and Leinster Times. March 2004.
recently of former lock-keeper Mikie Webster brought to an end a
tradition stretching back several generations. The tradition led to the
creation of a placename for one of the best known locations in the town
- Webster's Lock.
A well known
character around town Mikie recently lost his hard fought battle with
reared at the lock, Mikie proudly carried on a noble tradition first
started by his grandfather and continued by his father before he took on
It is indeed
fitting that all three men now lie at peace, together with their spouses
in the same plot at St. Mary's Cemetery.
younger years, Mikie was well known on his bicycle travelling the track
line between Maganey Lock and Bagenalstown as this stretch of the
waterway was his personal territory.
thought it no inconvenience to travel, with his bike on board, with any
boatman on his way up or down the river.
boat had left his waters the affable Carlowman would then cycle back to
base, no matter what the weather was like.
occasion he was even known to travel as far as Bagenalstown with a
nervous boatman to see him safely on his way.
his marriage to Essie, Mikie had a strong ally in his care of the
waterways. Essie lent her skills to improving the overall appearance of
the lock by maintaining one of the most colourful floral displays seen
in the locality, so much so that they won many awards for best lock and
best garden on the River Barrow, during their long tenure in charge of
As well as
flowers Essie looked after each and every caller to the lock house, with
endless cups of tea and home-made delicacies.
it became fashionable Mikie also established a reputation for recycling,
first collecting offal from local businesses to feed his pigs but later
to collecting waste cardboard and tin cans, right up to the time of his
trademark anorak and knitted cap he was a familiar sight crossing over
and back Graigue bridge with his bike laden with recycled items.
could be told of Mikie's kindness over the years to young and old alike,
but none better than the care he gave to his wife during her failing
health until her death three years ago -- and also the love and support
he gave to his daughter, Vonnie, and her young family following the
untimely death in 1991 of her husband at a young age.
He will be
sadly missed by all who knew and loved him. - M.M.
Mikie Webster for much of my early life, he was a regular, several times
a week, visitor to our little shop in Coal Market, collecting offal and
vegetable waste in his ass and cart, (a picture of which was published
in Volume 2 of "Carlow in Old Picture Postcards").
always on the go, rarely would he have time to have a cup of tea or to
engage in idle chat but whenever he did so he always had interesting
stories of the Barges and the boatmen who travelled the River Barrow
delivering goods to businesses in various towns along the Barrow.
Essie dealt in our shop, obtaining their household needs "on the book",
the account was settled promptly every Friday. They had one of the early
televisions in the area and I became a regular visitor to Webster's Lock
to look at some selected programmes on their tele; Essie would always
have something nice cooked for me, I think the food became as much an
attraction as the tele!
of my visits I was amazed to see hanging on the wall of their home the
framed 1897 Citation from the Royal Humane Society awarded to Mikie's
grandfather for saving 29 people from drowning in the river.
at that time customers often became friends with the shop owner and the
family, I am happy to state that Mikie and Essie were friends of mine;
it is my privilege to place on the Carlow site this tribute to three
generations of the Webster family. M.P.]
Source: Michael Purcell 2011
Boats On The Barrow
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