Reformed Kilcormac Historical Society recalls the Slieve Bloom historian, Paddy Lowry

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KILCORMAC Historical Society has been revived after a period in abeyance and Society member, Agnes Gorman has submitted the following tribute to the great Slieve Bloom historian and stalwart society member, Paddy Lowr.

Paddy Lowry was born in Forelacka, Kinnitty on 17th December 1919, to parents Paddy and Nora Lowry (nee Ryan) and lived all his life there until God called him home on 16th March 2013.

Forelacka is a townland situated in the heart of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and Paddy’s homestead was medial there too. He was educated locally and worked locally with Coillte- the State’s Forestry Board. A man of the earth, he knew how to read the landscape of its past and its heritage.

Friends were loyal, thoughtful and endearing to him and anyone who came in contact with nature was judged as God’s goodness to man, birds and beasts and his dwelling place contained all means of life, kindness and creation to ensure that everything was in harmony with each other.

A sense of the past was studied and taught to us with such richness and a flavour that like Helen Keller, who was deaf, dumb and blind, could consume the passion that Paddy had shared with us, his enthusiasm his simple way of life, was a print notice to us all, who wish to understand a moment in time, of our ego to rush through life, without much cause to know why - his infectious nature imparted on the children in the schools or on walks, in which he conducted, were left with faces of awe amd wonder and the exact stories were clearly rehearsed to their parents.

Tourists, educatinalist and writers, also visited Paddy at his home in Forelacka where he slept and awakened in the mists and mysteries of a landscape not changed for thousands of years. Paddy was involved with many organisations locally - Fleadh Cheoil, Storytelling, The Ardara Hill Walkers, The Kilcormac Ramblers Club, The Rambles in Eireann, Eglish/Drumcullen Club, Ballyboy High Mileage group. A judge for Mountbolus and Kilcormac St. Patrick’s Day Parades, Slieve Bloom Association and Church activities. I recall the last organisation that Paddy was involved with “National Day of Remembrance” in Dublin, where he met some celebrities such as Pete St.John. Paddy was one of the guest speakers. Two youths from the inner city were passing by and heard Paddy’s story of meeting a woman, who was born during the famine of 1847, when he (Paddy) was a very young boy. The youths waited for over an hour to shake Paddy’s hand and said “that is something to tell our family about.” Such was his serene presence. Paddy’s wealth of folk tales, songs and games were etched into our memories in Dooley’s, Feighery’s, Dan & Molly’s, Blueball, Mountbolus, Killyon, Cadamstown, Kinnitty, Kinnitty Castle and all the gathering spots of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and its fringes.

One of his party pieces, was the rendition of brave Michael Dwyer and one of the highlights of his life was, when he sat on a chair, placed on the middle of the parlour floor in McAllister’s cottage in Derrynamuck near Glenmalur, Co. Wicklow, where he recited all verses of thr ballad of Michael Dwyer. He was so much overcome by the ambience of the place, that he shed a tear of delight and held Breda Guidera’s hand and said to all of us present“I never thiught I would ever make it her to truly understand my hero.” Paddy thanked Claire and Denis O’Driscoll for the invitation and Leslie Parsons for managing to bring his bus so near theblaneway and it was to be, as Leslie sought the help of a neighbour to transfer people down the narrow laneway to the bus. Perhaps there are other times I’m not aware of but on behalf of the Kilcormac Historical Society we are more rich in culture, language and Irishness by knowing Paddy since 1981.

Peace descended on Paddy when he published his book, “Kinnitty - my home in the Slieve Blooms” recollections and storiesa bout life in the beautiful Slieve Bloom Mountains on the 23rd November 2011. It’s contents says it all of Paddy- a remarkable man. He acknowledge his great friend Paddy Heaney, also Tom Daly whose writing skills was much credited with the success of the book, also Sean Lyons, whose visual qualities were captured on screen in the last few months of Paddy’s life. Graciousness and goodwill was shown to us. (The Kilcormac Historical Society), by the owners and staff to Kinnitty Castle where the book was launched by Brendan Marsh, Chairman of the Kilcormac Historical Society. The people of Kinnitty and surrounding areas supported Paddy’s night that the Castle was thronged with patrons, as one of their own on such, an outstanding success especially at an age when one would consider to leave it to the younger generation such was Paddy’s zeal for life.

Our thanksgiving night in the Slieve Bloom pub in Kinnitty, was our last gathering togetehr before Paddy went to his eternal reward, his work was now complete and happy in himself. A man we grew to honour, love and remember in our life time. God bless you Paddy and may your inspirations pour down on us all for generations to come.

Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílís.

Agnes Gorman.

On behalf of the Kilcormac Historical Society, 2019.

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