Continuing from my earlier post, Duelling in eighteenth-century Ireland …
Sometimes it was not only the defeated party in a duel that suffered the consequences. In 1807 William Congreve Alcock (former MP for Waterford City and Co. Wexford) killed John Colclough over an election dispute, apparently in front of a large crowd including the county sheriff and 16 magistrates. Afterwards, Alcock ‘became melancholy; his understanding declined; a dark gloom enveloped his entire intellect; and an excellent young man and a perfect gentleman at length sank into irrecoverable imbecility’. He was confined in a lunatic asylum, and died in 1813 at the age of 42.
Robert Edgeworth, a member of the prominent Longford family and MP for St Johnstown (1713–27), was described as follows: ‘He had no notion of good breeding, was outrageously rude and abusive to persons he disliked, had a strange disposition to fighting and quarrelling and was quite void of fear of any man living; but was most childishly fearful of apparitions and goblins especially after he had killed Mr Atkinson in a duel in Clontarf Wood, after which time he could never lie without a lighted candle in his room and a servant either in his chamber or within his call … He hated many people, loved nobody, nor nobody loved him.’ Continue reading
We had a busy weekend. The local Ramor Inn Golf Society had very kindly decided to dedicate its annual fundraising effort this year to CRY Ireland, in memory of Sean.
Susanna arrived home from France on Friday; we were joined later that day by Mary, Aoife and Liam. There was a quiz and raffle in the pub, and a ‘corner session’ afterwards with Caroline, Seán, Noel, myself and others banging out a few tunes and songs. It turned out to be a late night.
The golfers were up and out early on Saturday morning, at Virginia Golf Club. We stayed at home most of the day, and watched the rugby – a great game, notwithstanding Ireland’s narrow defeat to England.
Pauline, Liam and I went to the pub again that night, and met up with many of our friends. There was music and a raffle.
When all the money was counted, it turned out that €2,520 had been raised for CRY. We are delighted with this, and very grateful to all those who made it happen or helped in any way, and the local community who supported it so generously. It was a fitting tribute to Sean’s memory, and will go towards preventing the sudden death of other young people. Sean would be pleased and proud.
Filed under Death, Ireland
Well, that was a great weekend for Irish rugby, with Munster, Ulster and Leinster all winning and all safely installed in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, and the first two having home advantage there: only the second time that three Irish provinces have got out of their groups, the first having been 2012 – too late for Sean. Best of all is that Munster are playing really well.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the Heineken Cup in our household from around 2002, when Sean first took a serious interest, onwards. Pauline and Susanna bought into it; for me it was very important and for Sean it was virtually a matter of life and death. He was a huge Munster fan; he also loved Leinster. Ulster never managed to get out of their group during the period of his fandom, and did not share in his adulation. (He actually died on a Heineken Cup weekend – after Munster and Leinster won, and before Ulster lost.) Continue reading
In keeping with the idea of ‘New Year, fresh start’, I decided to change the appearance of this blog by giving it a different ‘theme’ from the one it’s had since I created it in May 2010 (this is easy with WordPress blogs). I think it looks fresher and cleaner now. I have retained the photo at the top – one that Sean took, of the Nine-Eyed Bridge near Virginia, Co. Cavan.
Pauline and I want to make 2014 a year of change for the better, after several years of consolidation and ‘staying strong’ following the devastation of Sean’s death in October 2010. Change is unavoidable and renewal is desirable. We want to develop ourselves and fulfil our potential. Susanna has made massive progress in her life; Pauline and I, though at a different stage, need to forge ahead now too. On some levels, of course, we will never ‘move on’ – we will always love and miss Sean.
A headline in today’s Irish Times reads ‘Tears at Dublin Airport as emigrants depart after holidays’. Pauline and I sometimes reflect that we would love it if Sean was in Australia, say (he was considering going there not long before he died). Airport tears are understandable, but the families of emigrants are, relatively speaking, quite fortunate. Emigration may be seen as a form of ‘bereavement’, but – these days especially – it’s a very mild form.
As part of my resolution to make changes for the better, I’ve been seeking new work clients today. Pauline has been developing an idea of hers. I intend to be more creative in 2014 – to write songs, poetry, non-fiction; to start and perhaps finish a novel.
As Jools Holland and guests sang on his Hootenanny show the other night [clip is from the previous year] – ‘Enjoy yourself … it’s later than you think’. May we all have a happy and productive 2014.
29 July 1991 – Sean aged less than 24 hours
My intention was to post diary entries from 2004 (when I stopped keeping a diary) back as far as the day Sean was born, to try to give an insight into his life as a baby and a boy, and into the lives of the rest of his family too. I have now reached the beginning.
28/7/91 – I have already described this day here
29/7/91 – I got up pretty early, not having slept well. I spent a good part of the morning with Pauline and the baby, having first phoned work (cheers in the background) [and others] … the baby was fine – sleeping a lot – and Pauline was fine too … I cycled to the Coombe and back. Peter and Nuala arrived around 1.30, and after a cup of tea we went to the Coombe … Sean (we still hadn’t finally decided on a name) was looking great, and of course P & N loved him … [later] Christine, Aileen, Dave and Dervla arrived … the five of us went to the hospital (Christine was driving), where Sean again made a big impression. Later, the uncle and aunts went with the father to Arbour House, where everyone had a few drinks.
30/7/91 – The others were visiting Pauline in the afternoon session. I cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, and we had a bottle of red wine, then Christine drove us all to the hospital. Mary and Aisling arrived too, Sean was universally eulogized; the uncle and aunts and I went home and then to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. We had all decided on ‘Seán Peter O’Brien’. [note: I always used the fada (accent) in Sean’s name in my diaries, and it appears on his birth certificate, but he didn’t bother with it himself, and I have followed his example on this blog.] Continue reading
1/9/91 – I got up at 7 and brought Sean downstairs so that Pauline could get some decent rest. Fortunately, the last day’s athletics from Japan was being shown – I also went out for the paper. Pauline was up around 10.30 – after breakfast the three of us got a bus to Westland Row and a DART to Blackrock. Went to the market, had something to eat, chatted to Yvonne, Nick, and Yvonne’s brother Ronan. Good crack. Bought a beanbag. Pauline fed Sean in the café – her first time in ‘public’. Again it was a beautiful day … Nick said there was loads of signwriting to do if we wanted to … we said no. All our signs in Blackrock have lasted very well. We got a 17 home, and arrived in time for the All-Ireland Hurling Final – Tipperary 1–16, Kilkenny 0–15. Not a great game, but I was glad that Tipp won. I made a fry for dinner and we stayed in for the evening.
2/9/91 – I was extremely tired, Sean having made a lot of noise again during the night. And tired all day at work … When I got home in the evening there was a paper and a letter from Joyce. I should be getting a book manuscript soon … I was too tired to start the freelance work. Very glad to be getting it though … Continue reading
I put this on Facebook on Thursday – the third anniversary of Sean’s death.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent messages and good wishes for Sean’s anniversary today. Thanks also to people who called to the house and spent time with us. We had a few drinks and Sean’s friends talked about him a lot, and laughed and told stories – Pauline and I love this kind of thing. They told us that if Sean walked into a crowded room and the only available chair was broken, or just a box, Sean could make it seem so comfortable that soon someone would want to swap with him. That he was a peacemaker; that he always gave good advice; that he made sure his female friends were treated properly by their boyfriends; that once Sean arrived everyone knew it was going to be a good day or night; that he had strong opinions on music, politics, sport and everything else, but never held a grudge or cared if people disagreed; that he brought people together, and they have drifted apart since he’s been gone. A lot of people looked up to Sean, a lot of people listened to him, and a lot of people loved him. It’s good for us to be reminded of this.
2/12/91 – Sean was asleep at first in his cot, but has now awoken and I’ve brought him downstairs. His teeth have been bothering him lately, so there may be some squalls. Later: Sean was good.
5/12/91 – Went to supermarket and cooked pasta with veg sauce, some of which I succeeded in getting into Sean.
6/12/91 – I have a day’s leave, and am minding Sean. Pauline is at a training course in Harold’s Cross for the job. It’s 1 o’clock, and so far it hasn’t been too bad; just the odd bout of crying. He went to sleep at 12.30 but woke at 12.35. I’ve been giving him breast milk that Pauline left. Later: Sean and I went to Dundrum, him in the pram and me on foot. Borrowed Francis Stuart’s Pillar of Cloud and a book of Garrison Keillor stories in the library. He screamed a bit when we got home; I gave him half a rusk and some fennel drink. Pauline arrived and made a big fuss of him – she’d never been away from him for so long. Continue reading
If you are visiting my blog because of RTE’s Nationwide programme, you are very welcome, and I hope you will like it.
I started this blog in May 2010, and at first wrote about miscellaneous things that interested me. Since Sean died of SADS on 17 October 2010, the blog has mostly been about him. If you wish, you can click on the links under the ‘Archives’ heading to the right to see what I was writing in any given month.
Details of my novel Larris & Me are given HERE.
I have written around 23 songs since Sean died (having never written any before). Three of these have been recorded with good-quality equipment and are on YouTube:
Sean and Clio in the Snow
Come Back and See Me
The rest I recorded on a small Dictaphone-type device, sometimes with Pauline singing too. They are as follows (please click on a title to visit the post, and follow the link to listen):
Running in the Dark
Do You Hear Me When I Speak?
Pink and Gold
July to September
Nothing But Love
All Because of You
The Heat of Love
No Way of Knowing
Lament for Sean O’Brien
Love You and I Always Will
Thank you for your interest! It is much appreciated. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish (first you may need to click on ‘Nationwide’ at the very top of this post).