search of the Lynch mob
This article is a follow-up from the lady who kept us amused
with the story about the little doll that said "Mamma".
The interest that has been taken in that lovely little story
is just incredible - it ranged from the Loney to the Whiterock,
then to Poleglass. Divis Flats, Twinbrook and back to the
source. Una Lynch, who came from Massareene Street but has
resided in the South of England for the past 50 years or
so. Although now resident in Hertfordshire (pronounced Hartfordshire),
Una is a Falls woman through and through, which means she
loves a laugh, but dont try to be too smart or you
will get put in your corner. In the era I am writing about
you had to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, these
women had the resolve of iron - they had to have as times
Like so many of us do, Una has fond memories of the black
kettle sitting on the hearth, the money for rent, coal and
society sitting neatly on the mantlepiece, the tin bath
on the back door, milkmen, laundry men, lemonade men, the
man on the bike who sharpened the scissors by peddling like
a demon, the window cleaners and Mup and Yup,
the rapper-uppers who made sure you didnt
sleep in for work. The rapper-uppers modus operandi
was simple, they would bang on the front door shouting Yup?
and the reply would come back at them from the top window
Una tells me about an Auntie Rosie who lived at the bottom
of Baker Street - apparently she was a cousin of the Straneys.
Rosie taught Una and her sister Mary how to knit and the
Doherty family showed them great love for as long as she
The thing is, Una would love to know more about her family,
where she came from, her neighbours and all that.
I wonder does Una remember what a sprazzy or
a tanner was. How much was a make
or a Barney Dilling?
And the toughest of the lot, how much was a wing
Well, Una, to save you any bother they were a sixpence,
a hapenny, a shilling and a penny!I was going to put
greyhound in there but there but nobody had
too many of these in those days (a greyhound, of course,
was a pound note).
Una mentions a man I knew well, terrazzo-layer Tommy Madden,
who came from Baker Street and died at a young age. Una
is right when she writes that he was a lovely man who would
buy them coal brick for the fire and black liquorice all
sorts to eat. Tommy used to come into the Glenowen years
later along with Bap Fitzpatrick and Seansy Wilson, the
Una tells me her Granda Lynch was a blacksmith and she remembers
he wore a long leather apron and had a photo of himself
with horses. He also had a blue Irish terrier that had Albert
Street on its toes all day.
Tommy Maddens great mate was boxer Joe Anderson, another
product of the Immaculata and also from Baker Street, and
sadly no longer with us. I contacted Peter Lynch from the
Whiterock for a chat, but he was originally from the Old
Lodge Road where he got myself and the brilliant Sammy Simms
to play for Johnny Logans Lodgeville football team.
Despite his North Belfast beginnings, Peter says he will
make a few inquiries for Una and if he can help, he will.
There was a Jimmy Lynch but he was always in the bookies,
Una writes he died of cancer in England about eight years
ago. John Lynch lived at No. 20 Massareene Street and some
of his neighbours were Spike McCormick, the
Hannas, the Conlons, the Curries, the Bradys, Matt McGuckian,
the Voyles, John Kavanagh of Brookville fame, the Boyles,
Crosseys shop, Bridie Doran, the Canavans, the Crillys,
Jimmy Kempton, the Girvans, the Wilsons, the McGurks, docker
John Power, Bendo McKee, John OHanlon,
And its just registered in my head that Massareene
Street could have had some boxing and football exponents
on show as there were five All-Ireland Champions in that
lot. Back to Una Lynch who started all this...
I met a woman last week and she said her sister was a great
friend of Una Lynch and that the article had helped fill
a few gaps in their early lives, and when I told her Una
had sent me her telephone number in Stevenage, she was delighted
and asked me to give her the number. I had to decline until
I spoke to Una myself, I think thats the proper thing
to do. Una wrote in her last letter that she hoped I was
not getting bored with all this and asked me to please accept
her thanks in regard to me having helped her find her lovely
little godmotherEileen Shannon (McCorey) who lives
in Twinbrook and has been in touch with Una. They had a
great chat. Believe me, its a pleasure helping anyone
when it ends as nicely as that.
Una writes she feels real gratitude towards everyone who
has been so kind to responding to us, what might be called
the Lynch mob, their names are Mary, Roy, and Una Lynch.
As far as Mr Thomas goes, he lived in a caravan at Stoneyford
and had great brass ornaments with massive glass covers
on them and it seems that Granny Lynch smoked a white clay
pipe, she also owned a wind-up record player that carried
on it a huge horn. Granny also made red jellies for Una
when she was coming out of school, she kept them in cold
water as there was no fridge.
Una goes on that granny sold needles and thread round the
doors when she was younger. I would love to know if
anyone knew my Granny Minnie, we have no other information,
only my memories.
Her granny worked in the mill with no shoes and along with
her, also in bare feet, was Mary Shannon, her godmothers
mum, who was Unas best friend and wrote all her letters
As you can see this is a woman searching for her past and
I think she will get a good piece of it. Time waits for
no man or woman - just keep on searching! And Una, if there
is any way I can help you just ask!
I can finish by saying that when I rang Una Lynch I found
that she has one of the kindest outlooks on life that I
have ever encountered.
It is obvious she has had her difficult times, as have we
all, but she has a humour second to none. She spoke of the
Lynches, the Dohertys, the Maddens, the Shannons, etc, and
its a certainty she will encounter them somewhere
along the way. If anyone has any knowledge on the subject
just let me know as I have a feeling it will make a certain
lady feel like shes six years old again.
Courtesy of the Andersonstown News