"Today is the anniversary of my father's birthday who died in 1991, aged 75 years. Of all the things that I could say to his credit, including the fact that he played international soccer for Ireland, none comes to mind more readily than the fact that he was a good man of humble mannerisms, Christian beliefs and simple ways. He was one of the most independent men I ever knew.
He was brought up in the poorest of circumstances in County Kilkenny, Ireland and started work at an early age when other boys of his year were still being educated at school. He was a man who always did whatever he did in his life to the best of his capabilities. He never considered any kind of work to be beneath him, and bringing a wage home for his wife and seven children was always his first priority.
I recall as a teenager when my father was a miner and his work mates had voted to go on strike, my father was the only man who braved the picket line to earn his day's wage. One of his few sayings that I can remember of his was, ' Principles are for the rich without children and mouths to feed!' Despite myself being the youngest trade union shop steward in Great Britain at the age of 18 years, I could understand how a proud man who was concerned for the welfare of his wife and children could stifle his silent tears as he crossed a picket line of working comrades to earn a day's wage.
No more can one expect of any man, father and husband. The day that dad was born, my father brought the first day of spring into the world. I love you Dad. I miss you. God Bless you, and a Happy heavenly birthday from your oldest child. x.
I only ever heard you sing two songs in your life, Dad. The only time I ever knew you to sing was when you were getting a bath after a hard day's work. I would often listen at the bathroom door and along with my sisters, Mary and Eileen, we would giggle and quietly laugh. We only heard you sing two songs in your life; 'Sweet Sixteen' and 'Some Enchanted Evening' from the film 'South Pacific'. Allow me to sing one of your favourite songs today, Dad on behalf of all seven of your children. We may not have always understood you and the things you did, but we always loved you. Happy birthday, Dad on what would have been your 99th, birthday.Love from Billy and all my siblings, Mary, Eileen, Patrick, Peter, Michael and Susan.