The Irish in America

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The Thumbers: A poem from Seamus Hora

Seamus Hora shares another great poem with the readers of The Irish in America. We’ll let Seamus tell you what it’s about…

“It is difficult to believe that the following poem describes an Ireland of 40 years ago. I am delighted to have been a part of that era and feel I owe so much to those people. It is only as you grow older you appreciate the value of their advise and remember each individual sense of humour. Thumbing was the word used to describe a signal from people who waited on the road for  a car to take them to their destination. Even in today’s modern times there is still no public transportation this route. The journey describes the 5 miles between Gorthaganny  and Ballyhaunis.”


Quiet rural road in Ireland (source:

The Thumbers


The practice of thumbing in the seventies was rife

Cars they were scarce it was part of our life.

Friday is one of the day’s I recall

People seeking a lift; for post office to call.

First on the road, Summer Light. –Winter Dark.

Problem with hearing, this was Mrs Clarke.

The ball alley stood out on the hill up ahead

In winter this part of the road I did dread

A picturesque cottage my next port of call –

Where colourful roses adorned the wall.

Doors painted brightly, lime on each stone

Mod’ lady called Sally stood waiting alone

At this time the car was beginning to fill

A couple of regulars awaited me still.

Pat Hoban was next-with a strange point of view.

To let air circulate cut vent holes in his shoe

The three in the back were not very pleased –

Let in Mrs Ganley crush became squeeze

Sadly, the last one mobility did lack.

Surname was Kenny either Jimmy or Jack

Each day of the week things were much the same.

So many thumbers! Too numerous to name.

Some are still with us. Some laid to rest.

Relaxed eyes closed tightly – I can picture them best.

Seamus Hora

A bit about the poet…

Seamus Hora was born in Gorthaganny, County Roscommon. He has been employed by same company, Delaneys Ltd in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, for 44 years. He has lived in Ballyhaunis for the past 20 years. Seamus is married to Rosaleen and the couple has one daughter, Sandra. Seamus only recently started to write poetry. and he bases his poems on his life experience. He values feedback and would like to hear what people think of his poem. Please leave a comment!

For more poetry from Seamus, click here and here. Enjoy!



Winter Reminiscing

Seamus Hora is so kind as to share another lovely poem with The Irish in America. This time he remembers winter evenings of days gone by, the 1950s when all you needed was a radio for company and a turf fire for warmth. Seamus thought there might be a few TIIA readers out there who also remember the “old days” in rural Ireland and might care to reminisce along with him…

Photo courtesy of the fantastic blog - That Curious Love of Green - check it out by clicking on the image.

Photo courtesy of the fantastic blog – That Curious Love of Green – check it out by clicking on the image.



Tonight I am reminiscing

I have turned back the years

Removed the locks from both the doors

And forgot about my fears.


Removed the TV from the shelf

And put it out of sight

Replaced it with a radio

Commentating on a fight.


Put the mobile phone on silent

Took the handset off the wall

Tonight-The only interruption

Neighbours foot steps in the hall.


Reached up to the fuse board

Reversed the on off handle

Got an empty bottle from the press

And placed in it a candle.


Replaced the coal and briquettes

With a seasoned wooden log

And a couple sods of well dried turf

Harvest from the local bog.


The lid from off the oven

I will heat until just right

Wrap in a woollen sweater

Place in the bed tonight.


Stare out through the window

Watch the snowflakes as they fall

Pretend its Christmas Eve again

And Santa’s sure to call.


Will I read a passage from the book

Or the rosary instead?

Then go outside – melt a little snow

Before I go to bed.


Seamus Hora

Click here to learn more about poet, Seamus Hora, and to read his poem on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.