Spoon bashing

SpoonsThe game of spoon bashing was brought back to 21Bn by Gerry Paley who first saw it on rugby trips to Edinburgh.

We set up in the men’s mess and offered a prize to anyone who could beat the reigning champion – Sgt Paley.

The 2 protagonists would set up opposite each other, straddling a bench. In order to avoid anyone cheating they had to hold each other’s hands, and with a dessert spoon held between their teeth they would take turns to bash each other on the head. The guy being hit had to put his head down to allow his opponent to strike, but this also meant he could not see what was going on while he was being struck.

In the spirit of fair play (!) the challenger would be allowed go first and so Paley would lower his head, and the guy would try and hit him as hard as he could. It was then that the challenger realised that no one can get enough leverage with a spoon held between your teeth to hurt your opponent. Much to the challenger’s surprise when he lifted his head he would see Paley rubbing his crown and gritting his teeth as though he had been seriously injured.

The challenger then lowered his head in turn, and Gerry’s assistant (Mick O’Toole), who had retrieved a soup ladle from the kitchen, would give him a fair sized “BOP” on the head. Your man at this stage would look very bemused and when Gerry lowered his head in turn the challenger would try all his might to inflict a telling blow – but knew in his heart that the spoon just moved in his mouth and no injury was inflicted. When he had received a second “Whack” from the ladle our man would cop on that there was a fix and get very upset much to the amusement of the gathered multitude who, of course, could see what was going on all the time.

Spoons copySo one night after the Paley challenge a second match took place which is the one pictured above. In this photo we can see my hand with the ladle coming in from the left to “bop” the guy on the head. This fellow however was not for giving up and took quite a few heavy blows before we took pity on him and declared him the winner.

The next morning I was the orderly sergeant when I spotted a soldier with no cap on. “Where is your beret, soldier!”, I roared to be told that it no longer fitted his head such was the size of the lump that had come up from the bashing he took the night before. We had to excuse him from the parade and hide him during morning inspection. I think the swelling had gone down enough by the next day for him to parade as normal and I don’t know if, or when, he ever found out that he was victim of a set up.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

While going through various photos I have collected during recent years I found these ones of Christmas parties. Generally the drill for B Company was a field day for Christmas competitions and then back to the Hotel Pierre or the Elphin for food and drink. In later years we would sometimes repair to the Coastguard Station where, following the tradition of Roman Saturnalia, the officers would serve the men. As everybody in the FCA had once been a G1 – there being no cadet school, Sandhurst or West Point – this was no big deal!

Santa’s Grotto

During one of Rossa’s(?) more inspired recruiting drives, a sandbag emplacement was constructed on the top floor of Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre. It was located just about where Santa’s Grotto used to be set up. It was probably best that any potential recruits did not have to sit on the CO’s knee during the process though.

The photos from the occasions show a visiting mairnéalach as well as Deccy in his alternate Shopping Centre security uniform. Things are so bad in Dun Laoghaire now that the security staff are dragging people INTO the centre!

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Exterminate!, Exterminate!


A group of us met up with Des Fitzgerald last evening in McKennas, where many a story was exchanged, scandal re-visited and calumny perpetrated. Des was visiting from his home in Belgium and we got a reasonable group of old “Come-Raids” to show up for a few scoops. Des has been diagnosed with MS, but as we can see from the attached photo his FCA skills are put to good use as he can “iompraigh” his crutches, dó, trí…. Picture by Rossa Lyons taken beside the Bn plaque.








I posted this picture on Facebook and although a few old comrades were (just a little) taken aback when Des walked into McKenna’s on crutches, Kevin Phelan (who was away on holiday at the time) thought he would treat Des’s condition with the respect it deserves and posted this:


Remember we should laugh at life … otherwise life might just laugh at us!

Sleeping Beauties

These photos from the ATK collection, show that you know it has been a good field day when you fall asleep on the way home. The name of the individual shown sucking their thumb is known to the author but is withheld for the time being!

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B Coy gathering 9th March 2014

Whereas the rest of Ireland had various Gatherings in 2013 B Coy decided to have theirs in 2014 – an extended gathering if you will. Some photos of the event supplied by Gav.


I predict a riot!

Words and pictures by Des Fitzgerald

On the day of the Christmas party in the late 1980’s (I think it might have been 1987) we got to do riot training in ‘The Brugha’ before we headed off to the Hotel Pierre (as it then was) for the customary meal and feed of drink.

It was one of the better ‘Christmas events’ we enjoyed in the 1980’s; up there with the fund raising gun pull (tow) from Dalkey to Cathal Brugha in aid of the Children’s hospital in Crumlin.

The 2nd Battalion lent the equipment, while we provided our own rioters most of whom were recruits who relished the opportunity to legitimately throw things at us.  The Barracks provided a suitable battleground in the form of a street like location in the laneway behind our stores and an ample supply of turf as ammunition for the mob to use.

I recall Noel Lyster and Sammy Campbell instructed us in the drills.  Advancing; strategically repositioning to the rear; and opening the front rank for a snatch squad to charge out and come back with the prisoners.  I remember somebody querying a statement that “…you drive everybody off the street”, with a question “..and what about innocent bystanders”?  “Son”, came the reply, “by the time you get on the streets there will be no innocent bystanders”.

That set the mood for the afternoon.

Group from Presentation College Centre A Coy. in Spring 1960.

Back row L to R: ANO, Pat Ferguson, Dermot Murphy, John Hynes, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan, Hugh O’Neill Front Row: ANO, James Farrell, Gary Cullen, ANO, Des Byrne(?),ANO

Back row L to R: ANO, Pat Ferguson, Dermot Murphy, John Hynes, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan, Hugh O’Neill
Front Row: ANO, James Farrell, Gary Cullen, ANO, Des Byrne(?),ANO


Back Row: ANO, Pat Ferguson(?),Dermot Murphy, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan, Hugh O’Neill
Front Row: James Farrell, ANO, Gary Cullen, ANO, Des Byrne, ANO


John Hynes


Tom Allen


Cpl. K McGuinness and a bored section


J Hynes, G Cullen, D Murphy, ANO, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan


J Hynes, G Cullen, D Murphy, ANO, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan

J Hynes, G Cullen, D Murphy, ANO, Tom Allen, Peter O’Regan