"Irish hospitality will never be found wanting and all my countrymen have looked after us this past week. The Irish person knows the importance of 'me and you.' They know that sheep represent much more than the wool on one's back and lamb chops on the plate.
Back to Haworth today from my week's holiday in Ireland, the land of my birth. It has been most enjoyable; indeed spiritually uplifting to have made contact with my roots once more. It was lovely to see old friends, along with meeting a number of my new Facebook contacts from Portlaw and Waterford. Even Maggie, the publican from the 'Cotton Mill', opened her doors five hours early to facilitate me meeting folk and provided all refreshments free of charge to all attendees.
I have had a number of 'firsts' in my life and I once stopped the traffic in Huddersfield when Anita Roddick and I marched 1,000 disabled children through town, but to have any pub in the land open its doors before time is a 'first' for me that is nothing short of a miracle.
One thing about the Irish is that they certainly know how to look after their own. The press and the radio always mark my return back to Portlaw with an interview and a newspaper article.
I recall one visit back home during May, 1998. The international legend and singing star, Frank Sunatra, had died that same week. I was therefore flabbergasted to see old blue eyes' orbituary in the bottom right hand corner of the front page of the Munster Express, while covering the remainder of the front page was headlined, 'Author and local boy from Portlaw, Bill Forde, returns home today'. The Irish certainly do look after their own first!
While I love Ireland in a way that England will never be loved, I love Haworth to bits and my beautiful wife and dog, Lady and our quaint home there.
So while Haworth will always remain in my heart, Portlaw will always stay the very heart of my soul and being." William Forde, July 11th, 2015.