Coming from the old ceili house tradition, story-telling was part of Gregory Creaney’s upbringing.
He soaked up the dramatic tales of the Cubbage family and the legend of Marjorie McCall having grown up close to the old Shankill Graveyard.
And now in retirement, Gregory has brought some of his short stories and poetry into book form for all to enjoy.
“Writing, to me, is a pure indulgence. I can lose myself in the imaginations that spring to my mind, content that whatever appears on paper is nothing more than just words that are meant to intrigue, to encourage, reminisence or simply to amuse.
“As a child spending a lot of my time in my grandmother’s house next to Shankill Graveyard I was of course reared on the folklore of the area, Marjorie and Cubbage etc. As a young man I had a family to rear and writing was never really on my mind,” said Gregory.
Though it was his kids who pushed him to write short stories. He recalls telling them bedtime stories when they were young and they were all stories he had made up himself, not from books.
That imagination, coupled with the excitement of his children, spurred him on to write in later life.
“It was only when I took early retirement and discovered the internet and social media that I joined a local site that catered to the community by encouraging the sharing of memories through the posting of old photographs and reconnecting old friends.
“I decided to try and write a poem encapsulating some of those memories and was amazed at how well it was received. That gave me the drive to carry on to writing short stories loosely based on old stories of Lurgan.
“The more appreciation of my efforts I received, the more I wanted to write until it eventually became a very important part of my life.
“I can honestly say that the satisfaction I get when I can translate thought to paper, along with the thought that people are enjoying what I write is a real driving force.
“I often see on TV programmes about the history of areas and I think, well Lurgan has a lot that could be worth doing a programme on.
“The history we have in this town should be recorded and shared and I love the thought of doing this for my my own particular area where I grew up,” said Gregory.
Many of his work was never intended for publication written only for this own pleasure and to be shared with family and friends.
But through word of mouth he decided to publish a book of his stories and poems which are an engaging look at local history and the stories handed down from previous generations.
Here are just a couple of his creative works:
Ya chikky wee bugger
Ya bluddy wee quilt
Quit that climbing
Afore ya get kilt
Your das no bigger
Than a tiddlywink
And ur mas got a mouth
Lak a Belfast sink
Shit that windy
Don’t slam the dure
Keep your mucky feet
Aff the good clean flure
Suppose you’re out fighting
Over that bluddy fleg
Don’t come runnin to me
If ya break your leg
Get away home
And gimma heads pace
Or I’ll wipe the smile
Aff that chikky face
Another half and
You’d have half a brain
And a luk on your face
That would stop a train
Magennis led his band of men o’er the low ridge of Clanbrassil
To view the land of Brownlow, his houses and his castle.
English soliders manned the bawn with musket pike and sword.
The settlers massed behind them, death or glory was the word.
They vowed to put the Papist horde a-begging on their knees
And leave those who dared to face them a-dangling from the trees.
Then a thousand Irish rebels came marching into sight.
Hard faced, armed and ready to strike them with all their might.
The attack was fierce and merciless, they slaughtered beast and folk,
Til the courage of the planters wafted off in the clouds of smoke.
Lord Brownlow knew the end of nigh, sent an imissary with a plea,
Giving all to the victorious so his family might go free.
All arms were laid upon the sod, the gates were opened wide,
But Magennis let his raiders loose in an all avenging tide.
Many soldiers met their fate that day, the Brownlows found no favour,
Thrown chained upon a peasants cart, with God their ownly saviour.
For what honour due this foreign mass who came to kill and plunder,
Forbid our tongue and our very God, had torn our lives assunder.
So much our lords had learned this day, that you sow thus may you reap.
And the only time for decency is not just when you weep.
Gregory Creaney’s book “Pensive Tales has been published by Kilmainham Tales. www.kilmainhamtales.ie.
If you are interesting in obtaining a copy please contact Gregory at 0792 8286 402 or call into the Ecig shop in William Street, Lurgan.