A late starter in the literary world, retirement has revealed some hidden talent Stag Park, Mitchelstown resident Brendan Healy never knew existed.
As the old saying goes, ‘Old bulbs can produce the most beautiful blossoms,’ and in Brendan’s case, this is no exception.
Celebrating his seventy fourth birthday he is proud to have not just one, but two books published this week, with more coming down the line.
His passion for everyday living whether it’s sport or work has certainly manifested itself in his writings thus far.
From a different background completely, farming was where he cut his teeth in his formative years, but the loss of his father at a young age hadn’t helped matters.
He has worked in some area of construction for most of his life. His education was in Bolton Street, Dublin, and he worked in the restoration of listed buildings, such as the home of WB Yeats.
Growing up in tough economic times immediately after World War II the son of a dairyman, it was probably not the ideal time for a young boy starting out in life, yet the family home was a happy one and was known colloquially as the Schrioching House, where neighbours and friends assembled at least one evening a week for some chat, music and song.
“The mammy’s rendition of songs like ‘My Lagan Love’ and ‘Greensleeves’ were a treat and old Tim Buckley danced Sean-nos on the red sandstone flags on the kitchen floor,” recalls Brendan.
“Stories of the high seas told by Jimeen who was once a Naval Officer in the Merchant Navy would stand the hair on your head, but he had stern competition from the local tailor who was equal to the task of telling a good story. A radio buff, he listened to the Voice of America every day in his workshop on an extremely old PYE wireless.”
That culture unfortunately no longer exists, but it was folklore at its best which has benefited Brendan in his writings no end.
In his formative years, Brendan won many awards at Feiseanna with his sweet boy soprano voice and in latter years, sang choral with the Millstreet Choral Group under the baton of the highly renowned Philip O’Loire who was seconded from Chor cois Laoi.
Brendan completed his apprenticeship to carpentry/joinery and studied for a City and Guilds. Work was scarce and so he headed for Dublin.
He had found his niche working on the restoration of Georgian properties, including the home of WB Yeats in Sandymount, while at the same time he studied Land Survey and Building Services in Bolton Street.
Traditional Irish was his musical passion and he became a member of the Clontarf branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann where he met some of the greatest exponents ever like Dan O’Dowd and Leo Rowsome.
RETIRED AND WRITING
In the mid-nineties Brendan returned to live in County Cork again. Unhappy with his nine to five job, he set about learning the art of currach building from the master, Eddie Hutch in Dingle and from a commission from Udarás na Gaeltachta, he was awarded a certificate of excellence.
Brendan is now retired from active work and is enjoying his days writing. Two books in as many years, Parallel Lives and a sequel called Monika, will soon be followed by a book of short stories including the life in the modern era of the pre-historic creature called the Clurichaun.
At the moment the books are only available on Amazon e-book and softback and it is hoped to line-up up a distributor shortly.