BLASTS FROM THE PAST
“Long” Paddy Sullivan with Mary Ormond, Post Office, and Mother McHugh (right) at Fenor Pub, 1970s. From Kilsheelan, Postmistress Mary and her sister Kathy were lovely friendly ladies and had a little shop as well, selling bread, sweets, ice-cream, pencils, fire-lighters and all-sorts in between; not forgetting the Sunday papers after Mass.
Joe (Phil) Power, Kilfarrasy, and his friend Bill Ormond, the old Post Office, Fenor, in Mother McHughs c.1997 — two men who spent much of their lives in England before retiring to Fenor. Joe worked across the water for many years with Jim — both brothers of the late Phil Power, Whitfield, Butlerstown — before returning to Waterford and a farm near his native Fenor in the eighties. Bill was originally from Kilsheelan but connected to Fenor through his sisters, Kathy (d. 1995) and Mary (d. 1998), who purchased the post office here and operated it for more than two decades until its closure in 1986. Their brother used to visit regularly on holiday before deciding to make the move full-time in the early eighties. He was never happier than when playing cards with his friends in O’Mahonys/Mother McHughs. Joe and Bill passed away within weeks of each other in the year 2000.
“Breaking the old into the new” — Fenor Pub patrons Jack Sullivan and Paddy Burns weren’t to be discommoded during the renovations at what was soon to become Mother McHughs back in the mid-’90s. TP O’Mahony can be seen coming through with fresh supplies.
One of the old stock, the late Mikey O’Brien of Cahir Hill, Fenor, pictured relaxing with a pint of stout in the back bar of Mother McHughs at least two decades ago now. A well-known and popular figure in the area, Mikey was originally from the Manachaun Hill, Kill, and worked as a farm labourer most of his days. He loved the local cards scene and nothing more than a game of thirties here in O’Mahonys. He also sang his own version of “The Moon Behind The Hill”, which always went down well. Ever-cheerful and courteous, pipe-smoking Mikey was part of the furniture in Fenor and it’s hard to believe his 20th anniversary is in early 2020.
County Meath family The Englishbys — Mary, Finian and their 11 children — came to Fenor camping in the late seventies and made many firm friends here. A great GAA and hurling man with the Wolfe Tones Club, Finian worked as a civil engineer, whose last project before retiring was the redevelopment of O’Moore Park in Portlaoise. Also in the photo are “Mother” herself, the late Mrs Mary McHugh, grandmother of publican Sean O’Mahony, and Mossie Sullivan, The Cottage, Fenor, far left. Having worked in Britain for many years and also with Waterford County Council, Mossie was from a well-known Caher farming and sporting family. A great neighbour and conversationalist, he combined courtesy and wit — not to mention a verse-writing ability that gave rise to “The Ballad of the Ballyscanlon Hills” and “The Old Fenor Bog”, among other compositions. A dab hand at darts and cards, Mossie loved all manner of games and sadly died suddenly while watching a Gaelic match in Gorey in the spring of 1991. Members of the since-expanded Englishby clan still pay a visit to the village from time to time.
Front row — Paddy Flynn, Maurice Cheasty, Paul Murphy, John Joe Rockett, Mike O’Brien, Richie Power; Middle — Mattie Markie, Mikie MacNamara, John Buck, Tom Farrell, Markie Crowley, Matt Henry, Tommy Nash, Jack Rockett, Mickie Riordan, Bob Doyle, Maurice Nash, Mike Veale, Denny Rockett; Back — Paul Hayes, Ned Blanche, Bob Rockett. As the late Bob recalled, Threshing Day was a major event, with all the family involved and neighbours lending a hand. “The machine men would arrive for breakfast; the one who drove the steam engine had status. Children would watch fascinated by the men working in pairs to keep the grain harvesting exercise in motion. After days of preparation, there was a sigh of relief afterwards, especially in the kitchen; the beer firkin well emptied.”