NL GenWeb Oral History

Avalon South Region ~ St. John's District

Kilbride - The History of the Kilbride Club

This was found among my father papers if he or someone else wrote it I cannot tell but it’s his hand writing. Father was born in 1903 in St. John’s one of 8 children. Educated at Holy Cross went to church at St. Patrick’s. Married my mother Mary Moore and had 7 children. He was traveling throughout the second world war in Canada , United States, and Europe, after the second world war he returned to Europe and was in behind the Berlin Wall, and in Germany for many a day. He died on August 28th 2001 at the age of 98.

The information was transcribed by JOHN BAIRD, 2002. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there could be some typographical errors.

Please note correction at the bottom of page.


(Organized October 23, 1955)

It seems to me but yesterday - nigh forty years have fled
Since we held a public meeting down in Paddy Brine’s old shed,
And decided there that evening a club we’d organized,
As a place of entertainment and amusement for the ‘Byes’.
So we closed the deal with Paddy and we rented out his shack,
Which was leaky as a basket on the front and on the back,
And thought the seems the gales of wind would whistle like a snipe,
For ‘twould blow, you had to go outside, to light your pipe.
The door had leather hinges with neither bolt or bar,
And you couldn’t raise a window, they were stuck down fast with tar.
A picture of St. Peter hung upon a rusty nail,
It didn’t even have a glass or did it have a frame
And those who saw St. Peter there - I hate to have to tell,
‘If that’s anything like Peter, we would rather go to Hell.
So we took old rusty Peter, who was rather out of date,
And put him in his place, out standing by the gate.

So when we settled Peter’s fate , we worked there’s denyin’
We washed and rubbed and swept and scrubbed that shack of Paddy Brine’s,
We went to work in batches and laid stress upon the broom,
With saw and axe we soon made tracks through Paddy Brine’s back room.
We sheeted up the front and back, laid down a double floor,
And chopped out a refreshment room where hens did roost before.
We whitewashed and painted it, and papered up the wall,
We brought some chairs and tables, and we called it ‘Kilbride Hall’ .
Now the whole extent of Kilbride Hall was ten by twenty-two,
It was no Windsor Castle, but still it had to do.
We divided off this room again with a patent sliding door,
Which was bolted to the ceiling and toenailed to the floor,
We partitioned and divided off this ten by twenty-two,
We made a card room, a refreshment room, and a room for reading, too;
We had a punching bag, a wrestling mat and a pair of boxing mitts,
And when these were operated, our new sliding door was split.

More blood was spilt in Brine’s old tilt that would put the Huns to shame
When Tom and Peter Murphy tried the noble boxing game,
Oh! The noise, the dust, the recksuns, when the boxing match began,
Would eclipse the German army at the battle of Verdun.
‘Twas well for us our landlord, Paddy Brine, who lived next door,
Could sleep like Rip Van Wrinkle, and made thunder when he’s snore;
For the walls could go to splinters and the noise could wake the dead,
But Brine would sleep serenely on his little tumble bed.
‘Twas mighty hard to read the news or play a game of draw,
When the boys were swinging uppercuts and trading punches on the jaw,
So it was finally decided to lay the gloves aside,
And though all the world was fighting then, we were neutral in Kilbride.
The club was open every night, there was always something on ,
And the Doolings deemed it pastime to walk from Handy Pond .
Sometimes the members would drop in before the opening time,
And while the weary time away hugging Maggie Brine.
But many a lover’s back was sore and many heart was sad,
And many a broomstick met its fate when Maggie Brine got mad.
But these little alterations ceased when the club imposed a fine
On any man who interfered with Pat or Maggie Brine.

We held meetings every Sunday, when many an hour was spent
Deciding what the prize would be for Wednesday’s tournament;
Far more articles were suggested than the paper advertise,
For every member of the club proposed a different prize.
Peter Murphy says, ‘Tobacco’, but this was objected too,
For many of the members didn’t even smoke or chew,
‘A pair of boots’ says Desnmore, is a prize that’s just and fair,
For we all don’t chew tobacco, but we all need boots to wear’ .
York Murphy swore a hofty oath, and said that boots won’t do,
‘For a number twelve is just my size and that’s too big for you’ .
And besides, says York, I’d like to know as he gave his fist a thump
What member of this club can tell the size of Georgie’s stump.
And some would want a low cut shoe, like a Hooten’s submarines,
Whilst others glores to be clad in Buddy rubberines.

Well the shoeing problem was discussed from every point of view,
From the ‘lastic side prunella to the patent leather shoe,
Till someone in the corner spoke, and this is what was said,
‘Since shoes don’t seem to please the boys, why , get a hat instead’,
Oh! A hat alright, Nix Aylward said, ‘And its just as well as not,
That a committee be appointed to get the best that can be bought.
Jack Murphy, who until now, was keen on a game of 45's
Laid down his cards and tackled Nix for proposing such a prize.
I like a good hard game of cards and I always play to win,
And I’ve played for stoves and eight day clocks and almost anything
But I want this down in writin’, that if it ever comes to pass
I haves to wear a beaver hat, I stays away from Mass.
So after much discussion, which was neither here nor there,
It was left to the Committee to decide the whole affair.

The club was for dancers, and the fame was quickly spread,
And they came to scuff from Paradise, the Goulds and Riverhead.
There were Tuckers there from Broad Cove, some were single, some were wed
Every Murphy in Kilbride turned out, and the Healeys from Blackhead.
They were there from Mitchells’ Garden, they were there from the Ruby Line
But the guest for the occasion was our landlord , Paddy Brine.
When Jack Tobin played the ‘cordeen in a lancers or quardrille,
The wild stampede of dancers would outdo Buffalo Bill.
The Hall would be so crowded that you had to take a chance
Of lacin’ up your golloshes, or else you’ll loose your pants.
Some were waltzing on the mantlepiece while others ploughed the floor
Peter Murphy lost his partner and tried to swing the door.
Andy Doolin’ tried the foxtrot, and Pete the Highland Fling,
Mike Dorsey swung his partner like a ham upon a string.
Tracey’s legs were all curled up and shaking like birch rinds
Tom Murphy made the splinters fly as he laid down his number nines.
When the ‘cordeen blew an inner tube or the fiddler broke a string,
Some fair haired damsel would come forth and volunteer to sing.
And the crowed would swell the chorus in a mighty roaring sea,
To ‘Come Back to Erin’, or the ‘Rose of Tralee’.
And when the night was over and the sun began to shine
The dancing couples all broke up to the tune of “Auld Lang Sine’.

The club had games of every kind inventors could devise
But the ten cent pack of fifty-two was the favorite with the ‘Byes’
And a good hard game of forty-fives or a little game of draw,
Would produce more real excitement than Joe Stalin ever saw.
We had champions of 45's and Poker experts too,
But at Bagatelle no man could beat Mike Tracey at the cue.
He was one of the good old Irish stock from where the true breed came
In smooth or rough he would strutt his stuff, for he always played the game
And in after years, when we are gone and others fill our place,
The Kilbride Club may still live on for some far distance race,
And in its pages find a place for Michael Tracey’s name.

It seems to me but yesterday – nigh forty years have fled
Since we gathered the boys together in Paddy Brine’s old shed;
And the Kilbride Club is but a name, a memory of the past,
For the good old days of long ago can never be recast.
The souls that echoed down the hall with mirth and joy were filled,
Will never more resound again – those voices now are stilled
Gone are the boys of the old regime with those years they have passed away
A few have drifted to foreign lands, but the rest lies beneath the clay.
And as I look back down the years I mutter a silent prayer,
For those faithful friends of my youthful days, of Kilbride, no longer there
May they sleep in peace in that quite vale ‘neeth the clover and the scrub
In the friendly earth that had given birth to the


Description of ErrorMy Name
This was written by Samuel M. Walsh who lived in Kilbride and played cards with some of the men belonging to this club. It was written probably in the late 30's. Under the title is written Organized October 23, 1955, it should read Organized October 23, 1912. Dorothy Mateson
daughter of Samuel M. Walsh
I recognise the poem as being written by my father Samuel M Walsh formerly of Kilbride. David E. Walsh

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