Willie Leahy – born in Oldcastle, Co. Meath in 1973. died in Quincy, MA in 2015.
What to say about his life ? As his older sister by 2 years Im not so sure.
From talking to people, preparing for his funeral and at the Viewing, friends and relatives had one overall thing to say about Willie – he was a lovely man. He took pride in his work. He loved to help.
As a young fella, Willie loved to write. I remember along with Gerry Marry in Skerries when he was only 7 he wrote a novel based on the Hobbit. He wrote it in Ruin script (and remember this was before the Internet ). He kept it in his satchel. I bound it and made copies which we buried down by the stream in the Hills, in Ardgillan – near the secret hideout and another he hid and did not tell anyone where it was.
But it was his reading of J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and then The Lord of the Rings (1954) and The Silmarillion (1977) at such a young age that set himself up for a life long love of books, plays, writing and all things literary.
I remember him as someone who had an answer for every problem. What I hear you say ? Bear with me. Willie could talk his way out of any fight. He stopped many a violent situation with a turn of phrase, a nod of the head and a use of that smile – half mischievous, half sexy, half intrigue – even over the phone you could feel him smile.
There was a magic when you talked to Willie. You could be pissed off with him and as he talked and explained you’d slowly forget why you were annoyed with him and he made you think about something else or even feel something new. He used words as a literary and emotional device a shield a weapon. He used them for love. His words made you feel better. Sometimes worse but mostly better.
I suppose his life was one of love.
- a love of work: – How may tales were told of him making sure that room was painted not just a slap of paint but detailing the corners or making sure to piss the paint beforehand.
- a love of people: He talked to all and he helped all. He would share a novel or poetry with anyone and help them love that tale. He would also show them how to fix, how to shovel not only their problems but their handyman tasks too.
Yet he was stubborn. He did not want to be pushed down any road and when pushed he would politely disappear – sometimes for a short while, sometimes for years. But again his last love would bring him back again and again
- his love of words:From the classics of Shakespeare and Thoreau to the epic musings of Robert Tressel and Brendan Behan (both painters by trade).
As I finish up here I shall leave you with a few of Willies favorites. How adapt they are now that he is passed. As we struggle to find peace, I think Willie would hope as I do that we can find solace in their words:
“Now the autumn leaves are falling, the nights are growing dim, the painter wipes his pot clean down, and throws his brushes in”
Brendan Behan, Borstal Boy.
The Road goes ever on and on
(The third version appears in The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 6. J.R.R Tolien It is spoken by Bilbo in Rivendell after the hobbits have returned from their journey. Bilbo is now an old, sleepy hobbit, who murmurs the verse and then falls asleep.)
The Road goes ever on and on Out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, Let others follow it who can! Let them a journey new begin, But I at last with weary feet Will turn towards the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
Fiddler of Dooney
WHEN I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Moharabuiee.
I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.
When we come at the end of time,
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;
For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance:
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’
And dance like a wave of the sea.
To Be or Not to Be
To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep– No more–and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to.
‘Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished.
To die, to sleep– To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.
There’s the respect That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin?
Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action.
— Soft you now, The fair Ophelia! — Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remembered.
Plus you can read other family members talk of his life here… Memories of Willie