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Poems from my Daddy

1805 - 1806 - 1807 - 1808 - 1819 - 1843 - 1852 - 1861 - 1868 - 1877 - 1880 - 1890 - 1894
1901 - 1907 - 1908 - 1909 - 1910 - 1912 - 1918 - 1924 - 1932 - 1939 - 1943 - 1951 - 1960
1913 Tel. directory    1824 Pigots (Belfast)  &  (Bangor)   1894 Waterford Directory
1898 Newry Directory      Bangor Spectator Directory 1970

Copyright, 1890, by M. Witmark & Sons. Published by special permission.
Words by J. Thornton. Music by Chas. Lawlor

Oh, a short time ago, boys, an Irishman named Doherety
Was elected to the Senate by a very large majority,
He felt so elated that he went to Dennis Cassidy,
Who owned a bar-room of a very large capacity,
He said to Cassidy. go over to the brewer
For a thousand kegs of lager beer And give it to the poor,
Then go over to the butcher-shop and order up a ton of meat,
Be sure and see the boys and girls have all they want to drink and eat,
Send out invitations in twenty different languages,
And don't forget to tell them to bring their own sandwiches;
They've made me their Senator, snd so, to show my gratitude,
They'll have the finest supper ever given in this lattitude -
Tell them the music will be furnished by O'Rafferty,
Assisted on the bag-pipes by Felix McCafferty;
Whatever the expenses are, remember I'll put up the tin.
And any one who doesn't come, be sure and do not let him in.

Cassidy at once sent out the invitations,
And everyone that came was a credit to their nations;
Some came on bicycles, because they had no fare to pay.
And those who didn't come at all made up their minds to stay away;
Two-by-three they marched in the dining-hall,
Young men and old men. And girls that were not men at all,
Blind men and deaf men, and men who had their teeth in pawn,
Single men. double men And men who had their glasses on;
Before many minutes nearly every chair was taken,
'Till the front rooms and mushrooms were packed to suffocation;
When every one was seated, they started to lay out the feast;
Cassidy said, rise up and give us each a cake of yeast;
He then said, as manager he would try And fill the chair;
We then sat down and we looked at the bill-of-fare;
There was pigs-head and gold-fish, mockingbirds and ostriches.
Ice cream And cold cream, vasaline And sandwiches.

Bluefish. green-fish, fish-hooks and partridges,
Fish-balls, snow-balls, cannon-balls and cartridges;
Then we eat oat-meal till we could hardly stir about;
Ketchup and hurry-up, sweet-krout and sour-krout,
Dressed beef and naked beef, and beef with all its dresses on,
Soda-crackers, fire-crackers, limburger-cheese with tresses on,
Beefsteaks and mistakes were down on the bill-of-fare;
Boast-ribs and spare-ribs, and ribs that we couldn't spare,
Reindeer and snow-deer, dear me and antelope;
And the women eat so-mushmellon, the men said they cantalope;
Red herrings, smoked herrings, herrin's from old Erin'e Isle,
Bologna and fruit-cake, and sausages a half-a-mile;
There was hot-corn and cold corn, corn-salve and honeycomb,
Reed-birds, read books, sea-bass and sea-foam.
Fried liver, baked liver, Carter's little liver pills,
And every one was wondering who was going to pay the bills.

For desert we had tooth-picks, ice-picks and skipping-rope,
And washed them all down with a big piece of shaving-soap;
We eat everything that was down on the bill-of-fare,
Then looked on the back of it to free if any more was there,
Then the band played, horn-pipes, gas-pipes, and Irish reels,
And we danced to the music of "the wind that shakes the barley-fields,"
Then the piper played old tunes and spittoons so very fine
That in came Peiper Heidseck and handed him a glass of wine;
They welted the floor till they could be heard for miles around;
When Gallagher was in the air, his feet was never on the ground;
A fine lot of dancers you never set your eyes upon,
And those who couldn't dance at all were dancing with their slippers on;

Some danced jig-step, door-steps and highland flings,
And Murphy took his knife out and tried to cut a pigeon-wing;
When the dance was over. Cassidy then told us
To join hands together and sing this good old chorus:

(after last Verse)
Should old acquaintance be forgot, wherever we may be,
Think of the good old times we had at the Irish Jubilee

Words by Ed. Harrigan. Music by Dave Braham.

Oh, I'm a lone widdy, meself and my daughter,
We live in a house where there's welcome galore;
My husband he formerly carried up mortar
From the ground to the third or fourth floor.
When he died he will'd over the land and the shanty,
His pipe and his stick and his frieze overcoat;
The pig And the goslings, the chickens so banty,
And his favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goat.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, hone,
Come back to my bosom, my own darling Billy,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, hone,
My favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goat.

Wid horses he slept ev'ry night in the stable,
He'd rise in the morn at the break of day;
When breakfast was ready he'd come to the table,
Shure I never could drive him away.
He could butt down a fence, oh, so gentle and aisy,
He'd stand near the pond for to see the ducks float;
He'd climb over the hills, sure he never was lazy,
My own favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goal.-Chorus.

His whiskers were long, like the wandering Jew man.
He ate up old hoop-skirts, newspapers and rags;
When a kid he belonged to young Mary Ann Doolan,
He would skip and sleep out on the flags.
'Twas a blast from a quarry that struck him on the shoulder
The morning my husband went out for to vole;
He laid sick a-bed from the fall of the boulder,
Did my favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goat.-Chorus.

He'd fight like a trooper, his horns were like sabers,
He'd bate all the goats for so many miles 'round;
Sure he'd butt at a stranger, but never a neighbor,
Sure they could not take him to the pound.
Oh, his right name was Willy, but I called him Billy,
He was my companion, on him sure I'd doat;
So fond of sunflowers and daffydown dillies
Was my favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goat.-Chorus.

His white hairs were silken, they hung long and drooping,
He traveled some time with Mike Regan's big Nan;
If a child in the neighborhood took on a crooping,
He'd halt and he'd gaze like a man.
All the dogs and the cats, sure they'd never come near him,
Wid his horns he would buck them a terrible smote;
The long years and days it took me for to rear him,
Oh, my favorite pet, oh, my buck Billy goat - Chorus

I hope that you will like this poem and that it will stir up old memories, David.
Based on an original idea
By Bill Nesbitt

I'll speak to you, dear stranger, if you really want to know,
So listen , and I'll tell you why I love this city so.

Belfast is an Ulsterman with features dour and grim,
It's a pint of creamy porter and a Sunday morning hymn;
The dingy little café where they serve you dainty teas.
It's up the road to the anchor, for lots of vinegar on hot peas.

It's a banner on July the twelfth, a sticky toffee apple,
A righteous little gospel hall, a roman catholic chapel;
It was a paper boy shoutin telly, a piece of apple tart
A fry upon a Saturday, or a coal breek on a cart.

Do you mind a Corporation gas man, complete with bowler hat,
A wee shop at the corner, a friendly bit of chat;
An oul lad in a duncher, the woman in a shawl,
A pinch of snuff, a tattie farl, a loyal orange hall.
The tobacco smell in York street, a beg of yella man,
An Easter egg that's dyed with whins, a slice of ormo pan
The wee lad with spricks in an oul glass jar,
The preacher at the customs house, or an old Victorian bar.

Mud banks on the lagan when the tide is running low,
The men collecting refuse , bonfires in sandy row;
A bag of salty dullis, a boul of Irish stew,
A goldfish bought in Gresham Street, a preacher at the queue.
It's a portrait of King Billy upon a gable wall,
A flower seller on a stool, outside the city hall;
A half moon round the door step, a polis man on guard,
A man whose crying "delf for regs", a little whitewashed yard.

It's the Mays market on a Friday, the ships lined at the docks,
It's a shiny polished fender, a bunch of green shamrocks;
It's herrings fried in oaten meal, with a drink of buttermilk;
It's a snowy linen handkerchief as soft as finest silk,
O'Hara's bap with country butter, a dander round the zoo,
A climb up tough Ben Madigan to get a splendid view.

It's a bunch of savoury scallions, a plate of buttery champ,
Hopscotch on the footpath, a swing around a lamp,
Delf dogs on the mantelpiece, the wee man from the pru,
The chimney sweep on his bicycle, coming to do the flue;
The ever present vista of the hills of Castlereagh,
The deathless hush on Saturday when linfield play away,
Killarney's lakes and fells, on the bells of the assembly hall,
Spikey broken bottles stuck on the backyard wall.

It's bacon boiled with pamphrey, served when piping hot,
With skerry spuds, balls of flour, cracked laughing in the pot.
It's the smell of mansion polish on the lino in the hall,
Sunday school excursion, a treat for one and all;
It's the islandmen who build great ships that take us far to sea,
S.D. bells in Ann Street where they sell the finest tea;
It's fish and chips in paper, on a Friday from Johnny longs;
The sally army band on Sunday to save the sinning throng.

It's a wee walk up the Lisburn Road and back by the Malone,
The Albert clock in High Street with its rich and mellow tone.
It's a barney Hughes hot cross bun, a canary in a cage,
The old men talking in the park of a past and better age;
It's the sharp expressive dialect of everyone at large,
A ton of coal on the lagan a floating in a barge.
It's wemen on the windystool when the summer sun shines down,
A "v" of apple tattie or a wee race into town.

It's a needle to an anchor in Smithfield's famous mart,
I think I'd better call a halt before I break my heart.
And that's the answer stranger and now I'm sure you'll see,
Why Belfast is the only place in all the world for me.


by Elaine Gaston

He cannot bend to tie his shoe.
I stoop to make the knot
that takes me back
to when he carried fully grown men
down stairs in the middle of the night

found them in floods or snowdrifts
hauled them up cliffs on stretchers
pulled them out of sheughs and bogs
all in a day's work

he held mothers' hands in ambulances
gave the kiss of life
in porches, on roadsides
delivered babies in toilets
of country bars long after closing.

At home he bathed us on a Saturday night
bent over the tub, sleeves rolled up
arms covered in suds
told stories of him as a boy
when once he cycled twenty miles to run a race
and won, then cycled twenty home.

His back, a solid Irish oak,
bent, moved, straightened
to each particular need.
Now its knots tell the years
of a thousand people who leant on him
shoulders that carried other people's lives
as well as his own.

He cannot bend to lace his shoe
and I have learned to make the loop.

I really liked this little poem, it gave me heart the chills,
Made me think about the times I went roamin' round the hills.
Trekking up the Cavehill to roll me Easter egg,
Or spend the day at Banger with me lunch packed in a beg.

Sunday School trips down to Millisle, Lord those were the days.
Lunches packed up in a beg and all the games we played.
Or down to Gannaway with the BB, we'd stay there for a week,
At the end of day we'd be so tired we could hardly speak.

It made me think of Portrush The rides and of course the beach,
Now it seems so far away, almost out of reach.
But I'm going back in April, I'll see them all again,
Tho' I know that it won't be the same as when I was a wean.

But that's OK, I'm still excited just to see the good ould sod,
To know that here on earth it's the closest thing to God.
I'll stroll the streets of Belfast and to Carrickfergus take a trip,
And then I'll stop along the way for some good old fish n chips.

Dave Sloan 3-13-06


Now they built a big ship down in Harland's -
She was made for to sell till the Turks -
And they called on the Yard's chief designer
To design all the engines and works.

Now finally the engines was ready
And they screwed in the very last part
An' yer man says 'Let's see how she runs, lads!'
An' bejasus! the thing wouldn't start!

So they pushed and they worked an' they footered
An' the engineers' faces got red
The designer he stood lookin' stupid
An' scratchin' the back o' his head.

But while they were fiddlin' and workin'
Up danders oul' Jimmie Dalzell
He had worked twenty years in the 'Island'
And ten in the 'aircraft' as well.

So he pushed and he worked and he muttered
Till he got himself through till the front
And he has a good look roun' the engine
An' he gives a few mutters and grunts,

And then he looks up at the gaffer
An' says he 'Mr Smith, d'ye know?
They've left out the Diagonal Steam Trap !
How the hell d'ye think it could go?'

Now the engineer eyed the designer
The designer he looks at the 'hat'
And they whispered the one to the other
'Diagonal Steam Trap? What's that?'

But the Gaffer, he wouldn't admit, like
To not knowin' what this was about,
So he says 'Right enough, we were stupid!
The Diagonal Steam Trap's left out!'

Now in the meantime oul' Jimmie had scarpered
- away down to throw in his boord -
And the Gaffer comes up and says 'Jimmy!
D'ye think we could have a wee word?'

Ye see that Diagonal Steam Trap?
I know it's left out- it's bad luck
But the engine shop's terrible busy
D'ye think ye could knock us one up?'

Now, oul' Jimmy was laughin' his scone off
He had made it all up for a gag
He seen what was stoppin' the engine -
The feed-pipe was blocked with a rag!

But he sticks the oul' hands in the pockets
An' he says' Aye, I'll give yez a han'!
I'll knock yez one up in the mornin'
An' the whole bloody thing will be grand!'

So oul' Jim starts to work the next morning
To make what he called a Steam Trap,
An oul' box an' a few bits of tubing
An ' a steam gauge stuck up on the top,

An' he welds it all on till the engine
And he says to the wonderin' mob ,
As long as that gauge is at zero
The Steam Trap is doin' its job!'

Then he pulls the rag outa the feed pipe
An' he gives-the oul' engine a try
An ' bejasus! she goes like the clappers
An' oul' Jimmy remarks 'That's her nye!'

Now the ship was the fastest seen ever
So they sent her away till the Turks
But they toul' them 'That Steam Trap's a secret!
We're the only ones knows how it works!

But the Turks they could not keep their mouths shut
An' soon the whole story got roun'
An' the Russians got quite interested - -
Them boys has their ears till the groun ' !

So they sent a spy dressed as a sailor
To take photies of Jimmy's Steam Trap
And they got them all back till the Kremlin
An' they stood round to look at the snaps.

Then the head spy says 'Mr Kosygin!
I'm damned if I see how that works !'
So they sent him straight off to Siberia
An' they bought the whole ship from the Turks!

When they found the Steam Trap was a 'cod', like,
They couldn't admit they'd been had
So they built a big factory in Moscow
To start makin' Steam Traps like mad!

Then Kosygin rings up Mr Nixon
And he says 'Youse'uns thinks yez are great!
But wi' our big new Russian-made Steam Trap
Yez'll fInd that we've got yez all bate!'

Now oul Nixon, he nearly went 'harpic'
So he thought he'd give Harland's a call
And he dialled the engine-shop number
And of course he got sweet bugger all!

But at last the call came through to Jimmy
In the midst of a terrible hush,
'There's a call for you here from the White House!'
Says oul' Jim, 'That's a shop in Portrush !'

There's a factory outside of Seattle
Where they're turnin' out Steam Traps like Hell
It employs twenty-five thousand workers
And the head of it - Jimmy Dalzell!

Crawford Howard


On Carrick shore ah stud an' stud.
An' luked across at Holywud.
An' luked and luked an' there wuz her,
A wavin' from the Kinnegar.

Ah cudn't thole at all, at all,
White suds wuz batin' Carrick wall.
But wind an' waves ah'd be to dare
To reach my love on Kinnegar.

The breakers ris as high - as high,
The scrakin' wind got worse forby,
But thonder wus me guidin' star
A wavin' from the Kinnegar.

Ah tuk me boat an' rowed an' rowed,
Across Knockfergus Bay she goed.
Nor wind nor wave cud Houl me far,
From her that waved on Kinnegar.

Ay, many years has went an' went,
An' now ah'm oul an' gray an' bent,
An' married till a wumman - her
That waved me till the Kinnegar.

An' whiles ah stan an' stare an' stare,
An' mind thon day in Carrick - there.
An' wish ah had bin drowned afar
Afore ah reached the Kinnegar.

published in News Letter many years ago

I Wish

My breath catches as I rise from the floor,
Swooping and graceful and out through the door,
I know where I'm going, I just don't know how,
A question for later....but not for now!

The cool mist of evening is fresh on my skin,
As I soar even higher my flight to begin,
Looking in windows at people within,
Following currents and updraughts of wind.

Sensations abound as I fly down the street,
Guiding my path with a flick of my feet,
Arms stretched before me, hair blowing behind,
Visions of Superman float through my mind.

High over tree tops I marvel at sights,
As wildlife reacts to my singing in flight,
The night owl stops hooting and quickly alert,
Watching this human in spotted nightshirt.

I throw back my head and laugh with delight,
Oh! What an incredibly wonderful night,
I see up ahead the moonlight on a stream,
And I know I must fly through the path of it's beam.

I swoop and I duck as the rays touch my hair,
It's one of those things where you had to be there,
And then as I raced to the heavens above,
Surrounded by clouds like a soft silken glove.

I heard from afar the bells peel from a church,
And I changed my direction and sped with a lurch,
As the rising of dawn washed the spire in sunlight,
I awoke with a start in the darkness of night.

The loss and the sadness that wash through my mind,
As I open the curtains and pull up the blind,
But I smile to myself as I look into the night,
At least in my dreams, my mind can take flight!


We used to watch the raindrops sliding down the glass,
Streaming patterns glistening, starting to amass,
Single rivulets joining others to journey on their way,
We really used to be entranced for hours every day.

Now as I sit here watching them slither down the pane,
They hold no fascination, it's just another rain,
I find it hard to venture out and feel them on my skin,
They bring a sorrow to my heart like raindrops from within.

We always ran like children to the beach when it would pour,
Remember when you ripped your jumper, caught it on the door?
Hand in hand we'd walk along the breakers on the beach,
Getting just as close as we could get before they reached.

Then walking back home soaking wet from top right to our feet,
Shedding boots and coats and clothes, searching for the heat,
From the shower to warming robes, we'd venture to the fire,
Sip cognac, let the heat and music add to our desire.

We'd watch the raindrops falling, beating on the glass,
And lie within each others arms and wish the time could last,
Flames flickering on the ceiling, dancing while we slept,
Then reaching for each other once again as they still leapt.

We vowed to love each other for ever and a day,
And never let the outside world try to get in our way,
And we did, and we didn't but the one thing we couldn't know,
Was that our time together would be short and you would go.

They say I should be thankful for the time we had to share,
I am, I'm not, I still don't understand why you're not there,
If I am being selfish, feeling our time was too brief,
Looking at the raindrops doesn't help to ease my grief.

The rain......it once meant passion and now it brings on pain,
I'd sell my soul to have the chance to hold you once again.


A star was born one summers day,
and all around you felt the ray,
tho' shadows crossed your tiny face,
as delicate as woven lace.

Now God requires your glow with him,
beckons warmth to let you in,
your time with us, so short, so sweet,
without you life is incomplete.

Touching hearts and reaching minds,
now leaving us before your time,
but deep within our hearts we hold,
your tender little glow of gold.