John Joe Daly

In Millstreet in Duhallow when i was a young boy
John Joe Daly told the stories of Ireland’s tears and joy
He told stories of the black and tans and civil war and of Tubrid Well
He was an old pipe smoking bloke with yarns in galore for to tell

He told of how Paddy McCarthy a warrior rebel of renown
Died on a bleak night in November in Millview Lane in Millstreet Town
Out numbered by the black and tans he died under gunfire
Stories of such acts of bravery others to take up arms does inspire

He told stories of the civil war where once friends became foes
A not unusual postscript to a war one would have to suppose
Where brother did fight brother in the social divide
For Ireland an unhappy time and not a sense of pride

His memories took him back the years of his long lived life span
He told of men and women he had known when he was a young man
They raised their children and grew old in the Town by Clara Hill
Time on them kept ticking and did not stand still

An old photograph he once showed me i can mentally recall
Of the Cork and Millstreet player Den Connors one handed catch of a gaelic football
A visual memory of a great sportsman in his physical prime
That even back then was showing the wear of time

John Joe Daly in the true sense a historian but his memories with him died
And sadly to future generations his stories have been denied
Even four decades ago one of a dying breed
And of at least one of his sort every town is in need.

by Francis Duggan

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