By James Francis Rafferty (Raftery)
|In the year 1969, on the third day of May,
From Kennedy to Heathrow via TWA,
We were met at the airport by Jim and Irene,
Our senior daughter-in-law, she is a queen.
At Radnage, High Wycombe, we met with their brood
Seven wonderful children, beautiful and good.
And if there were nights we stayed up too late,.
it was because of their craving to play Crazy Eight.
Through the old Tower of London, we took a hike
Where many an Irish head adorned a spike.
At Westminster Abbey, we saw the tombs
Of England's old monarchs, also palaces and ruins.
From High Wycombe, the tenth, we left with great care
Across England and Wales and by boat to Rosslare.
Saw the best scenes of Ireland -- South, Midland and West
With many hours driving, we'd shop, dine, then rest.
On the sixteenth of May, we left Galway Bay.
After forty-eight years, I would see Castlereagh.
But arriving in town, I soon missed the Vans
Patrols, Auxiliaries, R I C Black and Tans.
We had passed up the old place we once called home,
For nothing remained, not a tree or a stone.
There thirteen were born in that little place
None became famous, but none brought disgrace.
The oldest are gone, may God give them rest
In St. Raymonds, New York, Castlerea and the West.
A new house was built where we once played carefree
May God bless that home and all its family.
Returning from town, we spied Carraghs Road
We knew we'd arrived at our one-time abode.
We were greeted by Jane, Martin, Ann and family
With a display of affection and hospitality.
Jim drove us to the graves of our forebears
Where we said some brief prayers and shed a few tears.
Drove that night to Strokestown to a "Singing Rib" bar
With those singers the Beatles are not on a par.
God bless those young pub singers, so jovial and real.
Sean, Tommy, Joe Giblin and young J. McNeill.
The bar owner needs them to sell whiskies and beers
He won't gain from their trade -- they're all Pioneers.
God bless Jim and Martha, they can't be beat.
For their Mother and Father, this was their treat.
And Georgie, assigned to Scandanavian Air,
Contrived with Martha Jane for a reduction in fare.
And the rest of our family all gave a lift
On the night ere departure they all brought a gift
We are proud of our Boys, so young and so fair
All served their Country -- Guard, Army and Air.
Their uncles, Tom and Mike, who came here in their prime
fought Chateau Thierry-Belleau Woods, the Hindenburg Line.
And later their young cousins, the Winstons J. and J. ,
From the Far South Pacific to Tokyo Bay.
Now Jimmie, our pilot, he carried great loads
In his big Oldsmobile on those steep, narrow roads.
We are glad he returned to his family so dear
Without scratch on his car from briar or steer.
Trien School on its rolls once had hundreds to call.
Today, I'm informed, it has thirty-three in all.
But if we had teachers like pretty Maureen,
I doubt if I'd ever departed from Trien.
We are very grateful, we owe her so much
And hope and expect she will keep in touch.
Next day, Jim and Martha and Irene so fair
Took off for Roscommon, Dublin, Rosslare.
Their visit was brief, but they were not free
To ignore the call of their own Country.
Martha Jane to New York, her vacation o'er
And Jim was assigned to Germany's shore.
To Moorefield in Galway, the next day went we
We are grateful to Bridget for her hospitality.
To her brother and family, we're indebted indeed.
Jimmie furnished his car, whatever the need.
So now, though the Rafterys never gained fame,
We leave many behind us to bear a proud name.
Let's hope that with honor and calmness of mein,
They'll preserve the tradition of old Cregameen.
Our visit too early to wander carefree
There were many we missed we'd love to see.
But one never knows, it may seem like a dream,
That one day again we may see Cregameen.
God Willing -- Jim.