David McWilliams

Sadly David McWilliams passed away at the start of 2002.

Hopefully the following obituaries, which were published in various newspapers, will shed some light on this much underrated singer/songwriter.

Ballymena Guardian; The Legacy of the days of David McWilliams
Ballymena Times; Recalling the days of David McWilliams
Ballymena Times; A personal tribute by Brian Robinson
The Irish Times
Thomas Osterholt has translated the Irish Time obituary in German.
Für die deutschen Fans hat Thomas Osterholt diese Nachruf übersetzt.

The Independent; David McWilliams
The Guardian
Le Monde (France)

Ballymena Guardian

The Legacy of the days of David McWilliams

Tributes have flowed in for Ulster singer/songwriter David McWilliams – author of the worldwide hit The Days of Pearly Spencer – following his sudden death in Ballycastle at the age of 56.

David was born in Belfast and grew up in Ballymena, attracted the interest of Manchester United as a teenage soccer player.
Back in 1970-71 David played football for Saturday Morning League side Broadway Celtic. “He was a useful player recalled long serving League official Brian Montgomery. And when in his 20s David switched from playing outfield to keeping goals he made several appearances with Linfield.

When he lived in Ballymena he was an apprenticeship fitter in the torpedo factory at Antrim.

Quoted as the Dylan Thomas of Ulster, David McWilliams once said ” I listen with my eyes and I sing what I see.” And it was his lyrical talent which saw him pursue a music career with his original “Pearly” selling over one million following its release in 1967, before catching another wave of success under former Soft Cell front man Marc Almond 25 years later. Told then how the new Almond version had rocketed into the Top 10, David said: “I don’t know whether to be flattered or not. I’ve never had any interest in trying to write the sort of songs that might end up in the charts nowadays. “To be honest I haven’t even heard the version. Now that it’s doing so well I’ll have to listen out for it. Do they still have Top of the Pops?”

BBC radio presenter, Gerry Anderson, described the Ballymena song smith as a true home-bred original. “There aren’t too many of them around. Van Morrison is one and David was another. Former Wings guitarist, Henry McCullough, who played gigs with McWilliams said of his death. “It is a big shock, and so sudden. There are music fans all over the world who will be mourning David’s death.” Music entrepreneur, Terri Hooley, said the artist had never been ’embittered’ like other performers ‘who had their hits in the sixties’. He believes the Ulsterman was unlucky not to carve out a bigger career for himself and said he regularly received inquiries at his Good Vibrations record shop from Europeans looking for his releases.

When David started he was working in the Shorts missiles factory and sent off a tape of his songs to Major Minor record label and got himself a deal. David was hyped all the time like every Major Minor artist. On Radio Caroline in the 1960s, you heard his new song every hour and there would have been adverts for it on the front and back of the New Musical Express. “After Major Minor he went to Dawn records, but if he had been signed to the likes of CBS or EMI he would have been a long-term selling artist – he had that much talent. “There was a Belgium dance disco version of The days of Pearly Spencer recorded in the 1980s and it went to number one in that country. A Best of David McWilliams album was later released but has since been deleted, but people from the continent are coming into the shop and asking for it. “He was just a really brilliant guy. The English had Donovan, the Americans Dylan, we had McWilliams “.

Even at the height of his fame, he never forgot his roots. A friend from Ballymena told the News Letter:”It wasn’t uncommon for David to return from being top of the bill on a European tour on a Friday night and be playing football with his mates for Broadway Celtic on a Saturday morning. He never believed he was a pop star, and he certainly never behaved like one.” (David is at the left)

David returned to Northern Ireland in the seventies and settled in Ballycastle. His live performances became increasingly rare but he never lost his love of music and writing. It is understood he was planning an imminent return to the studios to record a number of new songs for a compilation album.

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Ballymena Times

Enigmatic ‘Pearly’ was a huge radio hit for Ballymena songwriter

Recalling the days of David McWilliams DAVID

McWilliams achieved charts success in 1992 when Marc Almond covered the song he released in 1967 “The days of Pearly Spencer”.

But although it had escaped him until then, chart notoriety was not McWilliams’ prime motivation. A love of music and writing were always top priorities for the local man who died suddenly last week. Born 4th July 1945, David never forgot his Ballymena roots. At the height of his success, he would have popped home to play with Broadway Celtic in the Saturday Morning League.
‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ released on the Major Minor label, was a huge radio hit but, inexplicably, failed to chart. Most people that were listening to the radio in 1967 will remember its 60s ‘psychedelia’ vibe with pleasure.

The record like David McWilliams himself, seemed to have all the right attributes for success. It just seemed like one of those numbers that you didn’t buy. Despite several re-issues in later years, this self penned number by David McWilliams was never to succeed. Yet the 60s and 70s saw an amazing period of productivity matched by the amazing consistency of quality throughout all the material he wrote and recorded. Musically he backed himself on 6 and 12 string guitar with further arrangement and orchestration provided by the then wunderkind producer Mike Leander.
The combination of McWilliams’ heartfelt lyrics and song style with Leander’s evocative arrangements of the simple melodies still sounding bewitching today. ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ was covered by Marc Almond in the early 90s and ‘Three O’Clock Flamingo Street is another radio favourite.
There has only been one other McWilliams compilation, released by EMI when the Almond single was a hit in 1992. That collection has long since been deleted and this RPM collection only repeats four tracks from the EMI set. Rated alongside Donovan an Dylan, David McWilliams’ place in music history is assured.

Mr. McWilliams’ funeral took place at Roselawn last Friday.

By Staff reporter for Ballymena Times; 16th January 2002

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Ballymena Times

A personal tribute by Brian Robinson

David moved to Ballymena from Belfast when he was just three years old. He lived in Greenview and I lived nearby in Devenagh Way, so we were friends from early childhood.
He was a very talented footballer. He played for Harryville amateurs and Rectory Rangers with myself. At one stage he signed for Linfield, but just as he was being groomed for a regular place on team, he broke his ankle while playing football with us in People’s Park. That put an end to that for a few months. But we were big Ballymena United fans – we would even go and watch reserve team matches. (David in black shirt and shorts)

“Ronnie Holden and I took David to a studio in Belfast to cut his first disc around about 1966. It was a four track EP. Mervyn Sulvian, the sound engineer and promoter was there listening. His brother Phil was a promoter in the UK and that’s when David’s music career really took off. “His first gig was supporting a country singer in the Ulster Hall, Belfast and after that he went to London where he made an album with Mike Leander who was like a god. He appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in London. “David was massive in Europe, in Holland they named a string of restaurants ‘Candlelight’ after his song and he was very popular in Germany too. “One time in Rome, he literally had his shirt ripped off his back the way Westlife would now, and ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ was a number one hit in France. In fact the National Orchestra of France recorded an instrumental version of it and that too went to number one. “To give some idea of just how big he was, David Bowie was once quoted as saying that David McWilliams was his favourite song-writer. “David was just a lovely guy. For example, at one stage I was running a basketball team and we needed to raise money for kids. I asked David to put on a concert at County Hall. He wasn’t really fussing on doing it but agreed because I was a friend. The concert was a sell-out and brought the house down, but David didn’t ask for a penny so that all the funds raised could go to the basketball team. That was the kind of man he was.
“He was a very, very dear friend who will be missed terribly”

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The Irish Times

Saturday 19th January 2002. Belfast musician who wrote classic rock ‘n’ roll hit – DAVID MCWILLIAMS

David McWilliams, who died on January 8th aged 56, wrote and recorded one of the classics of 1960s rock music. The Days of Pearly Spencer, along with Them’s Gloria and Bluesville’s You Turn Me On, marked the arrival of Irish rock ‘n’ roll on the world stage.

Ironically, David McWilliams’s recording of the song, first made in 1967, was never a British chart hit. A quarter-of-a-century elapsed before a cover version by Marc Almond of Soft Cell entered the British Top Ten, reaching number four.

The Days Of Pearly Spencer was based on a homeless man in Ballymena who was befriended by David McWilliams. The song reflected the writer’s deep humanity and his empathy with those who live on the margins of society.

David McWilliams was born on July 4th, 1945, in the Cregagh area of Belfast, as only child of Sam and Molly McWilliams. When he was three, the family moved to Ballymena where he attended the Model School and then the local technical school after which he began an apprenticeship at an engineering works in Antrim town that manufactured torpedoes.

For David McWilliams, however, making music came first. Inspired by Sam Cooke and Buddy Holly, he learned to play the guitar in his early teens.

He was later a founder-member of the Coral Showband (named after Holly’s record label).

When he began writing his own material, friends suggested that he should record a demo disc. On hearing the tapes, the impresario Mervyn Solomons contacted his brother Philip of Major Minor Records. Philip Solomons and his colleague Tommy Scott immediately recognised David McWilliams’s potential.

His début single God and My Country was issued in 1966, and in 1967 The Days of Pearly Spencer was released. Featuring distorted vocals through the use of a megaphone as in The New Vaudeville’s Band Winchester Cathedral, the record won David McWilliams much-deserved recognition.

Before the year 1967 was out, he had recorded three albums of his own compositions, an extra- ordinary feat of creativity given that some of today’s top artists take three years to record one album. These early albums were marked by a consistency of quality that proppelled them into the British Top 40.

Backing himself on six- and 12-string guitar, David McWilliams benefited greatly from the arrangements and orchestration provided by Mike Leander, who had worked with both Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones.

In all, he released nine albums of which two were compilations. Apart from Pearly Spencer, his best-known songs include Harlem Lady and Three O’Clock Flamingo Street.

David McWilliams undertook concert tours with the Dubliners which were compèred by his friend Dominic Behan. He attracted a large following in mainland Europe and was particularly popular in France, Holland (topping the charts in both countries) and Italy.

In the 1970s he moved to London where he was briefly managed by an associate of the notorious landlord Peter Rachman. It was neither a happy nor fruitful relationship and in 1988 he wrote the following dedication for an album track, Landlord, Landlord: “For all the Rachmans of this world. We’re gonna get ya.”

On one occasion at a party in London, David McWilliams accidentally broke a prized Appalachian lap dulcimer owned by Billy Connolly. Mortified, he asked how he could best make amends. Connolly replied that a copy of his latest album for his brother, a keen fan, would be more than adequate.

As well as being an accomplished musician, David McWilliams was a talented footballer who, in different circumstances, might have joined a Cregagh-born contemporary, George Best, in the professional ranks. Signed by Linfield FC from amateur side Harryville, he immediately became the first-team goalkeeper. Unfortunately, an ankle injury kept him out of the game for four months by which time his musical career had taken off.

David McWilliams was quiet and self-effacing. He was ill at ease in the world of showbusiness and he had an intense dislike for the glitter and hype of the music industry. He was more at home playing in the Fourways Inn, Ballymena, than in the Royal Albert Hall.

As with many singer-songwriters of his generation he lost out on the publishing rights to his music. This, it is estimated, cost him in the region of £2 million sterling.

Twenty years ago, he moved to Ballycastle, Co Antrim, where he concentrated on writing songs and making the occasional public appearance. In 1984, he played at a concert in aid of the striking miners in Britain and supported other such causes. In recent years he performed at the Ballycastle Northern Lights Festival, which celebrates the links between Scottish and Irish music.

Both David McWilliams’s marriages, firstly to Jill Sowter and secondly to Julie Ann Farnham, ended in divorce. He is survived by his daughters; Mandy, Julie, Helen, Nanno, Hannah, Shonee, and Meghan, and his son Shannon.

David McWilliams: born July 4th 1945 and died January 8th 2002

with thanks to: Nanno McWilliams, The Irish Times and Mile High Music

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The Independent

An obituary of a performer who, for me was one of the most memorable stars created by Radio Caroline in the 60s, but who was largely ignored by the BBC.

16 March 2002 David McWilliams, singer- songwriter: born Belfast 4 July 1945; twice married (one son, seven daughters); died Ballycastle, Co Antrim 9 January 2002.

In October 1967, the Irish singer-songwriter David McWilliams was launched in mainland Britain by his eager manager Phil Solomon, with a barrage of publicity for the dreamy track “The Days of Pearly Spencer”.

“The single that will blow your mind, the album that will change the course of music” trumpeted full-page adverts in the New Musical Express alongside enthusiastic quotes from journalists and other pop impresarios comparing the 22-year-old McWilliams to Donovan and Bob Dylan.
Unfortunately, back in 1967, Radio 1, the BBC’s new pop network, didn’t add “The Days of Pearly Spencer” to its playlist, maybe because Solomon was also a director of Radio Caroline, the pirate station just outlawed by the Marine Broadcasting Offences Acts passed by Harold Wilson’s government.
Nevertheless, the single was played incessantly and defiantly on Caroline while stations in continental Europe picked up on its strange “phoned-in” chorus and pastoral arrangement. The following year, the track charted all over Europe and impinged itself on the continental consciousness as the soundtrack to Swinging London alongside the likes of “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”.

A reluctant stage performer, McWilliams recorded more than 10 solo albums and eventually saw the torch singer Marc Almond, formerly of Soft Cell, score the biggest hit of his solo career with a carbon-copy version of “The Days of Pearly Spencer” which reached No 4 in the British charts in 1992.

Born in the Cregagh area of Belfast in 1945, David McWilliams moved to Ballymena when he was three. He grew up with seven brothers and sisters and as a teenager developed an early interest in the rock’n’roll music of Buddy Holly and learned to play the guitar. He also developed a rebellious streak and in 1960 was expelled from Ballymena Technical School for drinking between lessons. Even when he returned, McWilliams played truant constantly, spending days thinking up songs.

In 1963, he followed his father and became an apprentice fitter in a torpedo factory in Co Antrim. However, he was always looking for a way out. Six foot tall with blue eyes and unruly black hair, he cut a distinctive figure on the football pitch; he excelled as a goalkeeper but an ankle injury kept him out of the local Linfield football team.

He preferred music anyway and joined the Coral Showband. Not content with performing covers, he began writing his own compositions such as “Redundancy Blues” and “Time of Trouble”, inspired by his surroundings. “I listen with my eyes and I sing what I see,” he later told journalists.

In 1966, he signed to CBS and released his début single, “God and My Country”, but Dylan and Donovan seemed to have the protest singer and troubadour market sewn up and the track sank without trace. Undaunted, McWilliams went into a Belfast studio to record some demos. The impresario Mervyn Solomon overheard McWilliams’s tapes and contacted his brother Phil, who was equally impressed by the material.

The formidable Irish entrepreneur Phil Solomon had made his name with Them and the Bachelors. He had also joined Ronan O’Rahilly’s Radio Caroline operation and was keen to establish a record company connected to the pirate station. Having launched the Major Minor label at the tail end of 1966, Solomon wanted to add McWilliams to his roster. Even better, since CBS already manufactured Major Minor’s releases, he could appear to do them a favour by offering to take the singer off their hands. The scam worked and Solomon brought his new signing over to London. He teamed up McWilliams with the arranger Mike Leander.

McWilliams had found the perfect producer for his delicate and heartfelt songwriting as well as his six- and 12-string acoustic guitars and the partnership blossomed. In June 1967, his début album, David McWilliams Sings Songs from David McWilliams, made the Top Forty. The second one, simply called David McWilliams, fared even better, probably because it featured “The Days of Pearly Spencer”.

Thanks to Leander’s orchestral arrangement, the track had evolved from a poignant ballad about a homeless man whom McWilliams had met in Ballymena into a haunting radio record and a considerable turntable hit. Though it never charted in Britain, the single was re- released on three separate occasions and remains a favourite on oldies stations around Europe. The follow-up single, “Three O’Clock Flamingo Street”, proved equally evocative of the down-and-out milieu the songwriter had observed as a teenager. And, despite the lack of hit singles, his third album, David McWilliams Volume III, also charted in March 1968.

He joined the Dubliners on a package tour compered by the writer Dominic Behan but never recaptured the heights of his first two years. He stuck with Solomon and Major Minor for three further singles – “This Side of Heaven”, “The Stranger” and “Oh Mama, Are You My Friend?” – before switching to Parlophone and then Dawn Records.
McWilliams recorded well into the Eighties but his career was mismanaged to such an extent by the likes of the notorious London landlord Peter Rachman that he lost an estimated £2m in royalties.

In 1982, McWilliams moved back to Northern Ireland. He remained an elusive performer, only making the odd appearance in support of striking miners. McWilliams’s work deserves re-appraisal. The Days of David McWilliams, a compilation issued last year by the RPM label, provides a good career overview.

By Pierre Perrone

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The Guardian

Alan Clayson
Saturday April 20, 2002

The pop-star career of David McWilliams, who has died aged 56, was all but over by 1968. Yet, by then, he had released one record, The Days Of Pearly Spencer, that was a domestic flop, a continental hit – and has been a cult record ever since. Twenty-five years later, it was covered by Marc Almond, who made it a British top 10 hit.

McWilliams was educated at Ballymena technical school, in Northern Ireland, and completed an engineering apprenticeship in Antrim. Moonlighting in folk clubs, he released a CBS single, God And My Country, as a 22-year-old, and impressed Phil Solomon, founder of Major-Minor records, who launched him with a large advertisement in the New Musical Express, and the services of Mike Leander, who arranged Pearly Spencer. But subsequent singles sold poorly and, despite transfers to Parlophone in 1969 and later to Dawn Records, before long McWilliams returned to Irish venues. There, those who remembered would not let him quit the stage before singing Days Of Pearly Spencer.

Two marriages ended in divorce; he is survived by seven daughters and one son.
David McWilliams, singer-songwriter, born July 4 1945; died January 8 2002

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Le Monde

Décès de David McWilliams, chanteur et auteur-compositeur irlandais David McWilliams, chanteur et auteur-compositeur irlandais, est mort le 8 février, vient-on seulement d’apprendre.

Né à Belfast le 4 juillet 1943, David McWilliams avait fait partie des chanteurs folk-rock influencés par Bob Dylan. C’est par l’apport du rock psychédélique dans ses compositions que le succès viendra. Ainsi The Days of Pearly Spencer, enregistré en 1967 avec force violons et effets sur la voix : produite et arrangée par Mike Leander,(qui s’occupait alors de la chanteuse Marianne Faithfull) la chanson fut un grand succès. Cette popularité sera sans suite pour David McWilliams, qui avait cessé d’enregistrer en 1982, après une dizaine d’albums.

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Traurigerweise verließ uns David McWilliams zu Beginn des Jahres 2002.

Dieser Nachruf wurde in der „Irish Times“ veröffentlicht. Hoffentlich wird dies ein bisschen Licht auf diesen unterbewerteten Sänger und Songwriter werfen.

Samstag, der 19. Januar 2002. Belfaster Musiker, der klassische Rock ’n’ Roll Hit schrieb – David McWilliams:

David McWilliams, der am 8. Januar 2002 im Alter von 56 Jahren starb, schrieb und nahm einen der Klassiker der 1960er Rock Musik auf. „The Days of Pearly Spencer“, sowie „Them’s Gloria“ und „Bluesville’s You Turn Me On“ läuteten die Ankunft des Irischen Rock ‘n’ Roll auf der Weltbühne ein.

Ironischer Weise, wurde David McWilliams Erstaufnahme des Songs im Jahre 1967 nie ein britischer Charthit. Ein Vierteljahrhundert verstrich, bevor eine Coverversion vom Soft Cell Sänger „Marc Almond“ die britischen Top Ten eroberte und Platz vier erreichte.

„The Days of Pearly Spencer“ basierte auf dem Leben eines Obdachlosen in Ballymena mit dem David McWilliams befreundet war. Dieser Song spiegelte die tiefe Menschenachtung und Empathie des Songwriters mit diesen, die am Rande der Gesellschaft lebten wieder.

David McWilliams wurde am 4. Juli 1945 in der Cregagh Area von Belfast, als einziges Kind von Sam und Molly McWilliams geboren. Als er 3 war, zog die Familie nach Ballymena, wo er erst die Model School und dann auf die örtliche Technikschule nach deren Abschluss er eine Ausbildung als Ingenieur in Antrim Town, das Torpedos herstellte.

Für David McWilliams stand Musik zu machen immer an oberster Stelle. Inspiriert von Sam Cookie und Buddy Holly lernte er das Gitarrenspielen in seinen frühen Jugendjahren. Er war später ein Gründungsmitglied der „Coral Showband“

Als er begann sein eigenen Stücke zu schreiben, schlugen Freunde vor, dass er eine Demo Disc aufnehmen solle. Als der Impressario Mervyn Solomons die Aufnahmen hörte, kontaktierte er seinen Bruder Philip von Major Minor Records. Philip Solomons und sein Kollege Tommy Scott erkannten sofort Davids Talent.

Seine Début-Single „God and My Country“ wurde 1966 herausgebracht und 1967 die Single „The Days of Pearly Spencer“ veröffentlicht.

Die, im Hauptteil verzerrten Vokale wurden durch den Gebrauch eines Megaphons, wie in der New Vaudeville’s Band der Winchester Catherdral. Die Aufnahme brachte David McWilliams die wohlverdiente Anerkennung. Bevor das Jahr 1967 zu ende war hatte er drei Albums mit seinen eigenen Kompositionen, eine beachtliche Leistung an Kreativität, für die einige der heutigen Top-Artisten mehrere Jahre brauchen würden.

Diese frühen Alben waren von einer stetigen Qualität gekennzeichnet, die sie in die britischen Top-Ten katapultieren. Neben eigener Begleitung mit einer Sechs- oder Zwölfseitengitarre, profitierte David McWilliams sehr von den Arrangements und Instrumentation mit Mike Leander, der sowohl mit Phil Spector als auch mit den Rolling Stones zusammen gearbeitet hatte.

Insgesamt gab er neun Alben heraus, von denen zwei Zusammenstellungen aus mehreren waren. Neben „The Days of Pearly Spencer“ waren seine meistgekannten Songs „Harlem Lady“ und „Three O’Clock Flamingo Street“.

David McWilliams unternahm einige Konzert-Tourneen mit den Dubliners, welche von seinem Freund Dominic Behan moderiert wurden. Er gewann eine große Fangemeinde auf dem europäischen Festland. Besonders berühmt wurde er in Frankreich, Holland und Italien.

1970 zog er nach London, wo er kurz von einem Mitarbeiter des berüchtigten Grundherrn Peter Rachman gemanagt wurde. Es war weder eine glückliches, noch eine von Erfolg gekröntes Arbeitsverhältnis und 1988 schrieb er folgende Widmung für einen Album-Track Landlord, Landlord: „Für alle Rachmans in der Welt, wir werden euch kriegen.“

Ein Zwischenfall auf einer Party in London war, dass David McWilliams ein wertvolles Hackbrett für Leder aus den Appalachen zerbrach, das Billy Connolly gehörte. Beschämt fragte er, was als Schadensersatz machen könne. Connolly antwortete, dass eine Kopie seines neusten Albums für seinen Bruder, der ein großer Fan sei, mehr als adäquat sei.

So sehr er ein vollendeter Musiker war, war er ein talentierter Fußballer, der, unter anderen Umständen, vielleicht dem Cregagh Fußballclub beigetreten wäre und wie George Best in professionellen Rängen. Bei der Übernahme von Amateur Harryville zum Linfield FC, wurde er sofort zum Torwart des ersten Teams. Unglücklicherweise hielt ihn eine Sprunggelenkverletzung vier Wochen aus dem Geschehen heraus. In dieser Zeit startete seine Musik Karriere.

David McWilliams war ein stiller und übertrieben bescheidener Mensch. Er fühlte sich unbehaglich im Showbusiness. Er hatte eine heftige Abneigung gegen den Glanz und den Medienrummel in der Musikbranche. Er spielte lieber im Fourways Inn in Ballymena, als in der Royal Albert Hall.

Wie viele Musiker und Songwriter seiner Generation verlor er die Lizenzrechte seiner Musik. Dies kostete ihn vermutlich etwas in der Region von 2.000.000 £ Sterling.

Vor zwanzig Jahren zog er nach Ballycastle bei Co Antrim, wo er sich auf das Schreiben von Songs und machte gelegentlich Auftritte. 1984 spielte er ein Konzert zur Unterstützung streikender Minenarbeiter und befürwortete deren Gründe. In den letzten Jahren trat er beim Ballycastle Northern Lights Festival, das die Verknüpfung von schottischer und irischer Musik feiert, auf.

Beide Ehen, zuerst zu Jill Sowter und dann mit Julie Ann Farnham endeten mit Scheidungen. Er lebt jetzt noch durch seine Töchter Mandy, Julie, Helen, Nanno, Hannah, Shonee, Meghan und seinen Sohn Shannon weiter.

David McWilliams: geboren am 4. Juli 1945, gestorben am 8. Januar 2002

Herzlichen Dank an Nanno McWilliams, The Irish Times and Mile High Music


Ned Kelly

Smart reply from my friend Trevor to the question  from Australian  Immigration

“Do you have a criminal  record ?”
I didn’t know that you still needed a criminal record to enter Australia 

Ned Kelly – John Red Kelly – Story to Date

Written by Matty Tynan in association with Siobhan O’ Neill in Australia.

Stacks Image 930

The story of Ned Kelly, Australia’s last and most famous bushranger, had its real beginnings in Ireland.
His father, John Kelly (nicknamed ‘Red’) was born and reared in the townland of Clongbrogan, just outside Moyglass.

Young John Kelly was baptised in Moyglass Church on 20th February 1820, the same church where his father Thomas was married to Mary Cody on 1st February 1819, when Thomas was just 18 years of age. Thomas Kelly’s parents, John Kelly and Ellen Head, were also married in Moyglass on 16th June 1799.

John Kelly was the eldest of seven siblings, four brothers and two sisters, and all except one (Thomas junior) were to travel to far off Australia; five through emigration and one, John, by other means.

On 4th January 1840, 20 year old John Kelly was convicted of stealing two pigs, “value about six pounds” from a neighbouring farmer named Cooney. He was kept in Mobarnon Police Station until 7th January 1841 when he appeared at Cashel and was sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia.


It was 31st July 1841 when John Kelly was finally brought to Dublin port and placed aboard the convict ship the Prince Regent. The ship set sail for Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania, on 7th August with only one stop, in Cape Town, and arrived on 2nd January 1842.

Despite the infamous brutality of the penitentiary at Port Arthur, John Red Kelly proved himself to be a model prisoner and was released in 1848, with six months cut from his sentence for good behaviour. Most convicts released from Port Arthur made their way across Bass Strait to the Port Phillip District (now Victoria). Red Kelly was no exception and, landing in Victoria, he immediately made his way northward to a strong Irish community at Wallan Wallan, north of Melbourne.

Red Kelly, a quiet and unassuming man, was now 31 years of age. He found work as a bush carpenter and, while working at the farm of his neighbour James Quinn, he fell in love with James’ eldest daughter, 18 year old Ellen (Nelly) Quinn. The Quinns had emigrated from Ballymena, County Antrim. The match was not favoured by James Quinn, so the couple eloped on horseback to Melbourne, where they were married on 18th November 1850 in St Francis’ Church by Fr. Gerald Ward. The young couple tried their luck on the goldfields, where they didn’t strike it rich but they did make enough money to buy a farm in Beveridge, a small hamlet not far from Wallan, on the main Melbourne to Sydney road. Their first child, Mary Jane, was born in 1851 but died in infancy. In the following years, they welcomed to the world Annie, Maggie, Edward (Ned) around June 1855 (his birth was not registered), then Jim, Dan and Kate.
John Red Kelly worked his farm and sold provisions to the hopefuls who tramped to the goldfields of central and north east Victoria.

In 1864 the Kellys moved further north to Avenel, where their last child, Grace, was born in 1866; Red Kelly registering her birth at the village store, identifying himself as the father, “John Kelly from Moyglass, Tipperary, Ireland”.
The family were poor, but happy, and the children all did well at school. When Ned was 10 years old, he bravely saved the life of young Richard (Dick) Shelton when the younger boy fell into Hughes Creek and nearly drowned. Dick Shelton’s parents, who owned the Royal Hotel in Avenel, were so appreciative that they presented young Ned with a magnificent emerald green sash with a gold bullion fringe. Ned was found to be wearing it 15 years later at his famous Last Stand in Glenrowan.

In early 1866, a wealthy local farmer reported that a calf was missing. Although it was 13 years since Red Kelly was released and he hadn’t been in any trouble in all that time, the stigma of being an old “lag” was hard to shake and police called on the Kelly home. Finding meat in the cooler and a calf hide tanning outside, they arrested Red Kelly. Protesting that the meat and calf hide were from his own stock, John Red Kelly was nevertheless found guilty and sentenced to six months hard labour.

Ellen, then pregnant with Grace, was unable to raise the 25-Pounds bail, and John served his time but came out of prison a broken man. Diagnosed with dropsy, he died on 27th December 1866 at the age of 46, and was buried in Avenel Cemetery.

Young Ned was just 11 when his father died and he had the onerous task of recording his father’s death at the village store, proudly signing his full name, Edward Kelly, in the register. For the rest of his life, Ned would call himself “Ned Kelly, son of Red Kelly, and a better man never wore boots!” Leaving school, Ned Kelly assumed the role of head of his family, and became his mother’s greatest support.

James Quinn had done well in Australia, and had moved his family to a selection called Glenmore, some 200kms away in North East Victoria. In an effort to be closer to her family, Ellen made the heartbreaking decision to leave Avenel, where they had all been so happy together. Ned helped his mother load-up their wagon and they started on a journey that took several days over rough roads, camping by the road or in fields along the way.

They settled in Greta, where Ellen found work as a domestic, laundress, and seamstress. Ned, a strong youth, quickly found work chopping and carting wood. By 1869 they had saved enough money for Ellen to qualify for a selection of 88 acres on the banks of the Eleven Mile Creek just out of Greta. They supplemented their income by distilling and selling ‘sly grog’ (illegal alcohol), and providing accommodation for passing carriers, hawkers, seasonal workers and travellers.

Although the Quinns had never been in trouble with the law in Ireland, Ellen’s brothers grew into wild men who drank and brawled and were involved in horse and cattle duffing. Two of Ellen’s sister married the Lloyd brothers and theQuinns, Kellys and Lloyds were soon to become the focus of police attention.

When Ned was fourteen years old, his Lloyd cousins suggested to Ellen and Ned that he could make money helping Harry Power; an Irishman who bailed up coaches and travellers with legendary gallantry and joviality. Young Ned had the job of holding Harry’s horse when he was “working”, but a close call in which they were both nearly shot by a wealthy landowner was enough to force Ned to hand-over the reins. Harry Power was arrested by police who crept up on his hideout while he was asleep. Harry Power always blamed Ned Kelly for informing on him, but it was his uncle Thomas Lloyd who actually led police to the old bushranger’s hideout high above the Glenmore property.

In the same year, Ned Kelly was arrested for assault on a Chinese worker, who had called at the Kelly property asking for a drink of water. When Maggie gave him creek water, the man apparently became angry and started yelling and brandishing a stick at her. Ned was working in the field and came to his sister’s assistance, taking the stick from the man and chasing him from the property. The case was dismissed.

However, in 1870, Ned was charged with assault on a local hawker named McCormick. Ned claims that when he returned McCormick’s horse, after finding it broken loose and wandering near the Kelly farm, McCormick accused Ned Kelly of using his horse to pull a rival hawker from a bog. Ned Kelly claimed the hawker threatened to thrash him, so the 15 year old obliged and started to dismount from his horse. Mrs. McCormick, realising her husband would not get the better of a round, jumped to stop them and Ned Kelly’s horse spooked, leaping forward and knocking McCormick to the ground. He received a sentence of three months.

Ned was only out of prison three weeks when a friend of the family, Isaiah “Wild” Wright visited and put his horse in the Kelly paddock. When the horse broke out, Wright borrowed the horse of Alec Gunn, a young Scot who had married Annie Kelly, saying he would collect his horse when he returned. When Ned Kelly found the horse, he openly rode it in and out of Greta and nearby regional town Wangaratta. He had been doing so for a couple of weeks, even giving the pub owners daughters rides up and down the main street, when the local policeman decided to check the horse against the Police register. It appeared as stolen from the postmaster at Mansfield, some 50kms away. He called Ned Kelly to the gaol, on the pretence of signing some papers to do with his release, but jumped on the unsuspecting youth and tried to arrest him. Ned Kelly fought with the policeman and quickly overcame him. Constable Hall called for help from onlookers and eight men were eventually needed to subdue the youth. Once he was restrained, the policeman hit Ned Kelly over the head with his (Hall’s) revolver. Mrs. Kelly and Wild Wright followed the blood trail to the barracks, where a local doctor inserted eight stitches in the 16 year old’s scalp. Ned Kelly, Wild Wright and Alec Gunn were all brought before the court and Wild Wright was sentenced to 18 months with hard labour for stealing a horse.

Although Wright had testified that neither Kelly nor Gunn had known the horse was stolen, both were charged with receiving stolen property and received an astonishing sentence of three years’ hard labour.
Women rider
While Ned Kelly was in prison, a young American named George King came to the Greta area. Having tried his luck on the goldfields in both America and Australia, he asked to do jobs for board. George was 25 and the widow Kelly was 42, but somehow they fell in love and George proposed, but Ellen decided to wait until Ned’s release and, hopefully, approval.

It is unknown what Ned Kelly felt about the union but, always devoted to his mother, her happiness would be paramount, and he appeared as a witness in his 19th year, signing his name in the church register while the bride and groom signed with the common cross-mark of the 19th century’s semi-literate.

Ned Kelly gained work in a local sawmills and quickly rose to the role of overseer. Well paid in his job, he stayed out of trouble for three years. An excellent marksman, horseman and builder (he had built a new home for his mother on the Eleven Mile Creek and a big sandstone house for a farmer in nearby Winton), he was an athletic man, and tall in his time standing at nearly six feet. He also won a gruelling 20-round bare knuckle boxing match against Wild Wright in the goldmining town of Beechworth, making him the unofficial boxing champion of North East Victoria.
When the sawmills closed, Ned made the fateful decision not to follow it to Gippsland where it was opening again. Instead, he invested his savings into gold panning expeditions with George King.

However, when they were unsuccessful, Ned Kelly surrendered to the lucrative trade of what he called “wholesale and retail horse and cattle dealing”; i.e. horse and cattle duffing. Top horseflesh was stolen from wealthy landowners, known as the “squattocracy”; they were squatters who had built great wealth and power.
In 1878, life was to deal another cruel blow to the Kelly family when trooper Alexander Fitzpatrick came to the Kelly home to question Dan about some stolen horses in the nearby town of Chiltern. Dan asked to be allowed to finish his dinner and the policeman agreed. Constable Fitzpatrick had already set an appreciative eye at 14 year old Kate Kelly and, according to the family, when he was inside the hut he pulled young Kate on to his knee. Outraged, her mother ordered him from the home, but Fitzpatrick pulled his gun saying it was his authority to stay. Mrs. Kelly said that if her son Ned were there Fitzpatrick would not be so brave. The sound of approaching footsteps caused the policeman to jump to action and Dan took this opportunity of clapping Heenan’s Hug on the trooper. They struggled and fell, Fitzpatrick denting his helmet when he landed and catching his wrist on a latch. The family say they patched the policeman’s flesh wound and he remained at the house for several more hours. They say Fitzpatrick assured them he was fine and there was no problem, though he advised Dan to “clear into the bush and let it all blow over”.

The policeman’s story, however, was much different. He claims that when he entered the hut, Mrs. Kelly hit him over the head with a shovel (no exact reason ever given) and Ned Kelly came in the door firing three shots at the policeman, only hitting him in the wrist with the third shot. It should be noted that Fitzpatrick disobeyed an order that no police were to go to the Kelly home alone, and he had been seen to stop at drinking houses on the way to and from the Kelly home.
Irrespective, police swooped on the Kelly home and arrested Ellen Kelly, her son-in-law Bill Skillion (who had married Maggie Kelly) and neighbour Bricky Williamson for the attempted murder of a policeman. Ned and Dan Kelly were wanted for questioning.

They appeared before Justice Redmond Barry, the Irish born son of English landed gentry in Cork. A brilliant lawyer, Redmond Barry was known as the Hanging Judge because of his penchant for giving harsh sentences for menial offences. He was feared on the goldfields, where he heard many cases, and was often surrounded by controversy over his private life; never married, he was said to have fathered 16 children. But he worked tirelessly to make Melbourne a place of culture and learning, acquiring thousands of acres to establish the University of Melbourne, State Library, and many other buildings and services promoting the arts. He apparently donated services to aboriginal cases and was so committed to education and learning, that he even opened his own extensive library to members of the public before library services became available.

In October 1878, Ellen Kelly King, with a new baby in her arms, appeared before Justice Barry at Beechworth Court. She was sentenced to three years hard labour for attempting to murder a policeman, while Bill Skillion and Bricky Williamson were each sentenced to six years hard labour. Although Ned and Dan Kelly were only wanted for questioning, Justice Barry told Ellen: “If your son Ned were here I would make an example of him, I would sentence him to 15 years”.

Ned Kelly always denied that he was present at the Fitzpatrick incident, admitting instead that he was horse and cattle stealing interstate at the time. On news of his mother’s imprisonment, he was outraged and wrote:

“Fitzpatrick is the meanest article that ever the sun shone on. The jury thought it impossible for a policeman to swear a lie, but I can assure them it is by that means, and by hiring cads, that they get promoted. He can be thankful I was not at home when he took a revolver and threatened to shoot my mother in her own home. I heard nothing of this transaction until later, as I was over 400 miles away from Greta, when I heard that I was wanted for shooting at a trooper in Victoria. It is not likely that I would fire three shots at Fitzpatrick and miss him at a yard-and-a-half. I don’t think I would use a revolver to shoot a man like him, when I was within a yard-and-a-half of him, or attempt to fire into a house where my mother, brother and sisters were, according to Fitzpatrick statement, ‘all around him’. A man who is such a bad shot as to miss a man three times at a yard-and-a-half would never attempt to fire into a house full of women and children. I would not do so while I had a pair of arms and a bunch of fives at the end of them that never failed to peg-out anything they came into contact with. Fitzpatrick knew the weight of one of them only too well, as it ran against him once in Benalla and cost me two-pound-odd, as he is very subject to fainting”.

Ned Kelly found his brother Dan camped in the dense ranges outside Mansfield. Dan was gold panning and distilling poteen. He’d been joined by his mate Steve Hart from Wangaratta and Ned’s mate Joe Byrne from Beechworth; both were also sons of poor Irish farming families. The Kelly brothers wanted to surrender themselves and ask for the release of their mother and friends,but Joe and Steve persuaded them this was useless. None expected justice.

The Fitzpatrick Incident, as it became known, sparked a vigorous police hunt for the Kelly brothers. In October 1878, a party of four was dispatched from Mansfield to cross the ranges and meet with another party coming from the other direction. The Mansfield party were all Irish-born, led by Sergeant Michael Kennedy of Westmeath, it also comprised constables Michael Scanlon from Kerry, Thomas Lonigan of Sligo and Thomas McIntyre from Belfast. They were dressed as prospectors, but were heavily armed and their horses carried ominous straps generally used for transporting bodies. They camped on the banks of Stringybark Creek, not a mile from the Kelly hideout.

On 26 October 1878, the four youths approached the police camp, where Lonigan and McIntyre had remained while Kennedy and Scanlon went scouting. They were lazing by the fire when a voice suddenly called, “Bail up! Throw up your arms”. McIntyre was unarmed and immediately surrendered, but Lonigan dropped behind the log and, aiming his gun, was shot dead by Ned Kelly.Assured by the gang that no man who surrendered would be shot, McIntyre agreed to ask the other police to surrender when they returned to camp. Later that afternoon, they could be heard approaching and McIntyre approached them saying, “You’d better throw down your arms, we’re surrounded”.
Thinking it a joke they laughed, until Scanlon caught sight of Ned Kelly, slung his rifle and fired. Ned Kelly shot and Scanlon fell dead from his horse. Kennedy jumped on the offside of his horse and ran into the bush for cover. McIntyre took advantage of the confusion to jump on Scanlon’s horse and gallop for help. Ned Kelly pursued Michael Kennedy into the bush and engaged in a gun battle that resulted in the sergeant’s death. In a mark of respect, Ned Kelly covered the policeman’s body with his cloak. McIntyre, racing in hysteria through the dense bush, fell from his horse and, fearing the Kellys might be chasing him, hunkered down for the night. In his diary he wrote: “Ned Kelly, Dan and two others stuck us up while we were unarmed. Lonigan and Scanlon are shot. I am hiding in a wombat hole until dark. The Lord have mercy on me. Scanlon tried to get his gun out”.
Thomas McIntyre reached Mansfield the next day and delivered the shocking news of the massacre. He led a police party the following day to retrieve the bodies of constables Scanlon and Lonigan. Michael Kennedy’s body was not found for several days.

The police were buried with full honours and an impressive monument to their memory was erected in the centre of Mansfield.
Of the Stringybark Creek battle Ned Kelly later wrote:

“I could not help shooting them, or else let them shoot me, which they would have done if their bullets had been directed as they intended. After Kennedy was shot, I put his cloak over him and left him as well as I could. If they had been my own brothers, I could not have been more sorry for them. This cannot be called wilful murder, for I was compelled to shoot them or lie down and let them shoot me. It would not have been wilful murder if they had packed our remains in, shattered into a mess of gore, to Mansfield. They would have got great praise, as well as promotion, but I am reckoned a horrid brute because I was not cowardly enough to lie down for them, under such insults to my people. Certainly their wives and children are to be pitied, but those men came into the bush with the intentions of scattering pieces of me and my brother all over the bush. Yet they know and acknowledge that I have been wronged, and my mother and four or five men lagged innocent. And is my mother and brothers and sisters not to be pitied also?”
The Government immediately instituted an Act of Outlawry and set a reward of 400-Pounds for Edward and Daniel Kelly and two unknowns.
By the end of 1878 they needed money and, in his practical thinking, Ned Kelly decided they must rob a bank. They chose the National Bank at Euroa, a sleepy farming town on the main Melbourne to Sydney road. Arriving at Younghusband’s Faithfull Creek property just out of town, they set-up base and detained workers and anyone who happened along, keeping the men in a large storeroom, while the women had the run of the house.
Just before closing time, they ensured they were the last customers at the bank, when Ned Kelly told the teller they would like to make a withdrawal, and the gang netted 2000-Pounds. Collecting the family of the Bank Manager, Mr. Scott, Ned Kelly apologised for any inconvenience and asked them to accompany them to Faithfull Creek. It showed good politics to appeal to the sensibilities of Mrs. Scott in this matter, who assured there would be no trouble. The family, tellers and two serving girls were loaded into two wagons; one of the serving girls identified Steve Hart, having gone to school with him. On the way to the outlying station they passed a procession of townspeople returning from a funeral. Respectfully, the Kelly entourage tipped their hats, and the unaware townsfolk returned the courtesy.

At Faithfull Creek, one brave man demanded to know what had happened to the women and children. Joe Byrne, who had remained on guard at the property, assured them the women were unattended at the house, to which Dan Kelly joked that he would like to be able to attend them. Said within earshot of his brother the older Kelly, known and loved for his gallantry, reacted angrily and ordered his brother never to speak disrespectfully of women.

Before leaving Euroa, the Kelly Gang (as they were now known) treated their captive audience to an impressive display of trick riding; stretching across horses at full gallop and grabbing a kerchief from the ground in their teeth. Joe Byrne demonstrated his skill at shooting a hole through a sixpence thrown into the air. The gang instructed the captives to wait two hours before raising the alarm, but it was well after midnight (fully three hours later) before they awoke the local constable and delivered news of the daring raid.


In February 1879, the Kelly Gang struck again, this time at the New South Wales town of Jerilderie.

Stopping at Davidson’s pub, outside town, Joe Byrne got chatting the barmaid, who unwittingly told the handsome stranger the town was protected by two policemen, constables Richards and Devine. At midnight, the gang rode to the police station, Ned Kelly rousing the policeman with the ruse that there had been a murder at Davidson’s pub. Rushing to the door, the police found themselves officially bailed up and were safely ensconced in their own lock-up for the night.
Bail up

The next day, Ned Kelly did chores for the pregnant Mrs. Devine and insisted on emptying the bath water, saying it was too heavy for a woman in her condition. On Sunday morning, Dan Kelly helped the policeman’s wife to prepare the local hall for Mass and accompanied her to the service. On Monday they donned police uniforms, posing as reinforcements to protect against the Kelly Gang. Entering the Bank of New South Wales, they bailed up the astonished tellers but were told the keys to the safe were with the manager, Mr. Tarleton. Ned Kelly finally found the bank manager in his bath and patiently waited for him to get dressed so the robbery of 2000-Pounds could be completed. Joe Byrne delighted in taking the papers held over the farms of struggling settlers and burning them in a bonfire out the back. Meanwhile, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were entertaining townspeople in the hotel next door. When Ned Kelly arrived, a clergyman stepped forward and bravely told the outlaw leader that Steve Hart had stolen his watch, a timepiece of sentimental value. Ned Kelly immediately demanded that Steve return the watch.
The crowd asked Ned Kelly to tell their story and, in the now flowing tones of an experienced orator, he relayed the course that had led them to outlawry, and his concerns about what he felt was the persecution of poor people and the disadvantaged by a police force that, at the time, was rife with corruption and comprised of recruits that included ex convicts. So spellbound was the crowd that they didn’t hear two men enter the hotel. One was a local businessman who was grabbed by Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. The other was the newspaperman, Gill, who jumped the back wall and ran out of town down a dry creek bed. It was a blow for Ned Kelly, who had hoped to have a manuscript published by the newspaper. One of the bank tellers offered to take it and deliver it the publisher later. Ned Kelly agreed. The manuscript didn’t make it to the publisher; the teller gave it to the police instead. Over 7000 words long, it became known as the Jerilderie Letter and one of the most exciting pieces of Australian colonial literature. In it, Ned Kelly recounted their story, made a case for police persecution and corruption, and interjected passionate passages on Irish history. Written by a young man hiding in caves, with a price on his head, it pulsated indignation and dared to challenge the authorities who deemed him a criminal.
For the next year the Kelly Gang easily avoided the clumsy attempts of police to catch them. The price on their heads had risen to a staggering 8000-Pounds, but they had an extensive network of family and sympathisers who warned them of police movements and even helped to lead police parties away from Kelly hideouts. In their outlawry, the Kellys were known to ride in and win many country racing events. Poor people of the district suddenly had money to mend fences and buy provisions, paying in sixpences and three pences, when copper farthings and pennies were more common.
Ned Kelly started the Widows and Orphans Fund of Greta, calling on police to contribute.

But, in June 1880, Ned Kelly had developed a Proclamation of the Republic of North East Victoria and set a deadly plan in motion. Joe Byrne’s childhood friend, Aaron Sherritt, who had also been engaged to Joe’s sister was rumored to have turned police informer. But it was not until Mrs. Byrne stumbled upon a hidden police camp watching her home, and saw Aaron in the middle of the troops, that the proof was irrefutable. Some historians say the Kellys knew that Aaron was acting as a double-agent, but a blazing row with Mrs. Byrne after the police camp incident indicates this may not have been the case. Kate Byrne also broke-off their engagement. Whatever the case, Aaron was indeed an agent the police code named Moses and they were concerned enough about him to install a four-party protection squad in his house outside Beechworth.

On the night of 26 June 1880, Aaron was at home with his new and pregnant wife Rita, her mother Mrs. Barry and the four policemen, when there was a knock at the door. A neighbour’s voice said he had lost his way and Aaron was laughing when he opened the door. But the neighbour had been waylaid by Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly, and Aaron found himself facing his old friend. Joe Byrne shot Aaron Sherritt and called on the police to come out of the hut and fight. They didn’t, literally taking cover under the bed and pulling Rita Sherritt and her mother to its safety, where all stayed until morning.

The outlaws left within an hour and rode to Glenrowan, a railway hamlet near Greta, where they met with Ned Kelly and Steve Hart. Ned Kelly had planned the shooting of Aaron Sherritt would bring a Special Police train from Melbourne and he was now having the tracks lifted to derail the train in an act of ultimate defiance against officialdom.
They took over the Glenrowan Inn, to which they brought key figures from the community such as the policeman, Constable Bracken. They expected the news of Aaron Sherritt’s murder to be reported immediately and the police train to arrive by the early morning. They could never have anticipated that it would be fully mid morning before the police in Sherritt’s hut would venture into town to raise the alarm. Further bungling in Melbourne delayed the train for the best part of another day, so it was 18 hours after the shooting before the train was even dispatched. Meanwhile, the Kellys amassed a total of 62 captives in the small hotel. To keep the crowd happy, a hooley was taking place and everyone engaged in jigs and reels, while the drink flowed freely.

By midnight on Sunday, Ned Kelly had decided to abandon the plan. They had been waiting for two days, without sleep, and constantly on guard. But, just as everyone was starting to file out of the hotel, the sound of the train was carried on the still night air. A little earlier, the school teacher Thomas Curnow had asked Ned Kelly if he might take his wife and sister home, as his wife was not feeling well. Dan Kelly didn’t trust Curnow and advised Ned not to let them leave, but Ned Kelly immediately relented, advising Mrs. Curnow: “Go straight to bed and don’t dream too loud”. Away from the hotel, Curnow abandoned his wife and sister and took a lamp and red scarf down the railway tracks. His warning was spotted by a pilot engine preceding the police train, and both came to halt outside the town. When Curnow told his amazing story, he was allowed to hurry away to safety, and the trains shunted slowly into Glenrowan. Police poured from the train and surrounded the hotel.
It was too late for anyone to leave. Advising the captives to lie on the floor out of harm’s way, the outlaws disappeared into the back rooms, to reappear dressed in armour. They must have made an astonishing sight, clanking to the front veranda to face a barrage of police fire. In the shadow of the veranda, it was not apparent that the outlaws were wearing armour, but an odd clanging sound was
heard with every volley. The armour was visionary in its ability to protect the vital organs of the torso and helmets protected the head. But the arms and legs were unprotected and the heavy armour (95lbs) limited their manoeuvrability. The slits in the helmet also limited the field of sight.
In the first volleys, the police didn’t realise they had hit the outlaws hard. Ned Kelly sustained serious injuries; a bullet passed through the forearm of his left arm and, as the arm was bent holding a rifle, exited the bicep, another bullet shattered his left elbow, one lodged at the base of his right thumb, and another entered the big toe of his right foot and exited at the heel. Joe Byrne was shot in the leg.
During the night, Ned Kelly left the inn several times, undetected by the police. He was gauging the movements of police, releasing the horses before they were shot by police and, in his last foray, he went to warn over 30 sympathisers waiting to join the uprising. Telling them the plan had gone wrong and it was now the Kellys fight, Ned Kelly ordered them to return to their homes, then went back to the inn alone to try and save his brother and mates.

Inside the inn, the publican’s 13 year old son was shot by police and later died from his injuries. Her 14 year old daughter suffered a grazed forehead from a bullet. Two civilians were also shot; one died instantly and the other would die later. Several times the captives tried to leave the inn, but police fire forced them back, their screams and pleas ignored.
Inside the inn, Dan and Steve were becoming despondent. In an effort to cheer them, Joe Byrne poured a drink and toasted, “Here’s to the bold Kelly Gang. Long may they live in the bush”. At that moment, a police bullet thwacked through the wall and hit him in the groin. In his 23rd year, Joe Byrne fell and bled to death on the bar room floor.
On his way back to the inn, Ned Kelly tried to reload his rifle but his left arm was hanging useless and he had to abandon the task. Loss of blood, lack of sleep and the weight of the armour overcame him and he passed out. He awoke to the sound of muffled voices, as two policemen passed within 10 feet of where he was lying. Lurching to his feet, he painfully reloaded his revolver. The green skullcap his sisters had made to protect his head from the helmet fell to the ground, blood soaked. He pulled on his helmet and, with a superhuman effort, he made his way to the hotel, coming on police from behind.
He made an eerie sight as he came through the winter morning mists, brandishing his revolver, his coat flapping in the breeze. At first nobody knew what it was. One newspaper man said it was “like the bunyip descending upon us”. There was an uncertain silence, during which the iron clad figure thumped its chest with a dull ringing sound and taunted, “You can’t hurt me, I’m made of iron”. When the spell was broken, 50 police opened fire. The huge figure staggered under the impact, but continued to advance, firing wildly. At one point, he even sank to one knee, but still nobody rushed him and he regained his footing to lurch forward. It was only after a particularly strong volley that made him stagger and he parted his massive legs to steady himself, that one policeman saw a gap in the armour and fired. Hit in the hip, Ned Kelly toppled like a fallen tree and police converged on the prone figure. One policeman wrenched the revolver from his hand, the muffled voice heard to grumble: “Break my fingers”. Ripping the helmet from his head they gasped to see it was the outlaw leader. One grabbed him by the beard and rammed a revolver in his face, threatening to kill him. Another kicked him in the groin. “Cowardly to kick a man when he’s down,” Kelly said.
Dont Move, picture title
Ned Kelly was taken to the railway shed where a doctor tended his wounds. He was found to have 28 shots, five of them serious. His body was also severely bruised. He was so close to death that a Catholic priest was called to give the prisoner the Last Rites. But, despite his condition, Ned Kelly lucidly answered a barrage of police questions. By now, a crowd had gathered at Glenrowan, including members of the Kelly family. A police cannon had been ordered from Melbourne and troopers were heaping straw against the side of the inn. Police demanded that Ned Kelly ask his brother and mates to surrender, but he refused. The Catholic priest, Fr. Gibney, asked if he could go to the hotel and Ned Kelly told him no. “But surely they wouldn’t shoot a priest?” he said. “They won’t know who you are and they won’t wait to find out,” the outlaw responded.

Outside, his sister Maggie Skillion was told by police to ask her brother to surrender. She refused, but had to be restrained as she tried to run screaming to the hotel when the straw was set alight. Ignoring police orders, Fr. Gibney also ran to the hotel, crucifix aloft, calling: “I’m a Catholic priest, I’ve come to help you”. When he entered the building, it was already well alight and dense smoke made visibility poor. In the bar he found Joe Byrne and realised he was dead. In the kitchen he found mortally wounded civilian Martin Cherry. Hefting the man onto his back, he ran from the hotel, passing a room as he did, he saw Dan Kelly and Steve Hart lying seemingly unconscious. Calling to police there was no threat, Fr. Gibney knew there was time to get all out of the hotel. However, at the last moment, Joe Byrne’s already singed body was pulled from the inferno. Horrified onlookers could only watch as the flames engulfed the building and the blazing roof fell on the prone figures of the young outlaws.

From the ruins, the charred remains were raked from the ashes and placed on bark sheets. Grotesque and unidentifiable, one had the stump of an arm raised as if eerily pointing at something. The Kelly girls were led to the gruesome sight, where newspaper reports say they uttered dirge-like cries and wept bitterly. The bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were taken by family and sympathisers back to the Eleven Mile Creek where an Irish wake was held. Police, realising they shouldn’t have allowed the bodies to be taken, showed up to reclaim them but were told that 100 men mad with grief were heavily armed and prepared to protect their dead. Wisely, the police retreated and 19 year old Dan Kelly and 20 year old Steve Hart were quietly buried in Greta Cemetery the next day.

Joe Byrne’s body was taken to Benalla and kept in the lock-up overnight. The next morning it was strung-up against the cell doors, for morbid sightseers to pose for photographs with the body, before a young woman burst from the crowd and threw her arms around it crying: “Can’t you give Joe Byrne peace at last?” At midnight, Joe Byrne was buried outside the confines of the Benalla Cemetery, as was custom with criminals. Only a policeman and undertaker were in attendance.
Surviving the night, Ned Kelly was also taken to Benalla and transported to Melbourne for convalescence. Returned to Beechworth some months later for a preliminary hearing, unable to stand and having to wear slippers on his wounded feet. He was again transported to Melbourne, where feeling was thought to be less pro-Kelly. In the train he gazed out at his beloved North East, already known as Kelly Country.

At the Melbourne Gaol, he was reunited with his mother who still had a year on her sentence. Stooped and frail from scrubbing flagstones, Ellen had heard little about her sons during her imprisonment. Now she knew that her youngest son was dead and her oldest was awaiting trial for murder. It was a sad and emotional reunion for mother and son, the details of which were never disclosed by the Gaol Governor.

In November, Ned appeared before Justice Redmond Barry at Melbourne Supreme Court. He was formally charged with the murder of Constable Lonigan at Stringybark Creek. The trial, the transcripts today branded a farce by leading Melbourne lawyers, was swift. Most of the witnesses were members of the constabulary. It took just two days for the trial proceedings to be completed and jury deliberated for only 30 minutes before returning a guilty verdict. When Justice Barry started to pass sentence of death, one of the most amazing discourses in Australian legal history began between the Supreme Court Judge and the prisoner at the bar. At its end, Ned Kelly said: “A day will come at a higher court than this when we shall see who is right and who is wrong” before the judge passed the sentence of death by hanging. When he had finished Ned Kelly said: “I will add something to that. I will see you where I am going”.

A petition for clemency was signed by 60,000 people, massive public rallies were held and, at 16, Kate Kelly fell on her knees before the Victorian Governor LaTrobe to beg for her brother’s life. But it was all to no avail.

Ned Kelly wrote his last letter: “I do not pretend I have lived a blameless life … nor that one fault justifies another but the public, judging a case like mine, should remember that even the darkest life may have a bright side.
“After the worse has been said against a man … he may, if he’s heard, tell a story in his own rough way that would lead them to soften their harshest thoughts, and find as many excuses for him as he would find himself.
“I know, from the stories I have been told, that the press has not treated me with the kindness often afforded a man awaiting death…
“Let the hand of the law strike me down if it will. But I ask that my story be heard … people in the cities do not know how the Police in the country abuse their powers … if my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, then my life will not entirely have been in vain.”

At 10am on Tuesday 11 November 1880, Ned Kelly was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol, with the immortal last words: “Such is life”. He was just 25 years of age. Two days after Ned Kelly’s execution, Justice Redmond Barry fell ill from complications of diabetes. Despite the best medical care, he died nine days after the outlaw who said: “I will see you where I am going”.

Six months after Ned Kelly’s death, a Royal Commission was held into the actions of the Victorian Police. In testament to Ned Kelly’s accusations of persistent police corruption, especially towards the poor and disadvantaged, over 250 police from the rank of Police Commissioner down were demoted, dismissed or pensioned-off; representing one-quarter of a force numbering only 1100 at the time.
The police of the 1870s were a taxed commodity, made up largely of raw recruits that often included ex convicts. In a misguided effort to keep the peace, they had an official “pounce and put away” policy in which they would target struggling settlers, particularly those with large numbers of youth, and nab them even before they had done anything, with the idea that they’d be too scared to offend. Of course, it didn’t work and the Irish, with their large families, were often the targets. Police, particularly in country areas where they were far from the base of power, were also too often known to get involved in such skullduggery as breaking fences to let stock out, then round it up and take it to the pound so farmers had to pay a fine to retrieve stock that often meant their livelihood. They also had the power to veto settlers who had scraped together the deposit for a land selection that they were entitled to get through the Land Act. It was rife corruption and standover tactics. During the Kelly Outbreak, over 50 men were arrested as suspected sympathisers – some were, some weren’t and some didn’t even know the Kellys. But they were all poor and they were kept imprisoned for three months, without charge. This was at crucial harvest time, so women and children had to try and bring in the crops that could mean the difference between life and death for them, or certainly whether they were able to keep their farms or not. The seriousness of the situation was obvious, given the results of the Royal Commission after Ned Kelly’s death. It may have been hard for them, but the results were ultimately good for the force, getting rid of a lot of the bad seed. It seems Ned Kelly provided a valuable social service to Victoria!
Following his death, Ned Kelly’s head was decapitated so his brain could be examined to see if the brain of a criminal differed from that of an ordinary man. Examined by doctors and students, it is believed that samples of the body are included in every scientific collection at the University of Melbourne. His skull was used as a paperweight by a petty government official and his headless body was buried in an unmarked grave in the prison.

Subsequent building works resulted in the body being moved some 13 or so times and its final resting place was unknown for decades, believed to probably be in the grounds of Pentridge Prison.

In 2011, development of the decommissioned Pentridge Prison unearthed remains, one of which was identified through mitochondrial DNA testing, using a sample from Leigh Olver, a descendant of Ellen Kelly’s daughter Alice King, the infant who had accompanied her mother to jail for the first year of her sentence. In November 2012, the decision was finally made to give the remains to Kelly family descendants for burial in North East Victoria.

Father Joe Walsh O.S.A from our parish, now over eighty years old and living in Villanova College Priory, Coorporoo, Old Australia, sent over paper cuttings with information on the confirmation of Ned Kelly’s remains. He has since sent newspaper clippings of Ned Kelly’ funeral, these will go on display at Ned Kelly’s, The village Inn in Moyglass.

Ned Kelly was survived by his sisters, mother and one brother. His sisters Maggie and Kate would both die young before the end of the century, although Grace Kelly lived to old age. She married

Paddy Griffiths and her descendants still live in Kelly Country, alongside Lloyd cousins. Jim Kelly never married and cared for his mother until her death in 1923. Jim died in 1947.

Ned Kelly will always be a hero to local people in Moyglass as our parents and neighbours always spoke of him as a strong man who stood up for the poor against corruption. We look on him as the Robin Hood of his day. Also the fact that we know descendants, the late Phil Kelly and Mary Fleming (nee Kelly) who were also reared in Clonbrogan makes the story more realistic for locals.

The old church (later a School), the barracks at Mobarnan and Newpark Police Station, site of Red Kelly’s house are all there to be visited and could prove big tourist attractions to Australians and others. Many local people have a good knowledge of the Ned Kelly story and chat about it regularly in the pub.

Many Australians visit the pub where there is a full history and family tree on display. Now we have created a replica of his suit of armour, which is on display in the pub and was worn by Junior Tynan at the Gathering launch at the Rock of Cashel and also in April for TG4, who filmed in Moyglass for a programme to be aired in September 2013.

RTE were in Moyglass filming on a few occasions from October 2012 to January 2013 and a half hour Nationwide programme was aired on January 16th. The identification of Ned Kelly’s remains and the Gathering 2013 initiative prompted the Nationwide programme, which also covered the story of “John Red Kelly” and visited the sites associated with him. The programme on RTE1 was well received by all and provided great publicity for the area. I sent a copy DVD to Siobhan O’ Neill in Australia, who is a close friend of the great granddaughter of John Kelly’s sister Ann. She has shown it to her fiend Dottie and is also going to travel to Kelly country to show it to other relations.

Ned Kelly was finally granted his dying wish when, 132 years after his death he was laid to rest in consecrated grounds. A funeral mass was held at St. Patrick’s church, Wangaratta on January 18th and Ned Kelly was finally laid to rest Sunday January 20th 2013 at Greta cemetery in North East Victoria. He was buried beside his mother, Ellen’s unmarked grave. His brother Dan and fellow gang member Steve Hart are also buried in Greta cemetery ,in the heart of Kelly country, a short drive from his famous last stand at Glenrowan. Monsignor John White, assisted by Fr. John Ryan and Fr. Frank Hart was the chief celebrant. Monsignor White was a fitting choice to preside as he was born in Jerilderie and a past priest at Euroa and still conducts mass at Glenrowan.
Monsignor White in his eulogy said “ This man Ned Kelly has a certain immortality” ,” not just in our hearts but in the hearts of Australia” . I think you could include Ireland and further afield in this quote.

Written by Matty Tynan in association with Siobhan O’ Neill in Australia.

Ned Kelly – John Red Kelly – Story to Date

Paintings by John Hayes –

NED RIDES AGAIN IN KELLY COUNTRYThe annual Ned Kelly Weekend 2013 festival was held over 9-11 August in Beechworth, Australia.Located some 284km (176mi) north east of Melbourne, Beechworth is a beautifully preserved town of the Australian 1850s’ Gold Rush.
The town’s sandstone buildings and wide streets were also a popular haunt of the Kelly Gang in the 1870s.Highlights of the festival include performances recreating key events in the actual place and on almost the same dates as they happened for Australia’s last and most lauded bushranger.

Two major events are the Committal Hearing of Ned Kelly and the Trial of Ellen Kelly in the Beechworth Court House.

Back on 15 April 1978, Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) appeared in the dock, following the infamous Fitzpatrick Incident that was the catalyst for the Kelly Outbreak.

The Trial of Ellen Kelly recreates those proceedings through a narrator, character performances, and recreated transcript testimonies.

Then on 6-11 August 1880, Ned Kelly appeared in the same dock and, with the exception of a narrator, his Committal Hearing is recreated in meticulous detail,
faithfully following the proceedings as they happened.

Like his mother before him, Ned Kelly’s appearance was before Justice Redmond Barry; Cork-born of landed gentry English parents.

A host of activities also include recreations of Ned Kelly’s transport through the streets of Beechworth to and from the Court House,
and the Raid at Sebastopol centring on the police hunt for the gang; the biggest police hunt in Australian colonial history.

This year also saw the first recreation of the burning of the Glenrowan Inn, where the other members of the gang – Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart
– died and Ned Kelly was captured at his famous Last Stand in June 1880.

Other attractions include demonstrations of colonial crafts, traditional firearms and cannon displays, performances and lectures about the Kellys and their time,
the Burke Museum, walking tours of historic points of interest, and tours of the (now decommissioned) Beechworth Gaol, which ensure there is plenty to interest historians
and tourists alike.

This year, hundreds of visitors again flocked to this picturesque hamlet to celebrate all things Kelly and, while dates for the Ned Kelly Weekend 2014 are still to be set.

Hammersmith 1979


Van  played three nights at the Hammesrmith Odoen, went to all 3 shows.

Met a few people from Ballymena,Roy Lewis, Banger  Hill? Princess Street, Billy O’Neill, Gerry McNeilly, Moat Road

Remember Kitty Kassoon vocals. gotta find the song

In the meantime this was one of them

You Make Me Feel So Free (1979) ♪

Montreux Svizzera Jazz Festival


Horn Section: Pee Wee Willis smoking weed, and the guys looks, throat he says in looks, he put it out.

About 1:35 nel video, they laught and smile.

Spare Me A Little Of Your Love

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Still London Frank and Van

Dead Girls of London


Will find Kitty later



Here’s something by Kitty

She is a vocalist that sings like a sacred bird.
She is found with Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison and others, however she never stood out herself like a single singer …
Here she sings the backing vocals in “Wonderful Tonight”
(With Eric Clapton)… UNFORGETTABLE!!!. …

Scunnerd – Shut your BAKE up – A few words forgotten from HOME


Ulster English Standard English Type Notes
ach!och!ack! annoyance, regret, etc. interjection Pronounced akh or okh. Usually used to replace “ah!” and “oh!”. Ach is Irish for “but”, and can be used in the same context. Och is Irish and Scottish Gaelic for “alas”, and again can be used in the same context.[11] Cf. German, Dutch, Frisian ach and English agh, German and Dutch have bothach and och.
auloul old adjective Pronounced owl. From auld, an archaic form of old that is still used in Scots and Northern English dialects.
aye, auy yes adverb Used throughout Ireland, Scotland and parts of northern England.
General Scots and dialect/archaic English, first attested 1575.
bake mouth noun A different pronunciation and extended meaning of beak. Dutch bek is used as a rude word for mouth too
banjax to break/ruin/destroy,
a mess
Used throughout Ireland; origin unknown.[12]
blade girl noun Mainly used in Tyrone with different meanings depending on usage, but always refers to a female. “Look at thon blade” – “Look at that girl”; “Our blade” – “My sister/cousin” (Can also be used as a term of endearment in this form)
boak, boke to retch/vomit,
From Scots bowk.[13]
bog wetland/toilet noun From Irish bogach meaning “wetland”.
boreen a narrow road/lane/track noun From Irish bóithrín meaning “small road”.[14]
bout ye? how are you? greeting From the longer version “What about ye?” (“What about you?”), which is also used.[15][16]
bru unemployment benefits noun Pronounced broo. Shortened from welfare bureau.[17]
cat-melodeon awful adjective Probably a combination of cat and melodeon, referencing the sound of a screeching cat and badly-played melodeon tunes.[18]
The second part is pronounced mə-loh-jin.
caul, coul cold adjective Pronounced kowl. From Scots cauld meaning “cold”.[19]
carlin’ old woman noun From Norsekerling meaning “woman” (especially an old woman).[20]
carnaptious[20] quarrelsome/irritable adjective From Scots.[21]
claggerd covered with something adhesive (usually dirt) adjective From Scots claggert meaning “besmeared”.[22]
cowp to tip over/to fall over verb From Scots.[23]
crack, craic banter/fun/gossip/news
(e.g. “What’s the crack?)
noun From Scots or Northern English. Originally spelt crack but the Gaelicized spelling craic is now common.[16]
craiturcraytur a term of endearment
(e.g. “The poor craitur”)
noun From the Hiberno-English pronunciation of creature where ea is realised /e/ (see above) and –ture as archaic /tər/ rather than the standard affricate/tʃər/.
culchie farmer/rural dweller noun Origin uncertain—either from Irish coillte meaning “woods”;[24] from Irish cúl a’ tí meaning “back of the house” (for it was common practise for country people to go in the back door of the house they were visiting);[25] or from the -culture in “agriculture”.
dander walk noun/verb From Scots or Northern English.
dead-on okay/no problem interjection
Origin uncertain.[16]
to soak/drench,
From Irish droch-aimsir meaning “bad weather” or “wet weather”[26] or the less likely Scotsdraik/drawk.[27]
eejit idiot noun From the Hiberno-English pronunciation of idiot.[28]
feck a mild form of fuck interjection Gained popularity following its frequent use in the 1990s comedy TV series Father Ted.
feg cigarette noun Pronounced fayg. From the English slang term fag.
fella man noun From English fellow; ultimately from Norse felagi.
fidget/waste time verb Via Scots fouter from Old French foutre.Perhaps from Irish fútar.[29]
fornenst in front of/facing adverb From Scots or Northern English.
to be cold
From Scots foundert/foondert/fundert which can mean “(to be) chilled”.[30]
geg, geggin’ joke, joking noun/verb From English gag.
glen valley noun From Irish gleann.
gobgub mouth noun From Irish gob, which can mean “mouth”.
gutties, guddies running shoes noun From Scots, in which it is used to mean anything made of rubber. Note also the phrase “Give her the guttie” meaning “Step on it (accelerate)”.[31]
hallion a good-for-nothing noun From Scots hallion meaning “rascal”.[32]
hesp a scolding old woman noun Perhaps from Irish easpan.[33] Cf. Scots hesper: a hard thing to do; a difficult person to get on with.[34]
hoak, hoke to search for/to forage
(e.g. “Have a hoak for it”)
verb From Scots howk.[35]
hooley party noun Origin unknown; perhaps a variant of Irish céilí.[36]
houl hold verb Pronounced howl. From Scots/Northern English.
jap to splatter; to splash; (of a frying pan) emit tiny ‘sparks’ of hot fat verb From Scots jaup.[37]
jouk, juke to dodge/to go verb From Scots jouk meaning “to dodge”.[38]
to lament/to wail,
shrill (in terms of sound)
From Irish caoin meaning “lament”. Keening was a traditional practice done by woman at Irish funerals.
lock’a an unspecified amount
(e.g. “In a lock’a minutes”)
determiner From Irish loca meaning “a pile of” or “a wad of”, or simply an extended meaning of “lock” as in “a lock of hair”.
lochlough lake/sea inlet noun Pronounced lokh. From Irish loch.
lug ear noun From Norse. Originally used to mean “an appendage” (cf. Norwegian lugg meaning “a tuft of hair”).
Used throughout Ireland.
malarkymalarkey nonsense noun Probably from Irish.
munya great/lovely/attractive adjective Origin unknown.[39]
oxter armpit/under-arm noun From Scots.[40] Dutch oksel = armpit
poke ice-cream noun From Scots poke meaning “bag” or “pouch”.
potcheen hooch/bootleg alcohol noun From Irish poitín.
quare, kwer very/considerable
(e.g. “A quare distance”)
A different pronunciation and extended meaning of “queer”.[41]
Used throughout Ireland.
scratch/scrape noun/verb From Irish scráib.[42] Cf. Northern English scrab and Dutch schrabben (to scrape).
to annoy/embarrass,
From Scots scunner/scunnert meaning “offended” or “fed up”.[43]
a small shallow ditch
(pronounced /ʃʌx/)
noun From Scots sheuch.[44]
to move quickly verb From Norse skjuta meaning “to shoot” (cf. Norwegian skutla meaning “to glide quickly”).
skite to splatter with force verb From Norse skjuta.
slew a great amount noun From Irish slua meaning “a crowd/multitude”.[45]
smidgen a very small piece noun From Irish smidean.
snig to snap-off/lop-off verb Origin unknown.[46] Cf. Scots sneg[47] < sneck.[48]
stoor dust noun From Old Frenchestour.[49]
tae tea noun Pronounced tay, this is the Irish word for “tea”.
til to preposition From Norse til.
noun/adverb From Scots the day, the nicht, the morra.
thon that adjective From Scots; originally yon in archaic English, the th by analogy with this and that.[50]
thonder there (something distant but within sight) adjective From Scots; originally yonder in archaic English.
throughother disorganised and careless adjective Probably from Irish. However, it has parallels in both Goidelic (e.g. Irish trína chéile) and Germanic (e.g. Scots throuither,[51] Dutch door elkaardoor-een, German durcheinander).
wee little, but also used as a generic diminutive adjective From Middle English.
Used throughout the north of Ireland and in Scotland.
weean, wean child noun From Scots wee (small) + ane (one).[52]
wheeker excellent adjective From Scots wheech meaning “to snatch”. Onomatopoeic.[53]
wheen[54] a few/several determiner From Scots.[55] Usually used in the phrase “a wheen of…”
whisht be quiet (a command) interjection The Irish huist,[56] meaning “be quiet”, is an unlikely source since the word is known throughout England and Scotland where it derives from early Middle English whist[57] (cf. Middle Englishhust[58] and Scots wheesht[59]).
wojus awful adjective Probably a variation of odious.
Used throughout Ireland.
ye you (singular) pronoun From Middle English ye, but pronounced with a short e sound.
yous, yousuns you (plural) pronoun See grammar derived from Irish.

It’s great to be young


There were many things that helped us get through “The troubles” with some kind of sanity. James Young was probably top of the list!. With his brand of comedy, he made us laugh at ourselves, and made us see how futile the fighting, murder and mayhem was. The trip to Dublin probably came closest to this. He could make us laugh, he could make us cry, but most of all he made us think. God bless you, “Our Jimmy”

A genius of our times

A Poem

Very moving and well acted- showing that he wasn’t just a brilliant Comedy actor.  (See words at end)


The Effincrackers

Cause of the troubles

Canada,Calofornia or nothing 50 weeks holidays 2 weeks work

Norn Iron

Off to Dublin

At the Hospital

The Poem

They have given me me notice. I must pack me sticks an go

It’s part of this slum clearance scheme an it must be done a know
because, a house is like a person, it gets run down an oul
an it suffers like the rest o us from the years aheed an coul.
The talk is all o housin trusts an flats an new estates,
have bathrooms an wee gardens an subsidies for rates.
but down near at the City Hall uner the big green dome,
that the minage place their pullin down is some poor crater’s home.
It seems like only yesterday since my Mary dear an me
come to this house from our honeymoon it was a trip to Cardeley
an this wee house bit us welcome, we knew that this was home
an always we would mind it no matter who would rome.
The front door had a knocker with a shine that would blin your eye
an the winda’s got a lick o paint each year around July.
With paper an its temper, we would always kept it neat
an sure Mary scrubbed the front door step half roads across the street.
We had the wee back yard well white washed an as neat as it could be
o nastursium’s an bergonia’s an some ferns ecarnity.
There’s a wee hout who’s placed down the yard it often makes me grin.
The doors still got the chisel marks where wee shoey got shut in.
The childer grew up roun us six fine sturdy sons we had.
This wee house bid them welcome, it was home till every lad.
It’ll linger in their memories still, though far they had to rome.
The waters call it just a slum, till them it’s, it’s home.
We had no television then, but ach, sure we’d never lack
lots of good company round the fire an a bit of friendly craic.
An ja know this wee house seemed ta listen. When a neighboured toul a joke
an, somehow it would hear it laughin back when I’m given the fire a poke.
We had one wee golden lassy were we’d be watchin smile.
we thought her light the brightest for it shone that short a while.
an on the day she left us, it was as if this house knew
for with silent sadness this wee house, mourned her to.
Soon Mary was to follow after, the man above knows best,
I’ll be content till I’m beside them when it comes my time to rest.
But I wish they’d let me stay a while till the master bids me come.
An the wee house bright with memories, an they call it just a slum.

Source :

Ballymena Historic Timeline

7000-3500 BC The Mesolithic period is not apparently represented in the sites around Ballymena. Settlements of this period do not leave surface traces.

4000-600 BC Like the Mesolithic period, houses of the Neolithic and Bronze Age were still mainly of wood or wicker. Archaeological finds include a range of metal objects including bronze axes, palstaves, bronze heads and a gold dress fastener. A Standing Stone in Town Parks was apparently destroyed during he building of the towns workhouse.

450-1150AD The first recorded Irish history of the Ballymena area dates to the Early Christian period of the 5th and 7th centuries. Raths found in Ballykeel and a site called Camphill Fort in Ballee may also have been of this type. There are a number of souterrain sites within a 2km radius of the centre of Ballymena. Two miles north of Ballymena in the Townland of Kirkinriola the ancient parish church and graveyard possess several indicators of Early Christian settlement including a souterrain. Also in 1868, a gravedigger found a large stone slab on which was carved a cross with the inscription oa do degen. This refers to Bishop Degen who lived in Ireland during the 7th century.

480AD A church was founded in Connor, 5 miles south of Ballymena. Followed by a monastery at Templemoyle, Kells.

831AD The Vikings invaded the Ballymena area, burning the Church at Connor.

900-1100 AD The Petty Kingdom of the DalnAraide (Mid Antrim) was conquered by the Ui Tuirtre led by the OFlynns

1177AD In 1177AD and 1178 AD the OFlynns defeated and repelled the Earl of Ulster, John de Courcey.

1315AD Edward Bruce (brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland) invaded Ireland. On 10th September 1315, at the Battle of Tawnybrack (5 miles south of Ballymena at Kells) he fought against and conquered the army of Richard De Burgo, the Anglo-Norman Earl of Ulster.

1177-1205AD The Anglo-Normans led by John De Courcy conquered much of Antrim and Down and created the core of the Anglo-Norman Earldom of Ireland. During this campaign they built great mounds of earth topped by wooden towers, referred to as Mottes, as defensive structures. Harryville Motte and Bailey is one of the best examples in Northern Ireland of this type of fortification. Some sources, however, credit the O’Flynns with building the Mid-Antrim mottes and baileys in imitation of the invaders. In 1177AD and 1178AD the O’Flynns temporarily defeated and repelled the Earl of Ulster, John de Courcey.

1300s AD The ONeills of Clann Aodh buidhe (Clandeboy) crossed the River Bann from Tyrone and conquered the Ui Tuirtre in mid Antrim.

1368AD The last person to claim to be king of the Ui Tuirtre was killed. The OFlynns fled into the Ard, along with the Anglo-Normans of south Antrim.

mid 1400s AD South and mid Antrim was known as Lower or northern Clandeboye.

1576AD Queen Elizabeth I granted land, including the town of Ballymena, to Sir Thomas Smith. The lands had been forfeited to the crown after Shane ONeills rebellion in the 1560s. Smith brought English settlers to the area.

1581AD Smiths English settlement failed. The Lands were reverted to the crown.

1605AD An inquisition of 1605 divided the territory of northern Clandeboye; Ballymena lay in the division known of Clanagherty (Clanagherty consisted of the parish of Kirkinriola and the small part of the original parish of Ahoghill.

1607AD On 10 May 1607AD King James I granted the native Irish chief, Rory Og MacQuillan the Ballymena Estate. The estate passed through several owners, eventually passing into the possession of William Adair, a Scottish laird from Kinhilt in South-Western Scotland. The estate was temporarily re-named Kinhilstown after the Adairs lands in Scotland.

1600s AD The original castle of Ballymena was build in the early 17th century, situated to take advantage of an ancient ford over the River Braid, at the south-west end of Castle Street.

1626AD King Charles I confirmed the grant of the Ballymena Estate to William Adair, giving him the right to hold a market at Ballymena on every Saturday.

1641AD The local Ballymena garrison fought against the rebels but had to retreat to Carrickfergus, leaving the rebels to drive out refugees at Clough.

1669AD The hearth rolls indicate 106 houses at Ballymenoch

1684AD Ballymenas first market house (on the site of the present town hall) was built.

1690AD The Duke of Wurtemburg, a Williamite General uses Galgorm Castle as his headquarters. Sir Robert Adair raises a Regiment of Foot for William III and fights at the Battle of the Boyne

1704AD Population of Ballymena reached 800

1707AD Kirkinriolas first Protestant (Church of Ireland) parish church was built.

1740AD The original Ballymena Castle was burnt down

1765AD The founding of Gracehill Moravian settlement

1783AD Ballymena is one of nine leading markets for the sale of brown linen in Ulster with sales of 100,000 in this year

1798AD During the 1798 rebellion, Ballymena was occupied from 7th to 9th June by a force of around 10,000 United Irishmen, who stormed the Market House (now the Town Hall) killing three of its defenders.

1827AD Consecration of the first Roman Catholic Church in Ballymena.

1831AD Fairhill market was built by William Adair.

1834AD The population of Ballymena grows to 4,063.

1843AD Ballymena Workhouse was opened for reception of paupers on 17 November 1843.

1845AD The Potato Famine starts to affect Ballymena.

1848AD Belfast and Ballymena Railway established.

1854AD A Board of Town Commissioners was set up to administer the growing town.

1865AD Robert Alexander Shafto Adair erected Ballymena Castle, a magnificent family residence, in the Demesne. The Castle is not completed until 1887. A consortium of local businessmen established the Braidwater Spinning Company.

1883AD The first Ballymena Agricultural Show was held in the Fairhill.
Late 1800s AD Sir Alexander Shafto Adair (who later became Lord Waveney) noted the Seven Towers old Parish Church, St. Patricks Church of Ireland, First Ballymena Presbyterian Church, All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Old Town Hall, Braidwater Spinning Mill and Ballymena Castle. Unfortunately only three towers now remain; Old Parish Church, St Patricks Church of Ireland and All Saints Roman Catholic Church.

1900AD Ballymena assumed urban status.

1904AD The Adairs disposed of most of their Ballymena estate to the occupying tenants, under the provisions of the Irish Land Act of 1903.

1915AD Waveney Hospital completed.

1919AD The old town hall building, which also contained the post office and estate office, burned down.

1924AD The Duke of York laid The Foundation Stone to the new town hall on 24 July 1924.

1928AD The new town hall was officially opened on 20th November 1928.

1937AD The Urban District Council petitioned for Borough status and the Charter was granted in December 1937.

1939AD The first meeting of Councillors, as a Borough Council was held on 23rd May 1939. The population of Ballymena reaches 13,000

1948AD Closure of Ballymena Workhouse.

1953AD The Borough of Ballymena was granted armorial bearings, based on the Seven Towers.

1950s Ballymena Castle was demolished.

1973AD The Urban and Rural District Councils were merged to create the present Borough Council.

1989AD Closure of the Fairhill Market.
1994AD Closure of the Waveney Hospital.
1998AD Closure of the Braidwater Mill.

2008AD Opening of The Braid, Ballymena’s new Town Hall, Museum and Arts Centre

The Auld Fair Hill – Space Invaders

Can people from Ballymena be considered Irish ?

Maybe they are from outer space ?

I’m from there

I’m spaced out but not from outer space

Here’s an interview with bit of craic (Irish Ballymena)

The Auld Fair Hill

Or another

BSN TV Channel – AA Taxis Ballymena hilarious advert

AA TAXIS have dropped all surcharges , even for scousers , gingers , chelski fans and one other thing , there is def no drinking driving going on at AA as the word on the street was apparantly saying other wise …… in the lead up to christmas , AA TAXIS are very much willing to cut all surcharges and offer all town runs at £3 .
with no drink drivers either .

Gud man yerself

Too funny to be left out

Ballymena Woman Rings ‘Vets’ & leaves Voicemail – Muffin

Ballymena people are very very Irish (even if they don’t let on)