By Gerry Moran
Peadar Malone was laid to rest on the Monday, August 7. I loved Peader. Everyone did as evidenced by the chock-a-block crowd in St Patrick’s Parish church that morning. Standing room only. Not to mention the huge crowd standing outside. Half of the parish was there plus a huge contingent from the ’Continent’ (St John’s Parish) where Peadar hailed from (Maudlin St). You couldn’t but like Peadar Malone, that chirpy smile of his and the warmth he exuded were special. Very special.
Peadar and I frequented the same hostelry: O’Riada’s/Peig’s where the late Frank ‘Fun’ Coyne was barman and often said to me: “Gerry, we’re like family here.” Peadar and myself were part of that family and our paths often crossed when we’d have a friendly natter and chat. And always I came away from that chat feeling positive and good. It was a gift Peadar had – making people feel at ease and at home in his company. Actually, I used to bump into Peadar on the High St more than in the pub and, as I’d see him approaching (heading towards O’Riada’s), I’d stop and say: “And where do you think you’re going?” Peadar’s stock reply was: “To the Black Abbey, to say a few prayers.”
“Well be sure and say one for me.”
“Gerry, I’ll go one better, I’ll pray for you over a pint.”
On matters prayerful, was it just a coincidence that a line from one of the readings at Peadar’s funeral mass was, ‘Be dressed for action.’ How appropriate for a man who worked in Frank Walls, The Man’s Shop, for years. And the celebrant, Fr Kieran O’Shea. told us how Peadar dressed many a man for action whether it was for a wedding, Christening, Confirmation or some such occasion. And, of course, Peadar himself was always well dressed, dapper for sure, and few people could wear a mauve sweater with the panache of Peadar Malone.
The most touching part of the ceremony was the eulogy delivered by Peadar’s three daughters Fiona, Sinéad and Joanne. “Where do I start with our father?” one of the girls began with. And where, indeed, does one start with the loveable Peadar? There was so much love and affection in everything they said that I left St. Patrick’s church, and I mean this sincerely, bathed in love.
Coincidentally, Saturday last I am walking down High St when I hear singing coming from the Town Hall. I joined the large crowd gathered around to listen. It was the Lady Desart Choir and Gillian Coulter, the conductor, was giving it her all. And I loved their rousing rendition of River Deep, Mountain High, Creedence Clearwater’s Proud Mary and their brilliant finale, Bohemian Rhapsody. And who did I spy in the middle of them all only Noel Power (of the Famous Aces) giving it socks and who should have been there, of course, was Peadar who sang with the choir and who was fondly remembered.
And I could see your face, Peadar, beaming with joy, as it always did whether you were singing in O’Riada’s, with the Lady Desart Choir or The Singing Grandads.
“Peadar, we are heartbroken,” the Lady Desart Choir’s website wrote. “We will miss you so much.”
Fr Kieran O’Shea’s parting words were: “Peadar came from the ‘Continent’ to the ‘Village’ and on to Eternity where he’ll be singing in the Choir of Angels, just as he did with St Patrick’s choir.”
Peadar was carried shoulder-high down the aisle of St Patrick’s surrounded by the love and affection of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces and sister Margo (Ann couldn’t make the Mass) as ‘The Parting Glass’ filled the church.
I sang the song later that night at the session in Cleere’s in memory of Peadar Malone, one of the most likeable, and loveable, men I have had the pleasure of knowing.
PS. And outside St Patrick’s church who should I bump into but another man who loves to sing and entertain us – the one, and only, Billy Murphy. Billy transported us all up to Michael St and Maudlin St, regaling us with tales of cowboys and Indians, not least Geronimo and Cochise, when the Murphy brothers played with the Malone brothers, living down the road. Thanks for the memories, Bill.
And I like to think that Peadar was listening in.