Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

8 Back to Killyran



Our father was not very well over the next couple of months and he gradually got worse, until one Sunday afternoon the Rector Samuel Armstrong called in after Sunday school to see him, he said to me "I think your dad should be in hospital". He went off to make arrangements and the ambulance came and took him away. We got into his car and we went up to Killyran with him. There were now nine of us living in the little railway house, Grannie, Uncle Eddie, Auntie Louie, Ernest and the six of us - Vera, Maisie, John, Muriel, baby George and myself.

Killyran Railway Station

Killyran Railway Station

The station had just three rooms and a kitchen, all the boys slept in one room and the girls in another room upstairs. The small room downstairs next to the kitchen was kept just to put anyone in who might be sick, otherwise it was used as a storage room. There was no gas, electric or running water. A turf or wood fire had to be lit every day in the big grate in the kitchen. All the cooking was done on this including the food for hens, ducks, turkeys and usually one pig. Although Killyran was just a small station it had quite a bit of land all around it. Outside buildings included a turf shed, goat house, chicken and hen house, one pig house and a cow-shed which could house up to three cows.

Vera and me started to go to Killyran school along with Ernest. Also going to school was Edna our cousin who lived just along from the school with Uncle John and Auntie Sarah. Uncle John was Uncle Eddie's brother. Auntie Louie went to Cavan hospital to see our dad, when she came back she told us that he was getting on well and that he had been playing the fiddle for the patients in the ward, which he could play very well. I did not hear anymore news for a couple of weeks, this was not unusual in those days because of transport. The only way to get to Cavan was to cycle there or hire a car. Then one day Auntie Louie took Ernest and me up to Fees farm just up the road from the station. We stood outside the cart house and before she opened the door she said "I have to tell you that your father has died". The way that she said it I expected to see him inside but when she opened the door there were all my parents few possessions strewn all over the floor. I could see my mother's bed which was made of wood and she had covered the headboard with rose pattern wallpaper, the rest of it was broken. Lying around the floor were a few pots and pans and some items of crockery. These were the bits and pieces staring at me, was this how my life would be from now on? It was then that I realised that my father had not recent­ly died but at this time he had been buried sometime before. She went on to say that we would be all staying at Killyran. Grannie had insisted on this she said there was no way that we were going to be split up, the orphan society and the church would pay some money for this. It's very difficult to explain how I felt at this time, was it all a bad dream and would I wake up and everything would be normal again?
Sadly life is not like that.
During the next few weeks I was glad that Ernest was there with me, by the way Ernest was Auntie Louie's son. He showed me how to hunt, fish, milk cows, do gardening, we got on very well together.


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