I came across an old poem (see below) entitled To the Old Year, written on December 27th, 1884, by Susie Troland, a Coleraine lady.  She was inspired by the year just ended, namely 1884.

In Ireland in bygone years, I have vague memories of locals, in the rural community, going out shooting on New Year’s Day. 

You would also have heard a few shots (from a shotgun being let off) across Eden, at midnight, way back then.  We never had a shotgun, so we never fired to bring the new year in.  I guess this was the old way, in place of fireworks. 

For international readers, during my first 30 plus years or so, fireworks were banned from sale.  Due to the troubles we had, all sales of fireworks were illegal (by the late 90s they were on sale again). 

So at midnight, across Eden and Dreenan, you would hear a few farmers fire a legally held shotgun to see the new year in.

I want to take this opportunity, to pass on all my thanks to the readers of the website, for your contributions and also your kindness. 

I wish you, and your loved ones, all the very best Irish wishes for the new year ahead. Standing together, in the year to come, as the 99.999 percent, we are undefeatable. We will not be divided.

Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be

One of the readers of One Irish Rover recently asked how my kittens (Lucy and Roxy) were doing.  So these two photos were taken with you in mind, Karen.   

The small kitten, Roxy (the honey coloured one above), is now 6 months old and must be 10 times her original weight when born in late June.  I could fit her in my hand easily back then.  Now she is so big.   She and Lucy have hearts of gold. 

To the Old Year

Thou art passing hence, old friend and true,
Thy sands are well nigh run;
Adieu! old year, a fond adieu!
Thy task is almost done;
Soon thou shalt rest among thy peers
Of ages long gone by,
In God’s dim treasure-house of years.
The past eternity.

We’ve grown to love thee, good old year,
Linked with our joy and pain,
The happy smile, the bitter tear,
Life’s daily loss or gain,
The hopes so frail and yet so bright
To which our heartstrings clung
When thy first moon did shed its light,
And thy New Year bells were rung.

The dreams that flashed across the brain
Of golden hours to come,
Whose light and warmth should banish pain
Like mist before the sun,
Thy spring flowers bloomed above the grave,
When hope’s bright blossoms lay,
And ere June’s roses perfume gave,
Our dreams had passed away.

A few more hours and thou shalt sleep
Within the silent past,
Wrapped in its shadows soft and deep,
Free from thy work at last;
But often in the twilight hours,
We’ll live thy days again,
And seem to grasp the self-same flowers,
And dream bright dreams again.

Susie Troland, Coleraine, December 27th, 1884.

Submitted to the Coleraine Constitution and appeared 3rd January 1885.