Songs of the People 1
Dick came to live in the Rathcoole/Saggart area in the 1940's, from Campile in south Wexford, an area rich in it's tradition of Irish song and dance. Dick was a master of both. Dick won 1st place in two All-Ireland competitions in the 1960's. He loved to sing, and there was nothing he liked better than to be involved in a singing session with friend or stranger. I never heard him criticize any other singer. Once they sang Dick would appreciate them. Like any musician Dick had to be a bit of a showman as well. An old woman told me that when he was ploughing with a team of horses he could do a handstand on the handles of the moving plough as it cut the sod. And standing as he did well over six foot tall it was quite a sight. A consumate storyteller he was forever relating tales. A typical example of his gentle style was the story he told me about milking cows in Johnstown Kennedy. A mouse used to visit him every evening and Dick used to squirt milk at him from the cow's udder. The mouse came to understand that if he stood on his hind legs near where Dick was milking very soon he could be licking the milk off his fur. He was a good person and a local treasure, always good humoured and good natured. Dick could sharpen and work a scythe; he could build with stone; he could feed his family from the garden; he could stitch and sew leather; he could mend a pair of boots; he could breast and lay a whitethorn hedge; he could dance the Treble Batter; he could play the melodeon; he could tresh corn and make hay. And he could sing. That was Dick.