GROWING UP IN QUIVVY
you haven't been to Quivvy, - you must visit! It's 4
miles outside of Belturbet, and the best place in the
whole wide world!! (Mind you, I never thought I'd say
that when I was sixteen!) It's beautiful
scenery is breathtaking from the minute you see Quivvy
bridge as you come over the hill, - serene and tranquil.
lived there with my parents, three sisters and younger
brother until I was 17. I live in England now, but
return to Quivvy approximately six times a year. It
still is and always will be home. Never a day goes by
that I don't miss it's peace.
courtesy of Richard Tinneny.
Comparing the restricted lives of children in England to
my own youth, - we had a lot to be thankful for. My
parents great fear was of us going alone to the river or
lake, but we could wonder freely and safely. We lived
in fear of the dreaded " water horse" at the bridge. We
were banned at playing at this area because it was/is so
dangerous. Until I was about 16, I really believed the
water horse would get us if we went there; Many a day I
said the Rosary from Mrs. Bell's black gate until I got
to our land, afraid of the water horse and what would be
said when I got home for being late!
The school bus - mini bus - picked us up each morning at
Mrs. Bell's at 8:05. We used Mrs. Bell's stick shed as
a shelter. Mrs. Wilson drove us daily, and sometimes
her husband Johnny. I always thought Mrs. Wilson was
very cross, but she wasn't really. She looked after us
well, ensuring we wore our caps, had our coats buttoned
up, and crossed the road safely.
Our school days were very long, and we didn't get home
until 4:30pm. At one stage there was no school bus, and
we had to cycle to school on the bad road in the snow
and the rain. We usually had a packed lunch at school
(sometimes we went to our aunt's shop). The town
children would swap their loaf bread for our homemade
bread and jam. The nuns used to give us bread and jam
sandwiches in the evening time.
Loaf bread was a big treat when we were small. So was
cake from the shop! There was always a big bag of flour
by the fire in our house, and Mammy made bread nearly
every day. On a Thursday Miley Burke would drive his
blue van down our way, (he had a mobile shop). Granddad
Tinneny lived with us then. He would send us to buy two
packets of silver mints, and we were usually allowed to
keep the change - 2p. It meant a lot to us then! Mammy
sometimes bought loaf bread, and snowballs as a big
treat. Soda bread and homemade cake is a big treat for
grew most of our own vegetables and had our own hens and
cows for eggs and milk. John Grogan used to plough the
potato field every year with Daddy - this was as big a
day as haymaking. We had to help sew the spuds - that
was OK, but digging them once they were grown was
hateful! It wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't raining
and always so cold!
the summertime we took the boat out on the river, this
was great fun. We could go to Derravona (Mammy's home
place), over to Gola, Crom Castle, into town or even to
Enniskillin if we needed to. At secondary school in
Belturbet I learned to water-ski and other water sports;
it was only then that I began to appreciate the value of
living so close to the water. We could swim in the
front lough (Killylea lake), this was so big some of the
town children used to think it was the sea!
the winter if the pipes froze, we had to break the ice
at the river and carry the water back to the house for
us. I remember when we had the running water put in,
and it was only recently when we were still boiling
water in saucepans to use for bathing.
Because we lived so far from town, it was hard for us to
get everywhere. We cycled to band and dance practice
when we got older, Mammy took us when we were younger.
In the winter there was Scor, Readoiri, choir, music,
band and dancing - as well as school! Daddy used to say
we never stopped "running"! I always got a bad chest
when I was small, and Mammy would put buttered brown
paper and Vicks on my under vest. This was very
embarrassing when I was in competition! I recall one
day when I was reciting " Ah no Jimmy ah no" at Scor. I
lost my voice the afternoon before the competition.
Mammy sent me to bed to rest, and downstairs I could
hear my sister Aisling imitating me reciting. It was
hilarious to all she was performing for - but not for
me! After I had shouted a bit she continued to mimic my
hoarse voice, and later made me a bottle of "cop on" as
a remedy for my tantrum!
often weren't allowed to go to the discos and such as
the town kids were, as we would have to get a lift home
or have Mammy or Daddy pick us up. This caused many a
row in adolescents - it still does! Our boyfriends now
dislike the long drive to Quivvy late at night; although
they love the tranquillity of life there.
There was great advantage to living in the countryside
at national school. - we found birds nests, and their
eggs, acorns, leaves for the nature table. We knew most
of the birds, and had seen them, all the trees, and were
familiar with the ways of nature. We had lots of open
fields and trees to play and hide in, and when any
friends or relatives came to stay, we could take them
out in the boat, or down to Clifford's or the orchard to
pick apples. There were disadvantages too, - we had to
go to bed early because of our early school start; we
hardly ever saw any other children - apart from at
school -, because there weren't any, and we rarely got
sweets! - apart from when we delivered the Messengers
for Sister Finbar. All the neighbors gave us sweets or
cake if they had any.
Clifford Barber was an old man with a funny hat. He
would visit us every week and bring us a wagon wheel
each. Tom Tummin also visited, he brought a big bag of
sweets also! Daddy sometimes brought a lollipop home
from work, this was the biggest treat of all because we
weren't expecting it!
Auntie Kathleen and Uncle Aiden lived next door. We
sometimes got a lift to town with them during school
holidays - if we were allowed! Uncle Aiden was great
for telling stories of the area, and helped us with many
a school project.
The hunt often took place down our way, - sometimes we
seldom see now. This was very exciting, with lots of
hounds barking and running; Sometimes we caught a
glimpse of the ox!
Visitors to Quivvy were always a novelty - Even the
postman! On a Sunday afternoon when the church bells
rang at Quivvy church, my sisters and I often found an
excuse to go for a walk to see who might be around! The
church is no longer in use as such now.
When I was very young there was a white fungus growing
at the side of the church in the shape of a witches
hat. I let my imagination run wild and convinced myself
there was a witch there, so I ran like mad past the
church on my way home from school for fear the witch
might come to life! Over the church door was/is a swarm
of bees in the summertime. I used to run past this for
fear of getting stung! Some of the town boys used to
think it was funny to throw stones at the bees; - they
Mr. Cole kept cattle on his land in Quivvy. We used to
think they were bulls because they weren't as tame as
our cattle. Many a day we thought they chased us on our
way home from school or stealing apples, but it wasn't
us they were after it was the dogs; But they put the
fear of God in us!
learned to walk, talk, run, play, write, drive and live
in Quivvy. I'm twenty four years old now and I hope
that if someday I have children I can bring them up in a
similar environment. It is not until you leave the
peace and beauty behind that you appreciate it fully.
Thank You Quivvy, and thank you Mammy and Daddy, and all
the people who made my youth so wonderful, and still
do. You are not forgotten, and are always in my heart -
Anseo i Lar an Ghleanna.
Fidelma Tinneny March 1995