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Tramore Boy: Getting to know


Tramore is everything to Frank these days. I


was born in Ballygunner in the 40’s, and it was the countryside back then. I went to the small local country school, it had less than 100 pupils with just 3 teachers. The principal was a man called Mr Jimmy McGinn originally from Dundalk. He was a very good teacher. The morning began with the tin whistle band playing the national anthem and the raising of the national flag. In the evening during Lent we said the rosary. Then after school he taught us hurling. In 1954 Mr McGinn formed the Ballygunner hurling club, I was at the meeting, I was only 13 years of age. Back then we had no permanent playing pitch, we used to get the loan of a field off a local farmer and we had no dressing rooms. They won the minor championship on their first attempt and it is a huge club out there today. There were a lot of poor people living in


Ballygunner at the time but it didn’t reflect in the neglect of children. People at that time, in a small community like Ballygunner, they looked out for each other, there was nobody short. Veg and potatoes were free from the farmers for those who couldn’t afford it. There was a general sense of everybody struggling but everybody happy. This was back in the late 40’s, early 50’s and they were happy times. The first real employment that came out around Ballygunner was the building of


Frank King From Ballygunner to Bus Eireann and also the Dail, with many more adventures along the way, Frank King speaks to My Waterford about his colourful life.....


Ardkeen hospital in the 50’s, it took nearly 3 or 4 years. It was built as a TB hospital when Noel Browne was minister for health, because of the high incidence of TB cases in Waterford. I became a tradesman, because


you were guaranteed a job. I went straight from school into Sheridans garage as an apprentice mechanic around 1957. I remember coming in from the country to Sheridans, they were based on the mall. I was the only fella from the country but they made me very welcome. We used to work 6 and a half days and we had a half day on a Thursday and I used to always get invited to someone’s house. Tommy Coady lived out the Cork road, Gerry Buggy in Slieverue or Mikey Murphy. I then worked in the Arundel Garage for


People


at that time, in a small community


like Ballygunner, they looked out for each other, there was nobody short...


Then I returned to the family business, we had 3 pubs in Waterford, The Briar Rose in Ferrybank, The Cleaboy and I spent 14 years in the pub in Ballybeg. I had a very successful time in Ballybeg and there was great community there in the 80’s. We also had 4 betting shops, 2 in Waterford and 2 in Limerick. I also worked as a bookie at the courses. I only gave up the course a couple of years ago but I still do the dogs in Clonmel. I got out in time because I knew I wasn’t able to compete with the Paddy Powers, and the Boylesports and


that. It’s all online betting now.


a few years and then I took a detour and I went up to Tipperary for around 3 years and ran a pub in Cloheen. I married Mary in 1962 and we eventually moved back to Waterford when I moved to CIE in 1965. I started as a mechanic in CIE and when it


was broken up then I finished up as regional manager for Bus Eireann covering Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Rosslare Harbour which was very busy at that time, it was before the cheap flights and everyone went to England on the boats. I worked for them for nearly 30 years.


While working in CIE I stood for the county council, I was very young at the time. I was elected to the county council for the Labour party in 1974 and I ran for the Dail in 77, but I was unsuccessful, it was one of the ones that Fianna Fail swept the board. So I got appointed to the Senate for a short spell. But I left Labour and joined Fianna


Frank still enjoys working at Clonmel Greyhound Stadium.


Fail in the 80s and I have been director of elections for


various candidates for FF over the years.


AMUSEMENTS Over 20 years ago I was working at the dogs one night and a man came to me and said that he was a tenant of the Tramore Amusement park and he said that Tramroe Failte were thinking of selling the park. So we had a chat and I said why don’t


all the tenants come together and we will put in a bid. So we had a meeting of all the operators and I said I would be willing to act as chair and manager but we had to get the money. So I went into a bank in Waterford and I


asked the manager would he be able to loan me a million pounds and he said not at all I would have to go to Cork. So I said you are no good to me. So I eventually ended up on the quay and I asked the manager can you loan me a million pounds. I can he said. So I said you are the man I need to talk to! And we bought it for in the region of £700,000 which was a lot of money 23 years ago. We spent a lot of money on the park, railing it in and laying out the sites and we are still here. We came through the recession and we have since paid for the place, we don’t owe anybody any money. The type of rides that we operate now is


very different to what used to be there in the old days, people would only laugh at it if we had that nowadays. So we need stuff that goes much faster, gives far more thrills but is far more dangerous so we have to be


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