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Thursday, 4th July 2024

Twistin' the Night Away - Heady Eddie goes from packing bags of porridge to top DJ

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Eddie Caffrey, AKA Heady Eddie, (left) installing broadcasting equipment into a caravan on Tullyesker Hill after the Pirate Boyneside Radio’s studio was raided by the Gardaí in April 1987. On right is Eoibheann McDonnell who was the co-owner of the station with Eddie. The identity of the person in the middle is unknown.

By Sean Collins

Back in the seventies, long before the days of mobile phones and social media, one looked to the local rag, as The Drogheda Independent was endearingly called, for information on the local entertainment scene.  

On the south bank of the Boyne “Sock it to me McKool” was spinning the discs in the Bettystown Golf Club on Wednesday evenings during the summer.

The Marsh Road was full of young people hitching lifts out to the coast and walking home to Drogheda in the early hours, of what seems to have been much kinder weather.

In August 1974 Franklin Dee Godfrey, better known to everyone as “Shanks”, told the paper’s feature writer he had given a young lad from Togher a spot at one of his discos. “His name is Eddie from Togher” Shanks said, adding that “…he will go far.”

Eddie had been working in Annagassan Mill packing bags of porridge since he was just 13 years of age, so he obviously fancied an easier life. The DI reporter suggested Eddie would take over from Franklin when he retired but, half a century later, we’re still waiting. 

The papers continued to report on Eddie’s meteoric rise in the Disc Jockey world of mid-Louth and Drogheda. Every Wednesday night in Sandpit Hall, I bet Clare Murphy was there and I know Paula Lynch ventured once or twice, even Helen Campbell.

I wanted to go myself but Gary Kinsella wouldn’t let me, he said Eddie didn’t play Bob Marley and the Wailers so that cancelled Sandpit, I think it was really because Fiona didn’t go there. Eddie the DJ, “with a thousand discs” was packing Togher Hall every week.

By 1975 Heady Eddie was playing five nights a week in the Ashling Ballroom in Clogherhead and sometimes supported an up and coming group called the Maher Family for whom opportunity was beginning to knock. 

In 1978, influenced no doubt by Radio Caroline and Luxembourg, which many of us listened to late into the night under the blankets with an earphone - no fancy headsets then” - Eddie dipped his toe into pirate radio.

LRD, (Local Radio Droghed began broadcasting from the attic of Donaghy’s Mill.  Boyneside emerged and taking over the Green Scene from Ken Murray, Eddie brought the popular radio show to the masses every Thursday night at Larry Grant’s newly refurbished Rossnaree.

In 1983 “Heady Eddie” as he was now called, and Joey Maher were invited to play on a local football team aptly called the “All-Sorts” against the “Jimmy McGee All-Stars”, fame had at last arrived for the young Togher man.

Throughout the 90’s, the Linen Hall on Stephen’s Night, the Mattock Inn with bubbly for all, the Valley Inn, and O’Neills of Duleek all welcomed Eddie and his Green Scene Show, and he still didn’t play Bob Marley. In 2002 he was back to his roots at the Togher Festival. 

From 1989 onwards, of course local radio became legitimate, and Eddie kept on spinning the discs, with the ‘afternoon delight’ show and now heading for forty years on the Green Scene on a Saturday morning.

A long way from packing porridge, keep spinning them Eddie, many of the young revelers from Sandpit and Togher are now grandparents but they are all still tuning in.

Bob Marley never recorded “Four Country Roads” so he hasn’t made the cut on the Green Scene and Franklin still hasn’t retired. 

 

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