by Jim McCarthy
When the Angelus Bell rang on the Village Church we pupils knew it was twelve noon. Our religious instruction began immediately after the Angelus and at the end of the instruction it was lunch time. The person who looked after the village church in those days was a lady named Miss Catherine McCarthy. To us young lads she was known as Katie McCarthy. She gave her full attention to the beautifying of the village church. She was continuously sweeping, dusting and polishing the beautiful brass lamps which were used for lighting the church before the E.S.B. came to rural Ireland.
Denis Pat Costello, a native of Churchtown, now living in Greater London, in his writings mentions “Katie McCarthy”. As I mentioned Katie gave all her time to the church. One day the Diocesan Examiner came to the village school and his questions were drifted mainly on the Lords presence in the Tabernacle. The Rev. Examiner noticed one small boy who seemed to have dribbled off to another world. All of a sudden the Rev. Examiner pounced on him with the sudden question, “Who never leaves the church?”, “Katie McCarthy Father” came the instant reply.
Returning to the Master and his gold watch which was the focus of our attention as the school day wore on. The next time the Master looked at his watch it would be nearing 2:30pm when he would announce to the infants to tidy up their things and stand along by the back wall of the school facing the door. He would then open the school door and tell the class to file away quietly. At almost 5 minutes to 3 in the afternoon, he would instruct all the remaining classes to tidy up and warned them when leaving the school not to be screaming or shouting.
In those lean days of the late 1920’s or early 1930’s there was no need for the Master to tell us young lads to watch the road as motor cars were not plentiful. In the village and parish of Churchtown, there were only two or three cars. Then when all the boys were ready the Master would announce their departure by calling out the roads by which they went home. Then he would call out in a clear voice, “The School Road” then the lads from the western side of the village would file out quietly. Then a pause and the Master would again announce, “The Black Road” after that “The Chapel Road”. Then came the announcement which I was patiently waiting for “The Lodge Road” then I was away and free for another day.