Tydavnet Historical Society aims to promote a shared interest in the local history of Tydavnet Parish area, to gather and record information of an historical nature, and to study traditions, cultures, and beliefs popularly held and relevant to the people of Tydavnet Parish and surrounding area. Charity Number 20142209

Tydavnet Historical Society would like to thank everyone who came along to the memorial Mass for deceased members of Sherry’s Factory on Tuesday 26th November. Special thanks to Fr Brian Early who prepared a beautiful and uplifting ceremony, and individually naming each of the 75 deceased who were part of the factory’s 60 year history. Thanks also to the organist and choir, the altar servers, and anyone who assisted with the Mass; this was the biggest crowd at any of our events, and it’s a testament to the value of the Sherry’s workplace to the community down the years. In her welcome, Marie McKenna, secretary of the Historical Society, outlined the importance of remembering – and she remembered especially James Sherry who died in November 1939, leaving a family of nine, the oldest aged twelve, and the youngest just one year old; and out of this family came the entrepreneurs Pat, Jimmy and Eddie who founded the factory in 1959. Well done to JohnJoe Sherlock for his witty poetic observations on the economic, sporting, and social value of the factory to the community. Thanks to Scotstown GAA for providing an excellent venue, to Eddie and the Sherry family for providing the refreshments, to Macartan Treanor and Mary Rafferty for all their help, and to the people who generously provided old photos for the slideshow presentation – in particular it was great to get 15 photos of the very first production line of furniture from the factory; the very first order on the road to success came from WJ Trimble & Son, Augher. The tea was followed by a talk by Patsy Brady. Further copies of the Mass booklet which had the list of names of the deceased may be had from Eddie, members of the Historical Society, or by email tydavnetnews@yahoo.ie

Just a small village that the Blackwater flows through,
Where for many years, people hadn’t much to do.
Beyond primary school there wasn’t much education,
The best hope of employment was emigration.

No jobs, no future, no reason to stay,
Some of it’s people went to lands far away.
The village wasn’t unique, it was the same for many others,
But that was all changed by Sherry Brothers.

Making furniture with wood and glue,
For people then, there was plenty to do.
Emigration no longer created a void,
With more and more people being employed.

It wasn’t all about chisels and being good with your hands,
Sometimes for employees there was different plans.
Of course it was helpful if your work was neat,
But even better if you could kick with both feet.

The Scotstown team who were starved of success,
Now had more players and were making progress.
From that winning habit was first instilled,
There’s been many years of dreams being fulfilled.

The positive impact cannot be overstated,
Because the once small village was regenerated.
Instead of people, it was furniture exported,
With the local economy being supported.

When hungry workers would need to refuel,
They would pay a visit to Mrs Sewell.
Although there were no Michelin Stars in her wee cafe,
She’d put enough on their plate to keep hunger at bay.

To the village shops some others would go,
Where it didn’t matter if they were lacking cash flow
A credit facility that was prearranged,
The slate was cleared when they got their cheques changed.

In the local pubs, workers could have a few beers,
But being late on a Monday shortened many careers.
On pay day came the Credit Union van,
To accommodate those with a savings plan.

There’s been lots of changes since the day it all started,
To their eternal reward there are many departed.
With some founding members of Sherry Brothers,
We remember them now with all of the others.

J.S November 19©