PADDY (Paddy Donnellan) Ballinrobe Historian and so Much More


Everyone knew him. He had a link with every family in the parish. Always around and available, for forty-six years. I think of him as a respecter of persons, a man who treated all men as God made them; equal. Nobody, not even the tiniest Mass-server called him Mister; he was just Paddy, familiar, friendly, helpful. If he appeared as a character in a novel, people wouldn’t believe in him. They would say; “impossible”; he had so many and such unusual gifts.

At home, using a shovel, sowing vegetables or flowers, keeping beehives and following their changing fortunes through many an awkward Summer.

Every stone meant something to him. He could name every field, and the stories he told were turned and twisted into humour. So happy with a book reading the night away, long after prosaic people had gone to bed.

Go over for Paddy Donnellan“. “I must ask him”. “Ask him what does he think of it“. “He fixed it before for me”.

In the Town Hall he knew about the stage, about the lights. He did confidential messages. Woke the Street with the church bell, waited, served, watched, knew. He dug, he worked and talked, lived, loved people, things.

His life went on. From change to change he gathered understanding. Lived big, and dreamt big. Carried his load with a light heart. He made a bit of the resurrection every day. So near to all of us, that we never really saw him.

Now at a distance with the grave between, his qualities rain low. Their true colours shine; intelligent, resourceful, tenacious, a lover of men, a lover of the world.

……….do you remember him or any of his stories?

Paddy (Donnellan) RIP
Bridge Magazine

Comments about this page

  • I remember as a child when we go to visit the crib around 6th of January to see if the Three Wise men had arrived, Paddy would send us down to the bus- stop at O’Connors to see were they on the bus. When we would return to the church he would have them in crib and tell us that Paddy Burke drove them. Innocent children!

    Reply: What a lovely story of innocent times in Ballinrobe Ann. Thank you for sharing, Averil (Editor)

    By Ann Burke (07/02/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *