29 St Mary’s Crescent, Westport
Paddy Boyle loved his native Howth, Co Dublin and his adopted Westport. He was a Howth man to his core and a Westport man to his bones. He qualified as a fitter-turner in CIE’s Inchicore Works and Bolton Street College. He was appointed to Westport in 1951 after spending some time in Athlone. He lodged with the Berry family on the Fairgreen. Paddy’s parents, Hugo and Monica, were regular visitors and both the Berry and Boyle families became lifelong friends.
Paddy loved his boyhood Howth, which he visited often, staying with his sister Adrienne in Artane. ‘Paddy’s Room’ is still in her house! A visit to Howth was a necessity for Paddy. Born in 1929 he grew up in a family of seven boys and five girls. The family eventually moved to Preston Street in the city centre where Paddy’s father, Hugo, worked as Station Master in Westland Row.
Paddy marvelled at the quiet streets of Westport following the hustle and bustle of Dublin. He soon got into the Covie rhythm of work, rest and play, or rowlin’, lampin’ and wheezin’. Within days of arriving Mickie Berry and Paddy met Philomena Walsh and Rita Moran from the train and borrowed bikes to escort the women home to Drumindoo. Soon Rita Moran caught his eye and won his heart. They were married in 1954 and had six children, Gerardine, Hugh, Mairéad, Jackie, Pádraic and Edmund
Paddy and Rita visited family in Dublin, London and the USA over the years. Paddy loved sport, travelling to the Olympics in Rome in 1960, revisiting Rome with his daughter Ger a few years ago where he retraced steps where the Olympics had been staged. He was also in the Holy Land. To celebrate his 80th birthday he fulfilled a lifetime wish to visit Istanbul, or Constantinople as he called it, with his three daughters. He really enjoyed visiting the markets, one of his hobbies!
Paddy was a great community man, involved in Westport Athletics, rugby, the Credit Union, social services and meals on wheels, counting in the church, whist, cards, snooker, residents associations, school board, Westport Active Retirement Association and Junior Chamber. He was one of the organisers of those great Junior Chamber Westport Sports Days – the soapbox racing down James Street with son Hughlo at the wheel, pillow fighting on a rope stretched across the Mall, barrel boat racing, canoe racing on the Mall with crowds lining the river on both sides.
He assisted at many Church gate collections, especially the Irish Heart Foundation and he had a Gold Pin as a blood donor. He was a perfect patient. Always when asked ‘How are you Paddy,’ he’d say, ‘I’m fine.’ He never complained and never denigrated anyone.
He was a member of St Mary’s Choir whose beautiful music enhanced Paddy’s funeral Mass. He was a regular at the monthly Clew Bay Folk Club sharing his favourite songs, including Ghost Riders in the Sky, Little Grey Home in the West, Amazing Grace and Will You Go Lassie Go? Tony Reidy and the Folk Club paid a moving musical tribute to him at its September gathering.
Paddy was also skilled with his hands, be it metal (working with Liam Kelly) or wood. He was noted for his bird boxes, flower boxes, briquette holders and firms, selling them with his market stall colleagues on the Mall. How many broods of little birds came into this world in one of Paddy’s bird boxes? He was handy and many a neighbour and friend had a washing machine fixed, a curtain rail hung or furniture restored. He was never afraid to try anything to do with engines, machines or carpentry. A hammer, nail and screwdriver were never far from his gifted hands. He had the most up to date equipment in his workshop, which he used up to recently.
Paddy attended art classes under Pat Tracey. He became a prolific artist and has churned out beautiful paintings and featured in several exhibitions. His art introduced him to a ream of new people and he really enjoyed their company and the classes.
Paddy loved sports. In his time Gaelic was too tame for him. Dubs can ask Snitchie Ferguson! He was an avid athlete, very competitive and took part in athletics, rugby, football, swimming and was a noted diver. Wimbledon, Olympics, snooker and golf were watched at all hours of the day and night in No 29!
Paddy was a great man for visiting family, friends and neighbours – his wife Rita’s family farm in Drumindoo where he visited John and Francis Moran, Eamon and Helena and family, his sister-in-law Maureen Clarke, and his many friends. He had a great sense of humour and a glint in his eye. That’s how we can best remember him. He loved a wind-up and a good story. No doubt he’s already had a huge celestial welcome. And a few surprises – he didn’t know Máirt Curry was there before him on the welcoming committee, or Austin Moran, Mike Walsh and Tommy Duffy, his card-playing partner.
And there’s his lovely Rita, united again after 22 years, parents, siblings, friends and his old Jackeen buddy, Martin Clarke. One can imagine the wheez coming from Clarkey in the celestial court, “Jez Paddy what took you so long?” And that’s the heavenly translation!
Paddy Boyle was related to many but a friend to and loved by all. He was a good, loyal and sincere friend. For that, we thank God. God has enriched and blessed our lives in and through Paddy. He was carried shoulder high out of St Mary’s while the choir and his brother Olaf sang Ghost Riders in the Sky.
We remember him with happiness and fondness. He is alive, because his spirit is alive, as an tAthair Mícheál MacGréil always says. Only his body has died. Let’s keep him alive.
His daughter Mairéad (Irwin) composed a poem in his honour:
The strength in those two hands
That cared gently for us and led us through life...
They were strong and sure, deft and beautiful.
They cradled us gently from birth.
Fed us, nourished us, worked hard for us.
Two hands that were extensions of his caring
Nurturing and wonderful heart.
Hands we held when we needed comfort and guidance.
Two hands that fixed and helped relatives and friends
And anyone who needed a hand.
He mended and made better any broken appliance,
A picture that needed hanging, a gate that needed mending, a curtain rail,
A machine, a train...hinges and sink washers…
Any problem and Dad’s hands
And kind, reassuring and confident smile arrived and made better.
Dad was a fixer, a problem solver.
Never any fuss, he never looked for thanks or praise
He worked quietly and with confidence and love.
Later in Dad’s life those hands expressed the beauty and creativity in his soul.
His art which amazed us all, expressed his love of life and colour,
His love of his origins, Howth, and his quirky sense of humour.
Two hands that created strong and lasting objects.
Objects both beautiful and practical
From birdhouses to iron works.
A garden seat so we could sit and watch
And chat to our neighbours as they passed by our garden wall.
In Dad’s last weeks we held those wonderful hands
To love and give him comfort
And yet still, it was most definitely
Dad passing on his love and comfort to us...