THE DI­ARY

Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Hubert Mur­phy’s look at life by the Boy­ne­side and sur­rounds hmur­phy@drogheda-in­de­pen­dent.ie | 041 9876820

I WAS look­ing up some de­tails on the role of Sergeant at Mace and came across the late Peter McEvoy.

He re­tired from the role in fact, in 1981, the Francis Street man gain­ing great praise from then mayor Fer­gus O’Dowd, say­ing he was the most cour­te­ous of all the cor­po­ra­tion staff. Colr. Tommy Mur­phy de­scribed him as “one of the char­ac­ters of this town.”

Mean­while Colr. Ray Dempsey, the Cor­po­ra­tion’s rhy­mas­ter, com­posed a verse in hon­our of Peter, re­mark­ing he was ‘proud to be seen as a mem­ber of this team.”

Peter had the rare dis­tinc­tion of be­ing pen­sioned off not once but twice from Droghcda Cor­po­ra­tion.

There were some work­ing with him who re­mem­bered the oc­ca­sion in 1954 when Peter hurt his back in an ac­ci­dent and, as a re­sult, was re­tired and put on pen­sion—a princely £ I per week.

Af­ter a year’s con­va­les­cence Peter took an­other job with Ce­ment Lim­ited but then County Man­ager, Mr. L. MacKell in­vited back to work in Fair Street!

Peter, in fact, was happy to re­turn to Drogheda Cor­po­ra­tion where he loved his work. In his early years with the coun­cil he acted as as­sis­tant to ma­son, Frank McGovern of Cor­po­ra­tion Cot­tages. In those days there were just 26 peo­ple em­ployed at Drogheda Cor­po­ra­tion but there were 100 in 1981.

On the re­tire­ment of Ed­ward Mullen, Peter took over the po­si­tion of as­sist­ing in the stores. That was in I960 and he con­tin­ued with this work un­til 1975 when, on the death of Mr. Paddy Gar­vey, he took over the role of Sergeant at Mace.

As the mace bearer he saw many im­por­tant oc­ca­sions oc­cur in Drogheda. He as­sisted at cer­e­monies which saw the Free­dom of the Bor­ough be­ing con­ferred on im­por­tant per­son­ages. But no oc­ca­sion im­pressed him as much as the ar­rival of Pope John Paul II and he glo­ried in the prepa­ra­tions with which he helped.

Up to 1926, the sword and mace were car­ried in state at all im­por­tant cel­e­bra­tions but that prac­tice ended.

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that one of the rare times they were car­ried in pub­lic was at the fu­neral of Mr. Gar­vey. Paddy, of 226 Balls­grove, a great lover of the town’s former glo­ries, ex­pressed the wish that when he died the mace and sword would be car­ried on his cof­fin. His wish was granted.

Peter en­joyed look­ing back on the days in the old Cor­po­ra­tion, when he helped push the town’s hand­cart fire en­gine, or when that zeal­ous Ir­ish­man, the former Mayor of the town. Ald. Larry Walsh in­structed that ev­ery­thing in town be painted green. His in­struc­tions meant that all the doors of coun­cil houses were green and Drogheda’s Mer­ry­weather fire en­gine be­came the only green fire ten­der in Ire­land!

Peter’s wife, Cepta (nee White), was a former danc­ing teacher.

Peter was a mem­ber of the im­mensely popular Boyne Ceili and Old Time Band. On the line-up with him in those days were Reg­gie Payne (vi­o­lin). Peter De­laney (accordion), Kitty Stan­ley (piano), Daisy Comyn (piano) and Jimmy De­laney (vi­o­lin), Jemser White (drums), Frank English (drums) and Paddy Mc­Cann (sax).

Later Peter, an ac­cor­dion­ist, was to form what was prob­a­bly the town’s first trio. The Black Dots, with Jemser White and Peter De­laney. He also taught Fin­tan Stan­ley the accordion. Peter, who was the son of Daniel and El­iz­a­beth McEvoy of Bolton Square, passed away in 1994.

The famed Sword and Mace

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