'Tommy was more than a brother to me, he was my best friend '

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'Tommy was more than a brother to me, he was my best friend '


Hugh Duncan describes his early working life in relation to his friendship with Tommy. He describes Tommy as his best friend. He reflects on how they used to go walking up Cloughmore Stone together and their visits to the Opera and Theatre. They worked together in the Post Office. They both suffered health problems at the same time, Hugh recovered and Tommy died. Hugh reflects on how loved and respected Tommy was.


Hugh Duncan


Trinity College Dublin




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Tommy was serving his time as a shipwright and they lived with granny Duncan in Avon Street and came down to Rostrevor at the weekends and Tommy and I sometimes went to Newry by bus and went to the pictures: Savoy, Frontier and another I can't remember. Many times we rambled up to the Cloughmore Stone and seeing the wonderful panoramic scenery along both sides of Carlingford Lough. Those mountain scenes will remain with me forever. I just didn't see them when Tommy and I climbed them at weekends. I was privileged to enjoy them everyday at work in the forests of the magical Mourne Mountains. Tommy was more than a brother to me he was my best friend. When we came back to Belfast we went out together to shows in the Opera House and the Empire Theatre and roamed over the Black Mountain on Sundays weather permitting and later on when the shipyard became slack Tommy was made redundant and eventually we both worked in James Mackies on the Springfield Road. Then after working in Mackies Tommy got a job in the Post Office as a postman and shortly afterwards I followed him into the same division in 13 Walk. Tommy went to a walk in the Woodvale area and I went for a time to Springmartin near the Highfield Estate when meant that we travelled back and forth together in the same bus and before the second delivery after the tea break we set out the same as we did early on. Later I delivered mail in different parts of the city. I began to get a pain in my back and Tommy had the same experience at the same time. It was discovered that Tommy had asbestos and I had angina. Tommy had a severe operation and the day I entered the Royal Victoria Hospital Tommy was moved from Ward 14 to ward 7. By a conincidence I was put in the same bed that he had vacated. My operation was a success but Tommy was sent home without any hope of recovery. He died shortly afterwards and because of my health, I was retired from the Post Office. Tommy was a real gentleman and was loved by the people he served. He was my best friend and mate.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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