The Plumbridge Water-Scheme
This song was written by Hugh Quinn, Baile na Solas (Ballinasollus). Born on 22nd November 1910, Hugh farmed in his homeplace, but also spent time labouring in Scotland. Local people have fond memories of Hugh as someone who valued the friendship of neighbours. Those who travelled the Strabane to Plumbridge road would have seen Hugh carry a bucket of water from the spring well at Ballinasollus. Perhaps they might even have given him a lift to the 'Plum'.
Hugh died on 16th December 2005, leaving behind in his songs.........memories of a true gentleman.
Photo: Hugh Quinn: by Ed Winters
At the foot of the Sperrin mountains, of the Plumbridge it does stand
It's a twenty long miles from Draperstown and ten from sweet Strabane
It's a lovely village for scenery, has men of the greatest fame
And for to crown ints glory, of, they proposed a water scheme.
Bob Campbell is a councillor and likewise Robby Dunne
They were the two leading gentlemen got the water for the Plum
A memorial there they did draw out the water for the Plum
A memorial where they did draw out and signed every man
And away goes Dunn and Campbell to the town of sweet Strabane.
Oh right before the council Mr Dunn did explain:
'Our climate is so warm and it's seldom we have rain
I hope you'll pay attention now and listen to Mr Campbell
When Tommy Dick spoke sharp and quick : 'I'm afraid it's all a game.''
Out speaks the presiding chairman, 'Kind friends, you must agree
For the village of the Plum, of the water will run free
But there are opposition amoungst you and I think it an awful shame
That a man like Dr. Evans is against the water-scheme.'
O the work it then started, every man with a pick and a spade
McRory being the strongest man higher wages he got paid
Lunny and Brownee came from the town and Campbell lined out the drain
Joe Donnelly was the nipper on the Plumbridge Water-Scheme.
Black Orr he seemed amazed as the rumours went around
The scheme was not for outsiders, it was confined just to the town
Peter Watt beside him sat, to the saddler he did say
I'm sorry for Alec Watson for he didn't get fair play.
Then out speaks Tommy Morris(h) and he says it isn't fair
That the people up the Derry Road haven't got an equal share
Barney Ward protested hard along with Daniel Black
The people of Glencoppagagh they seemed to be rather slack.
Then Dom McEleaine the poor man's friend but despite his bold intentions
He says 'brave boys don't be afraid we must get an extension
We'll state our case it's not disgrace we'll have a law emended.
I don't see why anyone in Glenelly should be the slightest bit offended'.
Then in came Walter McFarland, 'be careful what you do
If they get another few weeks work they'll be liable to draw the 'bru'
'Nonsense, nonsense, Tonny,' 'as long as I remain
I'll employ every man in the district after the Plumbridge Water-Scheme.'
The people of the village, of they loudly did protest:
'If they be an alteration we'll never get sleep nor rest.'
Herbie Ward's a silent bar but an honest upright man
If the houshold is connected sure he doesn't give a damn.
Oh the reservoir was completed and the work was going strong
Says the foreman to the contractor: 'some more men I have put on.
I have started Robby Callen and a lad called Barney Pete
We'll need some heavy diggers when we get to the main street.'
They were not very long working hours when enquiries they did make
Says Barney unto Callen: 'strink action we must take'.
'Right you are', says Callen, 'for I've travelled thiis wide word oe'r
And such a squad of workmen I was never in before.'
Of the men were all consulted to see what they would do
They all joined up together and they stood right loyal and true
Across the street they did retreat at the diamond they all did stand
Three cheers for Robbie Cullen for he's the leading man.
The contractor came forward: 'I'm sorry for to loss
the finest squad of workmen that ever I have ran across
I'm sorry for the foreman and I'm sure he doesn't lack
Bur he must obey my orders: give every men the sack'.
Now the work is restarted and everything is grand
It is under new membership a company from Strabane
The men are all teetotal from drink they do abstain
It's a great daylight from morn to night on the Plumbridge Water-Scheme.
Joe Gormley, he is satisfied, I hear the people say
The creamery's doing a roaring trade and everything looks gay
The clerk of works 's been dreaming for eighty pound[s] he lodged a claim
But they opened his eyes with a fiver on the Plumbridge Water-Scheme.
The first pump was put in action great excitement it did cause
Kate McKeown was the first to arrive and she got loud applause
The cailíns all round her sure she finds neither ache nor pain
Forget the past, call in for a glass, sure the water it is clean.