On The Buses: Memories of a simpler time on the 214 to Wilton 

On The Buses: Memories of a simpler time on the 214 to Wilton 
On the Buses: Noel Begley on the 214. Picture: Denis Minihane.

SEEING electricity for the first time still sparks fond memories for 214 passenger Michael McIntyre.

The former military man made Cork his home almost 60 years ago. However, recollections of growing up in Ballyshannon, Donegal still seem like yesterday.

"There wasn't a lot of good back then, not unless you were affluent," he recalled on the route linking Cork city to Wilton.

Michael McIntyre. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Michael McIntyre. Picture: Denis Minihane.

"There was no moaning and groaning like today. Most of us had nothing, but we were still as happy as pigs in muck."

The turning point for his family came with the local introduction of electricity.

"I was only around five or six when electricity first came out. I lived in a rural area so we had never experienced anything like it. People were trying to blow out the light bulb. They just couldn't understand how it worked."

However, it was the adults who prove most awe-struck.

"All of the adults were absolutely mesmerised by it. There was such huge excitement around having electricity at the time. There would have been a big party if only we could have afforded it!"

He recalled arriving home from school by rail car.

"I used to walk home by the tracks. The driver of the rail car came to recognise me after a while and used to actually stop to pick me up. The only way I can describe it is like a bus on rails. How it got to some of the places it did is beyond me."

Just a few years later Michael pursued his dream of joining the military.

"I didn't have any fear about joining the military. I was 15-years-old and dying to get out of the house. We were the first class of apprentices back in 1956. Last year we had our 56th anniversary but there were a lot fewer of us as so many have since passed away."

Meanwhile, Noel Begley from Ballyphehane spoke of growing up in more innocent times.

"The city was dead back then. There were no mobile phones, cars or nightclubs. Our free time was spent going to the pictures. At that time there was a man playing the piano before the film started. I think he went by the name of Bridgeman. We always had a sing along too."

Bus driver Séamus Crowley lauded his uncle and partner for helping him balance farming with a busy career.

Seamus Crowley. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Seamus Crowley. Picture: Denis Minihane.

"I was up at 5am this morning and on the road by 5.30am. My uncle usually comes over to help with feeds. We mostly take it in turns. My partner Mary Clare Keogh is also a huge help with the animals. She doesn't have a background in farming herself but has come to really like it. We have a four-month-old baby named Daniel. It's been too cold in recent months to bring him out to see the animals, but hopefully this will change."

Farming has been a lifelong passion for the Clonakilty native.

"I was milking cows from the age of 10, maybe even younger but by 12 we had already moved on to beef farming. I specialise in beef farming myself but always have the cows sold on before they're ready to be slaughtered."

Séamus insisted he will never sample his own produce.

"You couldn't do it to one of your own," he laughed.

Jim Nagle from Cork city also carved a career in the meat industry.

Jim Nagle.
Jim Nagle.

"I owned a meat factory called Elgan Foods back in the 80s. I've worked in the meat business all my life and spent 16 years in quality control before returning to Ireland in 1966. I was initially nervous about setting about up a business. However, I knew that no matter what people were always going to eat so it wasn't a difficult decision to make. I retired in the 90s and now have eight grandchildren ranging from six-years-old right up to 30. I love cooking and my favourite dish would have to be a fillet steak."

William Walsh from Togher was relaxing on his way home from Cork University Hospital.

William Walsh.
William Walsh.

"I come here every eight weeks for blood tests," he explained. "I normally have the results by the following day."

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