By Peg Prendeville

I have been going through some of my father’s (Paddy Faley) stuff and am finding poems which he wrote long ago. The following was written after a visit to Riordan’s in Clounleharde when, back in the 60’s they used to have a Rambling House. The locals acted out plays, directed by Mrs O’Riordan and lots of the neighbours took part in singing and dancing. I was young but I have a vague memory of this time. It was my introduction to drama in my life.

A night at Riordan’s 12/08/1960

I don’t know what has come over me, my mind is gone astray

I’m all the time distracted from the work I do today

I think that the good people, they carried me last night

And took me to the fairy fort to see a

wondrous sight.

There was music, rippling music like I never heard before

Magnified by the volume ‘neath a special marble floor.

And the dancers; oh the dancers were the best I ever saw

As they spun around and twirled in the Clounleharde polka.

On his throne there in the corner guarded well from the melee

Was king of all the fairies like the old-time seanchaí.

If the dancers they were failing to live up to the mark

He’d infuse in them new spirit when he’d give a lively bark.

I saw there a magician who put my mind agog

When he changed a human creature into an ugly frog.

Although the act was humorous I kinda got indread

As I saw him sprawling on the floor with claws and legs outspread.

And a queer thought then it struck me as he looked sideways up at me

If they didn’t bring him back again what an awful frog he’d be.

And then the scene it changed a bit for love was in the air

And a wedding it was then arranged for a couple I knew there.

They sent for the local pastor but he to bed had gone

So they dressed me up in sacred robes and made me clergyman.

I felt quite elevated in ecclesiastical attire

And to unite these lovers was my one big desire.

The congregation they were jubilant and jumping with delight

To see Davy search his pockets for the ring for Eileen White.

To think that I was privileged to such a state of honour

With the best man there his nephew and the bridesmaid

Miss O’Connor.

The Chawkes they were trainbearers with Eileen O’Riordan

so well fared

John Dillane with face so fervent and head with reverence bared.

But then as I proceeded Davy’s guardian did appear

And said “Cut out the ceremony. There will be no wedding here”.

For poor Davy I had pity his one chance in life had gone

For no doubt he would be married if they let me carry on.

But I was stripped of my regalia and relegated to my place

And silenced by the scornful look on his benefactor’s face.

All these things I see before me and my senses they do shake

Am I doting? Am I crazy? Am I sleeping or awake?

Of course I must be dreaming, I remember now alright

I wasn’t with the fairies, I was in Riordan’s house last night.

Paddy Faley