An article written in the 1990s while in Dublin for the Pioneer Magazine.
What Does Wexford and a small town in the
Southwest of Scotland have in Common?
General Sir Charles Massey Mathew, a celebrated War Hero from the First World War. Sir Charles was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1866, educated privately at Portsmouth Grammar School, started his career in the Durham Light Infantry, in 1884.
The Rowan Tree (Castle Drive – 1983)
In the shade of Grandpa’s house
The Kilbirnie Harp
If Kilbirnie were a harp with strings
I’d surely sweep a strain,
An everlasting melody
Which no man could restrain
I’d write a song of thanksgiving
Of peace and love and cheer
To bless the town with all its woes
Bring pleasure to their ears
I’d play the song on Knoxville road
And at the Walker Hall
I’d play it at the Labour club
While drunkards take their fall
I’d play the harp so silently
For those who hate the sound
To aid them out of hopelessness
To turn their lives around
I’d sweep a strain of sad refrain
At steel works passing by
I’d touch upon a melody
And older folks would cry
I’d play it softly at the match
While folks would cheer their team
And move along the park so long
To watch the Garnock stream
I’d play the harp across the tracks
As cyclists speed me by
I’d play and wait at graveyard’s gates
For mourners with their sighs
I’d play it at the Garnock’s heart
Right up at Jacob’s Well,
where no one goes to see it flow
Or care to even tell
I’d play a tune right at the school
The Children would be pleased
I’d pass the harp to little ones
To hold upon their knees
So to the town with all my sounds
And everlasting strains
I leave the harp right at the cross
For others who remain
To strain their sounds of happiness
And hope for all the town
To watch it grow with sadness no!
As an everlasting crown.
This 26 page document produced in 1962 looks at Catholicism on the west coast of Scotland and details how the Church in Kilbirnie came to be opened in 1862. It contains a photo of the first priest ( I already posted his death certificate on this blog) as well as the surnames of all of the first Catholic families to worship in the Church which is very good for genealogy researchers. It gives a rare glimpse of Catholic life on the west coast of Scotland and also talks about the opening of the school as well as other Churches in the area.
Death Certificate of Father Thomas Patrick Lee, (at the bottom) the first Parish Priest of Kilbirnie. He apparently was infected by fleas whilst giving the Last Rights aged 33.