The Tin Chapel Men
In my father’s day there were many crusades against the demon drink, in fact there was a slogan popular with politicians of the time, “Ireland Sober, Ireland Free”. Hence it was no surprise when a company of evangelists appeared in local halls around the country, preaching about the evils of drink among other things. They were known variously as The Hot Gospellers, The Sankey Mudie Men and The Tin Chapel Men. Incidentally, men whose surnames were Sankey and Mudie were associated with this movement.
The modus-operandi was the same wherever they appeared. A local hall would be hired and leaflets advertising a free evening lecture distributed around the town and free tea and biscuits might even be suggested. So the hall would be peopled by a selection of layabouts, drunks and those who had nothing better to do and the meeting would begin with one of the preachers speaking about the evils of drink.
To illustrate the point he would hold up a glass of water in one hand and a common earth worm in the other and he would say “See what I hold in my hands, a glass of God’s own fresh water and a lowly earth worm. Now I drop the worm into the glass and you can see he swims about quite happily. But now I show you a glass of the demon whisky, I drop a worm into it and the unfortunate creature shrivels up and dies immediately. And now, my dear people, what lesson may we learn from this?” He pauses dramatically, holding the glass containing the whisky and the now dead worm and a semi drunken voice from the audience says, “If you drink whisky you’ll never get worms”.
All I can say at this stage is, if it didn’t happen it should have!
A man whose neighbour was recovering from a serious illness was asked by a friend how the man was doing and he replied,
“Well, sure he’s between the bed and the fire.”
A tourist being shown over the Irish countryside by a local, paused when he saw some red berries growing on a plant at the roadside.
“Tell me,” he said, “what are those berries?” “Those are blackberries,” he was told.
“But they are not black, they’re red,” said the tourist.
“That’s true,” said the guide, “but you see sir, they’re always red when they’re green!”
By Hook or by Crook
There is a saying attributed to Oliver Cromwell concerning his approach to Waterford, Hook Lighthouse being on one leg of the estuary of the Suir river and Crook being a townsland on the far side of the estuary.
In my opinion this saying has nothing to do with Cromwell, but instead refers to the terms on which an old time landlord let a cottage on his estate to a tenant.
The conditions allowed the tenant to gather firewood on the estate limited to what could be obtained by Hook (meaning a Billhook) or by Crook meaning a long pole with a metal hook at one end by which rotten branches could be pulled down from the trees.
About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017
There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.
Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.
Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory: