Blackburn, Richard (Ritchie)
Date of Birth: 19th May 1936
Place of Birth: Clonroche, Co. Wexford
Date Interviewed: 15th April 2009
Summary: Ritchie Blackburn was born in Clonroche and clearly remembers what the village was like in the days before electricity arrived. His childhood was spent in the local countryside raiding orchards, catching birds and playing with his friends. In winter he would use a sheet of iron as a toboggan on the snow-covered hills. Ritchie left school at 14 and went to work on a local farm. He remembers buying a blue Hercules bicycle on hire purchase and this allowed him to cycle to matches. He joined a well-drilling firm and spent the next 45 years of his life in this business. He recalls the work involved and tells of the difficulties of drilling and talks about some of the characters he knew. The Clonroche Development Association grew out of the arrival of the Tour de France stage in 1998. At the time Ritchie suggested a Millennium Park for the 2000 celebrations and with W.O.R.D. funding and local effort the project was completed. Ritchie continues to play a strong role in the Clonroche community.