Memories of Smuggling the Turkeys – December 1950

The exciting time of Christmas was all around the air
The turkeys were being fattened up for sale in Carrick fair
They were the vital cog for us to make the season bright
A good price for the turkeys would bring joy and great delight.

But the markets, they were in decline, that rates were very bad
So my father called his friends, up in Drumbee and Annagad
To smuggle up turkeys it seemed a better plan and
A night was picked to do the run and dodge the customs man.

The birds were tied together, by the legs with binder twine
And to carry the odd twelve pound hen, I was told the job was mine
With all things ready for move, and darkness had come down
The men arrived just as they planned without a doubt or frown.

Being big and strong, they carried four, in pairs across each shoulder
And Tony he as fit for two, him being them few years older
So with everyone well loaded as northwards we did amble
Our destination was Drumbee to Hugh and Gretta Campbell.

We walked along the grassy verge, being quiet as quiet could be
As we headed with the Turkeys from Magoney to Drumbee
While travelling on through Keenogue, we sheltered from the rain
With our good friend Harry Kieran, in his shed along the lane.

After waiting for an hour or so, the rain stopped coming down
Then someone passed the word about, the Customs were around
When the coast was clear, we headed on; in God we placed our fate
And we slipped across the Border line, at Owen Keenan’s gate.

We edged along quite steadily till we reached Campbell’s shed
And left he turkeys safely there, when it was time for going to bed
Then with our mission there complete, myself, my dad and brother Tony
We walked the road back home again, to the townland of Magoney.

I often think about those men, who came along that night
Most since have crossed the great divide, to be in God’s bright light
And I think about their helping hand, without a charge of fee
The night we took the turkeys, from Magoney to Drumbee

Brian Dooley – November 2002


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