My song today is probably the most sung song in Ireland; the song that is never far from the singing mouths of all Irish men and women. It is the rarer old Celtic version of ‘Danny Boy’ which I sing today. I dedicate my song today to all the Regan family. Whenever a person who was born in Ireland goes to live in another part of this world, they always carry an image of their homeland close to their heart, and however many years they live in their new country of residence, whenever they talk about Ireland, they talk unashamedly about ‘home’.
My own parents migrated across the Irish Sea to West Yorkshire with their first three of seven children they would have (I was their oldest child). The year was 1946 and England was at war with Germany. Living in Portlaw, County Waterford, in the same village as my mother, myself and sisters Mary and Eileen, and grandparents, all my three Irish uncles, and two aunts was another Irish family called the Regans. Like most Catholic Irish families, the Regan family was a large family from Portlaw, County Waterford.
Coleen’s parents were called Patrick and Irene Regan. Coleen’s grandfather was called Patrick Regan also. Patrick Snr’s wife was called Ellen (Nee Maher). Grandfather Patrick Regan had eight siblings; brother Joe, brother Jimmy, brother Billy, brother John, brother Tom, brother Michael, brother Dennis and sister Peggy. He and his siblings Peggy, Michael, and Billy are now deceased, and Coleen’s Uncle Billy’s ashes finally went back home to be laid to rest in Portlaw (as will my ashes after my death). Grandfather Patrick and Grandmother Ellen are now deceased, God rest their souls.
Today’s song is a special dedication to Coleen Milton who lives in Ramsgate in Kent. Coleen (the original spelling of her Christian name is ‘Caillin’). Coleen was the only daughter to her parents, and she has three brothers, Patrick Jr, Paul and Matthew.
During the late 1950s, the Regan family uprooted and left Portlaw after making the heart-breaking decision to move across the Irish Sea to Ramsgate in Kent. Her father Patrick Regan and all her siblings (bar one) still live in Ramsgate, Kent with their large extended family, now covering three generations of Regans.
Coleen reports that the older members of her family are all in their late 70s and up to 89 now, and none of them can go back to Portlaw because of health conditions which she says is very sad in itself. They all constantly talk about Portlaw in their lovely Irish accents that have never disappeared, and even now Coleen’s dad tells her and his grandchildren, his adventures with his brothers when they lived on their Irish farm. Such stories gladden her heart. The Regans still have more distant relatives in Portlaw. Coleen knows Mary Forsey, and Kathleen Stone(Kathleen Stone is Coleen’s cousin). They are also related to the Fitzgeralds in Portlaw and are also related to Tom Clarke too. Kathleen Stone’s father was the brother to her grandfather, Patrick Regan.
After I became an author, Coleen (I have now had 64 books published), I decided ten years ago to put pen to paper and to write a number of Irish stories, using the germ of an idea that my mother’s Irish stories (told to me as a child) held. There are fourteen books under the umbrella category called ‘Tales From Portlaw’ which can be read FOR FREE on my website or can be purchased in e-book format or hard copy from www.amazon.com
with all sale profits going to charitable causes in perpetuity (£200,000 given to charity from the sales profits of all my published books between 1990-2000). Just follow the link below to access: http://www.fordefables.co.uk/tales-from-portlaw.html
Love and peace Bill xxx