Paddy McEvoy, Author and Teacher

PC001

The Tipperary Barracks by Paddy McEvoy, December, 1994

The faces in
The flames I see
Suffused with joy, replete with glee
Neddy Stanton
'The Miller' Ryan
What, a night!
Lemonade our wine.

We played with fire
Called Indian Thunder
Rent Tim Murphy's peace asunder
Saw Mrs. Halley
Bash Pat Allen
Spilt Pat O's milk, every gallon

Recalling fires
That had raged in '22
When men of ill-intent roamed free
Reduced to ash
A gifted jewel
Reduced Tipp Town to penury.

The houses, ranged
Rectangular
Thirty-six in all, there were
The 'Back', the ' Front'
Two-up, two-down
Half a mile from Tipp'rary Town.

Past Airmount
The railway station
The Abbey School, an education
Past St. Vincent's
The Burma Road
Down the hill, our abode.

Built in Queen Victoria's era
The Barracks stood,
As a chimera
To rude ambition
Imperial dream
An ill-starr'd impulse, out of steam.

Like mountain goats
We shinned the walls
Surveyed the Square, where once the calls
Of sergeant-major
Drilled the troops
As locals watched them jump through hoops.

There were harbours
There were dangers
Our soccer team, we called the Rangers
Won the Cup
When I was seven
Bonfires that night leaped into heaven.

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On Stephen's Day
We'd hunt the Wran
Dolby, myself and Jimmy Ryan
We'd sing for the patient
Dance with the tinker
Pure exhuberance our linker.

The neighbour's faces
Still I see
In life and death they come to me.
At quiet moments,
In unlikely places,
Trudging through life's treadmill paces.

Most were locals
Some were 'strangers'
Blow-ins, wash-outs, dogs-in-mangers
Rooted in
The Middle Ages
Chancers, drunkards, comics, sages.