Author: J. S. Doran
Turn Up the Lamp - Tales of a Mourne ChildhoodMaster Joe Doran, a Mourne man born and bred, taught for many years in a country school under Slieve Binnian, and he knew the Kingdom of Mourne and its people well. Known far outside the Mournes for his poems, stories and in particular for his books, My Mourne and Hill Walks in the Mournes, Turn Up the Lamp is the account of his boyhood in Kilkeel. This charming book casts a warm glow on the daily life and seasonal activities of the market town and fishing port up to and during the First World War. First published in 1980, Turn Up the Lamp has been reissued in hardback by Appletree Press for a whole new generation to enjoy.
Turn Up the Lamp is the refreshing account of a childhood spent in a home territory no more than six square miles in size (just as far as a boy could walk) that somehow contained a whole world of adventure just ripe for exploring. From a tussle with the local goat to swimming lessons in the harbour, a night-time excursion with the herring luggers and excitement of travelling circuses, the days just seemed to fly in. Until it was time for school, that is! Even school seemed charmed when Joe Doran's master retold the stories of the Artful Dodger, Ivanhoe, Old Scrooge and the magical happenings of the Old Celtic Romances to his classes on quiet days.
Just outside the school gates life in the tiny country town revolved around the harbour and monthly market and fair days when the streets were crowded with farm horses and carts. Schoolmates were excused if they took the day off, to help marshal the stock from farm to town. Farmers joined forces to herd cattle and sheep along the country roads and their children were kept home from school to stop the reluctant 'bastes' bolting up lanes and over hedges. The potato-picking season played even greater havoc with the school routine and many boys did not put a foot over the school step for five or six weeks in the autumn. Boys would finally return to school with new heavy boots earned through their hard work, hands as hard as teak and boasts of the purchase and use of whole packets of Woodbines!
Turn Up the Lamp also contains stories of the fishing port, and the impact of the First World War on this quiet town.
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