George Burns, who lived here, was what many would have called a gentleman farmer. Although Georgie had a bit of a reputation as a lady’s man, by the time I knew him, he appeared to have lost either the urge or the opportunity!

My father used to call him as he was going by early in the morning on his way for the cows. This was not always met with an enthusiastic response from Georgie. One day Dad said: “Sorry, George, but I wasn’t up your way to call you this morning”. George replied: “It’s all right John, but I called myself this morning!”

One of George’s fields was used by Killashee GAA as their pitch for many years. \ Claire Nash

One of George’s fields was used by Killashee GAA as their pitch for many years. The visiting team got the back of the ditch nearest the gate to tog out. We used the part of the ditch that had a couple of bigger blackthorn bushes for shelter. The shower only worked if the rain coincided with the end of the match!

Jack from Kilmore

Reared a few miles away in Kilmore, out through the village of Killashee, lived Jack Higgins. Jack kept greyhounds. In fact, they were his passion. He was an ever-present sight out walking a few of his beauties.

On one of his walks, he swore he overheard the strangest expressions of affection from a courting couple, behind the hedge at a well-known lovers spot: “Oh me alum bassie, you stick to me heart like a soot-drop!”

Local Memories Longford Kilashee with Mike Magan - Village House \ Claire Nash

Jack was great company and loved telling stories, using actions and accents where appropriate. We had a silage pit across the road from Jack, so this afforded me many opportunities to visit him, which I didn’t waste. I loved his stories, particularly this one.

Selling pigs

Two of Jack’s neighbours in Kilmore were Arthur Holmes and Edmund Boyd. Arthur had a small roadside shop and Edmund had a small farm.

Edmond had a unique habit, while speaking – he would hold his hands in front of his body, rotating his thumbs around each other. The more animated or excited he got, the faster the rotation of his thumbs.

One pig fair day, Edmund got his neighbours, Jack and Arthur, to help him round up a half-reared litter of bonhams. He needed help to load them onto the horse’s cart. This took a lot of time, effort and sweat, but eventually they succeeded. And with that, Edmund headed the three miles to Longford pig fair.

The trade for pigs was bad, but our determined Edmund was holding out for a top price. One buyer had tried a couple of times, to no avail. On the third visit and still no deal he said: “I’ll tell you what sir, you can stick your pigs up your arse!”

This resulted in wild rotation of Edmund’s thumbs while he spat out his reply: “Sure that’s no talk at all, it took me and Jack Higgins and Arthur Holmes over an hour to load them into the cart and now you expect me to stick them up me arse on me own!”

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