Days Gone By

A Memory of Greyabbey.

My memories of Greyabbey date back to 1940 just after the Blitz when Mum and her 3 sisters plus one sister-in-law with a bunch of kids relocated to Cardy, a small community appox. 3 miles from Greyabbey. I was 8 years of age at the time and immediately fell in love with the countryside and its friendly and generous people. Times were tough then with the worries of war and just barely enough food to feed a full household. The house, which I still visit when I am back, was 2 rooms each with a fireplace, oil lamps and no running water and and an outside toilet that was around the back of the house. Our water had to be carried probably a fourth of a mile but to an 8-year-old carrying water was not fun. The water pump was outside one of Cardy's more prominent people's homes, author Dennis Nash who wrote 'Blast from the Past'. Walking to Greyabbey was a weekly trip we had to make to get the radio battery charged at the local garage. In this day and age carrying a battery is simple but 70 years ago that battery was the size of a quart milk carton and burned the skin if the acid spilled. My friend and neighbour Andy Moreland was the goalie for Greyabbey FC at that time and many great nights were spent at their games. Entertainment was what we made ourselves, local dances being something that was affordable. House parties with everyone having to take their turn singing was another form of entertainment I fondly remember. Money was always scarce around our home and when harvest time came around Aunt Chris would organize us all and get us busy in the fields picking potatoes, tying and stooking corn and one time pulling flax. My buddy Hugh Moreland and I went to the area dances together but we only had one bicycle (his), to ride so we shared. He rode it for a mile, left it against some farmer's gate while I walked the mile, then it was my turn to ride the bike. Looking back on it, it makes great sense but I'm sure by the time we got to the dance we must have looked and smelled like Lassie. We went to a lot of events through the years until Hugh met and married Mona Edgar, another dear friend. Her dad was the local blacksmith at Ballyboley. My old friends Tommy and Nance Kyle keep me up to date but it is hard to visualise the changes and my main source of information, Jean Weir, is not available to reminisce and pick her fabulous memory on old friends and times gone by. Greyabbey wiil always have a special place in my heart.
Joe Murphy

With thanks to Joe Murphy for this memory of Greyabbey

Added 19 May 2010


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