By John P. Timmon, (late of Navan)
Like blooms in the wildwood are memories of childhood,
Indelible thrills, which forever remain, of happenings we realised
Of environment we cherished;
When our young hearts were pure and untainted our brain,
Things comic amused us, strange things enthused us;
Thats how in my old age I come to explain,
As I oft sit and ponder, of my memory I'm fonder,
Than the first time I wandered up Rafferty's Lane.
How well I remember that noon in December,
And crisp frigid air of that far distant day;
Father Christmas was pacing, his reindeer were racing,
Peace and plenty accompanied the yuletide display;
The farmers are tilling, the labourers willing,
Their efforts rewarded - their work not in vain;
The sunshine of affluence brightened the country
And warmed the homesteads, in Rafferty's Lane.
Widespread employment, bought broadcast enjoyment -
Most mills were full manned and running full speed,
Claytons was soaring, Chadwicks was scoring
Luke Smyth and Spicers were well in the lead,
A little time later came Spicer the greater -
John the Colossus of heart and of brain,
New methods using, new ideas infusing,
Improved the wage earnings of Rafferty's Lane.
Meath's fiscal expansion was seen in each mansion,
Where a fox-hunting talent spent money galore,
The fame of Meath's horses, its foxhounds and gorses,
Brought sportsmen from many a far distant shore
Who spared no expenses to aide over the fences
Which divided the fields of this great hunting plain.
Navan was the centre of this field of fortune,
And at the centre of Navan was Rafferty's Lane.
The big hunting stables kept food on the tables,
At thousands of helpers and grooms by the score;
The music of hounds and the blast of the horn
Brought health, wealth and happiness right to our door.
Each stable a market, a financial target,
Where mountain peak prices brought hay, straw and grain.
Money was flying, both selling and buying,
And some of it landed in Rafferty's Lane.
Amongst the fine horses, which met at Meath gorses,
And used hunting as an ideal method to train,
Were many great racers, Grand National chasers,
Who won the Grand Aintree time and again;
Manifesto and Seaman, and Troytown the demon,
Who if spared could have proved himself best of the chain;
Major Gerrard's grand colt could have made a new record
And millionaires up in Rafferty's Lane.
If ever I return, once more to sojourn
In my home where I wandered, when I was a boy;
Old friends when I meet them, fondly I'll greet them
With greatest of friendship and unalloyed joy.
But my finest ambition, is to meet in addition
The friends of my childhood if any remain;
I'll shake their old fists with delight and affection
Who met me a child up in Rafferty's Lane.