Michael and Katie

Way back in the late 60s and early 70s a lovely old couple lived in our village. They were very much the remnants of a much earlier time when big estate houses and absentee landowners were the big employers. They lived in a small cottage with stone flagged floors and thatched roof. They didnt have washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner or any such gadgets and yet they kept their small home spotless. Heat was from a small range with an oven to the side of an open fire and two hotplates above, a hook over the fire was used for boiling. The range was cleaned weekly and kept shining black. The gentleman of the couple with the aid of a walking stick would walk to our house on friday morning and buy a dozen free range eggs from my Ma. This old couple were the last of a generation born in the immediate aftermath of the famine, they lived in an occupied country, witnessed two world wars, saw conscription & worse. They lived through the rising, the war of independance & the civil war. They lived largely in a time when horses were the primary source of power and transport in both the country & towns. Michael broke horses to the plough, spent months of every year taking horses from stables well before dawn and spent eight to ten hours walking behind them in heat and cold. When the horses day was done it was his responsibility to see them safetly home, groomed and fed, it was a hard life and yet he did not complain. I have fond memories of speaking to him when I was a child, he spoke of his horses with great affection and respect. Katie worked in the local “Big House” in her earlier days, I never got to know her as well as I knew Mick but I know she was an absolute lady and a gentle smiling presence. She kept her home clean, bright & airy. Her pride and joy was a big old gibson wireless on which they would listen to news and “Their” programs. I have one particular memory of them waltzing in that tiny living room of their equally tiny house. I can still hear the music in my head and see the light from the window illuminating this old silver haired couple, it was very easy then to imagine them in their younger days and the memory is still precious for all that, their love was apparant. I hope we can always cling onto some part of our own history, for me this lovely old gentle couple were part of that. A living history and a pleasure to have known.

Micheal & Katie

In cottage bare with roof of thatch

Once brazen youthful wedded match

Bound together then for life.

Grew old together, man and wife

They were the last of elder race

People from an ancient place

Story pages now all turned

Remnants fading image burned

Tales of distant youth unfolds

In old eyes shine younger souls

Brighter spirits just beneath

Love of blazing passions heat.

Michael was a hired man

Worked team till course of day was ran

With feel and skill behind the plow

Turned sod to sod rich from below

Katie in lord and ladies home

Skilled with needle and the loom

Cook and seamstress as required

Well regarded oft admired

No time in life for kith or kin

Set aside too long and then

Working all but sabbath day

Too old, that hope was lost away

As passing time set them aside

In gentle ease they did reside

Until dark day stole Katie away

Life must end and all must pay.

Six weeks was all they lived apart

Micheal passed from sundered heart

With flowers still fresh for fair Katie 

They were joined in love at St Mobhi

Side by side they now lie

Under dark gloom laden sky

Treasured memory will ensure

Their life and love will long endure.

Dave Kavanagh October 2014 

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