It's not that long ago that the majority
of people didn't have much money and the variety of
goods in the shops was very limited. It didn't stop
people though making the best of what there was, to
ensure the yuletide season was celebrated in style.
In 1980 (for a Radio Ulster series "Up Country") retired
teacher, Joe Doran, recalled life at Christmas in the
Mourne area. Much of his chat was about the festive
food eaten. How beef replaced fish on the menu at that
time of year.
A Kilkeel bakery's speciality was currant loaves,
which made the mouth water just thinking about them.
Plum puddings were made well in advance in all the
homes and Joe remembered them hanging up to dry
in their cloths in the kitchens, reminding him of
He also had dim memories of a Christmas meat
market in Kilkeel, on the side of the brae down
to the river, where local grocers put their stalls
out on Christmas Eve. They hacked, parceled and
served all night by lamplight.
On Christmas morning his family walked to church in
the dark, and here and there they could see the bobbing
lanterns of others making their way in the same direction.
Joe described a great feeling of fellowship between
neighbours as they greeted each other.
Listen to retired headmaster, Joe Doran, recollect past
Christmasses in the Kilkeel district.
from Radio Ulster programme "Up Country: Mourne Christmas",
broadcast in 1980.
Share YOUR memories of Christmas past. What
food did you eat? What presents were given and received?
Do you know anyone who remembers the Christmas meat
market in Kilkeel? Did you ever eat any of those mouth
watering currant loaves? May be you've written a seasonal
poem we could display on the site. To share your stories
or add a contribution either use the form at the bottom
of the page or e-mail email@example.com
A Christmas poem
capped Donard in the Mournes
I looked up on Christmas Day,
to see the Mournes not far away.
They looked so tall against the sky
and on their heads snow did lie.
Down in the valley in a house full of
lived a happy little girl and a happy little boy.
Santa called at their house last night
when the moon was up and the sky was bright.
A long time ago on this very day,
three wise men from the east came to stay
in a stable bare where Christ was born,
that's why we get gifts on Christmas morn.
Listen to the above poem, which was written and read by
a Kilkeel primary school child.
Extract from Radio
Ulster programme "Up Country: Mourne Christmas", broadcast