On this very day and date, April 1st.1970 on a site on the Wood Line Road between Headley’s Bridge and Knocknagoshel Village the ‘new branch creamery’ was officially opened and blessed by Knocknagoshel PP Fr. Bob Walsh.
I know because I was there from the digging of the foundations to the capping and painting of the chimney.
There on the Day
There on the occasion of the opening were: John Forde, Dairy Disposal Board; Pat Lyons, manager of Feale’s Bridge and Headley’s Bridge Creameries; Dan Collins, assistant manager; Nick Cotter, manager Headley’s Bridge Creamery; Gene McGillicuddy, Castleisland building contractor; Murty Walsh, Tralee electrical contractor.
Creamery staff members: Jimmy O’Donnell, Mick Lane, Patie Brosnan and representative of the 200 local milk suppliers.
Building Still Standing
The creamery is still standing but its main purpose in life and daily, gossiping gatherings have long been stolen away by boardroom created mergers and the progress which results.
Right in tune with the song lines below, the local notes writer of the day, Eddie Joe Walsh included details of the opening in the following week’s edition of The Kerryman.
However, he led with the closure of the old creamery at ‘The Bridge.’
Eddie Joe Walsh
In a few lines in the edition of April 4th.1970 Eddie Joe wrote under the subhead:
The 70 year old Creamery at Headley’s Bridge is closed. A £15,000 new one has been completed in the Wood Line Road, The first man to supply milk to the New Creamery was Mr. Tom J. O’Connor, The Shop. Mr. Pat Lyons is the general manager of the Creamery.
Wedding Got Pot Billing
However, the creamery opening didn’t get top billing in the notes either as it was edged out in the same draft of items for that week as Eddie Joe also had to report on the wedding of creamery staff member, ‘Timothy ‘Thady F.’ O’Connor to Miss Barbara White of Yorkshire, England.’
Mrs. Margaret Cotter (nee O’Keeffe) who is 91 years of age, arrived from New York to be present at the wedding of her nephew.
A cow, the property of Mr. Willie Dillane, Feale’s Bridge Creamery gave birth to triplet calves during the week. A three year old heifer, the property of Mr. Denis Sheahan, Cloughan, gave birth to twin bulls.
There are several other similar bits of news from the rural Ireland of that time but the gems above will give you a key into the song below and an idea of the man in the eye of its subject matter.
Seal of Authenticity
I got the song from a man years ago and it must have been in a pub as the sheet which held it had that lovely dark brown, round seal of authenticity on it.
Have a read, while maybe allowing the air of Banna Strand to suggest itself as a carrier for the time being.
The Knocknagoshel Notes
By John Joe Sheehy, Lyreacrompane
In Kerry we have a domestic fowl of a healthy hardy strain,
They roam around the farmyard a pickin’ bits of grain.
We feed them well on yellow meal likewise bran-mash and oats,
I got all this information in the Knocknagoshel Notes.
They lay an egg sure every day both Winter time and Summer,
But the very best layer of them all was Mary’s hen from Cummer.
The Rhode Island Red when she lays an egg sure a record it denotes,
That’s preserved for all posterity in The Knocknagoshel Notes.
She’s twenty years of age last May she’s coming 21,
And all her old compatriots are long since dead and gone.
Yet she calmly roams the mountain side as hardy as the goats,
She well deserves her paragraph in the Knocknagoshel Notes.
The respected writer of these Notes has a large capacious mind,
He was born the same night as old Moor—‘twas the night of the big wind,
If flying saucers land in Boula Bog and the locals think they’re boats,
You can read about it the following week in the Knocknagoshel Notes.
O Jimmy Keeffe of Meenswane breeds greyhounds now and then,
His brood bitch died there lately whilst giving birth to ten,
But he found a badger mother and on the pups she dotes,
It must be true I read it in the Knocknagoshel Notes.
An extraordinary occurrence took place the other day,
‘Twas in Knockbrack from a meadow there up rose a cock of hay,
It soared aloft to a hundred feet and through the air it floats,
Its airy flight was well described in the Knocknagoshel Notes.
Off through the air it sailed aloft so plain for all to see,
‘Twas observed by all the observers from Kilmanihan to Meengwee.
And when it slowly moved away in line for John O’Groats,
There was frantic pencil writing by the writer of the Notes.
It crossed the Abha Bheag River and passed o’er Headley’s Bridge,
O’er Knockane and Ballabawn it floated like a midge,
In Gortroe at last it came to rest, from ‘The Kerryman’ I quote,
That journalistic masterpiece – the Knocknagoshel Notes.
Long may the writer of these Notes survive to write and speak,
Of all the strange and curious things he hears from week to week,
From Toureenard to Fahaduff, Fevata and Lotts,
Sure the best part of the paper is the Knocknagoshel Notes.