Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The day Éamonn MacThomáis came home

Éamonn MacThomáis arrived into the Rathmines Town Hall. It was 2002 and he had come, with time to spare, to lead a walk around the locality. The event was part of the inaugural Rathmines Festival and the much loved author, broadcaster and historian was not sure how many would turn up. Though a household name, he had been out of the public eye for a while and had recently been fighting with ill-health.
While waiting for the start of the walk, he sat in the staffroom of Rathmines College and talked about his association with Rathmines. He was born there, in the care-taker’s house attached to what is called the ’council yard’. Fond memories of his first five years; he had, surprisingly, never been back. 
“But, that house is part of the college, we can go there now.” He was awe-struck.
Inside the old house, visibly moved, he recounted his memories. His recollection of the details of the house after 70 years was impressive; it was quite obvious what a great pleasure it was for him to be back in his first living room, bedroom, kitchen.
Some weeks later he wrote a letter to say how much he enjoyed the day and seeing the old house. He died later that year. I don't know if that walk was his last public appearance, but the public had, most definitely, not forgotten him. A huge crowd collected in  the Town Hall for the event and the chance to meet a most likeable, interesting and humble man. 
Éamonn Mac Thomáis in the Liberties: https://www.youtube.com/embed/DjqvIcFdfdo"

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