My Christmas Childhood/h2>


I was born over the shop in North Main Street, Naas. My sister Kate runs a very successful business there today. We lived beside McHugh's shop which in itself was a little thriving industry. It is now Ferris O'Reily and in my youth there was a Snug, Grocery, Bar, lounge and Restaurant. Down the yard they bottled their own stout. Milked the cows, reared pigs and operated a garden which brimmed over with vegetables. This is now the car park for Superquin.

Each week Pat King brought me around by Johnstown and home by the Racecourse with the grocery deliveries. We did this my horse and card and with dim lights we went down the main road to Johnstown which is now a super highway. Hence the poem Deliveries.

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We yoked up the horse and cart
In McHugh’s Yard
Packed the groceries
And got ready for our trip
To Johnstown and Forenaughts
I lit the lamps on the cart
And equipped with a blanket
We headed out on the road
At Johnstown in Birchalls shop
Like an aged workman
I drank a pint of milk
And felt the effect of it for the journey

The heavens cleared on leaving the village
And a cloudless sky revealed a universe
Speckled with diamonds
Leaving me spellbound with the beauty
Pat King introduced me to the Christmas Star
The cold disappeared from my bones
In my minds eye I saw Joseph and Mary
On their way to Bethelehem
And I felt the hazards of their journey
On the glistening road
As the stars fell from the heavens to welcome
The Boy Child

The constant clockwork precession
Of the horse trotting on the road
Echoed his sound for miles
How we found our way in the pitch
With dim lamps for lights for lamps
Was a mystery
but the driver and horse knew the way
And I felt no danger
The dark interrupted by the horse lights
With the smell of smoke in my nose
That would fix this journey in my mind forever