Billy ‘sawed through half of Ulster’

Billy Turkington relaxing outside his home in Waringstown. INLM5212-212
Billy Turkington relaxing outside his home in Waringstown. INLM5212-212

A character known as ‘chainsaw Billy’ from Waringstown claimed that he had ‘sawn through half of Ulster’ in 1977.

Seventy eight year old Billy Turkington lived in a house formerly used as a village blacksmith’s shop.

Billy Turk (he cut the -ington off his surname because it was too big a mouthful to pronounce) was one of the last few remaining characters of old Waringstown.

He was known virtually province-wide for his ability with a chainsaw and said: “Regularly I would have been called to cut timber on the Faulkner estates.”

If was a reference to the fact that his skills were recognised by the late Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner.

So busy was Billy at one time that he needed a stock of ten chainsaws which he proudly collected.

But by 1977, because of the after effects of a stroke, he had to give up his lifelong love of tree felling although he did keep one saw as a souvenir.

Down the years many of the villagers, including members of the Waring estate, called on Billy to fell dangerous or obstructively situated trees.

More often than not he would travel to other parts of the province, hence the claim that he had sawn through half of Ulster.

By 1977 Billy was far from the forest and did not venture far from his main street home, content to spend winter evenings in front of a log fire or the summer days on the doorstep of his cottage.