" Play THe Pipes for Me To -Nite"

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Posted by Butch on January 12, 2001 at 21:02:02:

In Reply to: " La Golindrina " The Swallow posted by Butch on January 12, 2001 at 20:53:21:

" Play the Pipes for me To -nite"
Musha, ta bron ormsa anocht, seo e mo sceil. My night was drawing to a close ,I had just finished replying to Que,tacked on some lyrics to Mary Magnolia those clues that help us find the pieces for our jigsaw puzzle of yore. I decided to go and search Google .com for further news of our new found poet Paul Durcan . Mr Durcan's vivid imagery brought back memories while I was reading " Coming home to Mayo" coincidental, that we all have taken the same journey , back from a day in Baile Ath Cliath, as young gasurs and colleens.Bright eyed with the dew of the early morning, we always rose before the dawn as the old man wanted to be in the city early ,early.He was a parochial man not a metropolitan man. He would remove the high tension wire from the distributer cap so nobody would steal our gluaistain from Mayo. There was no need for much talking , preparations having been made the night before , my mother , made sandwhiches ,and fresh coffee for the journey . We set off in the dark, everyone in quiet anticipation . Our excursion to Dublin was under way . The essential route to Dublin from Castlebar is always the same but .. driving on dark Irish country roads you can make a wrong turn, or go the long way for there's always a long way .We motor on thro Turlough, Ballyvary, Ballyheane,even while i'm writing I may go the long way or I may even go the wrong way, and I have , Ballaghaderreen, the widest street , thro Roscommon ,straight ahead James and don't spare the horses. I can't remember where it began or it just seemed to appear out of nowhere but I believe we had passed over the mighty river Shannon at Athlone maybe we were even past Mullingar . Coming over the crest of a hill directly in front of us a huge ball of crimson fire lay hanging over the horizon filling our world, a brilliant orb of fiery flame as the illusion of distance and space magnified a spectacular vision a gigantic lighthouse in the sky pointing the way the way to Dublin, so travelers would not founder on the rocks of Bellfast. I remember standing on Burns's hill outside Ger and Sean Mangans house with Skipper, looking up at the " aurora bora allis" A kaleidoscope of carnival purpled colours like silky veils swirling and sweeping across the sky. Many years later,on a mountain top in the Yosemite national forest where I was taken by a friend of Ireland; it was a chilly, clear April night and I had not yet learned what I had forgotten as I lay down in my sleeping bag and looked up to the sky , the magnificent vista of the heavens shocked me into remembrance of celestial scenery I had in my own back yard EVERY night all but forgotten , taken for granted , "When to the session of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past , I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, and with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:" W. S. Counting the stars, yep ,a haoin a do a tri ,a ceathar, a cuaig , a se ,a seacht , shocked,shapes The Bear ,Orion, Venus,girls are stars they go to mars ,boys are stupider they go to Jupiter, dogs cats moons, fiddles and spoons, "Halcyon Days" when the girls and the boys were more equal, few cars, we played on the road , it was our road !! here comes Jack Stanton in his horse and cart ,followed by Johnny MacHale in his horseless cart and Tom Morans cows won't let them go anywhere for a while. We secured our road once more ,red light red light, I was caught moving, as London Bridge was taken down and hoisted to Arizona,Then Noel and I would play ring around the rosy with our fair ladies Margo, Assumpta, Maureen and Aggy taking care not to fall into Mrs. Cawley's monkey tree ,but caring not a care for peril or pestilence . As the rhymes of yesteryear reflected the lifestyle of the inhabitants and are full of rural sights and sounds , wind, trees,rivers, streams,winter , ice, summer,.fences ,gates ,fields,Ducks pigs, cows, horses,sheep,goats,hens, roosters, birds, dogs, cats,rabbits, rats , mouses, mices, geese, ganders ,gooses. Mooses,floosies ,flotsam, sewers, city life . Top hats ,top cats, chimney sweeps , bakers, butchers,tailers, Princesses and Kings , no phones no rings, no cars or bars only pubs and jugs, Aye laddie have you seen Black Bart! Ihear tell he be around thes parts, THE WHALE LADDIE!! HAVE YOU SEEN THE WHALE!! Set sail, set sail, pull up the anchor all hands on deck for we are bound and gagged for South Australia it was only a shilling istole from ya anyways it was mine rightly ya know as I drifted into a fitful sleep lulled by the clockwork ocean of the rolling waves and the wind blowing through the rafters below , moaning, now humming, a lullaby air,canvas flapping ,ropes and wood, creaking ,and groaning . I awake to find myself high above the ocean floor on a cliff top on Inish Boffin where we had fallen asleep my two friends and I . We had lunch in the local cafe and went for a walk. Finding ourselves on a cliff high above the atlantic , we lay down on the grass lulled by the murmer of the crashing surf far below ,comforted by the ever present breeze, and warmed from the rays of a lucky sun, we fell fast asleep as if smitten. For we HAD been smitten. By the cacophony of the 20th machinery NOISE! Every day you wake up in Castlebar, 20 people have been jarred awake by 20 alarm clocks that buzz and bleep ,20 people turn on their hair dryers , 20 people turn on their electric tooth brush ,20 people warm up their electric hair curler, 20 people turn up the thermostat, the condenser of 20 refrigerators cycle on and off 20 times before the day is out,20 automatic timers turn 20 coffee pots on,20 ranges will fry 20 rashers, 20 water heaters are fired up ,20 washer and dryers are made to spin, and tumble, 20 dishwashers clean 20 dishes,20 tv tubes energise,20 video cassette recorders engage their gears, 20 microwaves radiate, 20 toasters toast, 20 computers are booted up along with 20 electric motors, 20 internal combustion engines are warmed up and 20 radios' vie for attention as, 20 telephone calls will bombard , your ears and 20 more will bombard someone else's and do so consistently all day long, 20 children cry out for fruit loops, not porridge! as 20 mothers take 20 pills and 20 fathers have 20 jobs to pay 20 bills in 20 minutes. Your day has just begun! . "Wellcome to the machine" " On the road again like a band of gypsies we go down the highway and my way" We were pulled over on the side of the road ,My Mother was dolling out the sandwhiches and pouring the hot coffee carefully into little cups, the sun by then had shaken it's earlier splendour, and was now arising above us We should arrive in Dublin by ten o clock the old man said, and timetables were arranged . It was ok to go to the bathroom at the side of the road in 1956, #1 only of course, as you and wee willy faced the chilled morning air with a sense of carefree abandonment . Ignition and down the stretch ,Enfield , Lee Enfield , Maynooth, Father Paddy R.I.P.Dublin!. We parked on charles st. and the wires were duly removed . Agreements made to return back to a certain spot at a certain time. My Mother shopping for clothes and fabric, Cleary's. My Father hunting for his school books at the wholesalers and later to the electrical stores for gizmos and such like. Then the morning would be celebrated with a drink at a certain Mooney's pub , Stephen would be called from the pub phone putting shillings and sixpences in three times before someone got it right and arrangements would be made to meet with the metropolitan brother at the teachers club after lunch. Lunch being served at a certain hotel on the fringe of the North side where the teachers from the country eat and slept it would not be uncommon for the old man to greet a fellow teacher from Mayo or Rosscommon. From the table across the dining room , we would come back one more time for tea before heading back to County Mayo. I fell down in Dublin many years hence and broke my phsyic on the University floor - "maybe if"- I had gone to parochial Gallway.... I had my Grandads bicycle with me then and used to cycle from Booterstown across to the north side to visit with James Parson with my guitar strapped on my back I cycled everywhere I went as funds were low and the bike was economically sound ,around Stephens Green flying down Grafton St and up deserted O Connell St, Parnell Square past Glassnevin. I didn't know you were there then Mick, shiet,i didn't even know who you were, they forgot to tell me about you or maybe they were saving that for later,I was just passing by here , I hear you used to ride a bike yerself,why sure i can see the back ofya on the north circular rd. Doin your rounds beforeya called it a nite, makin sure ala the lads got their stipend from the fund and the Wifes too, ya had them all beat Mick, last to go to bed at nite, and first up in the mornin , Why d they lay you here anyway, a country bumpkin, like meself , I shoulda gone to University College Cork maybe i'd be a gran master of something by now or even a councilman they say you don't need much readin or writin for that , C.C.C. I.E. any way you should be back in Clonakilty where you belong by the sea at least you could glare at them there, you were good at that, and then maybe you could jump up out some night and wrestle them comin back from the pub. I was born in Cork you know ,aye, in Mitchellstown, in the hospital there, met a buddy of yours, right, used to come visit our house in Burncourt Co Tipp. After " Soloheadbeg" he became the most wanted man in Ireland sure you know that, hah, oh, Dan, Dan Breen, right, gave my brother half a crown he did. Now i'll tell you a story, the day before my wedding. We got a visit from a man and his wife who was touring California, and had brought a gift from Carmel, Mattie's wife ,who lives in Artane , they were staying at a local B.&B. So I invited them to our celebration naturally, so the following day after the vows were agreed upon, , And everyone was gathered back at the digs, imbibing and coniving with conjugal spirits when my Brother called me from castlebar with congratulations on my incarceration and I told him there was a Harry Boland here from Dublin, "Do you know who that is ?" He says "Do you know who that is ?" he exclaimed again " hav'nt the foggiest" says I, " that's Charlie Haughty's chief accountant" he says. Now what do you think of that Michael?. I still didn't know who you were then, untill a fella called Jordan made a movie about you , aye , your famous ,aye , postthumeaously like, Van Goff too,,What news ? they are finally burying the hatchet up there, although some ones just want to leave it lying on Top of the ground ,so say a prayer Mick that they will talk as long as they fought,then Fathers and Mothers won't have to put overcoats of kevlar on their children when they take them to school, " fight with words not fists" thats what Tom used to say Michael, he's back in Oram now where he wanted to be in the first place , tell him I said hallo .I'll see you back in Skibereen . In County Tipperary just three miles outside the town of Cashel, and five miles from Cahir , lies Rockwell College where I spent four years . Obscured from the main Dublin Cork road by a long wall overshadowed by many trees . Two large decorative iron gates secured by hinges to two imposing stone pillars are eclipsed by a cresent shaped wrought iron sign proudly displaying the name and crest of the college, and imprinted with the motto of the holy ghost order " Inter Constantia Mutanda" Consistency amongst changes. The long curving driveway is bordered on either side by a diverse abundance of verdant plants with a forest of trees for a backdrop. Then the asphalt gives way to gravel and the scenery abruptly clears away to a panoramic view. From fabled Slievnamon in the east along the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountains to Galteemore and the glen of Aherlow in the west.
Originally the eighteenth- century mansion of the Marquis of Waterford, extended many times over a hundred year period includes a Romanesque chapel that occupies a dominant position in the ensemble of the College buildings which house some five hundred students. Seated on some six hundred acres, the College boasts it's own dairy farm and one of the finest hotel management schools in Ireland. The recent gathering of luminaries at the College that consisted of His Eminence Cardinal Browne, O.P,Past Pupil.His Excellency Mr Eamon de Valera who was a professor there The Archbishop of Cashel and Emily,Most Rev. Thomas Morris,D.D. Archbishop of Nairobi,Most Rev, J. J. Mc Carthy D.D.The Bishop of Limerick Most Rev.H.Murphy D.D, ; The Bishop of Owerri Nigeria, Most Rev J Whealan, D.D. The Bishop of Gambia, West Africa ,The most Rev M. Moloney and included some more than 100 guests representing branches of the Hierarchy and civic service.(Irish press Report of 10 August,1962) lay testament to the proud academic history of the College that attracts students from all over the world and if any of your sons wishes to go there I do get a commission . Don't believe that but do believe the next chapter. It's the year 1963 , my first turbulent period away from the nest, James Parsons has escorted me safely through the limerick train station and shown me the ropes ,I got to tag along with his crew of buddies two years ahead of me . It was a great year for Rockwell we brought home the Munster cup , Joe Comiskey ,and John Moroney, were selected for the Irish international rugby team, and Moroney ,on the wing with a gammy leg limped over the line for the winning try against England. We were entertained all year by a bunch of talented clowns from Dublin. From the senior fifth year class ,Crosby,Lalor,O Mahony, Hanahoe, O'Toole,.The Bully's had gotten bored of torturing me.I had made some progress on the guitar . My Dad had built a wooden case for my guitar, a labor of love ,varnished and shellacked, it was a thing of beauty. Francis O Toole from Dublin taught Jim Parson chords on the instrument which he then passed on to me and every opportunity we got ,we would go down to an area called the crypt which housed several pianos and we would practice till our fingers bled(Igot blisters onmy fingers!) and finally got callused. With Fran O' Tool feeding us new material we beat back the boredom of f rainy afternoons. Fran O'Toole was a friendly and infectious person to be around,if you needed help in some area of expertise he was only too glad to help you.He was adept at playing ,the guitar ,the piano, the clarinet.For a while my guitar seemed to be the only one around .One day, one of the priests asked Fran if he would play for a small group of preparatory kids one of whom was celebrating a birthday. He approached me and asked me if he could borrow my guitar. I knew what room the party was going to be in that afternoon. I stood outside the door and listened. As the sounds of singing came thro the door I heard my guitar like never before. In the hands of a real musician the instrument failed not ,and in the space of a moment my standard of quality was set for a lifetime and has'nt changed since. Like Comiskey and Moroney before him , the stars were calling ,they had a place reserved in the hemisphere . For after he graduated from Rockwell , The very talented Francis O' Toole from Dublin was selected to join the Miami showband.

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