All Content Copyright emyvale.net
Face to Face with Jimmy Curley. Jimmy Curley was born in the townland of Mullan, just outside Mullan Village in County Monaghan in 1925. His father had a farm and there were four children in the family – two boys and two girls. Farming was in Jimmy’s blood from a very early age and he was to spend his life on the land. What was the most difficult part of farming for him? – when you enjoy what you are doing there is nothing difficult – says Jimmy. He received his education at Killyrean National School with Mrs. Coyle and Master Woods. The Master was one of the best and a terrific man. Some past pupils of his went to America and they told that they were asked what University they went to as they were so knowledgeable from the teachings of Master Woods. But when Jimmy was just thirteen and a half years of age he began working full time on his father’s farm. Farming In those days it was mixed farming with crops, animals and dairy plus the little extras like the eggs and turkeys for Christmas. Pigs were also an integral part of the farming year and they could be troublesome at times. The first goal was to feed the family followed by earning enough money to purchase the other essentials for living. The first crop was the grass seed, which was cut and threshed. The seed was taken into Charlie McCluskey’s yard in Emyvale. At that stage there were people going around with a thresher working for farmers. They were scarce enough as not many had a tractor. Jimmy’s father had two work horses and he and Jimmy worked a bit on the country with them too. Not everyone had a horse and indeed some neighbours were joined in horses. You could get one pound per day for ploughing at the time and that was fairly good money and was welcome. Ploughing with horses was tough and had plenty of exercise, as you would walk quite a number of miles after the horses while ploughing a field. Flax was another method of getting a few pounds for the family but it was tough work. The Curley’s were more or less self-sufficient. They grew almost everything they needed to eat. The mother made the bread, they grew the vegetables, they had the milk and the eggs, they had chickens and they killed the odd pig. It was all good healthy food and ‘organic’. Jimmy bought his first tractor around 1948. It was the wee Ferguson – the TVO model. They were a terrific tractor and are still going. Many are now getting the Ferguson as a collector’s item. New Farm In 1953 Jimmy bought a farm outside Aughnacloy, down the Caledon road, and married the same year. His bride was Bridget McKenna from Ballagh, near Mullan and they moved into their new home on the farm where they still reside. They have five children – Seamus, Kevin, Mary, Patricia and Siobhan. He specialised in dairy farming for a number of years. He had 12 cows and originally he had to milk those by hand twice a day. The milk was then strained, put into the Milk-churns and left out for the lorry to take them to Armagh creamery. He continued at the dairy farming for many years and more recently changed to store cattle for the beef trade. The dry cattle are easier as long as you have enough silage to feed them. He can remember carrying the grass in on a buck-rake and putting it into a silage pit, before the silage cutters and machinery arrived on the scene. The silage is great and much easier to deal with too as you don’t have to wait for the weather to save the hay. That was always a big worry - if the weather was bad it was impossible to get good hay saved. Nowadays nearly everything is done with machinery. The round bale is another good invention. The plastic is put round it to preserve the grass inside and as long as it is well sealed it will never go bad. People paint white markings on the bags to keep the crows away but it is questionable as to whether it is necessary or not. Caledon was the main shopping place when they moved to this farm originally. All the animal feed-stuff came from Scotts and household goods and food was purchased in Caledon too. They also dealt with the Co-op in Edendork. Aughnacloy would be their main shopping place now for the house. Sport But there is also another story with Jimmy Curley. When he was young there was a bit of football when neighbours gathered in a field and had a game of football. There were teams in Ballyoisin and Mullan but he never became very involved with it. They also had great games of skittles at various crossroads. It was very popular. The skittles were cut from tree branches and were easy to get. Handball was another established sport in Mullan. Workers from the Mullan Mills factory used play at lunch break and the game became popular outside of work times. It was played up against the gable wall of the factory. The Mulligans, Sherlocks, and the Jackie Kerr were very good. There was a handball alley in Aughnacloy, where the school is now and there were big games played there. It was a three-walled alley with paved floor. A cousin of Jimmy’s from Belfast, John Curley, won an Ulster Championship in handball and played in Aughnacloy. For the older lads, who had a few bob, the game of Pitch and Toss was played. Dancing There was a dancing deck at Ballagh Bridge and a small shop beside it. Barney Kerr built the Dancing Deck and John James Kelly and Jimmy opened the shop. It sold confectionery, cigarettes and some groceries. People from the north used come over to get things that were scarce with them. The popularity of the dancing deck was waning at this time but the Hall in Mullan was very popular. There were great dances in the Hall with big crowds coming from all over - from Aughnacloy and the Brantry. Local musicians provided the music and included the Barritones, Jim McQuaid, Ken Kennedy, Dave Dixon and many others. Paddy McMahon R.I.P. used play the drums in a band. There were concerts held regularly there and travelling roadshows came there. Val Doonican performed there too when he was an unknown. He came with the Clairie Hayden Show and stayed for a while. Clairie and his wife stayed in a caravan. He used come up to Jimmy’s home house for his daily milk. The small hall was the venue for the Mullan Mills Staff Dance, which was a big occasion. The hall was not very big but everyone got in. Many of the Halls were small at the time. There were dances held in the small Hall in Glaslough village and the Parochial Hall in Emyvale. Benny McMahon opened a Hall in Emyvale, now Emyvale Leisure Centre, and it was the biggest Hall around. Curley’s Motor Load. Jimmy has also become famous for his part in a recently produced DVD, recounting the deeds of ‘Curley's Motor Load’. In 1950 Jimmy purchased his first car. It was a second-hand Ford 10 numbered Z 8379. He bought it from Packie Kelly, the Body-builders in Monaghan. He thinks it was 70 quid at the time. He purchased his petrol from Peter McKenna’s in Emyvale and he still gets it there. There were only a couple of cars altogether in the area and so this was progress. It was also a God-send for a group of young men from the area, who now had the wheels to travel much further afield for dances and socialising. At least two or three nights a week the boys would go all over to dances in Dungannon, Moy, Blackwatertown, Edendork, Killeeshil, Eglish, Monaghan, Tydavnet. Worrys in Dungannon was the big one as they came from everywhere for it. The gang consisted of Jimmy and John Treanor, Pat Byrnes, Francie and Tommy McSorley and Jimmy. Jimmy and Pat composed a song entitled ‘Curley’s Motor Load’, and it recounts the deeds of the gang. It is the centre-piece of a DVD, recently produced by Donagh Development Association to raise funds for the Emy Lake Walk-way. The DVD has many other items of interest and is being snapped up by emigrants. Jimmy says that, when he is out, people come to him and say –‘I know you – you are one of Curley’s Motor Load in the DVD’. Jimmy Treanor is a cousins of Jimmy’s and Willie Kelly, the Blacksmith in Emyvale, was an uncle. Many will remember the noise of Willie striking the anvil in his forge behind the house on Main Street. Border Crossing Living along the border means that sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. When there is a difference in price between North and South you can buy it wherever it is cheapest. Of course some might call this smuggling but then for many it was just a way of life – it was a natural thing to do. For Jimmy the border caused a different problem. Part of his farm is on the southern side of the border and when the troubles started he had to get a Pass to go across the unapproved bridge at Ballagh to get to the land. Then the bridge was blown up, and other neighbouring ones suffered the same fate, and this now meant that, to get to the farm with machinery, he had to go through Aughnacloy or Middletown, which was a big detour and time consuming. Thankfully the bridge has been rebuilt and life much easier again. Jimmy also praises the work being done to bring Mullan Village back to its former glory. He is looking forward to its completion so that the village will be alive again. It will be a fantastic place to live as you will be only 15 minutes away from either Armagh, Dungannon or Monaghan. However the downturn in the economy is worrying with rising prices. When he bought his first car five gallon of petrol was less than a pound. Water is so expensive now not to mention other liquids and the quality of water is deteriorating. Disposal of waste is causing severe problems and something must be done to change things. We are producing too much waste and we have no proper way of disposing of it. We are even wasting food. A start must be made on cutting down on packaging. The world cannot sustain the way we are treating it at the moment and we are leaving a poor legacy for future generations. I was reluctant to leave Jimmy as he was a storehouse of information and had a wonderful way of saying things. He also had great experiences of life and was very forward-thinking. Thanks Jimmy and you might see me coming back for more. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer All Content is copyright @emyvale.net
All Content Copyright emyvale.net
Face to Face with Jimmy Curley. Jimmy Curley was born in the townland of Mullan, just outside Mullan Village in County Monaghan in 1925. His father had a farm and there were four children in the family – two boys and two girls. Farming was in Jimmy’s blood from a very early age and he was to spend his life on the land. What was the most difficult part of farming for him? – when you enjoy what you are doing there is nothing difficult – says Jimmy. He received his education at Killyrean National School with Mrs. Coyle and Master Woods. The Master was one of the best and a terrific man. Some past pupils of his went to America and they told that they were asked what University they went to as they were so knowledgeable from the teachings of Master Woods. But when Jimmy was just thirteen and a half years of age he began working full time on his father’s farm. Farming In those days it was mixed farming with crops, animals and dairy plus the little extras like the eggs and turkeys for Christmas. Pigs were also an integral part of the farming year and they could be troublesome at times. The first goal was to feed the family followed by earning enough money to purchase the other essentials for living. The first crop was the grass seed, which was cut and threshed. The seed was taken into Charlie McCluskey’s yard in Emyvale. At that stage there were people going around with a thresher working for farmers. They were scarce enough as not many had a tractor. Jimmy’s father had two work horses and he and Jimmy worked a bit on the country with them too. Not everyone had a horse and indeed some neighbours were joined in horses. You could get one pound per day for ploughing at the time and that was fairly good money and was welcome. Ploughing with horses was tough and had plenty of exercise, as you would walk quite a number of miles after the horses while ploughing a field. Flax was another method of getting a few pounds for the family but it was tough work. The Curley’s were more or less self-sufficient. They grew almost everything they needed to eat. The mother made the bread, they grew the vegetables, they had the milk and the eggs, they had chickens and they killed the odd pig. It was all good healthy food and ‘organic’. Jimmy bought his first tractor around 1948. It was the wee Ferguson – the TVO model. They were a terrific tractor and are still going. Many are now getting the Ferguson as a collector’s item. New Farm In 1953 Jimmy bought a farm outside Aughnacloy, down the Caledon road, and married the same year. His bride was Bridget McKenna from Ballagh, near Mullan and they moved into their new home on the farm where they still reside. They have five children – Seamus, Kevin, Mary, Patricia and Siobhan. He specialised in dairy farming for a number of years. He had 12 cows and originally he had to milk those by hand twice a day. The milk was then strained, put into the Milk-churns and left out for the lorry to take them to Armagh creamery. He continued at the dairy farming for many years and more recently changed to store cattle for the beef trade. The dry cattle are easier as long as you have enough silage to feed them. He can remember carrying the grass in on a buck-rake and putting it into a silage pit, before the silage cutters and machinery arrived on the scene. The silage is great and much easier to deal with too as you don’t have to wait for the weather to save the hay. That was always a big worry - if the weather was bad it was impossible to get good hay saved. Nowadays nearly everything is done with machinery. The round bale is another good invention. The plastic is put round it to preserve the grass inside and as long as it is well sealed it will never go bad. People paint white markings on the bags to keep the crows away but it is questionable as to whether it is necessary or not. Caledon was the main shopping place when they moved to this farm originally. All the animal feed-stuff came from Scotts and household goods and food was purchased in Caledon too. They also dealt with the Co-op in Edendork. Aughnacloy would be their main shopping place now for the house. Sport But there is also another story with Jimmy Curley. When he was young there was a bit of football when neighbours gathered in a field and had a game of football. There were teams in Ballyoisin and Mullan but he never became very involved with it. They also had great games of skittles at various crossroads. It was very popular. The skittles were cut from tree branches and were easy to get. Handball was another established sport in Mullan. Workers from the Mullan Mills factory used play at lunch break and the game became popular outside of work times. It was played up against the gable wall of the factory. The Mulligans, Sherlocks, and the Jackie Kerr were very good. There was a handball alley in Aughnacloy, where the school is now and there were big games played there. It was a three-walled alley with paved floor. A cousin of Jimmy’s from Belfast, John Curley, won an Ulster Championship in handball and played in Aughnacloy. For the older lads, who had a few bob, the game of Pitch and Toss was played. Dancing There was a dancing deck at Ballagh Bridge and a small shop beside it. Barney Kerr built the Dancing Deck and John James Kelly and Jimmy opened the shop. It sold confectionery, cigarettes and some groceries. People from the north used come over to get things that were scarce with them. The popularity of the dancing deck was waning at this time but the Hall in Mullan was very popular. There were great dances in the Hall with big crowds coming from all over - from Aughnacloy and the Brantry. Local musicians provided the music and included the Barritones, Jim McQuaid, Ken Kennedy, Dave Dixon and many others. Paddy McMahon R.I.P. used play the drums in a band. There were concerts held regularly there and travelling roadshows came there. Val Doonican performed there too when he was an unknown. He came with the Clairie Hayden Show and stayed for a while. Clairie and his wife stayed in a caravan. He used come up to Jimmy’s home house for his daily milk. The small hall was the venue for the Mullan Mills Staff Dance, which was a big occasion. The hall was not very big but everyone got in. Many of the Halls were small at the time. There were dances held in the small Hall in Glaslough village and the Parochial Hall in Emyvale. Benny McMahon opened a Hall in Emyvale, now Emyvale Leisure Centre, and it was the biggest Hall around. Curley’s Motor Load. Jimmy has also become famous for his part in a recently produced DVD, recounting the deeds of ‘Curley's Motor Load’. In 1950 Jimmy purchased his first car. It was a second-hand Ford 10 numbered Z 8379. He bought it from Packie Kelly, the Body- builders in Monaghan. He thinks it was 70 quid at the time. He purchased his petrol from Peter McKenna’s in Emyvale and he still gets it there. There were only a couple of cars altogether in the area and so this was progress. It was also a God-send for a group of young men from the area, who now had the wheels to travel much further afield for dances and socialising. At least two or three nights a week the boys would go all over to dances in Dungannon, Moy, Blackwatertown, Edendork, Killeeshil, Eglish, Monaghan, Tydavnet. Worrys in Dungannon was the big one as they came from everywhere for it. The gang consisted of Jimmy and John Treanor, Pat Byrnes, Francie and Tommy McSorley and Jimmy. Jimmy and Pat composed a song entitled ‘Curley’s Motor Load’, and it recounts the deeds of the gang. It is the centre- piece of a DVD, recently produced by Donagh Development Association to raise funds for the Emy Lake Walk-way. The DVD has many other items of interest and is being snapped up by emigrants. Jimmy says that, when he is out, people come to him and say –‘I know you – you are one of Curley’s Motor Load in the DVD’. Jimmy Treanor is a cousins of Jimmy’s and Willie Kelly, the Blacksmith in Emyvale, was an uncle. Many will remember the noise of Willie striking the anvil in his forge behind the house on Main Street. Border Crossing Living along the border means that sometimes you can have the best of both worlds. When there is a difference in price between North and South you can buy it wherever it is cheapest. Of course some might call this smuggling but then for many it was just a way of life – it was a natural thing to do. For Jimmy the border caused a different problem. Part of his farm is on the southern side of the border and when the troubles started he had to get a Pass to go across the unapproved bridge at Ballagh to get to the land. Then the bridge was blown up, and other neighbouring ones suffered the same fate, and this now meant that, to get to the farm with machinery, he had to go through Aughnacloy or Middletown, which was a big detour and time consuming. Thankfully the bridge has been rebuilt and life much easier again. Jimmy also praises the work being done to bring Mullan Village back to its former glory. He is looking forward to its completion so that the village will be alive again. It will be a fantastic place to live as you will be only 15 minutes away from either Armagh, Dungannon or Monaghan. However the downturn in the economy is worrying with rising prices. When he bought his first car five gallon of petrol was less than a pound. Water is so expensive now not to mention other liquids and the quality of water is deteriorating. Disposal of waste is causing severe problems and something must be done to change things. We are producing too much waste and we have no proper way of disposing of it. We are even wasting food. A start must be made on cutting down on packaging. The world cannot sustain the way we are treating it at the moment and we are leaving a poor legacy for future generations. I was reluctant to leave Jimmy as he was a storehouse of information and had a wonderful way of saying things. He also had great experiences of life and was very forward-thinking. Thanks Jimmy and you might see me coming back for more. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer All Content is copyright @emyvale.net