The parochial hall in Castlefinn used to have an Irish dancing class on a Monday night. I went to that every week. The eight hand team won the All Ireland Féis Cheoil championship in the late 1960s. The record hop on a Saturday evening, it was just dancing to all the latest music like the Stones and the Beatles. They used to show films in the hall too. Every so often a western show would come where there was a cowboy and a horse. The cowboy was supposed to be some famous cowboy like Roy Rogers. He used to shoot his gun and balloons would pop at the same time! It was a big show.
We had a youth club in the hall too. Fr. Conway started the youth club. There used to be a talent show there too, run by the youth club, and Daniel O’ Donnell sang in the first one. They used to have sports in the hall like basketball, volleyball and netball. There was also table tennis. We used to go away and play the sports all across Tyrone. The youth club also started the first ever savings club. You used to collect money from houses and pay it back at Christmas, keeping the interest to fund the club. It was a great going thing at the time. It only ended two or three years ago.
The sports days were also big. You had sports days in Tievebrack, Clady and Castlefinn. They were always on a Sunday once a year. Football was a big thing, tug of war, egg and spoon races to fund the Parochial and the local clubs. Castlefinn and the Cross were always big rivals.
The Christmas Bazaar was in the Parochial hall. You had to donate stuff to the Bazaar first. There was turkeys, bags of potatoes and hampers. You bought a ticket then and you could go and buy all the stuff back. There used to be a rickety wheel with numbers and a pointer at the top and if your number came up you might have won anything from 2lb of sugar, a bag of spuds or even a hamper.
The G.A.A. club had fair days out in the Diamond. We had stalls and animals and foodstuffs. There would have been an auction at the end for the livestock and some of the goods. Farmers always donated livestock for the G.A.A.
The Castlefinn festival was on once a year in July. One year Jack Charlton came up to open the festival while he was managing the Irish Soccer Team. They tried to bring it back recently but it didn’t take off as well.
Margo Mc Ghee