Thomas (Biscuit) Brendan Golden (1917 - 1982) Biography
Known as Tommy to his wife, he was born the youngest child of Patrick Golden and Bridget Forde and grew up on his Grandfather's farm in Doughlough (2 miles west of Ballycastle) with three brothers and a sister. He left school at the age of 14 to work on the farm. After his siblings had left to pursue other lives, Tommy inherited the farm in the late 1930's.
Tommy acquired a nickname when, as a young lad in his early twenties, he was courting a girl whose father was nicknamed 'Cracker McCann'. Tommy's witty comrades dreamed up the name "Biscuit", and it stuck.
His brothers had gone into construction work in the Ballina area and formed a partnership with the Langan brothers from Ross. Later,
during World War II, the Langan and Golden Brothers found a load of wreckage from ships on the beach. As all flotsam and jetsam washed up on the beaches was being claimed by the Customs and Excise officials for the Government, they hid it under the hay in Biscuit Golden's haggard. Wood was a rare and expensive commodity during the war and these young chaps were trying to start a business.
Tommy formed his own personal partnership with one of the Langans when he married Teresa (Tess) Langan the youngest daughter of Patrick Langan and Ellen Connor from Kilbride. They were married in St Bridget's Church in Ballycastle in 1946.
Tommy was a great Gaelic footballer, playing both for Ballycastle and for County Mayo. His sporting ability and physical strength were legendary and he helped his team to victory on numerous occasions. Tommy would cycle 20 miles to Ballina, compete in a cycle race, win, then cycle back home again with the prize. On occasions he even cycled the 80-mile round trip from Ballycastle to Castlebar to play in a football match.
Tess Langan & Tommy Golden on their wedding day in Ballycastle 1946
Having settled down on the farm in Doughlough with his new wife, Tess, they produced seven daughters. After working on the farm all day, Tommy would sometimes make night-time fishing trips in his curragh (an ancient style of boat native to Irish shores built by sewing a tough skin of ox-hides over a light canoe-like frame of wooden splints) to catch salmon, pollock, bream, mackerel or herring. Tommy would sell some of the fish at the local market and the family would then gut and salt the rest to preserve them for food through the winter.
As the farm could not adequately support his growing family, in the early sixties Tommy ventured to England to look for work in the more lucrative construction industry. The temporary work stretched into years and in 1965 his wife and seven daughters finally followed him to make a new home in Bristol. Two years later his eighth child and first son was born, Thomas Kevin (Junior).
After a hard day's work, Tommy would enjoy a quiet pint of beer at his local Pub seated in his favourite corner, until one day he discovered that a large Juke Box had been placed where he usually sat. So Tommy calmly picked up the heavy Juke box and carried it effortlessly back to where it was before, to the amazement of all the locals who just looked on.
Then he moved his table and chair back to the corner and sat down to enjoy his pint, with a smile to acknowledge his fellow patrons who were still speechless at such a display of strength.
Tommy was a man of great strength in every way, but always kind and gentle. His courage, charm and sense of fun are remembered by all who knew him. He enjoyed the best of health throughout his life, never missing a day's work until, sadly, he died prematurely from a brain tumour in May 1982.
Proud father Tommy at the wedding of his daughter Anne in December 1969.
Throwing weights was another of his sporting talents. He would cycle to Ballina for the competitions and usually came away with the prize. His speciality was throwing the half-hundred (half hundredweight = 56 pounds) for which he won many medals. A cousin, Tom Ormsby, remembers overhearing a conversation after Tommy Golden had just won the half-hundred competition: 1st chap "Who won?", 2nd chap "Some lad from Ballycastle", 1st chap "Did he throw it far?", 2nd chap "He could have thrown it over Nephin if he'd wanted to!" (Nephin Beg is the local mountain).
Tommy Golden standing next to his daughter Maureen at her wedding in July 1969
Some of Tommy Golden's sports medals
Tommy and his family at the wedding of his daughter Colette in 1975
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