PIPER PATRICK O’BRIEN:
Our beloved Limerick Piper, Patrick O’Brien, a Labasheeda native, slipped on ice on St Patrick’s Day 1855 and died in December, 1856. He was buried out in Kilquane Cemetery on the cusp of Parteen village. I recall visiting that cemetery many years ago in an effort to view his resting place. However, having spent most of the afternoon in this quest, I failed to find the spot where he was buried; the reason being, I later learned, there is no marker where his remains are laid to rest. To the best of my knowledge this has not been rectified to date. I am open to correction on that. Many years ago I penned the following. The local connection of course, being that the said musician resided for quite a stretch on Mary Street at.
A piper of great talent did play,
By the Crescent almost every day,
But he slipped on black ice
Which was not very nice,
Out in Kilquane we now for him pray.
It was refreshing to hear the dulcet tones of our native writer and national broadcaster, Mae Leonard, once again as she surfaced on the highly popular radio programme, “Sunday Miscellany.” Mae, in her own inimitable way had the listeners enthralled as we imagined her grandmother in times past as she glanced in the mirror while adjusting her hat before placing the final touch, the all-important hatpin, in place. Our descriptive expert went on to evoke our interest with a concise list of the various types of hatpins available in that age of true grace and beauty. In their own way they were daggers dressed up (rather lengthy), that adopted various guises. I vividly recall them, needless to say, never availed of them, don’t wore hats. Well done once again to Mae for keeping the literary flag flying!
HATPIN IN STORY:
The mention of the word ‘hatpin’ reminded me of a novella I had penned way back in time. The relevant part I relate: “Once inside the door Delia removed her hatpin and placed her black hat over one of her late husband’s hurling trophies. She then began to poke the fire and sat down staring vacantly at the brightly burning flames, thinking of the past. She thought of how good Dan had been to her, especially in later years when all the fledglings had flown, how well he had provided for her. He had been a god husband in every sense of the word.”
KATE’S LITERARY GEMS:
“On the threshold of the house she hesitated. The bells and the clocks of Mellick were withdrawing one by one from their discussion of midnight. The stars were clear. The freezing air had danger in it.”
“Vincent waited for her near the tunnel of fir-trees, and as he saw the moonlight assault their darkness to reveal her, he thought that if ever the stage was set for the barn-stormer’s play, it was now. If ever two characters were correctly placed to exemplify to an excited gallery that love is the lord of all, it was he and she.” (Quotations from “The Ante-Room,” by Kate O’Brien)
“We were full of fettle, swimming at ‘The Metal.” (a bridge) Well, did you ever encounter such perfect rhyme, that in its execution conjures up such a vivid picture. Can’t you just see them now? Skinny young lads in their togs which in some cases was a mere ‘excuse’ for a pair of togs. There they are mad to be the first one in the water, spending the entire afternoon of a summer’s day simply enjoying the swim. No sitting in front of laptops in those days for these healthy free spirited young lads. Come to think of it, one was lucky then to have a radio in the house. Poet Arthur takes us down the Back Island where we become acquainted with some grand orchards, oh, the utter ’luxury’ of it all! Even crabs were more than welcome! The Tanyard ruin was a gift for those same young lads as they moved around ‘in packs’ to enjoy and make the most of those precious youthful years on those long hot summer days. Anyone who wishes to have the entire 29 verses of this age-old ‘golden’ poem can just email the above address and you’ll have it pronto!
AN AREA OF ST MARY’S
We were full of fettle, swimming at ‘The Metal’,
For buoyancy, we used the long, green reeds,
More than once, I recall, we gazed in wonder all,
To see Dan Gallagher diving off the bridge.
The Tanyard ruin was our great boon,
And sundry games we played there in our teens,
Adventurous we were truly , and perhaps sometimes unruly,
Someone of ‘the glass table’ made smithereens!
Orchards there were grand, down in the Back Island,
And we often, with intent, went by that way,
We indulged our intention, too many times to mention,
Those orchards, all save one, are gone today.