My Childhood Memories in Church St, Charlestown

I was born in Charlestown on the 16th of May 1941, the eldest son of Tony and Delia Henry. I was actually born in the house now occupied by Miss Bernie White.

In 1941 the house was owned by a Martin Foy, from Swinford. It was later sold to Willie Moffit and they in turn rented it to Joe White, who was a shoemaker by profession. My father helped his sister May run the family business, which was then known as the Imperial Hotel. It consisted of Bar, Grocery, Accommodation and a Hackney service. My mother, who was Delia Lenihan, from Killaturley, was a National School Teacher, she taught in Cloonlyon, Tavneena and Barnacogue National Schools.

In writing this article I would like to mention as many of our neighbours as I can remember. Next door was Bea Cryan, whose lovely song, which she sang regularly was called "Memories". Next to her the Morrisroe family moved in, sometime around the mid 1940's. Pat and Molly ran a Toy and Grocery shop. Across the road now the Riverside Restaurant, lived Laddy Mulrooney and his family. Next to him was Bridget McKenzie,who was a Dressmaker. Her neighbours were the Corley family and later on, the Kilroy sisters from Bellaghy moved into that house. Pake Devanney was next and his daughter Kitty is still with us. Next to them were the Campbells, they had a daughter Rose and a son Joe, who became a Doctor and he died a young man.

Michael Carr's family was next and he had a Barber shop and also ran a Hackney service. James Healy and his wife Sadie operated a Bar next to Michael Carr. Jack Donoghue operated a Bakery beside Healy's, and that Bakery was in operation up to the early 1970's, when they built a new Bakery in Lowpark, near Cruck Ruagh. Beside our house on the Church side were Mary Gallagher and Bridie McGowan, who were Dressmakers. Sharing the house with them were Annie and Tom Brennan. Tom was a General Handyman and is still with us. Sadly Annie died many years ago, and I will always remember her for her wit and good humour.

Pa FitzMaurice and his brother Eddy, ran a Butcher Shop for a while. Then Eddy left, married in Bellaghy and operated a Drapery Shop there for many years. Pa then opened a Bar and carried on at that trade until the 1970's. The bar was very well frequented by my father and all the neighbours.

Tom Maloney and family lived next to the house which was known as Weaver's, it was empty when we were young. It was later bought by Vincent Doherty. Tom Maloney was involved in the dilisk and day old chicks trade. Later on his sons went into Hackney business. Then Kevin and his wife Mary had a Dry Cleaning Service, which is in operation to this day. Tom Maloney's grand-nephew, Fr Michael, is now our Curate in Charlestown.

Other people that I remember were: Martin Horkan, who had a Garage then and also ran a Hackney Service for many years. His sons Marty and Collie are carrying on the trade. Patsy Gallagher, his wife May, their daughter Marie who was a nurse and their son John who is now a Barrister in Dublin. Mike Doherty and Family, his son Vincent is now a Director of Dual Engineering in Lowpark. The Morrisroe sisters - Fanny Morrisroe and Mrs McLoughlin who were sisters of the late Jim Morrisroe TD.

Paddy Casey ran a very successful Bar and Grocery. His wife was a National School teacher. Another house was occupied by Charlie Kelly and his sister Annie.' Yes Boy' Durkin ran a Bar and his wife was a teacher. Matt Cassidy and his wife were both teachers. My father was best man at their wedding. Thomas Edward Henry was a plumber and his wife ran a Pharmacy, it is still in business. Next to them, in the house formerly occupied by the late John E Doherty, was the house owned by the Nuns of the Marist order. Baby Tumour Gallagher and her brother ran a grocery shop. It was burned down in the 1960's. Nan Moffit owned a Bar and ran a very successful business for many years. The teachers I remember were Michael Francis Swords, Johnny Cassidy, Mrs Lucy Coleman and Sister Tomasina who all taught in the Lowpark National School.

PJ Henry and John McIntyre both operated Mineral Water Bottling Plants. I worked in both as a teenager. Great friends of my father were: Joe Finan, publican, Tom Durkin, Publican and Councillor, Pa FitzMaurice, Publican, Michael Carr, Laddy Mulrooney, Douglas Kelly, Solicitor who was best man at his wedding. Dad was a good golfer in his youth, and was a member of Swinford Golf Club.

Fond memories too, of Mike Dillon of Main St, Delia Sweeney of The Square and Mary Horkan and Teresa Cassidy who lived in Church St. My cousins John, Michael and Siobhan Henry spent many Summers with us in the 1940's. Michael and Brian Henry, sons of Uncle Mick also visited. My cousins on my mother's side, namely Noreen, Eileen, Tommy Harrison, Monica, Rosealeen, Fr John, Carl and Tony are fondly remembered. Also remembering Hilary and Mairead who now live in America.

© Cathal Henry 2002