Donaghmore Road, great place
The top of the Donaghmore Road now comprises mostly business premises but, in my young days, it was always a thriving little residential area with some of the town’s longest established, hardest-working and most popular families living there. So I thought I’d stir some wonderful memories by reflecting on them as best I can.
Facing down Ann Street and adjacent to the Gallow’s Hill, a name which speaks for itself, were a couple of big semi-detached houses occupied in the early 1960s by Paddy Woods and PG McQuaid. The end one was home to Paddy and his wife Josie, a lovely lady who always prided herself in always looking her very best and loved conversing with one and all, and their only son, John.
The late PG, a bookmaker and businessman of some renown, and wife, Bena (nee Kelly), bought their house from James Quinn, original owner of the draper’s shop in Ann Street which is best remembered as PV Hamill’s. The McQuaids were, of course, very well-known - as are their sons Terry and Kelly, and daughters Dolores, Bena and Pauline.
And just beyond them was a detached home on the same side belonging to Edmund Fullen, who had two daughters, Bernadette and Margaret.
On the opposite side, the first house was a place that was a magnet for children in the late 1950s and early 60s because the late Bridget McDonald used to sell little glasses of lemonade at a penny a time, following in the tradition of her parents, Joe and Kate. Summer days many a time saw queues of children and adults alike at the house beside the entrance which to this day takes you down to the backs of the row of houses and, indeed, across to Charlemont Street - and also to the new link road, or Greer’s Road as it is properly titled. Bridget’s brothers were Joe and Billy.
John Conlan worked for the Ulster Transport Authority. John drove the first ‘Iron Horse’ lorry, to deliver goods such as beer kegs which arrived by train. John and his wife, Bridget, were parents of Mary, Eileen RIP, Ita, Theresa and Dympna and sons Aidan, who used to be a window cleaner, Brendan and Marty.
Christie and Gertie McFall were a step further along and their house was pretty crowded, I imagine. The girls were Sheila and Margaret and the boys were Sean, Paddy, Jimmy - all of whom are sadly no longer with us - and Frankie, while the late Sheila and husband Jackie Hazley had two children living there as well, young John who was tragically killed in an accident at the foot of Charlemont Street when he was still at primary school, and Mary who is married and living in Cookstown, I believe.
Pat and Molly Cavanagh were their neighbours, along with daughters Rita, Patsy and Ann and sons Brian, who’s in Australia, Paul and Pascal.
All of those houses were later to be demolished to make way for a car parts depot- Autoparts - run by Jim Kane and Kenny Dougan. But it’s all now replaced by the impressive McAleer’s Bar - which had previously been the ill-fated Hillcrest Bar, owned by Kane and Dougan, which was cruelly bombed by loyalists terrorists on St.Patrick’s night of 1976.
Before, however, it had been the family pub run by John Daly and eventually his son of the same name, having originally been owned by Pat O’Neill and his other half, the midwife who brought me into the world. They had two daughters, Sheila and Mary.
And finally, before the other entrance to the back of the houses, came Kathleen O’Neill’s shop, in which the always smiling proprietress was to be joined by her new husband, Ardboe native Raymond Quinn, who operated a very successful taxi business from the same address. Their sons were Joe, Ronan and Raymond Junior.
First on the other side of the laneway came the home of Robbie Martin, this originally belong to the McElhones, but it became the family home of Robbie and Kathleen. The other daughters were Evelyn who married Tony Sheridan and Nora who wed Jimmy Fitzpatrick, both getting new houses in Ardbeg.
Charlie and Mary Donaghy next door were parents of councillor John, Joe who went to join the navy, bus driver Charlie and their sister Lena.
Mick and Annie Donnelly owned No.19. They had four sons - recently-deceased Aidan, the eldest being John, the youngest Brendan and Kevin who was in between, alsong with their sister, Mary O’Neill.
In No.21 were Tommy O’Neill, who converted his home and followed the example of his sister by going into the confectionery and light grocery business, later starting a chip shop as well. Both are still there but now run by other parties. Tommy and his wife, a member of the Begley family from Pomeroy, had three daughters - Mary, Pauline and Ann, and four sons - Frankie, Conor, Fergal and Fintan.
Billy Ritchie was one of the few men I knew in my young days who sported a moustache and he suited it, too! He and wife Teasie, a sewing expert, were the parents of Jim, Marie and Mandy who have all gone to their eternal rest, the youngest being Liam, who married Lorna Abernethy and I think now lives at Glebe Mews.
No.25 was home to Monica Campbell and her family and also Patrick Darcy, originally from Waterford, who married Maureen, the others being sister Mona and brother John.
Willie John Kelly and family - draper Malachy, Agnes who worked in the Housing Executive, Vincent, Liam who went to America, Mary, Eamonn and Margaret RIP - lived in No.27,
Next door was the McGeary family, mother Alice and husband Francie. The McGearys were Barney, Frankie, Lily and Nan, while the Campbells -from Alice’s first marriage to John, brother of William Street taxi-man and newsagent Joe, were John and Bridie.
sons Barney and Frankie and daughters Lily, Nan who married Coalisland man Dermot Morgan and Bridie, who wed John Campbell, brother of one-time William Street newsagent and taxi-man Joe.
Anthony Donaghy, joint-owner of a cobbler’s shop in Sloan Street with Hughie Meenan from Ardbeg, was also known as Dungannon’s Mr.Camogie. He and his wife,
were the parents of three fine camogs - Maura who married PJ Cullen, Ann who wed Eamon - one of the McCaughey Brothers contractors and Betty who wed Tommy Reilly from Moy, and three sons, the late Fr Harry, Christian Brother Gerry and Brian, who’s a joiner by trade.
And lastly, living where there’s now a Chinese takeaway, were the Rice brothers, cattle dealers Joe and Paddy, and bookie Teddy, and their sister Veronica. Strangely, they rarely ever used the front door, preferring to enter and exit No 33 by going down a few steps at the side and using the cellar door.
As I said, the top of the Donaghmore Road was a remarkable wee place. Many of the people are sadly gone but the wonderful memories live on.
I hope I have got the names right and nobody has been left out, but the memory is not what it was and I apologise in advance for any errors!
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Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North