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Made with Xara
Dunmore East is a small fishing village on
the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from
the city of Waterford.
It sits on the western side of the Waterford
Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford,
It was early 1968 and I was 15. I had not been in Dunmore long, having moved down from
near Bennettsbridge in Co. Kilkenny, where we lived in a beautiful large isolated house on
the banks of the river Nore.
Dunmore was quite different, a thriving busy fishing village, nearing the end of a major
harbour development. Red mud and herrings down the dock. A large deserted building
where Joefy and the boys used to meet. I was a blow-in and of course I wanted to join the
gang. For my initiation test, I was thrown out of a first floor doorway on to a pile of old smelly
fishing nets. Good times!
One morning Dad asked me to go down the dock and look for Nicko Murphy, who had
promised him some fish. I didn't know Nicko and I was standing near the lighthouse looking
at the boats when I became aware of an elderly gentleman standing next to me. I suppose I
shouldn't tell you his real name. Lets call him Mr. X. Mr. X engaged me in conversation,
asking me how long I had been in the village, etc. He then asked me if I got enough pocket
money. I told him I did (which of course, as far as I was concerned, was not true), and he
told me that if I wanted more I should come up to his house and we could have a little
Suddenly, before I knew what was happening, his hand was down the back of my trousers!
I got the fright of my life, but had the presence of mind to move away from him. I think I might
have been brave enough to hurl a few insults at him as I walked away. "Go on you fucken
queer!", or something to that effect.
I can't remember if I ever got the fish or not. Of course I didn't tell my parents about this, but
I did tell the members of my new gang, who found it highly amusing. Mr. X was from then
on known as Muckabout.
A few years later I was near John Molloy's pub, now known as Azzuros, with a friend of mine
(whom I shall call Spenno to hide his real identity), when I saw Muckabout heading into the
woods to go for a walk with his dog. I told Spenno the story about my previous encounter
with Muckabout but he was very sceptical.
"Right", I said, "let's wait for Muckabout to come back from his walk. I'll hide behind this bush
here and you go up and say hello to him". So we lay in wait and when he came back from
his walk, Spenno went up and said hello. Muckabout couldn't believe his luck. He engaged
Spenno in a brief conversation (how long have you been in the village etc), then suddenly
dropped the hand. Spenno got the shock of his life, even though I had warned him what to
expect. He too had the presence of mind to move away rapidly, also hurling insults as he
went, and encouraged by me from my vantage point behind the bush.
Muckabout got married some time afterwards and I never heard much more about him. I
wonder did he ask his bride if she got enough pocket money. During the years I heard of two
other guys (there must be more) who got touched up by Muckabout, who was indeed one of
the less illustrious characters in the village during those times.
The Day Muckabout Dropped The Hand