My Sweet Old Home in Peake

Aghabullogue, Coachford and Rylane spring to mind when one considers the villages and settlements of Aghabullogue parish. There is however a fourth, situated between Aghabullogue and Coachford, which is often omitted … Peake.

Peake (or Peak) is depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map (1840s). By the early 20th Century, it was a hive of activity. Peake Railway Station (Cork & Muskerry Light Railway) saw freight transported from nearby Clonmoyle Mill to Cork and vice versa. Foodstuffs, coal, seed and manure would be delivered from Cork, and agricultural produce and stock would head in the opposite direction. Train passengers from the locality and further afield went about their business. There were two hostelries: Dineens and O’Sullivans (previously Longs). Hill’s shop across the road at Larchfield provided for local needs.

The advent of motorised transport seriously affected Peake. Freight could now be despatched from and delivered to Clonmoyle Mill by lorry. Train passengers could opt for bus or motor car transport as a quicker option, rather than use the slow ‘Muskerry Tram’. The last train ran on the line on 29 December 1934. Peake Station closed. The flow of human activity and footfall reduced, and Peake became a quieter place.

Much has since changed, and yet Peake lives. Hill’s shop, Dineen’s (see premises to left on image below) and Clonmoyle Mill no longer exist, or lie in ruins. O’Sullivan’s is now Ring’s (Dew Drop Inn). The railway line is gone, but the railway station is still used as a storehouse for Buckley’s busy garage, which now occupies the site. Peake evolved over time, and faced serious challenges to its existence, and yet it survives.

‘My Sweet Old Home in Peake’ is a poem which made an appearance in a Clontead (Coachford) National School manuscript (now forming part of the Schools Collection, National Folklore Collection). The author is unknown, but the poem was recited in 1938 to late Coachford resident Georgina O’Mahony, then a schoolgirl, by her aunt Mrs O’Mahony. This is the same Mrs W. O’Mahony, Clontead who also recited the poem for Georgina’s brother Denis O’Mahony of Cork Road, Coachford. It meant the poem got two airings in the Clontead manuscript, but is none the worse for it. Since then, the poem made an appearance in the late Joe Healy’s book Aghabullogue Coachford Rylane: When We Were Young Together (2001). It was more recently digitised, along with the rest of the 1938 Clontead National School manuscript, under the Dúchas Project.

My Sweet Old Home in Peake

I’ll sing one song tonight my boys
About my native home
Though far from it I’ve wandered
Across the raging foam
There was no living here for me
And my fortune I should seek
And that’s the reason why I left
My sweet old home in Peake

I sometimes sit and meditate
When by the fireside glow
My memory oft times brings me back
To the scenes of long ago
To the days our boys played Evergreen
And knocked them out complete
When they won the bowling tournament
In my sweet old home in Peake

May God be with you Mickey Lynch
You were a dashing man
For laying a bowl upon the road
To meet you no man can
Jack Forrest thought, he could you play
But you ran him, off his feet
Oh! What a sporting crowd came through
In my sweet old home in Peake

There was no time to me so gay
As those happy days of yore
Oh! Many a sporting dance we had
At the Doctor’s Cross before
Where the men were ever truest
And the Colleens oh so sweet
Sure they still write me more and more
Of my sweet old home in Peake

Oh many a change has come and gone
Since events took place
And we are few and far between
To be all the Irish race
Perhaps some day I’ll come again
Quieter life to seek
And live in peace and happiness
In my sweet old home in Peake

Peake (probably early 1900s)

Sources:

  • Joe Healy, Aghabullogue Coachford Rylane: When We Were Young Together (Coachford Historical Society, 2001)
  • Schools’ Collection (Clontead National School), National Folklore Collection/Duchas.ie https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes