Friday, May 29, 2009

Jaybird Coleman

Burl C. "Jaybird" Coleman (May 20, 1896 – January 28, 1950) was an American country blues harmonica player, guitarist and singer.

Born in Gainesville, Alabama, Coleman began performing the blues as an entertainer for American soldiers while serving in the U.S. Army. It was during this period that he was given the nickname "Jaybird" due to his independent manner. [1][2] In the early 1920s, he teamed with fellow bluesman Big Joe Williams as a performer in the Birmingham Jug Band which toured through the American South.[1]

Coleman made his first recordings as a solo artist in 1927. His career as a recording artist lasted only until 1930, after which he performed mostly on street corners throughout Alabama.[2]

He died of cancer at the age of 53 in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1950

Blue Jays are troublemakers

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Blue jay birds are often considered pesky birds, but they do have their positive traits. Here's everything you need to know about blue jay birds.

Blue Jays are troublemakers

Though blue jay birds are pleasing to look at because their purple-blue coloring is bright and different than the variety of gray and brown birds that hang around backyards, blue jay birds are a handful.

Blue jay birds can be difficult for other birds to handle and they can also bother humans. Blue jay birds are known for nest raiding. Rather than wait for a bird to abandon its nest before moving in, which is what many other birds do, blue jay birds will just barge in taking over the nest and the eggs or the babies that are already living in the nest.

Blue jay birds will also bump other birds off of a bird feeder. Though they're not the largest birds that you will see at your bird feeder, blue jay birds are a lot bigger than many other birds and will use their bulk and their aggressive behavior to move others off the bird feeder. The problem with this is, blue jay birds eat almost anything and so it's hard to find food to put in a bird feeder that blue jay birds will not eat.

Blue jay birds can be a pain in the neck for other birds, but they're also known to irritate humans. First of all, they're loud, which can be annoying. Secondly, they'll dive bomb humans if they get to close to their nests. Other birds will frantically chirp when you're getting too close, but these guys will try to knock you over!

Blue jay birds are also intelligent

Despite several mischievous habits, blue jay birds are very intelligent. They use their aggressive nature and dive bombing skills to get rid of any owls that land in their neighborhood. Owls will swoop down and grab blue jay birds in the middle of the night so, rather than waiting to disappear, blue jay birds repeatedly dive bomb the owl in the middle of the day until the owl leaves.

Blue jay birds also use their loud nature to warn other birds of predators. Blue jay birds are frequently the first birds to spot predators and warn other birds of the predator's presence.

One thing that blue jays can't use their intelligence to protect against is attacks from larger birds. Though they can force an owl out of its habitat, they are often dinner targets for birds of prey. This is because blue jay birds are larger and easier to catch than smaller birds

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blue Jay Way

There's a fog upon L.A.
And my friends have lost their way
We'll be over soon they said
Now they've lost themselves instead.
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long or I may be asleep
Well it only goes to show
And I told them where to go
Ask a policeman on the street
There's so many there to meet
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long or I may be asleep
Now it's past my bed I know
And I'd really like to go
Soon will be the break of day
Sitting here in Blue Jay Way
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long or I may be asleep.
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long
Don't be long - don't be long - don't be long
Don't be long - don't be long - don't be long.


Jays are some of the more intelligent birds. They will wait and watch for a person to put food down and as soon as the person walks away they will swoop down and steal it. Along with crows, jays will also watch a person planting seed crops and afterwards dig up and eat the seeds. Jays are very territorial birds, and they will chase others from a feeder for an easier meal. The Blue Jay has a bad reputation as a raider of other birds' nests, stealing eggs, chicks, and nests. However, this may not be as widespread as is typically thought.

Blue Jays, like other corvids, are highly curious and very intelligent birds. Young individuals playfully snatch brightly coloured or reflective objects, such as bottle caps or pieces of aluminium foil, and carry them around until they lose interest.[10] Blue Jays in captivity have been observed using strips of newspaper as tools to obtain food

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Father James M´Fadden vs. Lord George and the Landlords








I N D O N E G A L .





Printed at The DERRY JOURNAL Steam Printing Works, Shipquay St.




I should apologise to the Public for imposing upon it a work so unattractive in style and arrangement as this pamphlet. As a matter of fact, when I commenced, about eight days ago, to make a note, for the convenience of reference at any time, of a few salient facts regarding the fight that has been waged so fiercely for forty years, between landlord and tenant in this Parish, I had not the smallest intention of writing a book. Very soon I found myself unwarily committed to a task which I had never essayed in my life, unless I was prepared to sacrifice, on account of its incompleteness, the work I had already done. I preferred to go on; and the growth of my labour and perseverance is "Gweedore."

Its matter I have studied for years—the facts I have verified in every possible way within my reach. No one is bound by my conclusions or inferences, except in so far as my premises warrant them as right and reasonable. I have expressed my views freely, and I must add honestly and sincerely, I only ask that the reader will not condemn me merely because he may think differently. If he were in my place he would probably agree with me.

The subject in hand deals largely with persons, and it was impossible to treat it without being personal. It was my desire to be fair to every one ; and if I have wronged anyone, or caused him pain, I must say it was foreign to my intention; and I shall be glad to undo the wrong, if it be pointed out to me, wherein I have wronged.

I have confined myself, almost exclusively, to the Agrarian question, and I have studiously avoided touching a wider and different topic, with which I mean to deal, please God, at my earliest convenience. I would not, I must add, have attempted the present pamphlet, but that I got un­expectedly into it, and that I hope it will serve as a hand­book of reference, on the Land Question in Gweedore, to the hundreds of kind friends at home and abroad who are almost daily referring to me for information on the subject.

In this respect, too, its publication will, I hope, relieve myself, because from the various duties and occupations of my life 1 have been utterly unable to correspond so fully on this and various kindred subjects, as I myself wished, as the importance of the matter deserved and my respect for my friends demanded. The pamphlet is by no means full or exhaustive. It would take a book of a thousand pages to contain all that occurred even within my own day in this agrarian struggle. I hope that what I have written will put the condition of things in this region in truer light before the public; and that it will contribute even a little towards the final solution of the Irish difficulty,



September 20, 1880.

History of Gweedore

© 2002 Tim O'Sullivan

Chapter One

Gweedore is a small area in the Northwest Corner of Donegal. It is bounded in the north by the promontory known as Bloody Foreland and in the south by the valley of the Gweedore River. The coastal area is a lowlying plain, mainly below 200ft in altitude. The inland boundary of the Gweedore area are high mountains. The area is covered with thousands of lakes and peat bogs and is generally treeless.[1] It is the peat bogs, however, that made intensive settlement possible as they provide the only source of fuel. Although there are signs of human habitation in the Gweedore area, including the remains of a medieval church at Magheragallan, indicating that the area has long been inhabited, the population of this "remote and inhospitable area" probably only began expanding "during the seventeenth century as a result of population displacements associated with the Ulster Plantation."[2]

Needless to say the early nineteenth century inhabitants of Gweedore were not disposed to much outside interference in their way of life and the lack of roads made it difficult for the landlords, agents and the constabulary. In Lord George Hill's view the area at this time "was ruled by a few bullies, [and] lawless distillers, who acknowledged neither landlord or agent; and the absence of anything like roads effectively kept civilization from the district, and prevented people bringing more land into cultivation."[3] About 1834 "two revenue police parties" were "beaten and disarmed" and "fifty constabulary were repulsed and forced to give up collecting tithe."[4]

Without interference from Landlords, the people were able to graze the whole area, and land was divided up by a system known as "rundale." This was an ancient form of land division that, despite its faults, allowed everyone access to the best land, water and common grazing. It also allowed subdivision of lots to accomodate the need for sons to have their own farms. Naturally, Lord George Hill emphasised the bad aspects of the Rundale system, saying that it resulted in "fights, trespasses, confusion, disputes and assaults....these evil, in their various forms were endless."[5] These problems are present in any society, to some degree; there is no need to assume that Lord George Hill was entirely correct. The rundale system provided the basis for strong community feeling based on kinship, shared hardships and a common religion, and these things made life in such clachan communities possible.

One disadvantage of the Rundale system was that holdings were often scattered small plots, spread over a wide area and, because of this, holdings were not fenced, creating additional problems with wandering stock. Houses were clustered into "clachans," a group of houses of the families who tenanted the surrounding Rundale. Apart from the grazing of sheep and cows the land was cultivated for potatoes (to eat) and oats (to pay the rent). The fields were improved by the addition of sand and seaweed, to fertilize and break up the peaty soil. Houses in the clachans were often just one room, with the family living at one end and the animals living at the other. Grazing of animals was also done on a rotational basis and families often moved with their animals between mountain pasture, lowland and the islands.

Farming was the main activity of the people and, despite the proximity of the ocean, they did very little fishing. The Government (1837) noted that:

"On the mainland in Guidore (sic) District there are not now any fishermen. The Islanders on the Coast contrive to exist, and to increase and multiply beyond measure, on the produce of the soil (potatoes), and to pay their rent and taxes; but in seasons of dearth, which occur on and average of every fourth year, they are as destitute as the poor on the mainland. Famines have occured on the islands only when experienced on the coast."[6]

Lord George Hill ascribed the lack of fishing to competition from boats from other areas and the price of salt, needed for the preservation of fish, was also prohibitive, as it had to be brought long distances to Gweedore.[7] Transport between the islands off the Gweedore coast was effected by "curraghs", an unsteady craft made of skins stretched over a frame. These curraghs were often big enough to transport animals although the potential for disaster in these cases was quite high.[8]

Lord George Hill described the condition of the peasantry, previous to his arrival in Gweedore, as "more deplorable than can well be conceived; famine was periodical, and fever its attendant; wretchedness pervaded the district."[9] Certainly there was hardship in Gweedore, but whether it was as bad as Lord George Hill describes is hard to tell. It was Lord George Hill's purpose, in his book Facts from Gweedore, to show what an improvement in farming methods and the lives of the tenantry he had effected through his "benevolent stewardship." Facts from Gweedore, has to be read keeping the authors intention of describing his own "successes" in mind, however it is still an interesting account of life in the area.

Fr. McFadden, longtime Parish Priest of gweedore, was more acerbic in his estimation of the value of Facts from Gweedore, and quoted approvingly:

"This is a summary of the alleged facts from Gweedore, which might, perhaps, with more regard to truth and accuracy be called "Fictions from Gweedore", conceived, arranged, and printed by the Lord of the Soil himself, to dispose public opinion, to receive with equanimity the shock and outrage imparted to it by the cruel, not to say, unjust action of doubling the rents, appropriating immemorial rights, and otherwise oppressing an already rackrented and harrassed tenantry."[10]

Another testimony to the hardship of life in the Gweedore area came from Patrick McKye, a National Schoolmaster, who, in 1837, made a petition to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, saying that the people of Gweedore were the "most needy, hungry and naked condition of any people" in his experience.[11] Fr McFadden, of course, discounted the testimony of McKye, quoting the Estate bailiff to the effect that the people of Gweedore were "more comfortable and better off before the time of Lord George Hill than they are today."[12] Like Lord George Hill, Fr Mc Fadden also had an axe to grind and his purpose was to show how detrimental to the tenantry was the advent of Lord George Hill, who was guilty of "tyranny and oppression against his tenants".. and "spoliation and appropriation" of their lands.[13] Fr. McFadden's view of life before 1838 in Gweedore was rosy:

"Before the advent of Lord George Hill, Gweedore had no history, -at least no history recorded in the suffering and sorrows of an oppressed and landlord ridden people. In this regard there was a profound peace. There was amongst its inhabitants comfort, if not actual comfort, at least equal comfort with their neighbours and the rest of Ireland, and comnfort much above their present condition, as testified by the bailiff, who is not accused of leanings to the popular side. Before the advent of Lord George Hill there were no appeals year after year. There were no wails of distress and starvation ascending from the valleys of Gweedore season after season. But after his arrival there has been going on a bitter war from that day to this."[14]

In 1838 Lord George Augustus Hill[15] purchased land in Gweedore and over the next few years expanded his holdings to 23,000 acres, including a number of offshore islands, the largest of which was Gola island.[16] He estimated that his lands had about 3,000 inhabitants, of which 700 were rent payers.[17] Unlike previous landlords who often left their holdings and people alone, Lord George Hill came to stay, and set about to improve the roads and bridges. He had an advantage in that he knew the Irish language, the main language of the people of the area.[18]

The first road into Gweedore was constructed in 1834 when the Board of Works constructed a road from Dunlewey to the Gweedore River and Lord George Hill further improved the roads on his estate. At Bunbeg Lord George Hill constructed a harbour and corn store and a general merchandise store. By purchasing grain at the prices prevailing in Letterkenny, Lord George Hill hoped to curb the practice of illicit distillation, which he perceived was one of the prime causes of distress in the area. The suppression of illicit distillation was one thing in which Lord George Hill had to admit he wasn't as successful as he would have liked.[19] Quite conveniently, although not mentioned by Lord George Hill or his admirers,[20] the purchasing of grain from the tenants would have given them money with which to pay their rent. Potatoes were grown for their own needs.

About 4 miles from Bunbeg, up the Clady River, Lord George Hill constructed a hotel, which he surrounded by a model farm. Early editions of Hill's book were subtitled With hints for Donegal Tourists, and this was, apart from demonstrating his agricultural improvements, the other purpose for writing Facts from Gweedore; he wanted people to come and stay in his hotel.[21]

Hill also set up a shop in Bunbeg selling just about anything,[22] and imported a scot named Mason to open a bakery. Lord George Hill was not for the "free market," and made sure that no one else opened up in opposition to him.[23] Margaret Sweeney was evicted for trying to set up a bakery without permission.[24]

Another of Hills' initiatives was to contract the London firm of Mssrs Allen and Solly, who set up an agency in Bunbeg, to supply wool and purchase knitted products. It was estimated that the income derived from the sale of knitted products contributed £500 per year to the local economy.[25] (The Gweedore people had always made their own homespun clothing and knit their own socks and stockings, for which they kept sheep.)

Almost immediately on taking up his land in Gweedore, Lord George Hill set about to improve the agricultural practices of his estate. His tenants naturally were not so inclined to share the landlord's view of what was good agriculture and this became a bone of contention for many years even though Lord George Hill was pretty much succesful in abolishing the rundale system. Even he admitted that the reoganization of the farms was "a difficult task, and much thwarted by the people, as they naturally did not like that their old ways should be disturbed or interferred with...the opposition on the part of the people to the new system was vexatious and harrassing."[26]

Hill had the area surveyed during 1841-1843, and then began to allot new holdings to each tenant. The new holdings were a compromise between landlord and tenant. Hill's original plan was to "square" the farms but this aroused so much oppostion that each tenant's holdings were aggregated into strips rather than squares. The strips were arranged so that they included infield and outfield and access to water, the advantages conferred by the old rundale system. This necessited the abolition of the clachan arrangement of houses and new houses had to be built on each holding (at the expense of the tenants). The landlord outlawed the building of any further new houses, any further subdivision of land, or the sale of land. Not that the tenants actually owned the land anyway, but they brought and sold what was known as "tenant right." The inability to subdivide was a bone of contention and after it was prohibited the first time, the tenants were again given notice not to subdivide in 1844.[27] Under these circumstances, providing land for sons was impossible and the only option for them was emigration.

Despite being prohibited the practice of subdivision went on. In 1888 there were 800 official tenancies on the Hill estate which increased the next year to 920, due to sub-tenants being recognized as official tenants, after a settlement negotiated between the Landlord and the Parish Priest.[28] This gives some indication of the need of the people.

In a further attempt to improve his land, Hill began offering prizes for the best kept cottage, the best vegetables, the healthiest livestock, the best butter. This was not, in the first year, taken up by the tenants but it seems that they did improve their efforts to win "premiums" and Lord George Hill considered this to be a successful innovation. He was quick to disqualify anyone who had been involved in illicit distillation, anyone with a conviction for breaching the peace and anyone guilty of not paying rent without the encouragement of "compulsory measures."[29]

Despite the efforts of the Landlord the basic economy of the Gweedore area was still one of subsistence, and an almost complete dependence on the potato for food. This subsistence farming made the occurence of crop failure a time of hardship and hunger. There were partial crop failures in 1831, 1837, 1854 and 1856, and a complete crop failure in the years of "the famine" (1846-48). There were probably other years of hardship as well. McKye's petition, of 1837, mentions the "general prospect of starvation, at the present prevailing among them [the people of Gweedore], and that originating from various causes, but the principal cause is the rot or failure of seed in last years crop, together with a scarcity of winter forage, in consequence of a long continuation of storm since October last, in this part of the country."[30] In 1845, the potato blight struck the whole of Ireland, affecting the west particularly hard.

Gweedore was no exception. The following year was even worse. One observer wrote from Gweedore in 1847:

"I have just returned after a day of painful one house I found a family of fourteen - the eldest fourteen years of age, the youngest nine weeks - the mother unable to leave her bed since its birth. They had not a morsel of food in the house... I went to another house to inquire about a young woman who had been employed on the public works and had gone away ill during the severe snow storm. On reaching home she complained of great coldness; her mother and father made her go to bed (the only one in the house); she fell into a sleep from which she never woke. This day her poor mother died also, and there are two of the children who, I am sure, will not be alive by tomorrow, to such a state are they reduced from bad and insufficient food.

Lord George Hill is doing all that a man can do...He is occupied from morning till night...sparing himself neither trouble nor personal fatigue.[31]

Lord George Hill's efforts included appealing to the Society of Friends (the Quakers), the Irish Peasantry Improvement Society of London and the Baptist Society for funds. Contrary to Government policy of the time, which was to maintain the price of grain at market prices, Lord George Hill sold grain below cost and sooner than directed, and thereby avoided the delays which proved disastrous in other areas.[32] The newly constructed corn mill at Bunbeg was pressed into service and ground 688 tons of indian corn to help alleviate the effects of the failure of the potato harvest.[33] Lest it be believed that Lord George Hill was all unalloyed generosity, Fr McFadden pointed out that:

"He [Hill] got over £700 from Government for grinding Indian Corn in 1847!! The meagre outdoor relief he gave to some tenants of a stone of meal in the week or fortnight, was to keep them out of the workhouse."[34]

Probably due to the efforts of the Landlord, and the availability of edible seaweed, there was not a great loss of population in the Gweedore area compared with other parts of Ireland. In fact the census figures of 1851, compared to 1841, show a modest increase in the population of the Gweedore area. Some undoubtedly did die because the lack of the nutrition provided by the potato was not replaced by Indian Corn or seaweed. In the parish of Tullaghobegley (of which Gweedore is the western section) there was a decrease in population of less than 1% from 1841 to 1851. On eighteen of the most populous of Lord George Hill's townlands there was an 8% increase in population over the same period which is testimony to his successful efforts to ameliorate the famine in Gweedore.[35] Other parts of Tullaghobegley parish fared less well.

Lord George Hill described the effects of the famine saying:

"The Irish people have profited much by the Famine, the lesson was severe; but so were they rooted in old prejudices and old ways, that no teacher could have induced them to make the changes which this Visitation of Divine Providence has brought about, both in their habits of life and in their mode of agriculture."[36]

Such an opinion demonstrates a breathtaking arrogance that is hard to beat. It stands as support to Fr McFadden's opinions of Lord George Hill.

The famine was a turning point in Irish history and led to perhaps a million people dying of starvation and to mass emigration. Both these effects seem not to have affected Gweedore as much as the rest of Ireland, however life did not improve for the inhabitants of Gweedore and they continued to live an economy of subsistence, which led to continued hardship. Emigration from Gweedore seems not to have been in large numbers until later on. The famine also contributed to the increase of influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and in this Gweedore was no exception. The Catholic Priests of the area took on a leading role in advocating on behalf of the people and here they were partially succesful, their efforts resulted in the House of Commons appointing a select committee to look into the claims of destitution in Gweedore.

Thomas Carlyle and Lord George

Thursday 2nd August [Book says Monday]

Dim moist morning, pleasant breakfast (Lady Augusta (?) who has a baby, not there), paternal wit of Lord G. with his nice little modest boys and girls in English, German, French; Plattr. to go with us to Gweedore. Big new mill; big peat stacks; carriage house, some 3 nice sleek wiry horses, “all kept at work”, and able for it. Air of gentleman farmer’s place and something more; car about 11 and swift firm horse, rain threatening, - which came only to a heavy Scotch mist now and then, with brief showers. Tattery untrimmed fields, too small, ill fenced, not right in any way. Wretched puddly village, “Kilmacrennan,” like an inverted saddle in site, brook running through the heart of it (?) miserable raree “caravan” stationed there, amid the dirt, poverty and incipient ruin. Road heavy and wet, past many ill-regulated little farms. Dunghill of one, “I have admonished him not to let it run to waste so,” – but he doesn’t mind! Road (is all very obscure to me; cardinal-points, at the time, not well made out, which is always fatal to one’s recollection!) – road, leading N.-westward, begins mounting, is still a little cultivated, very steep side road to north, Letterkenny to Glen and Carrickart I suppose!); mounts, mounts, occasional mist-rain a little heavier, day calm, and silvery, bleared glimpses had of the moor. – “National School” high up. I descend and enter, Lord George waits cheerfully, but won’t; the worst of all conceivable “national schools;” poor dreary frozen-alive schoolmaster, and 10 or 12 ragged children, - “parents take them all away in turf time;” they learn nothing at any time. Wrote in this book a disapproval. Protest against these schools; Catholics can do little, don’t always do it; a difficult affair for Mc.Donnel and Whately! Ghastly staring “new catholic chapel,” true Irish “Joss-house” on the moor to left; the image of ennui, sore-throat, and hungry vain hope of dinner! Peat farther on; foolish old farmer and his forces at work in peat-stack, pack horses instead of carts; a scandal to behold. Moor mounting ever higher, getting very black and dreary; cannot much remember the coming of Letterkenny and Dunfanachy road; do remember scandalous black muddy moors, all gleaming wet as a sponge, with grey rugged mountains (close to us on the left), with crags, rain and silent black desolation every-where; the worst of it however I think was further on.

“Glenbeagh Bridge;” turning round a sharp corner of a muddy peat-hill, we are upon it, and see Lough Beagh, “the prettiest of all the Donegal Lakes” – no great shakes, no great shakes? Hungry improved “farmstead” (some glimpse of slate and stone I do remember in it) with drowned meadows by the lake-side, to left. Lake narrow (outlet of it, “Owencarrow,” running from left to right of us); high stony steep of mountains beyond it; far up to the left, bright green spaces, (or stripes and patches) with woods, appearance of an interesting pass thro’ the mountains; more Highland-looking than anything I saw elsewhere; one “Forster” owns it. – At the beginning of our journey, and almost up to this point, there were large effectual long main-drains visible, just cut; a young Lord something’s property – sorry I cannot recal his name; he, and his “Government money” and beneficent extensive work were the most human thing I saw. Begins at Kilmacrenan, perhaps earlier. Here at Glenbeagh Bridge was a “relief convnc. Road” (very conspicuous intended-improvement, on our left), but lying as usual with a wall at each end of it. Mount again; black rocky “Dooish” (where are eagles, seen as we returned this way) on our left, and road rough, wet and uneven. “Calabber” stream (not do. “bridge” (I have a distinct recollectn. of that; cutting down thro’ the shoulder (you would have said,) of a considerable hill; “Halfway House,” and the still heathery glen that led towards it (Calabber stream this, at a higher point of it, running towards Owencarrow? Alas! I had no map of any value; I had no time, no patience or strength of any kind left!) all at the half-way house, which is a coarse dark weathertight cottage, a rebuilding I imagine; drink for the horse; good-humoured poor woman will have “a drop of potheen” when you return. Lord George knows all these people; speaks kindly, some words in Irish or otherwise, to every one of them. Excellent, polite, pious-hearted, healthy man; talk plentiful, sympathy with all good in this Lord G., candid openness to it; fine voice, excellent little whistle through his teeth as he drove us, - horse performing admirably. After Halfway-House, view of some wretched quagmire, with a lakelet by it, and spongy black bog and crag all round, which some Irish “Dublin Lawyer” has purchased, and is improving: Lord pity him, send more power to his elbow! I never drove, or walked, or rode, in any region such a black dismal 22 miles of road. This is the road Lord George drives or rides, thro’ these dismal moors – strong in the faith of something higher than the “picturesque” – Mount Arrigal, a white-peaked very sandy mountain, roof-shaped and therefore conical from some points of view, beautiful and conspicuous from all (2462 feet, map says), - lay a little west of this Irish lawyer: we cross by the southern side of it, - and suddenly out of the black moor into view of a lake “Lough-Na-Cung”) stretching northwestward round that side of Arrigal; and at the head of this Lough-Na-cung, come the prettiest patch of “improvement” I have ever in my travels beheld. Bright as sapphire, both grass and woods, all beautifully laid out in garden-walks, shrubbery-walks &c. and all shrunk for us to a tidy fairy-garden, fine trim little house in it too with incipient farms and square fields adjoining; to our eye and imagination drowned in black desolation for 15 miles past, nothing could be lovelier. A Mr. Something’s, lately deceased (to Lord George’s deep regret); I think, a Liverpool Merchant (?) : Widow lives here, and Lord George’s doctor at Gweedore ( I learn on the morrow) is to marry one of the young ladies: very well! “Lough Na-Cung” (I heard no name to it, but take this from the map) stretched away northward bending to west, a narrow crescent Lough, of no farther beauty; and from the Clady river, which traverses Gweedore and comes out of Bundbeg; here now is Lord George’s domain, and swiftly descending (by the back of Arrigal, which hangs white-sandy very steep over us) for about a mile we are in said domain. “Hundred thousand welcomes!” (Irish phrase for that) said Lord George with a smile. Plattnauer and I had smoked our third pipe or cigar; “you can do it in 3 pipes” – Head of Lough-Na-Cung I remember too; stony dell amid the high mountains, mounting in terraces of visible rock; like some Cumberland pass, new to me in Ireland.

The back of the Clady, stretching out from this Lough 5 or 6 miles, and flattening itself wide towards the sea, is Lord George Hill’s domain. Black, dim, lonely valley: hills all peat, wet and craggy heather, on each side; hills to right are quite vacant wet moor (tho’ less craggy in appearance and lower); river-side, mostly waste quagmire of rushes, can become fat meadow and has here and there: river sluggish brown-coloured; hills to left (as we enter; hills to north, that is); are of gentlish acclivity, but stony beyond measure; sprinkled in ragged clusters here are the huts of the inhabitants, wretchedest “farmers” that the sun now looks upon, I do believe. Lord George’s improvements are manifold; for instance, each man has his “farm” now all in one, not in 20 as heretofore, one long stripe of enclosure (dry-stone wretched wall, or attempt at wall, and cottage in or near it, ) each cottage too, has now some road; but “improvements” all are swallowed in the chaos, chaos remains chaotic still. Hill road from “Dunfanahy,” descending on the right, - not yet quite travellable, I think. New farm of Lough-Na-cung (Liverpool widow) “Improvements;” Ulster peasant in it; has really been endeavouring; house is built, slated stones, like a quarry, torn out everywhere, trenchings, feeblest symptoms of turnips springing, potato plot (ruined now alas!) is really growing; grey bony man stands looking, with what hope he can. Cottages now of Lord George’s; dry-stone fence half-done along the road; has hung so for years in spite of his encouragements to get it whole done. Black huts, bewildered rickety fences of crag: crag and heath, unsubduable by this population, damp peat, black heather, grey stones, and ragged desolation of men and things! Boat is on the river, fishy but unfished till now; “Gweedore inn,” two-storied white human house with offices in square behind, at the foot of hills on right, near the river: this is the only quite civilized-looking thing; we enter there, thro’ gateway, into the clean little sheltered court, and then under the piazza at the back of the inn, Forster waits for us, and is kindly received.

Rain has ceased, 2 pm or 3; but the air is damp, bleared, cold. Mount along the hill side; certain fields already saved out of it, not bad fields, but a continent of haggard crag-and-heather desolation, with its swamps and rivulets still remaining. Over the Clady something like an incipiency of a modern hamlet, and patches of incipient green; bridge thither, too far to go; chapel and school (Protestant Orange, no doubt) on this side river; signal-staff flag now mounted, his Lordship being here, and accessible to all creatures. Dinner in our little inn. Lord George’s surgeon (from Bunbeg; of whom mention was already) joined us, I think, in the evening. Manager of inn (for Lord George I think) an Ulster man, solid clever man of 45. Aberdeen-awa’ man, chief-manager, a hook-nosed, lean slow-spoken man of like age: what do you think of these people? “Oah-h! a whean deluidit craiturs, Sir: but just ye-see--!” Walk, with this man in company in the evening, to the new farmhouse he is getting built for himself, and new fields he is really subduing from the moor; pure peat all; but lime is abundant everywhere, and he does not doubt, and will certainly prevail, he. Some 5 or 6 Aberdeen and Ulster men; nothing else that one can see of human that has the smallest real promise here; “deluidit craiturs,” lazy, superstitious, poor and hungry. 7/6 no uncommon rent, 30/ about the highest ditto:- listening to Lord George I said and again said, “No hope for the men as masters; their own true station in the universe is servants,” “slaves” if you will; and never can they know a right day till they attain that.” Valley, if it were cultivated, might really be beautiful. Some air of stir and population and habitability already on it; huts, ragged potato patches, nearer there by the river side oat-patches, (lean cows, I suppose, are on the hills); south-side of river is as before nearly or altogether vacant of huts. Return to our inn, after arrangements for the morrow. How these people conspired to throw down Lord George’s fences, how they threatened to pay no rent, at first, but to shoot agent if compelled, and got their priest to say so; how they had no notion of work by the day, (came from 8 to 11 a.m.) and shrieked over hook-nosed Aberdeen when on Saturday night he produced his book and insisted on paying them by the hour; – how they are in brief, dark barbarians not intrinsically of ill dispositions – talk and commentaries on all this; small close room, with the damp wind and wide moorland outside, polite “stirabout” again, to me useless: finally to bed, with pathetic feelings, gratitude, sorrow, love for this noble man, and hope as if beyond the grave!

Carlyle in Gweedore


Ballyare, Rathmelton,1 Thursday 02 Augt, 1849—

My dear Brother,

Here I am safe since last night in Ld George Hill's Establishment; just about proceeding to Gweedore, which is some 20 miles off thro' the mountains to the sea-coast: in half an hour we are to be under way, and my packing is not yet done, so I must be brief!

The day before yesterday I got your Letter at Sligo, the Newspaper the night before, which latter I returned for a sign. All has gone well with me, and indeed I feel generally well in health, and getting forward with good success towards the end of my Irish Tour. At Castlebar (did I tell you?) Forster shot in upon Duffy and me, proceeding really almost like a cannon-ball, with such velocity had he come from Rawdon; and hit us just in the nick of time; for in five minutes more we shd have been off by another coach. A very welcome rencounter!

Yesterday we all started together from Sligo; Forster we left at Donegal, some 40 miles of road done, to prosecute his way to Gweedore by the Coast, where I expect to find him under Lord George's escort today;—then forward some 20 miles Duffy and I rode together, thro' the Gap of Barnesmore, on our Public Derry Car; about a mile from Stranorlar (16 miles off this), a fat figure in grey hodden, and rather hairy about the chin, met us, cried, “Ya it is all right!” and took to running with us: It was poor Plattnauer! He had come thus far to meet me; he had luncheon laid out in the Inn at Stranorlar,2 cars all ready, tobacco &c—poor fellow;—and so I came along much at my ease to this quiet abode, and found myself in moorings again, mildly and cordially welcomed, about 6½ p.m. I have slept well since; and now “his Lordship” (an excellent mild pious yet soldier-like little man) will drive us both over in his Car, and “shew us the Gweedore.” Forster I am to introduce to him; we pass the night at the Inn; return on the morrow hither,—Forster will go to some Inn, I opine, for this of mine is the only spare bed in this frugal very curious place!—and on Saturday we are to rally at a certain Mr Otway's (a squire of some degree on Loch Swilly, whom we have seen),3 and on Monday after 7 miles travel we are to be in Derry, if all go right,—and find word from you and others. Pray forward this immediately to Jane, for I have not an instant today.— And observe farther a request: If you have a spare Copy of your Dante about you, pray address it, “[E?]. Plattnauer Esq” (to this place),4 I think six stamps will carry it: and nobody will be prouder of it, or read it more carefully and worthily. I have promised this to poor P.; so pray do it. And if you have no copy, write to Chapman with 6 stamps inclosed, and bid him do the thing: what expense there is I will joyfully make good.

And so good be with you all, dear Brother, dear Mother and all the rest of you. The Belfast Steamer, I doubt, will do little for me; but at Derry we shall see. One way or other, I hope to be at Scotsbrig now before many days! Adieu: this night has been wet, and a Scotch-mist still hangs about; but towards noon (10½ now is the time) we hope it will clear off. Love to my dear good Mother and to them all

Your affecte

T. Carlyle

First Eviction

Donegal Studies - History of Donegal - Landlords of Donegal
Landlords of Donegal
Many of the families who owned the major portion of the land in Donegal right up to the end of the 19th century could trace their presence in the county to the first half of the 17th century, to the Ulster Plantation and the Cromwellian settlement, amongst them the Murrays of Broughton, the Conynghams, and the Brookes. The whole of South West Donegal along with some of the bets land in the county in former Magh Eine, now known as the northern part of the Barony of Raphoe was set aside for Scottish settlers, while the southern part of Raphoe Barony was given to English settlers. The northern third of the Cenel Chonaill territory, now known as the barony of Kilmacrennan was left for servitors and native Irish.
Following the defeat of the O’Donnells in the first decade of the 17th century no time was lost in dividing up their lands through the Plantation. Donegal Castle was given to Sir Basil Brooke, an officer in the English Army, along with the older castle at Lough Eske and the precincts of Donegal Friary. The castle as one sees it today is in essence Brooke’s castle, with only the tower reminding us of the O’Donnells. The O’Donnell lands around Ballyshannon were given to Sir Henry Folliott, the captain of the English garrison in the town. Interestingly Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh, the biographer of Aodh Ruadh, was allowed to keep the Ó Cléirigh hereditary lands until 1609, but this was only a short reprieve; "being a mere Irishman and not of English descent or surname " he was dispossessed at the end of that year.
The Brookes, unlike their relations in neighbouring Fermanagh, did not use the grant of land to build a local empire. The Brookes also failed to emulate other major landowners in the county who were to retain their lands until the Land Acts of the late nineteenth century brought an end to the Irish landlord system; the major part of the land in the south of the county was held right through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by three main families: the Murray of Broughton, the Conollys and the Conynghams.
One George Murray of Broughton, in South West Scotland was one of a group of Scotsmen who received much of the the land in the South west of the county. By 1618, however, these were forfeit, and the Baronies of Banagh and Boylagh were granted to a relation of his, John Murray from Cockpool, created Earl of Annandale in 1624. The Murray of Broughtons got the land back in the 1660s, after a longrunning and complex legal dispute. The Murray of Broughton or Murray Stewart Estate, between Donegal, Ardara and Killybegs covered large parts of the parishes of Killaghtee, Killymard, Killybegs, Kilcar and Inishkeel, and totalled about 65,000 statute acres.
In addition to Murray of Broughton Estate there were the Conollys who owned the town and parish of Ballyshannon as well as pockets of land elsewhere in Donegal - east of Donegal Town, part of Killybegs Town, and the southern part of Sliabh Liag - and in between the Marquis of Conyngham who owned most of the land from Mountcharles and Inver up to the Rosses. The most famous member of this family was William 'Speaker' Conolly, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons 1715-1729 who built the palatial Castletown House in Co. Kildare using revenues gathered from his Donegal Estates.
At the time of the Plantation the lord deputy of Ireland Sir Arthur Chichester was granted 170,000 acres in Inishowen [in 1610], in effect taking over all of the O'Doherty lands following the killing of Cathaoir Ó Dochartaigh in 1608. The English authorities hoped that Chichester would do for this part of Ireland what Richard Boyle had done for his similar sized estates in Cork and Waterford, introducing English tenant farmers, building and sustaining Protestant towns such as Bandon or Youghal. This did not happen, although Derry matured into a sizeable and relatively prosperous city. Chichester sublet to energetic and ambitious English soldiers, such as the Henry Hart, Henry Vaughans and George Cary, whose successors retained much of Inishowen for almost four centuries. Joyce Cary, the 20th century writer, is descended from the Carys who were granted a lease in the Redcastle area soon after the Plantation.
In the north of the county the Earls of Leitrim were one of the major landowners, and the 3rd Earl of Leitrim has, along with John George Adair, gone down in history as an example of the wrong sort of landlord. Other prominent landowners included Wybrant Olpherts a Dutch officer in Cromwell's army, the Stewarts in the Letterkenny and Ramelton area, the Duke of Abercorn in the north-east of the county, and in the early 19th century Lord George Hill.
Lord George Hill has generally been regarded as a 'good' reforming landlord, yet there was a chasm in understanding between Hill and his tenants. Hill was a junior member of the Hill family who gave their name to Hillsborough in Co. Down, and bought his property in Gaoth Dobhair between 1838 and the early 1860s, leaving him with a landholding of 24,189 acres or 55% of the parish.
In 1856, less than a decade after the Famine, a group of men, under the banner of the Molly Maguires, raided the house of James Lillico, a Scotsman who worked as a shepherd in the townland of Altan near Dunlewey. They were protesting at the spread of sheepgrazing in Gaoth Dobhair or Gweedore which was driving local tenants off the land, according to the Daily Express at the time "like the American Red Men". This was the first action in what became known as the 'Gweedore Sheep War'. The smallholders in the area faced ruin both because of the loss of what good land there was in the area to grazing, and to the imposition of police taxes. The Sheep War happened on the cusp of the old and new worlds. The outrage of local people at what was happening was due at least partly to a view of land as not being private property, but as being a communal resource, yet they had to resort to a form of modern organised resistance, similar to trade unionism, to fight it. While the smallholders paid a heavy price, by 1860 their resistance could be said to have been successful, with most of the sheepgraziers gone from the area.
The events in Gaoth Dobhair were eclipsed a year later when John George Adair, the landlord of the Glenveagh estate, and builder of Glenveagh Castle, evicted forty seven families from their smallholdings in Derryveagh. In November of the previous year Adair’s steward, James Murray, was murdered in an isolated part of the estate near Glenveagh Cottage. Murray was, according to a local magistrate, a "violent and hard-tongued man", and had no shortage of enemies. His murderer was never brought to justice, but Adair, alleging a conspiracy amongst his tenants, used the killing to evict his tenants. The scene was covered by local and national papers, the Londonderry Standard recording
" The first eviction was one particularly distressing, and the terrible reality of the law suddenly burst with surprise on the spectators . . . Long before the house (of a widow named McAward) was reached loud cries were heard piercing the air, and the figures of the poor widow and her daughters were observed outside, where they gave vent to their grief in strains of touching agony. "
One hundred and fifty of the people walked to Dublin where they were to take ship to a new life in Australia. A number of relief funds had been set up in Sydney and Melbourne some years earlier to help Irish emigrants to come to Australia. Some of the descendants of victims of the Derryveagh evictions have been traced, and a group of them visited the area in the early 1990s.
The landlords of the south of the county come out of the Famine better than many of their compatriots throughout Ireland, or indeed in the north of the county. Few of them earned the respect of their tenants as did John Hamilton of Brownhall, a large estate south of Donegal Town on the shores of Donegal Bay. Hamilton, "this recklessly generous landlord" as a recent biographer calls him, had around 1,200 tenants on his Brownhall lands, with a further 1,100 on the other side of the Croaghs in Glenfin. The name ‘Brownhall’ seems to have come from the family’s original home of Broomhill in Lanarkshire. The Hamiltons trace their line from Gilbert of Hamildone, and were related by mariage to the Stuarts, the royal line of Scotland.
John Hamilton’s concern for his tenants from the time he inherited the estate in 1821 until his death in 1884 was well recognised during his life. As early as 1841 Fr. Eugene McCafferty wrote that he hoped "that the Lord may grant you happy and lengthened days here among a people to whom you are and always have been so useful". His successor as parish priest of Donegal and noted opponent of landlordism, Fr. John Doherty, wrote, a few years before Hamilton’s death that "his many social virtues, the kindliness of his disposition, and the natural warmth and goodness of his nature have endeared him to his tenantry". Hamilton himself claimed that not a single one of his tenants had to go to the Workhouse, and only one died of starvation. Perhaps the most eloquent testimony to how his tenants felt about him is the causeway to St. Ernan’s island, where his house was located, built by them as a token of their esteem.

McElhone's from Dungannon Northern Ireland

Descendants of Phelim Mcelhone

Generation No. 1

1. PHELIM1 MCELHONE was born Abt. 1750 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Information on this line provided by Michael Tessmer, DNS of Ohio. Research on some of earlier family done by Jim Cullen, a cousin of Michael.

Children of PHELIM MCELHONE are:
i. MICHAEL2 MCELHONE, b. Abt. 1780, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; m. ANNE.

Notes for ANNE:
Buried in Donaghmore Cemetery Grave 259

2. ii. FELIX MCELHONE, b. 1782, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. January 23, 1864, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Generation No. 2

2. FELIX2 MCELHONE (PHELIM1) was born 1782 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland, and died January 23, 1864 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland. He married ANNE KELLY.

Buried Grave 258 Donaghmore Cemetery

From Death Index - Died Dungannon registered vol 1 page 412 1864 age 82 (born 1782)

Children of FELIX MCELHONE and ANNE KELLY are:
3. i. THOMAS3 MCELHONE, b. Abt. 1810.
4. ii. FELIX MCELHONE, b. 1809, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. April 16, 1875, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.
iii. TERENCE MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. January 9, 1854, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

iv. JOHN MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Present at death of his father per death cert. 1864.

v. JAMES MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

James Godparent with Elizabeth McGettrick, of James son of Felix and Catherine, 1849

vi. SARAH MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Both Sarah and James witnesses at wedding of Felix and Catherine McGettrick in 1848.

vii. MARY MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

viii. MICHAEL MCELHONE, b. September 11, 1822, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Generation No. 3

3. THOMAS3 MCELHONE (FELIX2, PHELIM1) was born Abt. 1810. He married MARY CAMPBELL.

5. i. JOSEPH4 MCELHONE, b. Abt. 1835.

4. FELIX3 MCELHONE (FELIX2, PHELIM1) was born 1809 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland, and died April 16, 1875 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland. He married CATHERINE MCGETTRICK July 30, 1848 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

i. ROSE4 MCELHONE, b. February 18, 1851, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. February 7, 1939; m. JAMES CULLEN.

ii. MICHAEL MCELHONE, b. January 15, 1851, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland - Christened.

iii. MARY MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

iv. PATRICK MCELHONE, b. 1853, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

6. v. MARTIN JOSEPH MCELHONE, b. September 13, 1868, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. July 9, 1903, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.
vi. ELIZABETH MCELHONE, b. November 29, 1865, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland1.

vii. JAMES MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

viii. WINIFRED MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

ix. MARGARET MCELHONE, b. Abt. 1866, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

This could be the Margaret with death registered in 1869 age 3 vol 16 page 445, Dungannon

x. JOHN BERNARD MCELHONE, b. 1872, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. 1894.

xi. CATHERINE MCELHONE, b. Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland.

Generation No. 4


7. i. FELIX5 MCELHONE, b. 1909.
ii. JOSEPH MCELHONE, b. 1911.

8. iii. SHANE MCELHONE, b. October 14, 1914.
iv. THOMAS MCELHONE, b. 1914.

v. PATRICK MCELHONE, b. 1910; d. March 28, 1973.

6. MARTIN JOSEPH4 MCELHONE (FELIX3, FELIX2, PHELIM1) was born September 13, 1868 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland, and died July 9, 1903 in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland. He married MARGARET TIERNEY, daughter of THOMAS TIERNEY and SALLY STEWART.

9. i. FELIX5 MCELHONE, b. September 27, 1898.
10. ii. THOMAS MCELHONE, b. May 23, 1900, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland; d. November 28, 1965.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Alan Freeman definitive UK Disc Jockey

In 1989, Alan Freeman was 62 and celebrating 30 years in the UK radio business. To celebrate, on Tuesday 31st January 1989, the Daily Mirror featured a centre page spread and photos.

It was archived and now, we bring you the story, lovingly reproduced, here on AIRCHECK, as originally written by Noreen Taylor.

Alan in 1962

'He comes skidding across the BBC carpet, arms waving, smile beaming, kisses: "Hello, darling. Alan. Alan Freeman. Call me Fluff, Uncle Fluff. All the young disc jockeys do." A warm bundle of a man, very cosy and wanting to be liked, is Uncle Fluff. He pulls up a chair and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. "Sixty a day, and I love every one of them. My homeopathic doctor says if I don't stop I'll die by the time I'm 65. Hey, hey, I'm an asthmatic as well, but I've no intention of stopping."

He is 62, three years away from his old age pension, and he is still the definitive disc jockey. Without any strain or pretension, he manages to convey excitement, urgency - the qualities pop music used to have before the mostly bland electronics of the Eighties. And for the past three Sunday lunchtimes, Uncle Fluff has been doing what he does best: reminding us of that excitement.

Radio 1 has been amazed by the reaction to his comeback. Fans from 15 to 50 have packed mail bags and jammed switchboards congratulating it on bringing back 'Pick Of The Pops' - the show Alan Freeman created 27 years ago. Same Alan Freeman, same lines, same jingles, always a punctuation beat between the singles.

"Hello, pop pickers. All right? Stay bright." Naturally old Fluff is enjoying every minute of this comeback to national radio after ten years at London's Capital Radio. "Isn't it incredible?" says he, puffing away, ash cascading down his trousers. "I thought when Radio 1 announced my return, everyone would be moaning 'Oh Christ, not him again.' Instead, I've got all these kids writing in about how they and their mates feel cheated. They wish they'd been born earlier. 'The Sixties were so exciting...Why isn't it like that now?...Had I really met John Lennon? You see, they are discovering a whole new world. Dusty Springfield, The Who, the Motown sound. What can I say? Today's pop is too electronic, too repetitive."

He did say that the sound of Kylie Minogue left him brain-dead. But he loves Whitney Houston and The Pet Shop Boys. There are certain records he won't play, namely those of Des O'Connor & Ken Dodd. "Doesn't mean I'm right, though." he adds, always the diplomat. "Three million people bought Ken Dodd's 'Tears'. But right now, pop music is in a trough. We are waiting for the next buzz, the next craze. Pop always comes up with surprises. That's why I love it as much today as I did when I arrived from Australia in 1957." He had trained to be an opera singer. And the worst moment of his life was when he first heard himself in a recording studio.

Alan says "I knew I hadn't got it. I just wanted to slit my wrists. Instead I did the right thing. I stayed close to music by working as a radio presenter. Then I got the Australian itch to travel to London." He remembers one night in the Fifties, switching on BBC Radio and hearing an announcer tell listeners..."That was Frank Sinatra singing on a gramophone record, and here is another rather nice song." The world of pop radio was wide open for men like Alan Freeman who understood the importance of such new names as Chuck Berry, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Teenagers, rebellion, rock...a whole new revolution had begun and Alan was in there, at the turntable, close to the heartbeat. First on Radio Luxembourg, then on the Light Programme, the forerunner of Radio 1.

He met, interviewed and became pals with names that have since become legends. The 'Mr. Nice Guy' tag has been earned because he has never gone in for bad-mouthing of selling the sort of secrets that could have made him a fortune. Instead he tells you they were all great people. John Lennon was 'funny', Paul was 'an ordinary man who wanted an ordinary life', Dusty Springfield 'a great talent and a lovely lady.'

Fluff meets .... Lulu Fluff meets.... The Beverley Sisisters

His one great regret was turning down an interview with Elvis. "I couldn't make it to America because of commitments." Then, three years later, Elvis was dead. "I've had a wonderful life. Wonderful. Only thing is, my passion has been spent on my career. I've shirked the responsibility of marriage and children. It would be nice now to have kids to sit around and talk to." He claims that there IS a lady in his life. "I have someone" he says carefully. "Someone who I know will spend the last years with me. She has always remained in the background, but she has always been there for me. So that's all right. Isn't it?"

The moment's seriousness passes as he sticks his head down and invites me to feel his hair. "Papers are always having a go at me, saying Fluff wears a wig. Go on. Feel if you like. That's no wig." No, those carefully teased strands are all his own. "You don't think I'm too old to be doing this do you?" he asks, without wanting an answer. "I wouldn't do it if I wasn't getting a buzz out of it. People are amazed that I'm still jumping up and down asking 'Hey have you heard the latest Def Leppard?' And obviously they want me."

Indeed they do. The controller of Radio 1 said "We want him because quite simply, he is the best." Alan says, "I haven't changed. I'm still running around clubs at night, listening to new bands, waiting for the next sound. I do the Radio 1 rock show from midnight till two on Saturdays, go back to the flat for five hours sleep, wake up, cups of coffee, couple of fags, then I'm back in the studio for ten, preparing for Sunday's show."

His little legs keep tapping up and down, while his arms weave around like windmills. There is something childlike about him. Maybe it's because he is dressed like a 14-year old boy - plimsolls, Adidas sweatshirt over a shirt that's hanging out of his trousers. Alan says: "I suppose I'm a bit like the long lost friend you think has died, and then comes back surprising everyone...or p***ing them off." Not in Uncle Fluff's case. ALL RIGHT? RIGHT. STAY BRIGHT.

Fluff celebrating his return to Radio 1 in 1989 after 10 years at Capital Radio.

Selling Lord George´s House

Thu 06 Jun 2007
Lord it up in Donegal estate for €3 million
Roy Greenslade and his wife Noreen, a descendant of tenants evicted by Lord George Hill, are now selling the landlord's house. Although Lord George Hill died almost 130 years ago he is still a regular conversation topic in his former home, Ballyarr House in Ramelton, Co Donegal, where his portrait is reproduced on a mural in the main hall, writes Fiona Tyrrell."We talk endlessly about old George," says former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade, who has lived in the house with his wife, Noreen Taylor, for the last 18 years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gemini 3 Molly Brown

Gemini 3 was a 1965 manned space flight in NASA's Gemini program. It was the first manned Gemini flight, the seventh American flight and the 17th manned spaceflight from Earth of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 kilometers).

This first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft was very much a test flight. In a playful reference to the Broadway hit The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Grissom nicknamed the Gemini 3 spacecraft Molly Brown hoping that it would not duplicate his experience with Liberty Bell 7. It was the last Gemini to be named by an astronaut. All subsequent flights in the program were designated by a Roman numeral.

The mission's primary goal was to test the new, maneuverable Gemini spacecraft. In space, the crew fired thrusters to change the shape of their orbit, shift their orbital plane slightly, and drop to a lower altitude. Other firsts were achieved on Gemini 3: two people flew aboard an American spacecraft (the Soviet Union launched a three-man crew on Voskhod 1 in 1964, upstaging the two-man Gemini and three-man Apollo programs); the first manned re-entry where the spacecraft was able to produce lift to change its touchdown point.

The only major incident during the orbital phase involved a contraband corned beef sandwich that Young had sneaked on board. The transcript of the crew's conversation during the episode reveals Grissom was unimpressed: (C=Commander Grissom, P=Pilot Young)

01 52 26 C What is it?
01 52 27 P Corn beef sandwich.
01 52 28 C Where did that come from?
01 52 30 P I brought it with me. Let's see how it tastes. Smells, doesn't it?
01 52 41 C Yes, it's breaking up. I'm going to stick it in my pocket.
01 52 43 P Is it?
01 52 49 P It was a thought, anyway.
01 52 51 C Yep.
01 52 52 P Not a very good one.
01 52 52 C Pretty good, though, if it would just hold together.
01 53 13 P Want some chicken leg?
01 53 15 C No, you can handle that. [1]
The crew each took a few bites before the sandwich had to be restowed. The crumbs it released could have wreaked havoc with the craft's electronics, so the crew were reprimanded when they returned to Earth. Other crews were warned not to pull the same type of stunt again.[2]

Launch of the first manned Gemini flightTwo small failures occurred in-orbit. The first was an experiment testing the Synergistic Effect of Zero Gravity on Sea Urchin Eggs. A lever essential to the experiment broke off when pulled. The second involved the photographic coverage objective. It was only partially successful due to an improper lens setting on the 16 mm camera.

Early in the flight there was a minor problem with one of the Orbital maneuvering system thrusters:

00 18 41 C I seem to have a leak. There must be a leak in one of the thrusters, because I get a continuous yaw left.
00 18 53 CC Roger. Understand that you get a continuous yaw left.
00 18 57 C Very slight. Very slow drift. [1]
This is of interest as a similar problem with a stuck thruster in Gemini VIII became much more significant, as Neil Armstrong took some time to regain control of the spinning vehicle. In this mission the problem did not get out of hand, and the thruster was disabled.

The crew made their first orbit change an hour and a half into the flight. The burn lasted 75 seconds and moved them from a 122 by 175 kilometer orbit to a nearly circular one with a drop in speed of 15 metres per second. The second burn was 45 minutes later when the orbital inclination was changed by 0.02 degrees. The last burn came during the third orbit when the perigee was lowered to 72 kilometers. This meant that even if retrorockets had failed, they would still have reentered. When reentry finally occurred, crew commented that even the colours matched ground simulations.

On descent, the capsule shifted from a vertical to horizontal attitude under its parachutes. The change was so sudden that Grissom cracked his faceplate (made of plexiglas) on the control panel in front of him. Later Gemini spacesuits and all Apollo and Space Shuttle (both the launch-entry and EVA suits) used polycarbonate plastic.

The craft landed eventually 84 kilometers short of its intended splashdown point. Wind tunnel testing incorrectly predicted the craft's ability to compensate for course deviation. When the crew discovered the error, they decided to stay in the capsule, not wanting to open the hatch before the arrival of the recovery ship. The crew spent an uncomfortable half an hour in a spacecraft never designed to be a boat. Due to unexpected smoke from the thrusters the crew decided to deviate from the post landing checklist and to keep their helmets on with the face plates closed for some time after splashdown [1]. The USS Intrepid recovered the craft and crew. The Gemini III mission was supported by the following United States Department of Defense resources: 10,185 personnel, 126 aircraft and 27 ships.

The mission insignia was not worn by the flight crew as a patch, like those from Gemini 5 onwards. The Gemini 3 Molly Brown logo was designed and minted on gold plated, sterling silver, 1-inch (25-mm) medallions. The crew carried a number of these medallions into space to give to their families and friends. The same design was imprinted on the cover of Gus Grissom's book GEMINI. John Young was seen wearing the Molly Brown logo as a patch on his flightsuit as late as 1981.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Date your Guild Acoustic


This chart displays the first and last serial numbers of guitars produced each year from 1970 to 1979 (inclusive); no corresponding model names or numbers are available.

1970 46696 50978
1971 50979 61463
1972 61464 75602
1973 75603 95496
1974 95497 112803
1975 112804 130304
1976 130305 149625
1977 149626 169867
1978 169868 195067
1979 195068 211877 (to Sept. 30, 1979)

Friday, May 8, 2009


Death of Local Historian Pat John Rafferty 07/05/2009
Tributes have been paid to popular Donaghmore teacher and local historian Pat John Rafferty who sadly passed away last Tuesday. He was aged 69.

Pat, a loyal GAA follower and amateur dramatist, was born in Carrickmore in 1940. He was educated at St. Patrick's College, Armagh and went on to Queen's University to study History. He began his teaching career in St Helen's Liverpool in 1964 before spending two years in Nigeria.

In 1970 he married. Mary and together they had four children Conor, Elish, Susan and Maeve to who sympathy is extended.

Promoting the rich cultural heritage of Tyrone, he occupied a leading role in a number of organisations including the William Carleton Summer School which was founded in 1992 and the Donaghmore Historical Society which was established in 1983.

Pat, who took up a position at St. Patrick's College, until his retirement in 1997 and his knowledge of local history combined with his talent for public speaking saw him lead tourists on specialised tours in Dungannon, his most recent in the "Return of the Earls Project."

Pat, a Dungannon Civil Rights Activist was also Bernadette Devlin's election agent and as a successful sportsman completed a total of four marathons and picked up a GAA County Championship medal with Carrickmore in 1961. He was also a member of St Patrick's Donaghmore GFC Scor Sinsear team.

Source: Tyrone Courier
Date: Wednesday 6 May 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ireland-Afghanistan ??

Places of interest
An interesting feature of the town is the former police barracks at the top right-hand corner of the market square which is quite unlike any other barracks of a similar vintage in Ireland. A popular but apocryphal story relates that the unusual design of this building is due to a mix-up with the plans in Dublin which meant Dungannon got a station designed for the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan and they got a standard Irish barracks, complete with a traditional Irish fireplace.


Dungannon (from the Irish: Dún Geanainn meaning "Geanann's fort") is a town in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county (after Omagh and Strabane) and a population of 11,139 people was recorded in the 2001 Census. In August 2006, Dungannon won Ulster In Bloom's Best Kept Town Award for the fifth time. It contains the headquarters of the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

Dungannon's fortunes have been closely tied to that of the O'Neill dynasty which ruled most of Ulster until the seventeenth century and was the most powerful Gaelic family. Dungannon was the clan's main stronghold which made it by default the most important settlement in Gaelic Ireland. The traditional site of inauguration for 'The O'Neill', was Tullyhogue Fort,an iron age ceremonial rath some four miles northeast of Dungannon. The clan O'Hagan were the stewards of this site for the O'Neills.The last castle was located at what is today known as Castle Hill; the location was ideal for a fort as it was one of the highest points in Tyrone, and dominated the surrounding countryside with the ability to see seven counties depending on the weather. Its location ultimately led to the Army taking over the site for a security installation during The Troubles, only being returned to the local council in August 2007.

This castle was burned in 1602 by Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone as the English forces closed in on the Gaelic lords towards the end of the Nine Years War. In 1608, ninety-nine Irish chieftains and their followers, including Hugh O’Neill, set sail from Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, bound for the continent. What followed became known as the Plantation of Ulster and the town and its castle were granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, the architect of the Plantation.

The castle was partially excavated in October 200, by the Channel 4 show 'Time Team', uncovering part of the moate and walls of the castle.[1]

[edit] After the O'Neills
Dungannon remained the county seat of County Tyrone after the Plantation, but High Court judges who travelled to Dungannon to the courthouse were attacked in the village of Cappagh and the county town was then moved to Omagh[citation needed]. In 1973, the town became the seat of the new district of Dungannon.

In 1782, the town was the location where the independence of the Irish Parliament was declared by members of the Protestant Ascendancy who controlled the parliament at the time.[2]

The Troubles
Dungannon was one corner of the infamous murder triangle during the Troubles. For more information see The Troubles in Dungannon, which includes a list of incidents in Dungannon during the Troubles resulting in two or more fatalities.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Man Called Harry Brent

TX : 29th March 1965

Synopsis : When Carol's employer Tom Fielding is killed by a total stranger, the police, led by Carol's ex-fiance, Alan Milton, find enough evidence to involve her present fiancé, a man called Harry Brent. Naturally, Alan is determined to find out more about him.