On Monday morning I heard the sad news of the passing of a very familiar face in Letterkenny , the late Bernard (Barney) Mc Glynn.
He was a regular in O’ Boyce’s cafe, early every morning where he would greet you with out fail. And in more recent times Barney, even in lockdown, always came into the town and could be seen especially outside Paddy Delap’s or sometimes in the doorway of the Tin Tai at the foot of the town if the weather was bad.
by Brian McDaid
I could say I would have met Barney every day in life and some days a few times on my journey around my hometown. The first time Barney would meet you every morning he would greet you long before you would get his distance.
A very unique wave just turning the palm of his hand towards you which in my case would be returned with the tut of the horn on the van. He was always on hand to help with any sporting event in the town, be it the Rovers or all the different 5 and 10ks Barney would be always on hand to help, Barney was a hard worker from the farms out around Rockhill and also was one of the many people that were employed by the Model Bakery in its day.
Then in 2013 when I did the railway walk which travelled along the roadside out by Rockhill I spotted writing along the road side in cement which I thought said Swilly, thinking it was something to do with the Lough Swilly Railway. I cleaned it back to discover it was the word Spurs which was written in cement along the roadside outside Barney’s home. Like myself Barney was a big Spurs fan.
On Sunday afternoon as I was driving out of Galway I heard Spurs were top of the premiership on the radio. Little did I know then that Barney had waved to me for the last time that Sunday morning before I left the town he wouldn’t be there to update me on our teams progress as soon as he would be meeting me on a Monday.
As the song goes “Oh when the saints go marching in….” St. Peter better be ready to catch Barney’s early wave and get them gates open for a man who did the gates for many’s a club over the years will have a free pass to his eternal rest.
Rest easy Barney.
And there they were, gone!
A family of them were swooping in and out of the garage door a week ago.
I saw them line up on the ESB wires that run through the fields at the back of the house so I grabbed a photo of them all in a line.
This week they have left, the entire swallow family including at least one of the parents picked through their shell in their nest to see daylight for the first time in our garage as did generations before them.
No need for google maps or Eircodes, these swallows will find the place they were born to return for the summer next year.
This week after a good spell of a break because of Covid, I was also heading south back on a familiar journey down the West of Ireland, not to be confused with the Wild Atlantic way this one runs along the N56, N13,15 and 17 roads that are included on the route from Letterkenny to Galway.
I made one of two essential journeys to Galway over the last two years over the lockdown but this week on my journey to Galway was a very busy one with families out on the last run out before their children headed back to school.
It was also great to see a brand new fleet of Expressway Buses on the route 64 from Galway to Derry ready for the return to full capacity for public transport. There was no panic in me getting down the road on Sunday, if anything I was a bit early on the road. I planned to stop off at one of these pop up coffee stops that are dotted all over the countryside in Donegal but as I crossed the border very briefly into Co. Leitrim and then into Sligo the only horseboxes I saw anywhere along the road were actually being used to carry horses.
My need for a coffee was growing as the N17 got quieter as it started to head through Co. Mayo and even though I was going through the few towns and past filling stations that would normally stop at I was still hoping around the next corner I would see a wee coffee trailer sitting along the road side where I could pull in and read the Sunday papers which I had in the van with me.
As I passed the high searchlights on the road side that guide flights in and out of Knock Airport I’m getting a bit desperate for a coffee fix so a few miles up the road and with still plenty of time to spare I had the bright idea to turn off at a junction and was now heading into Knock. As I made my way up which once was the old main road to Galway what a difference it was ago see a street lined out with parked car cars
As I made it further up the street the traffic came to a standstill a few times which gave me a good chance to search for some place to get a cuppa, I seen the blue coats of the stewards near the chapel and in the square the seats and the umbrellas were out and everyone was sitting out, there was a big crowd in the town and when I seen the length of the queue waiting for coffee and the fact that there wasn’t a free parking space in sight I decided to give afternoon coffee in knock a miss. As the road climbed out of the village I could see the walkways to the left where I did many’s the stations of the cross with my Aunt Bida many years ago. I then wonder about the queue I passed in the town and wonder if I might have mistaken it for the queue for confessions!
As I crossed the border into Galway the notion for coffee left me as I had to get one of my son’s to text me their Eircode to find out where they had migrated to for the summer. Sunday was my last journey of this type after years of carting the stuff that could not fit on to a Feda O’Donnell up and down the road two of my family between them spent 8 years in Galway and now they were migrating complete with a battered out Donegal flag on to the next part of their life. The old transmitter pole on the way into Galway city has alway my landmark since the first time I drove down here myself nearly 40 years ago. And now for the meantime it was the end of a chapter for us as this group of friends moved out as new students made their maiden flight to settle in Galway for a couple of years of their life.