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Rod and Gun
The Rod and Gun Club

The village of Cloondargan even had its  own social club ‛The Rod and Gun Club‘ of Cuine(the north corner of Cloondargan by Mountdelvin).The fishing and shooting was excellent in that area. Fishermen and fowlers used to gather from all over. They met in Miller Pattons and formed a club there.
         A man named Matthias Cummins started a collection there and in America to raise money to build the hall for the club. The hall was built across the road from O’ Connor’s old home. The money raised bought the materials and voluntary local labour built it. A ditty composed by Mike Moore sums it up ”Success to Mountdelvin,
 Shanballymore, Cloondargan
Ruin of the Rod and GunRuin of the Rod and Gun
 and all, who gave daily labour to build the Rod and fun hall” etc.(Can anybody complete the verse?) Some of the committee members were: Michael Regan, John Cummins, Mike Corless, Michael Rattigan, Michael Flanagan, Paddy Clarke, Martin G. Connor, Owen Mullarkey and Pat Jennings.
The hall was opened on Easter Sunday 1928.
 At the first dance the ladies had free admission and the gentlemen were charged 4 pence. A fishing rod and gun hung from the ceiling. There was a little room at the back where tea was served, and during the week the men played cards. The room was comfortable with a nice open fire.
The hall measured 18’ by 40’ and had boarded flooring. The walls were concrete and stone. The roof was galvanise. Three tilly lamps hung from the ceiling.
On the opening night a group of locals paraded from the hall down to the shop in Mountdelvin, carrying a gun, a fishing rod, an Irish flag, and an American flag. They bought what was needed for a party, loaded it onto a donkey cart and paraded back to the hall.
The music was provided by musicians from the surrounding areas. Some locals that played there were Andy Mullarkey, Tom Nestor, Michael Kerrigan, John Cunningham, Paddy Clarke and Mattie Connor.
Sadly just in recent years the ruins of the hall together with the ball-alley were demolished.

A Tribute to the Rod and Gun and the Ball Alley 1927-2007
When we were growing up we called it the hall and ball-alley. It was the playground not just for us but for all the children in the neighbouring villages.
In the early years it was owned by Batt. Regan of Mountdelvin. My father acquired the buildings as part of a field swap.
My earliest memory of playing there was in the early 60’s while it still belonged to Regan’s. They kept two pony-traps in the room between the hall and the ball-alley. The room had a roof and double doors which were always locked but we managed to squeeze thorough. We were in awe of those beautiful traps with their shiny veneer. One was jet black and the other wine colour. They had long slender shafts and steps down from the doors. The interior had plush seating and side pockets. We spent many playful hours there in semi-darkness with just a ray of sunshine filtering through the doors. We were lords and ladies as we sat regally, going nowhere except in our young imaginations. I wonder whatever happened to those traps.
On fine summer days the big boys played handball in the ball alley and the girls played a ball game which involved bouncing the ball off the wall without dropping it. Throwing the ball around your back, under each leg, twirling round while chanting a ditty which went something like: ”under, over, right leg, left leg, whitsey, hippy, etc.“ Can anyone remember that?
I also remember collecting pretend money from the little ticket window in the dancehall. We always had to have an upturned bucket or something to stand on to reach the window. There was a pillar attached to the front wall of the hall about 3ft tall with the top slanting downwards. When you were eventually big enough to climb onto it you could never sit too long without sliding off again. Anyone who didn’t conquer that pillar before aged 8 felt a bit of a failure. Having overcome that feat the next challenge was to climb to the top of the ball alley wall (which to me equalled any stunt by Evil Kenevil) and one which I must confess I didn’t pass.!!
Our mother always marked our birthdays with a few treats and a cake. The cake was usually a swiss roll. One of those memorable birthdays was held in the little back room of the Rod and Gun. We had a makeshift table and chairs. The fact that there was no roof didn’t bother us because this was the nearest we came to dining out in those days.
It would be nice to hear what special memories other people have of their days in the ball alley and hall.
In the last few years before our parents passed on we celebrated the bonfire night in the ball alley, children, grand-children and great-grand-children. 
To those men and women who were responsible for raising the funds (at a time when money was very scarce) and to those who laboured to build a facility which gave so much pleasure to generations of local families, we say thank you and we honour your memory.