Dead Interesting

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The  Author of  the   book  “Dead Interesting “sadly passed out of  this life on the 20th March  this  year.

I did  not  know Shane  personally  but  I  have  read  his  two books .I have  also  completed  a  couple  of tours  of  Galasnevin  but  never caught  Shane’s  tour , he  was  a  guide  and  the historian  of  Glasnevin  Graveyards  along  with  being  a  father and  a  true republican. All the guides have a love of history and place.

My mum knew  his dad  Eamonn  as  she  grew  up  in Inchicore  where  Eamonn  once  lived. My uncle  Frarncis  Clinton went   to   school with  Eamonn. Years  ago my uncle  came  to  our  house  in  Beaumont  with  my aunt and my cousins and  another  friend.  Willie  Barnes  they went  to catch  up with  the  bold  Eamonn . Who was now living in Glasnevin .. Hours  later  they  had  not  returned  and  my aunt  was  frantic  with  worry ,(It was  before  mobile  phones)  After midnight   they  strolled  back  into  our  house   and   my uncle  quipped  that  they  had  lost all track  of  time  and  that Eamonn  had  now  enough  stories   to write  another book.”Time was made so that everything would not happen  together” Albert Einstein .

Shane  was  in  the  middle  of  writing  his  third  book   but he decided  that  his  time  had  come  and  ours  is  not  to  reason why.

Now  all  we  can  do  is  to  make  that  sure  we  walk  in  Shane’s footsteps  by  visiting  Glasnevin . Read  his  wonderful  books   and listen  for  his  whispers  in  the  wind  so  that  he  and  his  dad  and  all  who rest  here  may  live  forever  in  our  hearts  and  his  whispers  do  not  go unheard .

May  his  god  go  with  him  and  may  he  R.I.P.

In  August  of  this  year   the   steps  in  the   Daniel O Connell  tower  will   have  been  restored  again  this  was   his   last  big undertaking ,  after  they  were  blown  up  by  loyalists  in  the time  of  the  troubles. Another great  reason  to  visit.  Also  there is  a beautiful  walk  that links  The Botanic gardens and Glasnevin  Museum .

 

The Duke my Dad a real diamond

“ The Duke” a true diamond

My Dad Garry, passed away on this day twenty one  years ago . The smoking ban coming too late for him .He had worked all his life as a barman and had been a smoker himself but despite giving them up in his early twenties as the doctor said to him when he was diagnosed with emphysema   “You are a passive smoker”  “might as well have been smoking   twenty a day as your working in a bar”. His advice to me when he caught me smoking was to “Give them up now before you really get started”, needless to say his advice went up in smoke. Un-headed for a couple of years and probably a couple of grand later thankfully I gave up.

Even though my dad was born before Andy Wahol made his now infamous quote in 1968  “In the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes” my dad’s claim to fame apart from being called the Duke for his uncanny resemblance to the queen of England’s husband the Duke of Edinburgh. Was he had been born in Holles Street Hospital Dublin despite his mother coming from Carlow they suspected she was having twins due to her large size (it was 1930 before scans.) was duly brought to Dublin where my lone father was born weighing in at more than thirteen pounds.( A good sized turkey) A record for the Holles Street at the time. A record he managed to hold onto for a couple of years.

Christmas in our house was always special as my dad loved Christmas as it was the only time in the year when he had two days off in a row apart from holidays. Or maybe it had something to do with being born the size of a turkey. Because my dad was a barman we always got a couple of red trays of real Coca –Cola. There was something special in popping the cap yourself and watching the bubbles make that special brown froth before you guzzled down the full glass much to the annoyance of your parents. After all the Cola was consumed which did not take very long, as we were a family of eight kids (Three hundred and seventy five children on our road it was a riotous place on Christmas morning) it was back to Taylor Keith lemonade and cream soda. My dad would also have a couple of glass soda- water fountains for the whiskey drinkers (it was before soda stream was invented.)  and we would get to squirt this into the glass. Not an easy thing to do as you had to use the right amount of pressure otherwise too much soda went into the glass and Mr O Brien from next door would give you the dirty look having drowned his whiskey. After mass all the neighbours were invited in and they would have a few drinks before they were sent home late, for their Christmas dinner. After we had scoffed the Christmas dinner, and had the afternoon snooze our aunts and uncles would come for tea. Then after the Maureen Potter show was watched on telly (black and white) the holey would begin and the sing song would go on for half the night. Everybody would be in good spirits. They say my dad had a heavy hand (he did not use a sprit measure) for a barman. He loved to see people enjoying themselves especially at Christmas. We still gather a as a family every Christmas morning in the family home to toast our absent friends and The Duke.

Shortly before my dad passed away he spent some time in Beaumont Hospital and on one particular Saturday night he was in intensive care and was very unwell. The doctors advised us to go home and get some rest as we lived close to the hospital, which we duly did. The next morning we went up and when we went into the ward my dad was propped up wires coming out of him from all directions but he was smiling and he had a set of headphones on. The sister on the ward said he had come round but being unable to speak he was on a ventilator. He had scrawled out a note saying “Sunday Miscellany” the nurse he had given it too had not understood what it meant and on showing it to someone else they said “Ah that’s that stupid programme on RTE radio that my father and mother listen to every Sunday morning”

Now twenty years on as I walk the hill of Howth  on Sunday mornings with my headphones on and tuned to that wonderful and (stupid  to my children)programme “Sunday Miscellany “ my famous dad “The Duke” walks with me.

P.S There is a plaque on the basement wall in Holles Street  with my dad’s name and birth year on it.

“Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster” how to find the next peacock.?

Retail how to find the diamonds

Over thirty years ago when I started out in retail working as a custom’s entry clerk in Switzer’s (now Brown Thomas in Dublin) the above quote would have meant nothing to me.
Some of you reading this(if any) would be asking what was a customs entry clerk?
Well back in the days before the EEC and free trade all goods coming into the country were stopped by customs at the port of arrival and before being given to the owner a customs declaration form had to be completed and duty if any had to be paid . Switzer’s had a large import and export office. Seven staff Mr Burns his secretary and five clerks.
After a year of learning the true test came when you were given an entry to be made for the haberdashery department. Barbra O Farrell the buyer bought from a company called Ronald Kaufmann and it would…

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“Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster” how to find the next peacock.?

Over thirty years ago when I started out in retail working as a custom’s entry clerk in Switzer’s (now Brown Thomas in Dublin) the above quote would have meant nothing to me.
Some of you reading this(if any) would be asking what was a customs entry clerk?
Well back in the days before the EEC and free trade all goods coming into the country were stopped by customs at the port of arrival and before being given to the owner a customs declaration form had to be completed and duty if any had to be paid . Switzer’s had a large import and export office. Seven staff Mr Burns his secretary and five clerks.
After a year of learning the true test came when you were given an entry to be made for the haberdashery department. Barbra O Farrell the buyer bought from a company called Ronald Kaufmann and it would be everything from needles to a haystack , all would require a different tariff code so the entry would run to several pages and at least fifty to sixty tariff codes.

Little did I realise that four years later when I started out as a management trainee that my first department would be the haberdashery.
Barbara the buyer was american born and learnt the art of retailing (anyone can open a shop but the art is keeping it open) in the states so she had a great knowledge and was an excellent teacher.
A day or two after I started she gave me a copy of The Buyer’s Manual a book she had been given when she started out in retail.

One of the chapters in that book had the headline “Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster” and it has stuck with me since.
I asked  barbara she found the peacocks and she gave me this advise.
Buying is all about observation look around you, see what people are wearing , what are they reading, what are their pastimes and that day we went to Trinity college for lunch which was on our doorstep,and we sat on the verge of the cricket field which is still their. Barbara explained to me that she was their to observe what the students were wearing, what satchels they were carrying. They had just come back from their working holidays and they were wearing the latest fashions and colours from New York, India,Africa or wherever they had been. This would then become her palate for the next season.

Today  we can use the internet but sometimes we need to look at what is on the doorstep.
Barabra also sold the peacocks that had become dusters.
What was your fist job and mentor?