Good Old Days - a Memory of Carrowdore.

I was a boy 8 years of age when my family fled the bombing of Belfast to the small community of Cardy which is approx. 3 miles from Carrowdore on the road to Ballywalter. The year was 1940 and times were tough with worries of the war and little enough food to feed 11 hungry kids to feed. Mum with 3 sisters and 1 sister-in-law with 11 kids were all crammed into a small 2-room thatched cottage without running water, lighting by Aladdin lantern and the toilet was a small one-holer behind the house. During the winter months 'going potty' was only for the very brave or desperate. We had 2 large fireplaces with only the main one could be used since the second room was covered with beds from wall to wall. Our fireplace had the arm that swung over the fire and was the most over-used item in the house except for the potty. My sister June (Canada) brother Frank (California) and myself Joe (North Carolina) all went to Ballyboley school and enjoyed our time there. The headmaster was a Mr Friedal I believe and the lady teacher I cannot recall her name. Carrowdore was a small quiet community and a very close knit one at that. I have always remembered how wide the street in Carrowdore was as all other roads were exceptionally narrow since we had only a few cars or tractors around. It's hard to believe that we could go a full day without seeing a motorised vehicle except the bus which was our lifeline to Newtownards. There was always enough entertainment with local talent in the village hall behind Martin's gas pumps (probably long gone) dances with the Patton brothers band. This was the first time I ever heard a Hawaiian Guitar and it was a great sound. There was card playing and darts and more that I don't recall. I even tried out for the accordian band and lasted a couple of weeks before they decided I was without talent although I did get to walk with them as a dummy accordianist playing my heart out without a sound coming out. I was one of the first finger-synch accordian players ever. The village always had a very good soccer team with the McGills & Kennans serving up some great football on Saturday evenings with the great rivalry between Greyabbey, Ballywalter & Carrowdore. Working on the farms was hard back-breaking work but the extra money at harvest time was much needed. When a bad storm passed though, my buddy Hugh Moreland & I would hitch up the horse & cart and head for Ballywalter shore to load up the seaweed that washed ashore, take it back to the farm and scatter it across the fields for fertiliser. It was a time consuming job but times were tough & tractors were just becoming affordable. Hugh was later to marry another old friend Mona Edgar whose dad had the blacksmith shop at Ballyboley corner. I would wander in to Henry's shop to watch him work and always marvelled at how he could handle all those large horses and not get the heck kicked out of himself or burned with the furnace. Another Ballyboley resident I remember was Willie Lemon who owned a thrashing machine and visited a different farm on a daily basis during harvesting & would thrash all day long. This was a time for all the neighbours to gather and assist each other and I can still see us all sitting the table at lunch that Mrs Moreland & Jean had fixed fit for a king. I can still taste the fresh baked bread and butter that Jean had just churned in the wooden barrel churn with the handle that seemed forever to finish. The war was still going on but never seemed to intrude except when our Jimmy Dorrian was working his field when a disabled plane landed in front of him the wheel knocking him to the ground and killing his horse. To my knowledge the horse was Cardy's only war casualty and probably never got a medal. When I was approx 13 my family moved back to Belfast but I continued to return to Cardy thanks to the Moreland family who always had a bed for me and a place at their table. An old friend Robert Pagan is still kicking around Carrowdore but all my old friends are slipping away. So if anyone remembers me I would love you to contact me at I hope this brings back some memories as I had a lot of fun with it and keep recalling people but names are harder to get a hold of.
Joe Murphy.

A memory shared by Joe Murphy on Apr 20th, 2010.
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