Two weeks ago when I wrote about the history of Ardkeen House and some others in that area, it was no doubt of some interest to people in a general way but I discovered that it brought back a host of special memories for one man in particular. It opened up the door of memory for one Paddy Morrissey, originally of Barrack Street, but now long time resident of the north-west suburbs of Dublin. Paddy rang me last week and we had a great chat about things and he had lots of stories about life hereabouts in the 30’s and 40’s in particular.
Paddy is now 78 though his voice sounded fresh and still full of zest for life by the sounds of it. He left Waterford in the mid forties, towards the end of the Second World War. But he likes to keep in touch and reading The Munster is an important part of his weekly routine. So naturally I was delighted that Paddy was sufficiently interested in my piece to contact me to express that interest and to share other memories with me. He also told me he likes to take advantage of his travel pass to come ‘home’ to Waterford every so often – he maintains links with family and friends and enjoys maybe a large bottle or two on such visits in Doyle’s of Barrack Street.
Paddy recalled being at Mount Sion and sharing a desk and friendship with the great Phily Grimes. However, their friendship didn’t extend to the hurling pitch as Paddy was as madly into horses as Philly and other Cnoc Sion lads were into the caman and sliotar. When I spoke of the Malcolmsons and the de Bromheads these were not just names of passing or casual interest but jumped off the page for him as he had got to know them through his love of horses and all things equine.
In the Blood
When I mentioned Johnnie, Paddy spoke of his brother Harry and sister Ina and then of their father John and old Mrs de Bromhead and the horses she in particular bred and kept on the lands there at Ardkeen House – the young trainer Henry de Bromhead, currently establishing a respected name in the business for himself, obviously has had it in him, in the blood, from generations past. Paddy also as boy and man in Waterford worked horses for members of the Malcolmson family and remembers Mrs Crosbie in particular, a direct descendent of David Malcolmson who built Ardkeen House and builder of one of the great cotton mills in the world of the 19th century and then went into ship-building.
Paddy recalls her husband John, a bank manager with Bank of Ireland and talks of horses being kept in stables by them in George’s Street. He was also interested to hear that I know their son Terry Crosbie and sends him his good wishes.
He also made mention of other families in the area he worked with and got to know such as the Nolans of Annaville, the Pauls and a Mrs Bright. Anyway, boy became man and Paddy moved to Epsom in the mid nineteen-forties and worked as a jockey there for some years. He eventually returned to Ireland in 1959 but settled in Dublin with his wife. I got just a taste of Paddy’s story during our phone call and we agreed that we should meet soon enough to get a fuller flavour of his life and times – I’d say he has many a story in him and I’m looking forward to hearing them all.
Waterford Academic High-Flyers
About four years ago I wrote about a young man who was beginning to distinguish himself in the world of academia and in that case as a Maths Olympian – this is what I said about his exploits then while still a schoolboy:
“Whether it is this June in Dublin or next Summer in Athens (2004), the Olympics conjures up images of physical contests across a whole range of athletic disciplines – all requiring training, courage and stamina in pushing out the boundaries of personal limits and achievements. All Olympians seek to represent themselves, their communities and countries with pride, talent and courage.
“But today I write of another variation of the noble Olympian theme and a team, which will be led by a Waterford Leaving Certificate student, Diarmuid Early. Diarmuid has the proud distinction of leading the six strong team of young Irish Mathematicians to the Maths Olympiad in Japan this coming July, During which the best young mathematical brains from almost 90 countries throughout the world will compete for honours. Diarmuid is a student at Newtown School and says he is relishing the challenge but something called the Leaving Certificate has to be dealt with first!
Promoting interest and excellence
“The likes of Paul Flynn, John O’Shea, Susan Smith, John Treacy, Alfie Hale and so many more Waterford sports people have rightly been honoured for their successes in the sporting arenas. But how often do we get the opportunity to applaud talent and achievement in the world of academia, especially things like physics and maths – they seem too esoteric from our everyday lives. While we regularly marvel at the skills of Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo and O’Shea, how often do we marvel or stop to wonder who were/are the guys whose genius gave us mobile phones, DVD’s and PC’S? We see Beckham in the TV add with the picture phone, we all know who he is but do any of us know the names or anything at all about the very smart people who created this truly amazing example of electronic skill?
“Well, that’s what the international Maths Olympiad is all about, in that its objective is to promote interest and excellence in the world of all things mathematical. Therefore, in support of these aims, the maths departments and professors of the Irish University Colleges organise training programmes every year to identify and then train exceptional mathematical talent among our young people……..
“Last week the UCC proteges met teams from all the other colleges (all drawn from second level schools). After arduous and rigorous testing the six highest scoring were selected to represent Ireland, three of whom were from the UCC camp. This group was not only creme de la creme but Waterford’s Diarmuid Early scored highest of all and will have the honour of leading the Irish team in July.
“His parents, Paddy and Ethna, as well as brothers Michael and Cormac, are rightly very proud of him, as are his teachers and fellow pupils at Newtown. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cormac seeks to emulate him soon. Father, Paddy, ran the Londis Supermarket in Tramore for many years while he and his family are long time residents of Dunmore East. Only six weeks ago the focus was on Diarmuid’s debating skills when after winning “the Munsters” he went on to do himself proud at the national finals. I wonder could Zidane match that for wizardry! Well done”.
Well that was then, and after leaving school Diarmuid went on to study Maths and Physics in UCC while at the same time further establishing a national reputation for his debating skills at intervarsity level. So we are not surprised to learn that at a conferring ceremony in UCC a week or so ago, Diarmuid Early was given an award declaring him the Outstanding Graduate of the Year – on a university-wide basis. His brother Cormac, by the way, is equally wowing them out in Harvard in America, where he has been making his distinctive mark against the best in the world. Yes, there are good news stories out there and our young people are the driving force of many of them!
Go seachtain eile, slan