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IRTRAD-L  November 1998

IRTRAD-L November 1998

Subject:

Another Good Guy Gone

From:

"James T. Curran" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 15 Nov 1998 23:05:16 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (226 lines)

[BTW, the photo didn't come through on this one, either]

I hope this reaches your egg-carton (cyber-version of Dixie
cups & string, y'know) better than the last photo-illustrated
story I tried to send out.

I'm saving it for my Darlin' Maura, who learned what a loveable
guy Paddy Clancy was when an Irish troupe sailed on one of
the cruise ships she and her husband Frank were booked on as
performers.  Paddy came to see and hear her every night and
regaled her with stories about some of his hooleys with me. (I think
I've told you about a few.)  Unspoiled Frank McCourt was on the
same cruise and was equally attentive (and of equal importance, he
made my son-in-law feel good, too, by telling others about his
'exceptional' impression of Sinatra -- which is really good, lo giuro).
Another was Paddy Reilly, the artist most closely identified with
'Fields of Athenry' who was gracious enough to flip out over Maura's
 rendition of same. (But you've heard her recording of it ; so who
wouldn't flip out?)

Paddy and Liam were the republican-minded members of the Cs.
I remember once when we flew out together from Dublin. I had just
come down from the Kesh and I had to give Paddy a command
performance the whole flight over about the wild goings-on in what
was known as 'the Wee Nasties' Cage' (not Brownie's, by the way,
or he'd still be writing that flippin' book, although he did borrow a
few
yarns about the 'Nasties' for his own opus). Paddy loved the one about
Martin Meehan 'hearing confessions' so much, I had to repeat it before
we landed so he could commit it to memory.

To recap briefly, when a young fella would get rotated into that cage
they'd tell him he'd be shunned if he wasn't in the 'state of grace'.
That
would set him up for 'confession', with him kneeling in front a blanket
hung between bunks and the 'priest' sitting on the other side. With the
Nasties positioned attentively on the bunks nearest the 'confessional'
the poor kid would be trying to mumble his sins as inaudibly as possible
till finally the unseen 'priest' would break in: "Enough of that, now,
my
son,
let's hear the rilly dorty stuff."  After an embarrassed pause, there
would

follow a predictable admission of 'impure thoughts,' with the 'priest'
urging
full details in the now thoroughly hushed hut.

Agonizingly, the kid would disclose some lustful solitary interlude,
whereupon 'Father' Meehan's right hand would come shooting out from
under the blanket, encased in a boxing glove, along with with the loud
denunciation: "Ye Dorty scut, ye! Ye're not fit to be in this hut, in
the
company of these other fine lads!" {It helped to know Martin Meehan by
sight, as Paddy did, to realize you couldn't find a more
unlikely-looking
priest anywhere in the Kesh, including the Loyalist cages.}

The first time Paddy Clancy heard the Father Meehan's Confession
story, he sprayed out a mouthful of Paddy's and I was afraid he might
be having an epileptic fit. Over the years, that story came back to me
at least a half-dozen times, with varying embellishments, always with
the
narrator saying he'd heard it from Paddy Clancy, "who told it better."
You just know anybody who can enjoy a good yarn that much has to be
a great guy. And, no question, Paddy was that.

When Pete Hamill was finishing his first novel -- 'A Killing for Christ'
--

and he'd run out of the readies to wrap it up in Rome, Paddy gave him
the keys to a house he owned in Wicklow, with open slates at all of the
local provenders and vinters so Pete could wrap it up without feeling
any
undue pressure.  It was there that Pete read in the Irish Times that
Bobby
Kennedy wasn't going to run in '68. This prompted him to write Bobby
that despairing letter at Hickory Hill,  which Jack Newfield cited in
his
'RFK -- A Memoir' as the factor that changed Bobby's mind about running
and prompted him to wire Pete in Ireland with the urgent summons, "Okay,
you got me into this; now get back over here and help!"

The tragi-climax, as I've told you before, was that Pete was only 9 feet
away
in the Sheraton L.A. kitchen when Bobby was shot.  Close enough to
experience
the full shocking horror, but too far away to do a damn thing to stop
it.
Next
letter I got from Pete, he was in Mexico, declaring himself a permanent
exile
from a country where Hubert 'Wimpo' Humphrey would be elected and be
bullied into surrendering all authortity to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Little did we
know then it would be Vlad the Impaler taking over the Oval Office! But
that was
enough to bring Pete back to parboil Nixon thrice weekly in his Newsday
columns
and prompt that hoor William Safire to write the speech for Spiro Agnew
in
which
that model citizen named Hamill as "the worst of the Nattering Nabobs of
Nihilism."
(And Safire is a guy who now has the cheek to pose as an expert on the
proper
use of English for the insufferable NY Times!)

The photo below in the Independent shows how time marches on. Finbar
Furey
has put on about three stone and without the sideburns & beard looks
more
like a Sinn Fein election agent who's deciding which guy in the group
seems
the
likeliest candidate for electoral 'persuasion'. Tommy Makem looks, as
always,
like a Pioneer and the church usher who's always the loudest in the
congregation
in his responses to the Paters and the Aves. Bobby Clancy, ever the
least
talented
of the clan and never more than an emergency substitue when they were at
the
top of the their form, is seen here affecting all the preening
mannerisms
of a
superstar. Paddy Reilly is another certifiable good guy, but here,
wearing
shades,
he looks like a collector for a Ballymun loan shark. And good old Liam,
with his
concertina in hand (demonstrating once again that he's the only one in
the
lot
who can find Middle C in the dark) looks just like the altar boy Liam of
old, but
now sadly bereft of the curly locks.

I'm glad Liam never got to regale my Darlin' Maura with some of his
shared
adventures with her Ol' Da'. Or even Proinsias McCourt, another with an
angelic
gob, for that matter. (Or Malachy, God forbid! If he ever opened up,
libel
queen
Kitty Kelley would go back to writing HallMark greeting cards.)








            Final tribute . . . Finbar Furey, Tommy Makem, Bobby Clancy,
Paddy Reilly and Liam Clancy sing a tribute to Paddy Clancy at his
graveside yesterday

            Town at a standstill in tribute to music legend
            By RALPH RIEGEL
            A SOUTH Tipperary town came to a standstill yesterday as
musicians said farewell to folk music legend, Paddy Clancy.

            The 76-year old, who died last Wednesday after a long fight
against cancer, was buried just outside Carrick-on-Suir after a moving
ceremony attended by more than 2,000 family, friends and fans as well as
some of Ireland's most famous music names.

            A moving ceremony in St Nicholas's Church was attended by
Ronnie Drew and Barney McKenna of the Dubliners as well as Paddy Reilly
and
Tommy Makem.

            Messages of sympathy also flooded into the Clancy family
from
such music luminaries as U2, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand,
the
Chieftains, the Wolfe Tones and the Furey Brothers.

            Sympathy was also extended by famous US journalist and
novelist, Pete Hamill, who is a close friend of the Clancy family, as
well
as renowned cyclist Sean Kelly.

            Yesterday's Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr Paul Waldron
who
hailed Paddy Clancy as a perfect model of someone who exploited God's
talent to the utmost.

            Mr Clancy's famous white Aran jumper was used in the
offertory.
And a selection of his favourite songs, including Carrickfergus and
Sliabh
na mBan, were played during the ceremony.

            Mr Clancy's remains left the church as the entire
2,000-strong
attendance sang the ballad with which he was best associated, The Jug of
Punch.

            The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, was represented at yesterday's
funeral by his ADC, Captain Michael Kiernan.

            Local dignitaries were led by Carrick-on-Suir UDC Chairman,
Cllr Jimmy Hogan.

            Mr Clancy, whose last public performance with the Clancy
Brothers was in 1996, is survived by his wife, Mary, and children Leish,
Rory, Orla, Maura and Conor.

            He was buried after Requiem Mass in Faugheen cemetery.

            Paddy Clancy, with his brothers and Tommy Makem, became
world
stars in the early 1960s when they helped spearhead the US folk music
boom.


            They played regularly with stars such as Bob Dylan, Peter
Seeger, Joan Baez, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler.

            The Clancy Brothers recorded a total of 55 albums during
their
four decades together.

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