Castlewellan had a man who was known the length and breadth of Irelai and if anyone wanted a horse in the 1910-1940 period then John Maginn w the man. He had horses all shades and sizes - some traffic shy and some work shy. John had a Pub at the lower end of the Town beside what is known the Town Dam. At the rear he had his stables as well as a bottling plant for making all flavours of minerals. John was also a Spirit Wholesaler and his delivery vans were to be seen on most roads. His main man at that time was a nephew Con Maginn who later moved and took over the Donard Pub in Newcastle. It was an education to see those men prepare horses for sale. Paddy Kelly the Blacksmith would dress up their feet and fit second hand shoes, called "Removes", at four shillings for the set of four. With feet painted and manes nicely plucked, they were ready for the final inspection by the expert himself. John would then get an old newspaper, light it and run this along the belly and down the legs of the horses removing all the shaggy old hair in a flash. The next morning a string of Maginn's horses could be seen trotting down the road all looking like two year olds and all heading for a Fair. When John Maginn retired in 1940 the business was bought by Jimmy Maginn, another nephew, who had served his time to the Grocery in the Co Op. Jimmy then changed from horses to sheep. In 1974 he extended his business by opening a large Lounge and in 1984 a Restaurant, run by one of
The Maginn Family had already bought the two remaining shops at that end of the Street; one had been a Newsagent and Confectionery owned since the early 1900s by two sisters Ursula and Mary O'Higgins. The other by wee Paddy Burns the Butcher. Both those owners had retired. About 1940 a Bread Baking Competition took place in Maginn's Pub. This was between Alfie Gwinn, a man who lived a hermit type life at the top of Castlewellan Lake, and Tessie Maginn a sister of John. Gwinn was constantly bragging about the soda bread he could bake, and a date was fixed to allow him prove his superiority in this line of grub. Tessie's bread was light as a feather but poor old Alfie's would not rise or cook at all. Everyone was baffled - not least Alfie himself. However, there were a few who knew the reason for poor Alfie's misfortune - his flour had been laced with Allabaster. This was later admitted by Tessie who was disqualified and had to put up drinks all round for the spectators.
There was a third Horsedealer in the Town from the 1940s but this man didn't
own any stables just kept his horses in the surrounding fields. He came from
Drumee and was called Paddy Boden. In later years Paddy entered the Second Hand
Car Trade as well and his business is ticking over in 1986. He always had an
eye for a horse and was often asked to vet one for a potential buyer. One day
he accompanied Paddy Kelly the Blacksmith and Patsy Mullen the Garage Man to
view a pony Patsy fancied and eventually bought and brought home. The following
day Mullen's old friend Tony McAllister called to see the new arrival and after
a close inspection he remarked "It's a dead ringer for the one I had, that bate
the bus to Belfast every morning", so there must be something special about
Paddy Boden's eye. Within the last year Paddy Boden bought the yard and stables
behind what was always known as "Bruces". This was on the Dundrine Corner opposite
the old Gas Works that once supplied the Town. The main Bruce Dwelling had recently
been made into an Old People's Home owned by McGrady from Drumaroad.