Words of Wisdom

By Michéal De Paor

Words of Wisdom (Part One)
I was born two doors away in the County Hospital in Portlaoise and lived on what was called the corner of the Block. This prestigious location meant that the Jail was on the far side of the road, while St Fintan’s Mental Hospital and the Morgue were either side of us. I only mention this to give context to what follows.


One day my dad and I were planting carrots in a small vegetable patch, my dad dug up – treasure in my eyes – part of a cup with an inscription on it. Being very young and not being able to read at the time I asked him what it said.


“Maryborough Lunatic Asylum”, he replied.


I enquired as to why it said that. He thought carefully for a moment and said ”Because if you have to look at it for long enough, that’s what you’ll become”.

Words of Wisdom (Part Two)
Ned Mulhall had a butcher shop in Portlaoise to which people came from near and far to buy his excellent produce.


One day Ned was driving his Ford Anglia along the Timahoe Road, close to the old swimming pool, felt a pain in his chest, pulled into the side of the road and unfortunately passed away.


While attending his funeral a man approached my Dad and said “Tom, what
happened to poor Ned”
. My dad related the story to him.


“BeGod“, said Mickey “wasn’t he a lucky man”.


“Why?” asked my Dad.


“If he hadn’t stopped and pulled in, he could have been killed” said Mickey.

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