BY ANGUS HOUSTON
I've been away for forty years, but now I'm coming home
To a little place so dear to me, but from where I once did roam
But as the Belfast taxi that brought me from the boat
Drove into Lisburn's "Market Place" sure a lump came to my throat
And shovin at his shoulder, I asked him if he'd stop
Pull up mi boy right over there, at Charlie Halls oul shop.
But as the taxi halted and I got my cases out
Sure I stood there all bewildered, Charlie Halls was not about.
For in his place there's shoes no less, of this I soon took heed
The oul shops now taken over by a gentleman called Reid
Now there's a tunnel that runs below this shop, right underneath the square
And they used to say in days gone by, there's a ghost that lived down there
And yi know there's some that saw it, I'm sure there's some do still
But it must be the best shod ghost about, this Ghost of Pipers Hill.
Then I slowly turned towards the clock, standing proudly in the square
I recalled the oul assembly Rooms, and the Saturday shows held there
And yi know I can remember, the acts and even names
There was Belfast's Ruby Murray, Jimmy Young and Tommy James
Tam Raymond was the compere, boy he could set the crowd alight
And yi know for just a couple of bob, you could have a great out night.
sure people then were more content, their needs a whole lot less
Now a days they're all up tight, it all just seems a bit of a mess.
Then I turned and walked towards Smithfield, thought the centre of the Square
I looked to see the Picture House, but yi know it wasn't there.
But I can well remember the queues along Bow street
For if and when you got inside, you were lucky to get a seat
It was two bob for the balcony, the stalls a shillin bit
And you queued up in Graham Gardens, at the back door for the Pit
Now the Pit was only sixpence, though the seats were much the same
But the animals that went in there, well they weren't exactly tame
Ach! but sure I'm only jokin, it was all good clean fun
A wee bit rowdy here perhaps, but never any real harm done.
Now over at the Corners, was the General Hardware Store,
Owned by JC Patterson, it was always to the fore.
You could just about get anything, from hens teeth to a bit and brace
But looked at what its turned to now, it's now some sort of Eatin Place.
And yi see the place next door to them, I remember it for sure
The Lisnagarvey Cafe, owned by wee McClure.
Ach!, wee Billy was a character, of that there is no doubt
i daren't have blinked and eye lid, or your towel try to fix
For you'd miss the show, it was time to go as Marshall called out"next"!!
I remember to the Tin Smiths, the Saddlers Shop and all
But the only one left in this race is the Draper John McCall.
Now over there at the other side, if you care to take a look
Jim Hanna had the Blacksmiths Shop, right there beside the Inglenook.
Now Davy Jones was a wee small man, as I'm sure some can recall
The Smallest in the World they said, just over two foot tall
But Jim and Albert Hanna made a motor car for this man
No bigger than a go-kart, picture the scene if you can
And the multitudes came to the town , just to this wee small car
And as often as not you' d see it parked over there at Nessons Bar
or it's here he a played his party piece, for he liked to play the fool
He'd turn a pint glass upside down, and use it for a stool
Ah, but here what about Linen Hall Street, for there's not a trace at all
For right beside the Blacksmiths Shop was the oul Hibernian Hall
and over there across the road, was Johnny Watsons store
And a family they called Coulter, lived right in there next door.
There were houses here on both sides, for I remember still.
down past the IOGT Hall, and into Pipers hill.
There was Bullock' Court right over there, and up there was the green
It ran back there towards Church Street, if you see just what I mean
Ach but what about oul Watson and the yarns he used to spin
When something you had ordered, and he hadn't got in
For he used to spin these tales of woe, and there's one that I recall
For my mother sent me there one time, when I was very small
About some gutty slippers that she'd ordered weeks ago
Ach! tell her son there not in yet, for the oul boats very slow.
Then she sent me back next week again, and Watson said to me
Tell your mother the boat went down, it sunk in the Irish Sea.
And yi know that in the years I grew up, I thought of the Irish Sea
And I thought there's a boat load of gutties there, and a pair that belonged to me..
The thinkings of a child no doubt, it's pity they don't last
But the innocent ways of childhood days, just leaves its all too fast.
Now I hope I haven't caused offence as I've reminisced with you
For believe me when I tell you, that it's the last thing I would do
For the people that I've mentioned here. I hold in high esteem
And offence is not intended. however it may seem.