Memories Of Rosemary’s Fiftieth Birthday Party

Phil Cronin is a man who is well travelled and half way around the Planet he has flown
Yet when he talks of Millstreet in Duhallow you always hear him mention the word home
And though he’s raised his children in Australia and he left Ireland many years ago
He still talks with s strong Duhallow accent an accent that he never will outgrow.

I met him at Rosemary Kelleher’s fiftieth birthday party with Kitty his endearing Irish wife
And they look well and young despite the passage of time and they don’t look ravaged by the cares of life,
Phil Cronin drank his beer and talked of Millstreet and back the roads of memory he did go
To the people he knew in the Town of Millstreet the Learys and John Sing and Mister O.

He talked of Jerry Shea big mighty Jerry he’s become a bird fancier of late
His house and backyard are full of bird cages you hear them if you venture by his gate
But Jerry Shea he always was so different he once raced greyhounds I can well recall
One of the last great characters of Millstreet if not the very greatest of them all.

Meeting Phil and Kitty was one of the many highlights of a very happy afternoon for me
For there were other people that I knew there people for years that I did not meet or see
Sean Fay and his devoted woman Josie I thought that I would never see the day
Him not drinking pots of beer with all of the others he told me he had given the grog away.

And Matt Duggan there with his wife ’twas good to see Matt for he was one that I had not seen for years
Since I last spoke to him he’s known great sorrows one might say he’s been through the vale of tears,
A warm hearted and courageous person he bears his crosses with such dignity
And like I say it was so good to see him for there are not many as good as he.

And Mick Kelleher the husband of the hostess our school going days in Millstreet I recall
In over thirty two years out of Ireland he hasn’t changed much if he has changed at all
Drinking beer and talking with Mick and Mrs Justice their greyhound interests give them common ground
And greyhound people not unlike horse people know greyhound owners and breeders for miles around.

The amazing Kit Cronan in her eighties a woman with a marvellous sense of wit
So bright and lucid the life of the party you won’t find many of her age like Kit
She hasn’t lost her marvellous sense of humour she had us laughing through the afternoon
The few hours we spent there just went so quickly the happy moments seem to end too soon.

Rosemary’s brother the Priest Father Cronan he made a speech and we raised our glasses of cheer
And to our hostess we sang happy birthday and wished her joy on this her fiftieth year
Her sisters and their husbands all were present as well as most of the famed Cronan clan
And she even had a phone call from her brother from Greg who lives in Asia in Japan.

The Kelleher sisters Lisa and Fiona, Lisa is one I’d not seen for some while
But she is still the warmhearted Lisa a lovely young woman and free of guile
And there were others present I did not know and they too helped to make the afternoon
And like I said the few hours went so quickly the happy moments seem to end too soon.

And my wife Janice too enjoyed the party she said the few hours were well worth the drive
It’s memories like this that makes life worth living and makes one feel so glad to be alive
As we drove towards Wonthaggi in the gathering darkness we talked about the party all the way
The stars were twinkling in the moonlit heavens a perfect ending to a perfect day.

And of Rosemary Kelleher’s fiftieth birthday party the happy memories with me will remain
I met old friends there I’d not seen for ages it felt so good just to meet them again
And memories they last with us a life time and our good memories we tend to retain
And I’ll remember Rosemary’s fiftieth birthday each time that I return to memory lane.

by Francis Duggan

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