A Festive Treat – The Keenan Sisters

The Christmas lunch for the senior citizens of St Brigid’s parish in Newmains takes place this weekend in the parish centre. My mum will be there along with her sister, my aunt Mary. For the older members of the community it’s a great chance to get together to enjoy a meal, some festive entertainment and a catch up.

Nowadays it’s held in December as a Christmas treat but I found this article from January 1934 which describes (at length!) the second annual “Old Folks Treat”. At that time the event was held in Coltness church hall. It later became a parish event held in St Brigid’s hall. This was around the time the new st Brigid’s church opened. What is now the hall or parish centre was once the church itself. You can read more about the parish history here.

The six married sisters mentioned in the article are the Keenans; my great granny Ellen (Mrs D Brawley) and her sisters Catherine (Mrs P Brawley), Ann (Mrs Mollahan), Agnes (Mrs McCormack), Hannah (Mrs Bradley) and Elizabeth (Mrs Armit). It was noted that at the time of the event their combined ages added up to 400.

So there was a Mrs Brawley on the committee. My granny perhaps?

It’s nice to read of a real community spirit in the village. The summer outings and Christmas treats would have been a welcome respite from the day to day lives back in the 1930s. But below we hear of a new optimism. Strange to think this is just 5 years before the War.

I imagine the sisters sitting together having a good gossip and maybe reminiscing about their younger days. Why was there no photographer??

I would love to have heard Mr Russell’s tales of the old days. I wonder if they might be recorded somewhere.

I’m not sure how much the ladies in the audience would have appreciated the minister’s thoughts on ageing.

And so he moved on to quoting Shakespeare and Burns. I imagine the sisters nudging each other and hoping the talking would end so they could enjoy their “sumptuous tea” and some entertainment.

It actually sounds like quite a show. Even the local MP makes an appearance. It really is such a shame there are no pictures of the event.

And so the evening comes to an end. Auld Lang Syne will be sung at many a party at New Year in Scotland and round the world. I wonder what was in the parcel?

I hope everyone attending the event this year has a fabulous time. I bet there will be some great stories told.

5 thoughts on “A Festive Treat – The Keenan Sisters

  1. It’s easy to view the Depression era as a time when nobody could afford to have any fun, but I think most people did find ways to enjoy themselves. Some could afford to party more lavishly. I have two photos on my blog that were taken eleven months after the Treat, in December 1934. I think the revelers were Canadian, but I’m not sure. Here’s one of the photos: https://tokensofcompanionship.blog/2017/06/08/new-years-eve-1934-on-the-steamship-rotterdam-part-2-of-2/.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Hannah Keenan 1860-1938 | Shaking The Branches

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