Other Tyrone Rhymes and Sayings

John Johnson Marshall
Chapter VI (4) - Start of Chapter

“All to the one side like Clogher,” is a saying that has become proverbial. It arose from the houses being built only on one side of the street, the wall of the Bishop’s palace demesne occupying the other. There is also another form—“Clogher is all on one side like the handle of a jug.” For its Munster equivalent see chapter on County Cork rhymes and sayings.

An able and rather original County Tyrone clergyman of bygone days one Sunday in the course of his remarks when expounding the 122nd Psalm used the peculiarities of the neighbouring towns to illustrate and make clear its meaning as follows:— “You see brethren that Jerusalem was compactly built together. It was not a long straggling street like Cookstown; it was not like Clogher, all built on one side with the Bishop’s palace on the other; but it was a compact town like Dungannon, where every man’s purloin lay on his neighbour’s gable.”

There used to be a favourite rhyme with schoolboys:—

“Augher, Clogher, and Fivemiletown,

Sixmilecross, and seven mile roun”

There is however a better form of it:—

Augher, Clogher, and Fivemiletown,

Sixmilecross, and seven mile roun,’

Bould Ballygawley will knock them all down.”

A complimentary saying is “Full and flowing over like Ballynahatty measure.” Ballynahatty is in the vicinity of Omagh and gives the name to a Presbyterian congregation. When a person is very shrewd it is said of he or she as the case may be, that “they could keep Omagh (jail).”

“Upstairs in Carnteel,” is equivalent to “nowhere,” there being no two-storied houses there at the time the saying come into vogue. Carnteel was once notable as the place where a famous fair was held, but has now dwindled to a few houses.

Another Tyrone appellation is “Killyman Wrackers (wreckers),” which was probably applied in the latter part of the eighteenth century, to a body of “Peep of Day Boys” in that district who had been particularly active in dealing with the aggressions of the “Defenders.” Plowden in his Historical Review, II. 548, quotes from a speech of Grattan’s in reply to “Four resolutions introduced by the Attorney General for dealing with outrages by the Defenders.”

“In many instances this banditti of persecution threw down the houses of the tenantry, or what they called “racked” the house so that the family must fly or be buried in the grave of their own cabin.” This was a partisan speech made in the course of debate, and the sentence is not quoted as a correct and impartial presentation of the facts but as an illustration of the origin of the term.

Every Dyan man in whatever part of the world he may be is proud to announce that he hails from “No. 1 The Dyan,” this little Tyrone village being the seat of the premier lodge of the Orange Order. There is also the now obselete term “the Dyan slashers.” The use of “the” in this instance is to be noted. Moy (famous for its horse fair), is generally spoken of in the surrounding district as “the Moy,” and in the Irish State Papers of Queen Elizabeth’s time, Newry is always written as “The Newrie.” Dyan retains its gaelic form somewhat softened, and the definite article preceding it although anglicised is still used by way of emphatic distinction.