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The Rootsweb Ireland List
This page is a Dedication to
John Caughey!


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song being played is:
"St. Patrick's Breastplate"

For "Our" John Caughey

It is my pleasure to introduce you to our own John Caughey! John created the Ireland List several years ago. He made it what it is today, a friendly place to share our mutual love of Ireland, and search for our ancestors.

Last September John retired, and I was the very fortunate person to inherit his wonderful list. I am still delighted with my good fortune. John, a chara, have I told you it is one of the very nicest gifts I have ever received? Go raibh maith agat! Thank you!

Debbie Romilly,
List Mom

"Blasts from the Past"

John Caughey has been a part of this list since the early days of the Ireland Mail List. If one looks through the archives, they can see some of his first messages in 1997 at:

IRELAND-L Archives

This was the First Message of John's that I could find in the archives. (I wonder if he remembers this one himself? :) )

From: John Caughey Subject: Friends!
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 14:07:50 +0000

A chairde, (meaning, *Friends*, in Irish)

I would like to start my messages with the above greeting or salutation, as I regard you all as my friends, as my brothers and sisters before God, in spite of how we may differ in our beliefs and opinions.

Chatting to my wife this morning, I mentioned that English mothers rebuked their naughty children by saying, "Wait 'till Bony gets you."

And Roman mothers centuries ago, "Hannibal ad portas".(Hannibal at the gate)

Then I asked her, "What do Irish mothers say?" she replied, "Wait 'till your father comes home." She added, "But a friend of my mothers' did not wait 'till the father came home,she administered correction on the spot."

So, a chairde, when you were all young and naughty, what did your mother say to you? I think I remember mine saying to me, "Wait 'till I get my hands on you."

Then came the sad day of John's Retirement and he wrote this fond farewell.

From: "j.caughey"
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 16:24:12 +0100

A chairde Gael! Friends and Fellow Listers!

When I searched my dictionary for the word 'retire', I found: to give up one's regular work because of advancing years. Perhaps you will bear with the musings of this old Irishman who passed 75 years of age a few months ago.

As some of you know, I founded the IRELAND list a number of years ago, I think it was in 1996, it was not hosted by Rootsweb at that time. It has been a labour of love. I made some great friends and corresponded with some lovely poeple. Ireland has an empire stretching around the world. An empire of love, memories, emotions and enduring friendships.

I decided that the list needed a fresh hand at the wheel. Someone younger, someone who loves Ireland, her people, her history, her culture, her music and her traditions. I wish to thank all of you who kindly volunteered to manage the list; I am so grateful to all of you.

For personal reasons, I had to make a speedy decision, and I have decided to accept Debbie's offer to take on the job. I hope and trust you will all give Debbie your loyal support and co-operation. If God spares me, I will remain as a subscriber.

To those of you who kindly enquired, my health and personal security are fine...Eithne, my dear wife, and Bingo, my Border Collie see to that. We are in a time of rapid changes in Ireland, my beloved native homeland ,and indeed throughout this 'global village'. Let us try and help each other with true Irish brotherly and sisterly love and kindness.

As you know, some listers have asked for prayers for themselves or for relatives or friends who were ill or dying. I was always greatly moved by these requests and by the support and kind words that were offered by fellow listers.

While many of you have been great, I always had a soft spot for Jane, with whom I had many a 'run in'. I think she is a very special person and was very sorry to hear of the recent death of her dear father. Go deanaigh Dia trocaire ar a anam.

A last word of advice, given to me by my old deceased friend, Michael Dawson: Take it one day at a time...keep it simple... and don't bite off more than you can chew.

Adh mor oraibh, a chairde.

Sean Mac Eochaidh

John Caughey

Perhaps John would like to know that his words were remembered and taken into consideration when the WEB Site was built. Debbie strived to incorporate Ireland's People, History, Culture, Music, and Traditions with out prejudice. Any appearant leanings to one point of view has a simple reason, and that is because that is how the item was found. :) John's influence still carries on in the spirit of the Mail List and WEB Site.

One can see by Debbie's Response to John that she intends to keep the traditions he set,

From: "Debbie Romilly"
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 12:58:29 -0500
References: <<012201c01429$08354f60$71d7fc3e@vucqprlj>>

Dearest John,

Thank you, thank you for creating this list, for giving so much, and for allowing me the honour of following in your stead as Listowner. I will give everything to not let you down or the list you have nurtured for many years. I do love Ireland with all of my heart, and I hope to follow the fine traditions you have set for us. You have treated the list as if it is your home and we have all been invited to a warm and friendly little get together. This I hope will continue as well as the love of all things of Ireland. We truly are, as you have so eloquently pointed up, "an empire stretching around the world. An empire of love, memories, emotions, and enduring friendships." Certainly your wise words about one day at a time and keeping it simple are very good advise. So for all of your hard work and providing such a valuable Irish resource thank you so very much John. I am very excited, happy and amazed to serve in this way. Thank you too for all the well-wishes! I see now I have a message about the problems the roll call might cause some of you! I apologise for this, I will give a heads-up and look for better timing when we do this again. My epitaph will be, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"! If too many messages are coming in it might be more convenient to switch to Digest Mode. Hoping all of you have a good weekend!

Slan go foil,

With that, the torch was passed... but the efforts of John Caughey are not forgotten. The List will evolve over time, but one can see that is the way John wished for it to be.

A chairde, John. It is hoped that this page is not too embarassing to you. :)

BELFAST - "A Divided City"
Submitted by: Padraig Caughey

Belfast was a mad house, a crazy riot of ships, sailors, dock workers, merchants, soldiers and idle spectators. No less than three ships lay docked, two with sailors swarming their flapping rigging and sails. Shouted orders and cat calls came from on shore and from ships. Flocks of Gulls flew overhead screeching as though in competition to the babble of unheeding humans below. By contrast the Eagles Wing, newly come brig from Scotland seemed quite and subdued as she drew surely and slowly to dock. Her passengers crowding her bows and sides stared intently ashore as though awed at their rashness at daring to come to this barbaric Irish shore. Their thoughtful silence was understandable for the most part these were newcomer settlers, not a little unsettled at the strange prospect of the new land that lay before them.

A brief way apart from the rest stood a little sombre seeming group, a family who stood together as though to comfort each at the new fashioned strangeness of their port. They were all clad in sombre black as befitted a Presbyterian Minister and his brood. Even in a crowd the thirty-five year old Rev James Gordon stood apart. Over six feet tall, austerely lean, with craggy rugged features and a lean athletic frame he resembled more a dour hill farmer of his n ative highlands than a noted scholar recently come from Edinburgh. He disdained the wigs so many of his clerical contemporaries wore, instead bearing his long deep raven, already silvering hair in a loose pig-tail down his back. He was without doubt a very handsome man but one who bore his looks without regard, one who had his inner sight borne on a higher regard. His wife Margaret stood close beside him her hand placed gently on his arm in affectionate regard. Her hair was imprisoned closely in a black bonnet but a few loose strands showing fiery red. Though clad like her husband in austere black trim and also tall, with and light blue eyes, though she restrained and self possessed air showed her no less aware of her own obvious beauty. Their two children stood beside them, clad like little dark miniature versions of their parents above.

Little Jamie, the elder was seven year old and looked to his mother for his looks. Five year old Sarah, his fathers dote stood clutching her brother's hand with dark good looks. The children tried to ape their parents cool self possession and restraint. Nevertheless their childlike excitement showed itself in the constant movement of their heads as they took in each new sight and sound of the busy port around them. The sailors wasted no time in dropping the gangplank when the ship docked and the passengers rushed in a disorderly scrum to the shore. They were greeted thereby a throng of shouting relatives and friends. Still the family waited stoically and deck, there only sign of movement a closer scrutiny of the dock below. They were at once rewarded by the sight of three bewigged potentates who bustled up the gangplank to the ship above. Messieurs McPherson, Pebbles and Shaw as they introduced themselves were the welcoming committee for the newly come minister and his little flock. With sweeping exchanges of bows and flourishes it became at once that these were prosperous merchants and elders of the Kirk. Impatient waves ashore brought a scurrying throng of apprentices and porters to bear the Gordon's luggage ashore and so the large gaggle of newly met ashore The Gordon's were borne in triumph through the little streets of Belfast.

Belfast at that distant time was a bustling town of some three thousand souls. Already it had out distanced the nearby port of Carrickfergus. As the dock from which they came it bustled and rushed like an overturned ant heap. The Gordon's noted with some surprise that it was far from being the simple frontier town, noting in passing, hostelries, butchers, an ironmongers, a brick works and at the docks a small shipbuilding yard. Belfast was a very model of Scottish hardworking industry. They had hardly led the Gordon's to their new manse home when the three elders begged leave of Margaret to "Have a wee quiet word with the minister". Margaret happy enough to have space to inspect her new domain withdrew to leave the foursome on their own in the privacy of their little parlour. Scarcely twenty minutes had passed before four new elders put in an appearance at the front door to "Greet the minister and his lady wife". The already ensconced threesome withdrew with some show of reluctance. Once again after an exchange of polite courtesies the new elders begged, "Leave for a quiet word with the minister". After some time had passed the elders left this time by a slightly flustered and annoyed James Morgan. Not that anyone but his wife would have noticed his upset, Minister Gordon was already too much the diplomat, aware of the powers and influence of Kirk elders too readily to offend them.

When the door had closed behind the visitors Margaret turned worriedly to her husband. "What is it Jamie, what has upset ye?"

The new Minister threw his arms in mock despair. "We did not leave politics behind us in Scotland it seems, Maggie! It has sailed the seas to Ireland with us!"

He shook his head in exasperation."Was the death of the King blessed?" Do ye hold with Cromwell? What do ye think of revival? Would you count yourself as Evangelical? How far should we conform with Bishops and Parliament?"

James Gordon gave a tired and half amused laugh and shake of his head. Margaret, well aware of the limits of her husband's diplomacy sought reassurance. "You didn't vex them Jamie, not on your first night here and us scarcely of the boat?"

The Minister stared at his wife his look fixed as though seeking the words to answer. At length he spoke with a quiet level earnestness that sought to convince."You well remember Margaret how we prayed together before we saw God's will in our coming here to Belfast."

His wife nodded hastily in agreement.

"Well I am convinced that the way to bring His Word in these new settlements is to avoid politics and preach the Word of God in all simplicity and earnestness". Saying the which he reached out and grasped his wife's hand and pressed them fiercely. "And if the doing of this does not satisfy Elders, Kirk or any other man then I say our place is not with them. Only to those who seek God's Word in all its fullness!"

For a moment Margaret gazed into her husbands' eyes. Then she nodded and eyes brimming threw herself into her husbands' arms. The next weeks in Belfast past all too swiftly. Each passing day caused them to grow to love the little town and its citizens. In many ways it was a rough and ill mannered place compared to the grace and learning of aloof Edinburgh. But it had a frontier spirit of energy and bustle, a refreshing straightness and lack of hypocrisy. Its inhabitants had an almost combative air as though they would conjure from the very boggy Irish soil a new world to rival and perhaps defeat the old.

For their part the Gordon's Kirk were more than a little perplexed at first by the new Minister and his wife. They were utterly perplexed by James Gordon's refusal to discuss politics, whether of Kirk or of state. Politics being the very life blood of the citizens of the new town and indeed all that bloody realm. Being canny folk they then reckoned that the Minister was simply playing as careful game of neutrality to protest his position. They then turned to Margaret hoping to ferret out the Minister's true beliefs through her. But that wily women laughingly and gently resisted their approaches leaving her stymied questioners as baffled as ever. As the months went by though any annoyance at this carefully kept political indifference was totally swept aside in first respect and then a real affection for both Minister and his wife.

Firstly there was the matter of James Gordon's sermon. As all true Scots his Kirk had a real reverence for learning and James shone with an intellectual depth and vision that could not but appeal to them. He had a grasp of the Bible that obviously stemmed not simply through intellectual study but a real love and veneration. He talked of Presbyterianism and the Reformation, the powerful words of men like Calvin and of Knox with a powe and obvious admiration that taught his congregation the worth and wisdom of their faith. They could, every time they heard him preach feel his love for the reformed church and feel in their own hearts the beginnings greater love themselves. Beyond this James was passionately evangelical. Not a member of his flock seen him enter their home not once but several times, bible in hand, instructing, encouraging and urging. It was not simply this that won to James Gordon a swelling congregation and the love and respect of Elders and people. Quite simply they realized how deeply he cared for them and they responded in kind.

Two fruitful years passed in this ministry in Belfast when James Gordon received surprising and welcome news from a friend and fellow Minister in Edinburgh, Alex Brodie. Knowing that James had missed the intellectual debate and access to the libraries of his home city Alex had gathered together a collection of books. These he had crated and was sending to his Belfast colleague on a ship that would be docking on Friday of the following week. On the specified date James borrowed a horse and cart from a generous elder and together with his son drove down to Garmoyle Dock to collect the gift. Both father and son were excited as they rode slowly through the busy little Belfast streets. The son with pleasure at an unusual outing to the docks, a place he loved; the father with anticipation with the arrival of his beloved books. This might explain the lack of care both took on their arrival at the newly arrived ship. The father left his son playing at the dockside while he rushed up the gangplank. It was not until he reached the deck did he hear excited shouts from the dock. Looked over he realized to his horror that Jamie had somehow lost his balance and plunged from the dock's edge into the dark and icy waters below. Before the frantic father could even react a bystander far below had thrown himself of the dock and there was a large splash as he landed beside the drowning boy. The stranger grasped Jamie and managed to drag the soaked child to a set of ladders were anxious dock-workers managed to manhandle the boy ashore. The frantic minister hurried ashore to find his son thoroughly soaked and cold but well. For the man who had rescued him it was a somewhat different matter. He was not a young man, perhaps in his late sixties and it was surprising giving his age that he had thrown himself so readily into the waters below. He was bent double trying to catch his breath and shivered intermittently as the chilled waters bit home. Gordon together with the onlookers hustled both rescuer and boy to a nearby hostelry. There the innkeeper brought his excited guests to a private room, ensconced them in front of a piled and blazing log fire. They were both encouraged to disrobe, swathed in a pile of blankets and given hot drinks; for the boy hot drinks, for the man a large hot toddy. All the while James Gordon plied the stranger with profuse thanks and enquiries as to his health, to which he at first replied but little being obviously almost insensate with the cold. At length he made enquiry for his luggage that he said he had left by the dockside. Horrified James rushed back to the docks knowing that in population of thieves Belfast was little better than other ports. To his relieve a little pile of three small bags stood still stood on the dockside earnestly guard by a knot of workers. They drew James attention to the large bible perched atop the baggage.

"He is maybe a Minister then sir?" One of the workers surmised to the nonplussed Gordon.

At once it flew home to him that it must indeed be true. The clerical black, the bible, the scholarly air pointed to a man of the cloth. With a pang of remorse and gratitude he realized that the man who had rescued his son at grievous risk to his life and health shared the same calling as himself. James Gordon's sense of obligation grew to a determination to repay to whatever extent and in whatever way he could the enormous debt he owed. Returning to the inn with bible underarm and baggage clutched in large hands he rejoined the foundered clergymen almost pathetically grateful for the retrieval of his baggage. Introductions were exchanged and the stranger did indeed announce himself to be a Minister of God late come from Glasgow who went by the name of Andrew Baillie. The Reverend Baillie waved of James's florid and most earnest thanks insisting that it was, 'The least that any Christian soul could do!'. Nothing would do the grateful father but that Andrew Baillie would share the hospitality of their home. Margaret, who had already heard news of the near catastrophe, choose that moment to rush into the inn. She was if anything more effusive in her thanks to the elderly minister and even more earnest in her determination that he should lodge with them. In the end the humble old saviour gave in to their pleadings and Andrew Bailie, during which they e was carried in triumph to the Gordon's humble manse.

Later that it evening it became obvious to the Gordon's that their guest's health was far from good. Also that a warm bed and hot piled fire was not defeating the fearsome chill that was beginning to effect him. A physician was set for, fortunately a somewhat enlightened one who did not insist on the fearsome bleedings and quackery of many of his contemporaries. Heat rest and Margaret's close care were his sole recommendations and Margaret set to comply with these instructions with a steady will. Sadly the chill shortly blew up into full blown pneumonia and her patient became weak and delirious. Although James made various and urgent inquiries amongst his flock and various ministers in Belfast no one appeared to know the new arrival. He surmised that he had perhaps being heading for one of the nearby towns such as the fortress town of Carrickfergus or the English settlement of Lisburn. To the Gordon's deep surprise the old man spoke in Gaelic, since few indeed were the Ministers who spoke that barbarous tongue and still less few from the lowland city of Glasgow. As they stood over their unconscious guest that discussed him in a murmured undertone.

"How fares he Margaret?", James asked his wife in earnest concern.

"He was old to take a donking in thon chill Lough"' Margaret replied. "But still he' s a strong man, I believe, for all his age'. If I have any say in the matter he will live many a year more!".

This she said in accents of such fierce determination that her husband chuckled and hugged her affectionately. Over the next few days, thanks to the devoted nursing of Margaret, the old man began, gradually to recover. James to spent log hours with Alex during which there talk naturally drew to talk of God and scriptures. James Gordon grew deeply impressed at his sick guest's piety and learning. As someone whom himself lived and breathed the Word of God he readily recognized in Alex Baillie a man for whom the Bible was friend, companion and teacher. James recognized in Alex a kindred spirit, a person with but little concern for the political and religious controversy's of the day but someone who had developed a real and living relationship for Jesus Christ. Someone for whom Jesus was no distant and remote historical figure of theological figurehead but a warm and living presence in their life. In short he recognized in his ill guest that all too rare a thing in the religious turmoil of his now home city; a truly holy man. There was more than this in James dawning respect. His own father had died at a young age. He had often felt regret for the father that he had never known. Now, in this gentle, holy guest he found a person he could respect and even venerate. For once the younger Minister had found someone he need not lead in the paths of God but someone instead who might well do the leading.

Once on the mend Alex began to recover much more quickly than his hosts might have expected. Young James and Sarah seemed to be constantly at his side as he sat quietly in the old rocking chair in the parlour. There he often perched, blanket on knee, his ruddy old face reflecting the fire in the dim candle light. For them he seemed to become almost a grandfather figure to the children.

It was on a Sunday two weeks after that James suggested to the old man that he might like to come with them to Church. Surprisingly Alex appeared reluctant. Although unwilling to press the point Alex was aware that the Belfast townsfolk would have seen him starting to make his way about, slow as it was.

"Maybe you have your reasons for not going Alex". He laughed . "You've perhaps heard that my sermons are tiresome. Still there are those in town would comment if you did not attend some Church, aye and even some busybody to report you to the authorities.".

Alex, taking the point briskly agreed, to James relief to attend.

The Church conforming to its Presbyterian members beliefs was simple and plain. No stained glass nor decoration, the singing plain and direct. At the close of Alex's sermon a surprise was in store. James had innocently mentioned to several of the elders his great respect for Alex Baillie. They in turn, unbeknownst to James had for some time been considering appointing a Minister to assist James. For James Gordon's efforts had resulted in the congregations size more than doubling over the previous two years. For some time they had been giving consideration to bringing in an assistant to join James Gordon in his ministry. Now the arrival of Alex Baillie a heaven sent opportunity appeared to beckon.. Slowly Andrew Corrie rose to his feet.

"Pardon me Mr Gordon we see that another Minister has joined us to day, perhaps he would grace us with some of his guidance and insight into Gods Word".

James frowned, annoyed at the invitation. It would have been wrong at the best of times to invite Alex to speak without giving him chance to prepare, but for someone recovering from a serious illness it seemed churlish indeed. He looked to-wards the older man as though seeking the least sign of refusal that would allow him to crush this inopportune request. Surprisingly though after a momentary hesitation Alex rose slowly to his feet and walked to the lectern were James relinquished bible and place to the newcomer. Thoughtfully he took the bible in his hands and, closing his eyes he stood for a few moments as though in thought or prayer. Then he opened the book and, raising his eyes he began to speak. As he did so James gave a small start of surprise for the voice, weak and gentle took on a new power, clear, sonorous and commanding. Nor indeed was he the only one in the congregation who felt its strong leading power.

"I take for my passage to-day that which I confess I have found to be the very dearest to my heart. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter Thirteen."

There was a little rustle of paper as his audience dropped their heads and searched for the stated text, then Alex spoke once again, firm and clear like the ringing of some distant bell. At any time the powerful force of this epistle on love would have power to move. A reminder to the reader or listener that at the end of all nothing truly counts or matters but love. But in the voice of the stranger it took on yet more strength and force.For he was a man who had truly taken these words of Paul and stored them in his heart. He spoke with all the firm conviction of one who had not simply read the words but lived them. Who had not only followed out of obedience but out of love. He coloured his speech not with intellectual references or powerful theological argument but with simple references drawn from life as he knew it and country and city. He did not speak long but while he stood the congregation sat still as though under a spell and when he had finished they still sat so for a little while as though still enraptured. At the close of the sermon James Gordon stood at the door shaking hands with the departing congregation as he regularly did. Repeatedly people effusively praised Mr Ballie's contribution. A lesser man than James Gordon might have felt envious and perhaps a little resentful that so much attention was being paid to a newcomer. That his own efforts were perhaps being ignored. However James had too big a heart for such feelings. As for Alex himself he shrugged of any praise and appeared to be embarrassed by any praise claiming that, "I just give them a wee bit of my thoughts".. The upshot of the mornings happenings were not long in coming for, that night a deputation of the Church's six elders appeared at the Gordon's house and sought privet conversation with the minister. Shortly after words together they sought out Alex and led by a widely grinning James placed a proposal before him.

"Alex good news indeed! The elders and the Kirk have been greatly impressed by your word this morning and wish you to join me in the Kirk as Minister!" >{? The little group of men beside James nodded their heads and murmured their support. But to their surprise and disappointment he shook his head in gentle refusal.

"Ye are kind but I have another flock and another calling".

They, nothing daunted continued to press him, but, seeing him unmovable, sadly disappointed the little delegation left. James and Margaret, more disappointed than any continued to press him. Finally Alex saw that he would have to explain his position. "Listen you are kind indeed to press this matter upon me. But all any of us must seek to do is God's will. I already have a Church a people to Minister in this country. You have noticed and commented on the fact that I speak Gaelic it is to the Irish I must minister.".

Both Margaret and James stood dumbstruck, horrified at his words. The violent, rebellious, the barbaric Irish. Then Margaret began to argue fiercely against him. The dangers, the impossibility, the obstacles. James though stood silent. If one argument could have silenced and convinced him it was the one the older man had used, 'God's will'. It was what he had always sought to find and fulfil in his own life he could understand very well soon else who sought the same. The Irish. Disloyal, They had, especially here in the bitter north been constantly rebellious against their Sovereign. Never excepting the scriptural authority of Paul to except the rule of lawful authority. The Irish, with their barbaric uncivilized tongue, dress, culture and behaviour. The native Irish on whose once lands all of all Belfast and the northern settlements now lay. The Irish who had been driven to death or the virtually uninhabitable wastelands, the bogs and oak forests.. They who nursed a bitter, vengeful and unforgiving hatred of the foreign Protestant settlers. Cowardly knaves who sought to murder the honest settlers by the ambushing arrow, the knife in the back, the raid of terror in the night. Whose very name was used to frighten children and populate many a night-time terror tale. Yet even they were God's children, God forsaken as they might appear. It had long been the ambition of many Churchmen that they might be brought from their stubborn adhesion to the superstitions of Rome, to the ordered light of reformed faith. In the days that followed it became obvious that their guest had been taken by an urgency to leave their house and Belfast. Neither of his hosts sought longer to persuade him from his path. Nor in James's case at least did he want to interfere. Now he was filled with a new depth of admiration for the man Someone who would risk life and limb, yes even his very soul to the natives torture and hate to spread Gospel truth. Such a person was in very truth an apostle of the Lord someone worthy of the deepest respect and even veneration. A younger man could be accused of recklessness and rashness. But here was a senior Churchman clearly blessed with many gifts, including the invaluable one of the native tongue, someone who was clearly marked by God for an Apostles role. For Margaret her feelings were much too mixed to be easily satisfied as her husband. Here was the man who had saved her beloved son and whom she had grown to love for his own sake going into the Irish wilderness to very possible death and torture. On the other hand she who professed to love God would not readily seek to block His will. These two emotions warred within her so that she appeared distracted and often remote. The two children, while unaware of the cause of their parents varied emotions understood that Alex was to leave and stayed even closer him. As for the man himself he grew rapidly in strength and made longer and firmer walks round Belfast. Finally purchasing a pony for his journey announced to the family that he would depart the shortly

"But were will you go?" Asked an ashen faced Margaret.

"To Carrickfergus firstly then unwraps to the Glens of Antrim and the clan of O'Donnell"' Alex gently replied.

He had very constantly tried to reassure the couple of his safety even hinting to the pair that he had friends there but this did little to reassure the pair but failing totally. James was taken by a sudden conviction and spoke "Then I'll ride to Carrick with you Alex you'll at least let me keep you company thus far."

He held his hands up, firmly resisting any argument. "No do not let us quarrel over this Alex I insist. Tis little enough I can do for you after what you have done for me and mine".

Suddenly and unexpectedly Margaret chimed in face set and determined. "And I will go too. Do not quarrel with me either of you. You men who always think you always know so best and so of women and so much of yourselves who."

Laughing James held up his hands as though to stave of a mounting storm. "Yes, yes Margaret you shall go, you shall go I have not said thee nay!"

Finally the children had chimed in and collapsing into laughter they had agreed that these too had been permitted to join in the journey.For at the end there was little danger in the some fifteen mile journey to the fortress town of Carrickfergus. The well travelled road had long been cleared of Irish ambushers and bandit. Though often surround by the thick forest it was well patrolled and civilized. Now that it had been agreed too their proposed journey took on the excited air of a family outing. A chance at last to escape Belfast for a while and see the unaccustomed sights of country and new city.

The great day dawned the next week. The Gordon family perched excitedly on cart, the elder clergy man on his little black pony his little luggage slung behind him. It was one of those days rare enough in highland. The sun shone hotly out of a cloudless clear and deep blue sky. It shone in shinning glimmers from the shaking waves of the Lough beside which the meandering Carrick road crept alongside the Lough shore. For Carrickfergus, as Belfast clung to the sea shore A small crowd of near neighbours from the Kirk had appeared to see them off and offered Alex and the family little gifts of food to see them on the way. Not that they were in need of much,

Margaret having earnestly packed in James word enough to feed five armies!'. Now that ht time had come the Gordon family found themselves greatly enjoying this novel expedition and found themselves laughing and chattering together eagerly as they rode on their way. After three hours of pleasant riding along the tree shrouded little road they reached a place of some beauty, the sea at one side forming a little bay the surrounded by the looming forest. To the children's great joy Margaret proposed that they stop and eat that they have a little picnics. James feeling the first pangs of hunger and happy himself to see his family so happy consented. Smiling, Alex nodded his agreement. So they spread out a blanket and as the children paddled joyfully in the sea water began to take lunch.

The danger when it came rose suddenly and unexpectedly. From the trees around them. Silently and well armed with a variety of weapons they surrounded the little group. It was at once obvious that these were native Irish clad in the long saffron of the Antrim O'Donnells. Their leader was closed in more civilized style in black doublet and with sword wielded with obvious skill in his hands. Believing the threatening situation he was smiling broadly. The Gordons were frozen in terror but Alex rose slowly and also smiling advanced towards the dark stranger. They spoke briefly, each in Gaelic, then to the Gordon's amazement the warrior bent on his knee and kissed the hand of a now broadly grinning Alex. After rising he gestured questioningly towards the Gordons. Alex spoke smilingly, also gestured towards them and talked at some length. At a barked order the armed followers of their leader retreated to the woods. Alex bowed towards the frightened family and spoke. "Please my friends do not be afraid. Allow me to present you to Aidan O' Donnell is my nephew and a sept chief of the Antrim O'Donnells".

Aidan bowed courteously and spoke to the Gordon's in cultured English. "Forgive me for interrupting your dining in so abrupt a fashion. I did not realize that you were friends of Bishop Turlough. From a distance it was not altogether obvious that you were not his captors instead of friends"

The Gordons, who had now risen to their feet were now joined by their children who clutched their parents in terror. Ames Gordon stuttered a question. "Bishop, Alex? He named you Bishop?"

"Yes", said Aidan puzzled. "My uncle, Catholic Bishop of all these parts, did you not know?"

Then grinning and nodding in an understanding fashion he spoke once again "Och aye I see well it would hardly do for you to be proclaiming yourself even to these whom I see to be good friends". He laughed. "Catholic Bishops are none to welcome in the town of Belfast I fear".

The person they had once known as Alex turned and murmured a few words to his nephew, who, bowing to the Gordons retreated to join his fellows in the woods. The family and their former friend as though meeting once again for the first time stared blankly at one another. It was the Bishop who spoke first. "Please forgive me for not being as frank and open with you as I might have. As Aidan rightly said a catholic Bishop would have had no warm welcome in Belfast At least", and he chuckled ruefully, "If warm perhaps too warm for my liking".

James flushed with a sudden anger. "Sir, you have played us false! We welcomed you to our house as a friend. You pretended to be a Minister of God and you are a fact a Romish priest and worst a Bishop a leader amongst that deluded Church!. A spy amongst the good Protestant folk of Belfast!"

The old man shook his head gently. "No I am no spy. I was simply ministering to some of my own O'Donnell flock in Scotland. It is true you know that there are some there as in Belfast who would kill me as readily as the Christian folk of Belfast. It was no intention of mine to spy on you and yours. The ship in which I sailed to Belfast was useful to my needs. It was no intention of mind to linger in a town were I was so ill welcome but return at once to me own safe Glens. If I had not got a chill from the Lough waters.."

At this gentle reminder that the Bishop had saved their son James Gordon frowned guiltily.

"And was forced to stay in your very welcoming house'.

"But sir you claimed to be a Minister sir and falsely dressed as such!".

The old man shook his head ruefully. "Come James! As to being a Minister, consider that I minister to God's people as much as you though in a different field. As to my dress I believe that it reflects my calling as much as yours does your own for I too am a clergyman! I am truly sorry if I have caused grief to you and yours it was never my intention to even dwell amongst you and yours nor in any way deceive you. Did you truly expect me to walk the streets of Protestant Belfast in gown and crozier? Come now we have been true friends need what you have heard change this? It I time for us to part and go our separate ways, I doubt if we shall meet again let us part as friends".

For a second all was still. Then it was Margaret who, glancing at her immobile husband moved forward. Then in a rush she ran forward and throwing her arms out embraced the man who had saved her son. Her children rushed forward at once to join there weeping, laughing mother.. James stood still for a while, his face frozen.. Eventually, though, he moved forward and stretching his hand out, shook hands with the now beaming Bishop.

"I see I would be in a minority if I were not to say my good-byes. Perhaps you are right...Turlough O'Donnell. At the end of all we are still deeply in your debt. We shall not forget this and always remember you with kindness as a friend".

The Bishop frowned at him in mock anger. "Your grace Lord Turlough O'Donnell would be a more proper form of address", he said wagging his finger threateningly at James.They all dissolved in happy laughter. Then after a warm embrace he moved away from them and walked to the thick concealment of the Irish woods. He stopped there for a moment and turning, waving, called a last goodbye and was gone. The Gordon family stood staring a while at the spot where he had gone. Margaret, her arm clasped round the waist of her still husband asked a question.

"He was a good man Jamie, will we ever meet again?"

James looked thoughtfully into the enquiring face of his tearful wife. He shrugged and shook his head. "Things being such as they are Margaret I doubt it very much. He might risk his life and freedom to see us, but, being the man that he is I much doubt that he would endanger us. We shall not see him nor his like again. But I think we are the richer for knowing him and none of us shall look on members of his faith in such a light again."

After saying which the little Gordon family returned to their cart and began to wend their slow way back to their native home of Belfast. As they did so Bishop Turlough standing still and unseen in the trees, watching them leave nodded his head, his thoughts taking a similar warm an unfamiliar path.

Extract from Belfast Telegraph, Sat. 10 April 1999:

CAUGHEY: Eric Wright - April 10, 1999 (suddenly). Later of 17 Quarter Road, Kircubbin. Dearly beloved husband of Marie and much loved father of Joe. Funeral arrangements later.

Extract from Irish News, Tuesday, 13 April 1999, Page 3.

Worker Killed in Freak Fall

A man plunged to his death while carrying out work on an extractor fan at the weekend.

Edward Wright Caughey (62) from Quarter Road, Kirkistown, Kircubbin, Co. Down, was working on machinery at Dock Street, in Belfast early on Saturday when the accident occured. END

Comment: Edward was buried on Tuesday, 13 April 1999 in Kirkistown Cemetry, after a service held in his home at 2pm. Dearly beloved son of the late Matthew Caughey and Ellen Caughey, nee Grattan and father of Joseph Caughey. The family lived for some years at Ligoniel, Belfast, where his ancestors, William Wright had farmed at Squire's Hill and Francis Hydes had farmed at Ballyaghagan, near Cave Hill, Belfast. Edward's father Matthew is a brother of my father, Samuel Caughey, who fought in Spain during the Civil War against the Communists who murdered 12 bishops and 6,000 priests.

Wolfe Tone and some comrades once vowed at Mac Art's Fort, Cave Hill, that they would never desist in their efforts "To break the connection with England, the never-ceasing cause of Ireland's evils.

Copyright 2001 John Caughey

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