A Hallowe’en mystery with Benford’s famous crime-cracker!


Ned Foley’s remarkable talent as a comedian was first revealed when he was a young man appearing on stage in the Tops of the Towns’ variety shows which were popular fifty years ago.

He had the kind of personality and stage presence that could turn the most banal of scripts into a side-splitting experience that invariably left his audience exhausted from laughing.

Ned, a small energetic man with a very expressive face, became the kind of star whose presence in any show was a sure guarantee of success.

He was in demand for pantomimes and for all kinds of shows in aid of charitable and community organisations, and he was widely admired and respected for his ability to make people laugh.

Before he retired from the his role as Benford’s best-loved comedian, because “he was gettin’ too old to be makin’ a fool of himself”, he merely had to walk across the stage, nodding his head wisely and throwing smiles of pure devilment at his audience in order to produce a ripple of laughter in anticipation of another rip-roaring performance.

Unlike much of the unsuspected talent that was first showcased in the Tops of the Towns’ shows, Ned’s fame lived on in the memory of the older citizens of Benford.

His day job hadn’t changed. He was still looking after the family farm, where he reared some pigs and kept a number of dairy cows. He lived on his own in the farmhouse and enjoyed a quiet life.

Older people in Benford were deeply shocked to learn that Ned had been attacked, beaten and robbed in his own home by two men wearing Hallowe’en masks.

Apparently, Ned had retired for the night. He heard a noise in the back of the house, but before he could do anything about it, the door of his bedroom was burst open. Two masked men entered the room and began demanding money.
When he told them there wasn’t any money, he was badly beaten, then his legs were grabbed and he was pulled out of the bed and down the stairs.

The intruders threatened to break every bone in his body if he didn’t reveal where he had his money.
After explaining that the only money in the house was about a hundred Euro in a jug on the dresser, the intruders grabbed the jug, and took whatever money was in it.

They then set about emptying drawers and cupboards, and generally turning everything upside down in a vain search for cash before disappearing into the night.
Ned was left lying on the floor bruised and sore and in a state of shock. Eventually, he managed to get to the phone and call the gardaí.

When they arrived on the scene, they called an ambulance, and Ned was taken into hospital for treatment.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own