewer: I remember they used to, he had two motor boats Bill and I used to be down, oh I was only a youngster at the time and he would take them out when the tide was in you see, he would take them out and I would come over the Bay. He used to take me out with him and he taught me how to row.

Charlie: Anchor them below the houses.

Interviewer: That’s right below Maud Cottages.

Charlie: Aye.

Interviewer: He would anchor her out there and take a wee boat into the shore. I remember one time he didn’t turn up and I was waiting to get a sail out in the boat and I asked Jack was Bill not coming the day. No he says he’s got a crink in his back and he can’t crank her, I can always remember that and that’s 60 years ago. I can remember the way he said it. He had a sore back and he wasn’t fit to swing the thing. I remember the names of the boats. One was called the ‘Sadie Marino’ and the other was called the ‘Marian’. Then sometimes he would take me out when he was taking the visitors out you know for a run round the Bay I would go out with him and he would let me steer her. We thought it was a great thing in those days. Bill was a nice man.

Charlie: Pensioned out of the Navy.

Interviewer: Then there was Maisie.

Charlie: She was the boss. She would sit and look out the wee window in the gable of the house.

Interviewer: Craig the Artist had a yacht. Was it ‘Sparella’ or something.

Charlie: That’s right. She ended up somewhere up the Barrack Brae a year or two ago. After ould Jimmy the Rock died …

Interviewer: I think young Paddy has her now.

Charlie: Could be.

Interviewer: I have a photograph of her taken out in the Bay.

Charlie: ‘Sparella’ or something.

Interviewer: ‘Sparella’.

Charlie: Craig called that boat and give it to … She was a lovely sailing boat.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: She wouldn’t be in it now with the types of boats that are in it now. Fibreglass. Tom McLaughlin has that all sewed up now.

Interviewer: Who would have been in your class at school? Can you remember any of them? Are there any of them left at all?

Charlie: Declan Parker. Is he living or dead?

Interviewer: He’s dead.

Charlie: Henry Andy and Johnny McNeill.

Interviewer: Aye Johnny Baker.

Charlie: McLarnons had the baker’s shop down below …

Interviewer: The dug out.

Charlie: The dug out aye.

Interviewer: Was Tommy McGreer in your ….

Charlie: Sam McGreer.

Interviewer: Sam I think took epileptic fits or something.

Charlie: That’s right. He used to take the fits he could have to take him out into the air in case in died.

Interviewer: Jim O’Neill told me that’s how he died. He took a fit and fell into the water.

Charlie: He was a great angler.

Interviewer: Aye.

Charlie: He would be down fishing salmon and trout in the river.

Interviewer: I think it was only two or three inches of water he drowned in.

Charlie: Aye fell in. I mind the day he was lost. All of them McGreers were great anglers. There was another old man McGreer he would be an uncle of Tommy McGreers, Denis McGreer. He lived up behind us in Cushendun in that wee row.

Interviewer: Did he play the fiddle?

Charlie: He did. He was a great fiddler. He was a joiner. He made cart wheels and made carts and things. Joinery work was all done in the kitchen. He lived in among the tools, an ould bachelor.

Interviewer: He came from Glendun at some stage.

Charlie: That’s right.

Interviewer: Cushleagh. Was one of those McCambridge’s drowned up Glendun when he was fishing, Loughlea, they were after salmon or something and he was a McCambridge. He would have been a friend there of Alex McCambridge, Alex’s wife over there, Alex McCambridge, she was Montague, Ann Montague.

Charlie: Aye, aye.

Interviewer: Well her mother would have been one of them McCambridges of Glendun and there was a brother I think lost on Loughalea after salmon or something.

Charlie: Ould John Baker he went to sea. He was a sailor.

Interviewer: Why did they call him Baker?

Charlie: Well that’s quite simple. There was a Company called Spiller and Baker and they were flour boats, they come in with flour on them.

Right down to the corner of the bridge there, right to the edge of the river, spuds don’t grow in that now but he had spuds in it, vegetables and everything.

Interviewer: Somebody told me that he worked in some house there above Lynns as a gardener at a time. Maybe he was just in for a day, a day in the week. Do you mind the time Dan McCormick did himself in?

Charlie: I do aye.

Interviewer: Do you remember that?

Charlie: He drove the grocery van for Arthur McAlister.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: Oh aye. He was driving van. Sure he took the van up Layde one time … jumped out of her and let her go. She went down a field or two, turned over a time or two. That was the end. Someone told Arthur and got the insurance and got a new van, an ould done van. I mind that as well. He shot himself with a … oh aye. Many a time I knocked about with Dan.

Interviewer: I wonder what came over him.

Charlie: I don’t know. He was wild jolly.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: Jolly fellow and not some kind of hareum, scareum. He was a very wise fellow.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: He worked for Hugh McSparran in Mill Street, the butcher’s shop. They used to kill the cattle up near the Chapel, in the slaughter house.

Interviewer: Slaughter house that’s right.

Charlie: That’s where he done himself in.

Interviewer: He was a very popular according to what they say. He was the Captain of the hurling team at that time.

Charlie: He was and he was popular through the country with all his customers. A nicer man you never met. He had a brother.

Interviewer: Aye Charles.

Charlie: Aye. He was more up-to-date.

Interviewer: Well he was in America most of the time. Well then Mary is still alive the sister.

Charlie: Yet?

Interviewer: She’s up there in Cushlea. She’s away about 95 or 96.

Charlie: Oh she would be.

Interviewer: She’s a very old woman.

Charlie: There’s an ould man there died the other day up in Glendun.

Interviewer: Aye Alex McKay.

Charlie: Alex McKay.

Interviewer: He would have been 94 or 5 too.

Charlie: 93 he was.

Interviewer: 93 was he?

Charlie: My home help, Margaret McLaughlin, do you know ould Charlie McLaughlin well his wife she’s with me now 10 years. A great woman she is too, very jolly. Does all the shopping, the best of a woman. Very honest too. Jim …

Interviewer: I was talking to him in the bank and I was asking if he would be about I’d come in some day.

Charlie: He’s away down by Dublin.

Interviewer: Are there many lobsters in it now?

Charlie: Oh no lobsters.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Charlie: Never will be again. The sea is shut up for ever, never to come back again. They are fished out. A chain of men went round the coast buying in all the small ones at a cheap rate and eating themselves. Up in Larne selling them. There is nothing left. All fishing in the bay is all over. There’s five or six boats out there this minute in the channel there.

Interviewer: I saw that.

Charlie: You will see their lights there at night if you’re on the beach.

Interviewer: Do you see those fellows that come down and fish off the beach in Cushendun with big long rod what are they trying to get?

Charlie: The might get cod or plaice or something.

Interviewer: I never see them getting anything and I don’t know how they stick it out in the cold. They have tilly lamps with them.

Charlie: Tilly lamps aye and wee seats to sit on.

Interviewer: Well Charlie I’ll go and thanks very much for talking to me.

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