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Farewell Doctor Tim of Cong

South of the border

Farewell Doctor Tim of Cong


Willie McHugh

“Sé mo laoch mo Ghile Mear
Sé mo Shaesar, Ghile Mear”

Word spread on the pulse of morning. Doctor Tim Regan slipped away quietly in the limp of the night. The news triggered a heartfelt ‘ní bheidh a leithead ann arís’ accolade at every hearthstone from the Black River to Lough Nafooey. Ní bheidh for sure.
His life was a gift bequeathed to us from the gods of nurture and healing. Our health and wellbeing was his vocation. Knew us better than we ever knew ourselves. Tim could trace our bloodlines to the source of the original spring. Back to Darwin’s theory of evolution if need be. Diagnosed us by our sneeze, our cough, our belch or burp.     
He took his cues, potions and remedies from medicines of old. “An hour spent talking is better than a bucket of tablets” was his simple mantra. That’s why he’d talk with you ‘til the cows came home. He’d gladly lend a hand with the milking too.
A mind steeped in intelligence and versed academically in the classics of Greek and Latin. But he possessed that amazing ability to make the conversationalist feel as if it were they who dined on the salmon of knowledge. Where others saw a pleb, Tim perceived a professor. An amadán was worthy of the same hearing as an academic and a gombeen elevated to a genius. To him each had a wisdom font he could tap into.
An excellent communicator and raconteur Tim weaved magic into any yarn. He breathed life again into the deeds of the Fir Bolgs, the Tuatha Dé Danann, Fionn, Oisín, Queen Maeve and the Battle of Moytura with a telling like the seanachaí of old. Impossible to read his writing though. Scribbling is a high compliment to his ineligible inking.
He was loyal to nature’s way. He loved working with the earth. His plantings bloomed in any setting. Tim could swing a scythe in a field of thistles with the same technique as Faldo wielding a golf club on Augusta’s fairways. An astronomer, a geologist, an engineer and anything else you wanted him to be. He understood the composition of the rocks in the hills and every star in the constellation.
He could sit easy with prince or pauper. His took up residence and set up his first practice in the stately rooms of Ashford Castle. But Tim was imbued with enough humility to sleep soundly on a bed of straw in a tinker’s camp on a roadside in Shrule waiting for a mother to go into labour. Caiscin bread and a mug of tea was a delicacy to rival any caviar or champagne.
Only Tim’s insight could prompt his decision to dedicate his medical centre on the apron of Cong to the memory of Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a pioneering woman in the field of medicine who Tim admired greatly.
A concoction of fire and brimstone driving down trawneen and hedge lined boreens with the speed of Schumacher to ease somebody’s discomfort. A dust cloud and a splay of pebbles gunfiring in his wake. But his presence at a sickbed visited the same calm and soothing effect as the purl of a meandering brook.
Brid was ever his supporting actress in this drama of human generosity. Brid merits a doffing of the cap of appreciation more than most. In the cavern of night she regularly opened the door of their Dun Inver home to the sick, the infirm and the troubled. The odd insomniac and wandering hypochondriac too perhaps.
She provided a welcoming cup of tea. A biscuit too if the body felt up to it. “My Rock” he called this shining jewel he plucked from the ruggedness of Inishowen to be his friend and companion in life. She will miss her gallant darling that she unselfishly shared with us.
Tim Regan’s lifetime was spent injecting the extra into the ordinary of the human spirit. From Brackloon to Townaleen “The Giolla Mear” will live forever in the memory.