1964, Teady McErlean and Building Dreenan


Apologies, I have not been posting much in recent months. I have not been writing anything at all. But the creativity is still there, and I have been working in the evenings, on enhancing a lot of old photos, for future publication.

I trust that you are all keeping well and managing to somehow navigate this mad world. 

By the way, thank you for the emails. They make it all worthwhile.

We all, as individuals and families, have our trials and tribulations. Nobody escapes unscathed. Sitting here this evening, I cannot help but reflect back to this same night 35 years ago, Thursday 3rd September 1987. The news came through from Spain, that mum had been killed while crossing the street.  She had been on holiday, in Fuengirola (on the Costa Del Sol) with her best friend, a fellow nurse from Antrim, Mary Dornan.

The news, delivered by Brian Quinn (Wild Duck hotel owner at the time, from Portglenone) along with another family friend, came around 11pm.   It was five years, to the month, since dad’s car accident. It was devastating news. Crushing. She was 48 years old.

Septembers are always very difficult.

But where does the time go to.  Uncle Stanley used to often reflect, every summer when we cut silage and baled hay, on how quickly his life had flown. And it’s true. We are only here, but for a short time.

Time is our greatest resource.

With time, there are always possibilities and opportunities.

 

Ok, in October last year, Adrian and Adeline Cherry very kindly sent me a couple of lovely 1960s photos, taken in our yard. Thank you so much!

Adeline is Alfie Brown’s daughter and lived in Eden, a mile up the road from our farmhouse. Two of the images were taken in our yard.  Given that it was sunny, and I was walking, the photos were probably taken around mid 1966.

adeline brown alfie richard dreenan 1960s
Adeline Brown, Richard Mulholland and Alfie Brown, Dreenan, 1966

These ‘new’ photos got me thinking of that era, and the building of our house.

I had a perusal through the albums of material that mum kept. It was a delight to discover that she had retained the receipts (from November 1964) for the building materials, from local supplier Teady McErlean of Clady.

Teady McErlean of Clady
November 1964, house construction materials order, Teady McErlean of Clady

Teady McErlean of Clady

Teady McErlean of Portglenone

Baby Love

On the day I was born, in November 1964, my father was digging the foundations for our bungalow in Dreenan.  His brother Stanley was helping him. Wallace Bruce and Sammy Haw, the builders, were also there. 

The news came through of the birth, from the Waveney Hospital, some 13 miles away in Ballymena, and all were delighted.  Stanley gave his brother fifty pence.

Mum and dad would have been so happy, their first child born that day (and ultimately only), as well as the start of the construction of their first ever house.

It was a moment in time and the start of a major new chapter in my parents’ lives. They had married in the summer of 1961 and, since then, had been living at dad’s parents’ house, in Eden.   That house, on a hill, was visible across the fields.  It was less than a mile away.

Starting Over

My father had three siblings, Charlotte, Samuel and Stanley.  Despite being the oldest male, the homestead was being left to the youngest.  Stanley was the apple of his mother’s eye.  Although dad had put a lot of work into Eden, at 35 years old, with the building of the bungalow in Dreenan, he was moving out to start afresh. 

A lot of work lay ahead, across the next ten years, building the bungalow, building the silo, the lean-to, and the large modern cage-house, the new byre, renovating and plastering outhouses, concreting the yard, plus many other things. After the bungalow was built, he did the majority of the work himself. I often wonder how he managed it.

Sadly, there are no photos, that I am aware of, of the build in Dreenan.  But the construction took place from mid-November 1964, until the summer of 1965. 

Back in that era, there was no easy credit available.  Thus, you finished decorating and furnishing a room, as and when you could afford it.   The spare room (as it was known) never got carpeted, nor saw wallpaper and furniture, until 1979. It ultimately became the biggest bedroom in the house.

The Music of late 1964

So what songs would my parents have been listening to on the radio at this time.

During October and early November, the big hit in the local charts was Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman.’  The song spent a total three weeks at number one.  Sandie Shaw’s ‘There’s Always Something There to Remind Me’  reached the pinnacle by late October. By mid November, the Supremes were number one with ‘Baby Love.’ In early December, the Beatles reached number one with ‘I Feel Fine.’  It stayed on the top spot for five weeks.

Not a bad set of songs to introduce Trudger to the world!

 

 

 

Builders, Wallace Bruce and Sammy Haw

The overall house construction was completed rather quickly. My parents always spoke very fondly of the builders Wallace Bruce and Sammy Haw.  Those same two builders also went on to renovate the Mulholland family home at Eden, five or six years later.  I was just about old enough, to have some sparse memories of this Eden renovation era. A key memory, as a child, is being amazed at the gear change handle, that came out horizontally from the steering column, on the builder’s car.

If I am not mistaken, and my memory is not precise, the total construction cost of our house in Dreenan, was between 1100 and 1200 pounds, i.e. materials and labour. Dad would mention the cost a few times over the years.  He would quote a precise figure, like 1120 pounds. But my memory is not great.

Eleanor Mulholland & Richard Mulholland, Ireland, late 1970s
Eleanor Mulholland & Richard Mulholland, at home in Dreenan, late 1970s

Teady McErlean, Clady

On looking across local Ulster newspapers, Teady advertised on ten different occasions in 1964.  All ten adverts appeared in the Belfast Telegraph, one advert was in late August, six were in September and three appeared in early October.

Presumably this indicated that autumn was a slower period in the rural construction industry.

Here is one of those advertisements.  It is interesting reading about the type of things on sale in that era, along with the prices.

Teady McErlean Ltd. Clady, Portglenone
W.D. Surplus Bargains
TABLES — Light Oak Draw-leaf Dining Tables at 4 pounds 10 shillings
Enamel-top Kitchen Tables at 2 pounds
Tables, 8ft. by 2 ft. 9 inches, Oak, at 6 pounds
Various Tables from 1 pound.

CHAlRS — Fireside or Easy Chairs at 3 pounds.
Dining-room Chairs at 1 pound.
Various Chairs from 10 shillings.

BEDS — Oak Panel End Beds, with Springs, Double Size, 6 pounds.
Single, 4 pounds 10 shillings.

MOTORS – 3-Phase Electric, 1 Horse Power – 3 Horse Power.
Single Phase, one-quarter Horse Power,
and
Single Phase. 2 Horse Power (unused).
Very cheap.

Phone: Mr. Clarke, Portglenone 288

Belfast Telegraph, Thursday 1st, Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd October, 1964

 

Trudger

"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

14 thoughts on “1964, Teady McErlean and Building Dreenan

  1. Dear William, thank you for sharing…

    The loss of those closest to us never seems to get any easier. The years give us time to adjust to life without them …. not so sure about time healing …it still feels pretty raw. (3rd September is a sad day here too, along with 10th November)

    I grew up knowing these songs too, now they are family favourites…

    Had been thinking of you recently and hoped you were OK.

    Take care..S

    1. Thanks, Sarah, for the lovely message. I am very sorry to hear of your 3rd September and 10th November days.

      You are right, like you, I haven’t experienced much healing over time. Three very special people departed from my life, in 1982, 1986 and 1987. Despite the years, the rawness is still there and presumably always will be. The daily thoughts and memories will be with me, til the end.

      Yes, music-wise, the 1960s and 1980s were two awesome eras for music. When talking about building our bungalow above, I just had to insert a little gem, called Build, a hit by the Housemartins in 1987.

      All my very best,

      William

  2. We are happy to read from Trudger again. Even, if the occasion is a sad one. Time does not heal all wounds! We wish you strength, and hope that you find good moments in good music. Lots of hugs, A&B

    1. Many thanks Antje for the message. Yes, time doesn’t heal life’s deepest wounds.

      All my very best to you and Bismark. In my prayers.

  3. Lovely to hear from you again. My condolences, I am obviously much older than you having been born in 1946 and the losses we experience always leave a deep sadness and longing.

    On another note, I am still looking for my ancestors’ family Dr. David Mark and Elizabeth McLernon.

    I have found the record for their daughter Margaret Ann Mark and the Cunningham Church Parish records, however I can find only one other person with the name “McLernon and I do not know how they are connected, if they are.

    I have found a DNA connection to a family whose Ancestor was Thomas Mark married to a Rose Ann McKelvey, born about the late 1790s to 1801, the same time period of my family. They are mentioned in the 1851 Census of Ballycreagh in Antrim.

    I live in Australia and have no idea of where these places are, but I would be very grateful if anyone can give me any hints at all.

    Once again, my sincere condolences at this sad time for you.

    Gwyneth Amphlett

    1. Hello,
      The areas are all very near Ballymena. I encourage you to contact Roots Revealed, a professional genealogical and family research service. Natalie Bodle is thorough and really quite reasonable. She will advise you of the probability of finding results based on available resources. She is the best! Good luck and best regards.
      Marcia Taylor

      1. Thank you very much Marcia – I have never heard of that service. I will certainly look into it and am most grateful for your response. Kind regards, Gwyneth

    2. Gwyneth,
      If you internet-search for ‘Irish Genealogy’ and ‘Irish Townlands’, you should find two excellent websites. Both are sensitive to the spelling of names. There are plenty of McLernon’s in the civic records, but also try M’Lernon/Mc Lernon/MacLernon/etc. The spelling of the townland names have often changed, yours might now be Ballycregagh.
      Good luck,
      Barry

    3. Hi Jessica, thanks for taking the time to reply and for the kind words.

      I cannot add much more than what Marcia and Barry have already said.

      The Cunningham reference is I imagine a reference to the church in Cullybackey, just a few miles from Ballymena.

      Ballymena is the main regional town in the area. The other nearby places, like Cullybackey, are smaller rural villages.

      Best regards,

      William

  4. William,
    The memory of Dixie, and the circumstances, are important to the us in the extended ‘family’, she is a 6th cousin (thereabouts).
    Barry

  5. Thank you for personally sharing things that many of us have in common. I recently found a receipt, 70 years old, for a wheelbarrow, fence wire and posts. My father had acquired rather steep property where he lived out his days. For 12 years since his death, it has been a difficult task to sort and dispose of everything. Still struggling. Please continue your posts.

    1. Marcia, thank you for taking the time to respond and for the kind words.

      Yes, all of us that are left, to carry on, carry the memories and sorrows.

      Sorry to hear about your dad. Yes, it can be very difficult to look through the items left behind. That is amazing, finding that 70 year old receipt for fencing material and a wheelbarrow! It’s very difficult, looking across all the things left behind, accumulated across a lifetime.

      All my best regards *big hug-

      William

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