Tramps and Travelling Salesmen

P.J. McGrath (First published in Out and About in Killererin)

Patsy Greaney

I’m from Barnaderg, and I go back to my grandfather’s time, to remember the travelling mason, Patsy Greaney, who put a second storey on a farm building for him around 1910.  Built in lime mortar ,it is still standing, though altered somewhat for the purposes of modern farming.

Barney Loftus

Another travelling builder and mason, was Barney Loftus, who would stay in one house and do building, and repair work around the area.  He was noted as particularly neat and well dressed. He always stayed around Castlemoyle, when in the area.

Maggie Power

Among the women who travelled about was Maggie Power, who sold house –wares from a cart in the early 1920’s.

Biddy Godfrey

Later from 1945 to 1955, there was Biddy Godfrey, a white –haired women who travelled the roads.  She kept herself very well and always behaved in a ladylike manner.

Jack Tully

Jack Tully was homeless, and earned his keep during the summers between 1940 and 1950 working in the bogs, around Barbersfort and Barracks.  He was not too good on the legs, but had a powerful pair of hands, and was fond of singing.

Mick O’Malley

Mick O’Malley, a Mayo man, did not work as hard but did enough for what he got.  He had a friendly manner, and liked his pint.

Stephen and Pat Reaney

Tuam was a good place to hear a song or a tune on market day, which was Saturday, or on fair day.  Two very talented musicians who used to do the rounds were brothers Stephen and Pat Reaney, who played the flute and the fiddle.  These people had names, and were more or less integrated into the rural society of the time.

Tom the Bottle and Patsy the Sticks

More on the fringes must have been the people who were know by their nicknames – men like Tom the Bottle and Patsy the Sticks.  Tom didn’t collect bottles and Patsy had no sticks, they both worked in houses around Barnaderg.

Yes Indeed Sir

Another man who didn’t work, was known as “Yes Indeed Sir”.  He used to sleep in  in haylofts or sheds, after giving up his pipe and matches, for obvious reasons.  In the morning, he’d be given a cup of tea’, take back his smoking and be off on his way.

The Man in the Sailor Cap

The Man in the Sailor Cap had no legs; he sat in a three-wheeled car and propelled himself along using two short hand-pikes.  He slept in barns and sheds and would not accept any help.

The Preacher

Then there was the Preacher who stood on a box in the Square in Tuam on a Saturday evening to preach to the lads standing at the Town Hall corner.  I conclude by saying “All those poor people have gone to their eternal rest now.  I know they are in heaven because they went through hell in this life”.



This page was added on 11/01/2020.

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