Thursday, 6 December 2012

Protesters with the Conviction to Bare All, 2004

Signature on the bottom reads 'Hugh de Lacy'. Any ideas who that might be? 

Friday, 30 November 2012

Mary M. Modesty (by T.J Gillespie)

At some show up the country Betty Stenson overheard Mary Modesty 'blabbing' to Angela Stoute.

"Singing like a canary she was," said Betty. "A hopelessly disorganised show; they had a caravan and forgot the key! I had to sit outside on a deckchair all day - no desk for the judges and competitors tickets blowing all over the place! It was then I realised she was talking about us. I could have given her a 'sock in the puss' and worst of all Mrs. Stoute was 'taking it all in' with sinful pleasure and making a mental note to put another black mark against our name What could I do, only pretend I didn't hear a thing?"

"You're right Betty," I said, "what could you do, only suffer in silence?"

"I remember the day well." Thank God it was a scorching June Sunday and the cold drinks and ice-cream were 'flying' out of the mobile fridge. We were over attentive to Her Ladyship - 'damage limitation'. HB Magnum cones to her son and daughter and a choice of Coke, Seven-up or Fanta.

Between competitions I took a platter of salad and cold meat to Her Highness and later coffee and biscuits. She had no complaints then - granted she was a 'bit exposed'. "She must have been a 'fine thing' in her youth - still has smooth limbs."

I only had a minute or two to admire the reclining beauty - then it was back to the work! "Come here!Go there! Fix this! Mind that horse!" Still I enjoyed the unexpected pleasure. "Was it so Sinful?"

The End

T.J. Gillespie, June 2000

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mugabe and the War Veterans To Make Hay in Porchfields

From Trim Focus, 26th May, 2000

Dear Mr. Editor,

My name is Ferdinard Fox, aged nine weeks and I live with my brothers Robert Emmet, Leonard Rodney and sister Pauline and our Mammy in a lovely earth near the Sheepgate in Porchfields. 

Every day is full of fun, playing on the grassy banks while Mom is off collecting tasty food from the Posh houses around Navangate. When we're tired playing we amuse ourselves watching little men, busy putting the Castle into shape or that quiet man Tom na gCapaillin, cutting grass or weeds. Mom knows him for years: "He wouldn't hurt a fly" she says and no one else interferes with us. Wilson's old dog, Skippy, comes sniffing about sometimes but we're much too sharp for him. Pauline is a great fan of Linda Gunnings but my brothers and I prefer Joe McNally's helter-skelter style of running. You can see his path round the field - we call it the McNally Trail. 

Mammy feeds us and bathes us and tells us we are the most precious babies in the world. We have nothing to do but eat, sleep and play, but without warning something terrible happened last Friday. Mom rushed in - it was our tea time. "Hush a leanaí, get into your beds this instant, I'll bring up your supper later. There's blackguradly work about - you're too young to understand". About half an hour later the thumping started. Mom said "That's a tractor and post driver - they're starting to fence off the fields." 

You've got to hand it to old Mom, with her bright green eyes, sharp velvety ears and moistened nose, she doesn't miss a thing, even if it was getting on for dusk. 

"God I think I know some of them", she half-growled, her fangs were bared and you could feel the heckles rising on the back of her neck. "It's the Burlockstown crowd alright - I can smell them and there's the general himself, deploying the spear carriers. No good will come of this, that fellow wants to take over - it's the same game Mugabe is playing in Zimbabwe." 

"But Mama," Pauline asked "how can that be, didn't nice Minister Dempsey say he was happy the field was for all the people of Trim when he got it off Mrs. Roundtree?"

"Indeed he did," said Mama, "and nice Councillors Fegan and Higgins agreed with him and so did nice Urban Councillor Cantwell and that decent man, who paid good money for the grazing this past eight years is leaving, without a word." 

"And you may depend on it they'll try to push out Freffens Show."

"Oh No, Mama", we all cried "we are so looking forward to seeing the show-jumping you're always talking about and the nice tidbits to be picked up that night, potato crisps, chocolate cookies and over-ripe pears."

"Aye, and they'll try to get rid of Tom na gCapaillín too, an old friend of mine has her earth in the Council pit at the back of Jack Quinns and she listens in on every meeting." 

"It's part of standing orders not to mention his name but they're half afraid to make a direct move against him - he has some secret magic - he's a bit of a writer you know! He learned it from Tommy Murray's Meath Writer's Circle. Old Tom won't bend the knee too easily," said Mom. "Anyway my darlings we're safe for the moment, so let ye all curl up now and like good babies and go to sleep." 

"Yes Mama" we all said obediently and soon all you could hear was contented snoring. But rest assured Moma was still on guard. 

Goodnight dear Mr Editor 

P.S. Why don't you and Mrs. Editor bring your babies down to Porchfields next Sunday so that we can see them but of course they won't see us. Bye Bye. 

Name and address with Editor

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Royal Meath Show 2012

The Royal Meath Show has been running now for over 70 years. The event takes place annually on the first Sunday in September at Porchfields in Trim, Co. Meath.

Horseman and author, T.J. Gillespie (aka Tom na gCapaillín) was there and looking sharp as the photograph will testify.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Postcript: On the Road from Thomastown

The Good Shepherd

Every winter’s night a solitary figure steps out the road from Thomastown.
Here’s how you’ll know him; 
‘Tidy bundle of hay under one arm; quarter-filled meal bag in the other’! 
“I’ll stop for a chat” 
Wintry squalls tormented us but Pat was not bothered. 
“Clover Hill; Ballinvella; Smooth Stepper; Delmaine; a great horsewoman from Kinnity and someone from Clondra.” 

I took my leave “stock of my own” and ‘tipped’ back to Trim. 
Strange how the parable of the Good Shepherd kept coming to mind. 

When next I heard, Pat was dead and buried. 
They say Peter himself was ‘on the gate’. 
“Come in a mhic-Come in!”
Down here we just say “may the green sod rest lightly on our grave, Pat.” 


PS: If you ever happen down that windswept road and the night is dark enough
Chances are you'll meet Pat still 'stepping out'. 
Make an effort for a chat;
He likes to 'keep in touch'. 

Appreciation of Pat Coffey, Thomastown, Killucan, died 8th May 1995.

The Good Shepherd originally appeared in the form of a dedication to the book I Want to Really Learn about Horses by T.J. Gillespie (aka Tom na gCapaillín).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Return of Ferdinand Fox

Dear Editor,

Do you remember me? - the cheeky cub that told you all the happenings in Porchfields. I had two brothers and a sister and a super Mammy and we lived in an earth near the Sheepgate, a great place for growing up - we knew all the 'regulars'; Linda Gunning Joe McNally, Tom na gCapaillin - that was May 2000.

In the autumn I left home and linked up with a few 'buckos' around Tara Mine. Boy! We fairly hit the hot spots in Navan; ravished the odd pheasant hatchery and poultry run - just for practice. I was cute enough to stay away from Trim - think of the 'dressing-down' I'd get from Mom: 
"You're turning into a right hooligan - a disgrace after a respectable rearing!"
But life can put manners on you. On the 13th April this year I got word - "A gang of blackguards dug out your mother's earth and killed her in cold blood and slung her body up into a fork of the beech tree - like a common criminal." I was sick with grief - blamed myself: "Why did you not stay to protect her." The cold horror of it. "I hate humans!" 

For weeks I wandered the countryside, not caring for food nor cover - scarcely knowing where I was. This morning I found myself back in Porchfields beside the Yellow Steeple and who should I see but Tom na gCapaillín. He hasn't changed a bit - same quiet gentleman. Pauline called him Bomso: she put a 'B' before everything - a slow learner - 'unusual in a woman' Mom used to say with a smile. 

I began to feel better even though a half-dozen 'hoors' of spiteful swallows never stopped buzzing me. When a fellow is down, there'll be those to pick on you! I'll find inner peace again - already people are offering sympathy. They want to see the blackguards punished. "Write a letter to the paper" they say and now I've done that. 

Thank you very sincerely, 

Your friend


Reproduced from: Trim Focus, 24th June, 2005

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Tom na gCapaillín invites you to Learn about Horses


The website of Tom na gCapaillín (TJ Gillespie) will begin publishing here soon. Tom is an avid horse enthusiast whose wisdom and advice on all matters to do with horsemanship is eagerly sought - by the experienced and novices alike.

His ideas in this field have been written down and collected in a volume entitled I Want to Really Learn about Horses. First published in 2010, it is widely read and has gone through several reprints. An e-book edition is currently in the planning stage. Details will be announced here shortly. In the meantime, the printed edition is available to buy online. Price €10 plus P&P.

Watch this space for frequent new and updates from Tom na gCapaillín, as he shares and imparts a lifetime of learning that will benefit horse enthusiasts everywhere.

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