Page 5 - The Kerry News 2019
P. 5

 THE POSTMAN’S LOT
Two famous Kilgarvan Postmen (who retired in 1984) Richie Purcell and Denis Healy who cycled the highways & byways delivering the post by bicycle.
O
stirring joys of the
ne of the most heart-
wore navy uniforms, with capes on rainy days, and were hardy, fit men well seasoned by the elements.
‘’Beastly weather for golf,’’ was a favourite saying of Dave The Post, even though nobody in the area had the slightest interest in golf in those days.
Dave was a colourful personality, always talking and joking and you could hear him coming from a long way off. His brother, D.D, was a strong GAA supporter and a man well able to give hearty renderings of ballads after matches, with The Groves of Cloghereen being a favourite of his.
The postmen’s workload – in the literal sense – increased enormously coming up to Christmas. Their bags would be bulging with Christmas cards and small parcels, while bigger parcels might be carried on the carriers of their bikes.
Cards from relatives in far- flung destinations such as New York, Chicago, Texas and several parts of England were eagerly awaited.
Most of the cards were colourfully illustrated. Some had Dickensian images while others featured drawings of pot-bellied santas, bags of toys, Christmas trees and tables laden with food and all had strong religious content.
read avidly and passed around to visitors who might call to a house over Christmas.
Others might have contained dollars or Sterling to help a family meet the expenses of the season. People were, of course, reluctant to reveal details of such remittances. Around Christmas, postmen would be offered a ‘’little drop’’ when they called to a house in appreciation of their services throughout the year. Stories of postmen over- imbibing and being found thrown down the worse for drink, with their mail undelivered, are part of local lore in many areas. I must say, however, I never saw a postman in such condition.
Others even suffered a worse fate. There’s the story of The Missing Postman, Larry Griffin, who disappeared forever on Christmas Day 1929, in Stradbally, Co Waterford. It seems he visited a public house in the village after doing his rounds and the belief locally is that he got into a row in the premises. His bike was found on the road about a mile from Stradbally by a local farmer on St Stephen’s morning.
Despite searches, the body of the 49-year-old father of four has never been found. His fate, which has been the subject of a book, countless newspaper articles, radio programmes and at least one television documentary, is still a mystery.
Ten local people were charged in connection with the unfortunate Larry’s disappearance, but the case collapsed for lack of evidence. A small community closing ranks and the law of omerta applying, nor for the first time.
Finally, as a seasonal greeting to one and all, let’s take the following nugget from an old Christmas card:
“May you never forget what is worth remembering,
Or remember what is best forgotten.”
By Donal Hickey
FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA
festive season in days of childhood was the arrival of Christmas cards, especially those from abroad.
Served from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
TIERED & SWEET FESTIVE BUFFET | €39.50 ENHANCED WITH A FESTIVE COCKTAIL
Served in our award wining dining room overlooking Kenmare Bay.
RESERVE YOUR TABLE NOW
INDULGE YOURSELF OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE WITH THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS GIFT
A PARK HOTEL KENMARE & SAMAS SPA GIFT VOUCHER FOR DELIVERY PLEASE CONTACT US
Park Hotel Kenmare, Kenmare, Co. Kerry
T. 064 664 1200 | E. info@parkkenmare.com | www.parkkenmare.com
Nowadays in the era of the internet, texting and skype, people send far fewer cards. At one time, neighbours and people who met quite often even sent each other cards, but that doesn’t happen anymore.
One thing, perhaps, from An Post’s point of view - at least from a business perspective - is that the slack is more than compensated for by the enormous amount of internet- ordered parcel deliveries from companies like Amazon.
A far cry, indeed, from the life of a humble postman in yesteryear who delivered postal services by bike.
In days long ago, Christmas was a hectic time for postmen, who, at one time, were even expected to deliver mail on Christmas Day.
Working out of Gneeveguilla post office, we remember postmen such as Con Murphy, brothers Dave (The Post) and D.D. Cronin and Denny O’Rourke, who was also a tailor.
Francie McCarthy, who ran the post office with his wife, Maggie, was also known to act as a postman as did other members of the McCarthy family.
When we got to know them, the four local postmen were all well into adulthood and were known to everybody as ‘’postboys’’. It was a male- only occupation. They worked in all kinds of weather and the bicycle was their only form of transport. Each man had his own daily ‘run’. They cycled for miles and miles each day into the hill country and up and down boreens delivering mail to houses in the most remote districts.
The route for each man was the same each day and you could set your clock by the time of the postman’s arrival. They
Some verses ran like this: “May peace and plenty be the
first
To lift the latch on your door, And happiness be guided to your home,
By the candle of Christmas.”
All the cards radiated goodwill and effusive greetings of the season. The following is an example:
This Christmas may you have: “Walls for the wind
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks bedside the fire, Laughter to cheer you,
And those you love near you, And all that your heart may desire.”
Some of the cards contained had-written letters which were
KERRY NEWS CHRISTMAS 2019
By Donal Hickey 5
At Your Service from
27th December - 1st January 2020















































   3   4   5   6   7