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Games Of My Childhood


“Military Manoeuvres”, a wonderful painting from 1891, by the artist and Royal Hibernian Academy member Richard Moynan.       [It should be noted that Richard’s wife; Susanna Mary Moynan, was born here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary and both were married in the Thurles district in 1884; the same year the GAA was founded.]

Games Of My Childhood

By Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

We whipped a spinning wooden top along the road
With a flick from a bamboo stick and twine,
Or followed glossy, coloured marbles in the street,
Or, playing beds, hopped on a chalky line.
We climbed into our hobby house in the tree,
With bamboo rod and gut we fished for eels,
Or built a U.S. Fort Apache strong,
And from cakes of mucky mud made magic meals.
In that summer long ago, just out the road,
We drank the sparkling water from the well,
And played our secret agents in the trees
Vowing to die before we’d ever tell.
We hurled the morning, afternoon and night,
And pucked the leather ball along the road.
And quarrelled with a frenzy, in our fights
That movie stars would never have allowed.
We splashed in the mighty ocean of the “Lake”,
Fighting naval battles we had known,
And drank our Sunday lemonade and biscuits ate
Under a great oak tree we called our own.
And there we spun our yarns and told our dreams
And thought the day eternal and a joy,
And back to the road, to play our childhood games
Before the bed and a comic to enjoy.
The times were hard and little was there then
And everyone was poor and just the same,
But we were boys and mad to conquer men
And fight for glory, fortune and for fame.
We had our little thoughts and childhood dreams
Within our happy world of family way back then,
An ideal country of the mind, it seems,
Gone, but in memory to warm our hearts again.


Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.


1 comment to Games Of My Childhood

  • Katie

    George. Tom Ryan’s poems are so fascinating and this lovely painting will be a must to frame and hang in our office. Gosh how some of our expats will love this. Had dear old Patrick seeing this before he passed away some months ago it certainly would have brought a smile to his face. I must tell you. I was parked up outside a shopping centre the other day, when this dear elderly man came over to me. Asking what part of Ireland I came from. He spotted my Irish registration. George it certainly attracts attention. Very proud of it.

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