Tuesday, 3 November 2009

An 'ice-cream poke' in Millisle

The Holywood actress Kiera Chaplin was born in Belfast on 1 July 1982.  She is the daughter of Eugene Chaplin and his last wife Oona O'Neill and a granddaughter of the famous actor and comedian Charlie Chaplin. 

According to an article in Sunday Life (1 November 2009), Kiera Chaplin 'fondly remembers holidays in Millisle and the 'pokie man' who sold her ice creams.'

This reference to the 'pokie man', the man who sold ice-cream pokes or cones, caught my attention.  The word 'poke' is a good Ulster-Scots word and many Ulster children have bought their 'ice-cream poke' from the 'poke man' in the 'poke van'.

I remember as a boy being on holiday in England and going into an ice-cream shop where I asked for a 'poke'.  The man behind the counter looked at me in confusion and it took some time for me to explain what I wanted.  However I did not encounter the same problem when I was on holiday in Scotland, because the word is found in Scots as well as Ulster-Scots.  The word poke can also be used for a small paper bag for sweets or chips.

Keira Chaplin, who has starred in a number of films, as well as the television series Baywatch, has happy memories of an 'ice-cream poke' in Millisle and so do many other Ulsterfolk.

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