An Irish Legend

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

I got the idea for this story from my grandad telling me tales of the Easter Rising of 1916.

Sean Doyle showed his grandson Patrick into the living room. The thirteen year old was later than usual on his weekly visit.

‘Howayeh?’ said Sean, his Dublin accent thick despite the decades spent living in Manchester.

Patrick simply shrugged. He tossed his rucksack to the taking his coat off and flopping onto the sofa.

‘I’ll put the kettle on.’ Sean said.

As they sipped their tea, the television quiz show continuing in the background, Sean asked why he was late.

‘School stuff.’ said Patrick.

‘Detention, was it? In my day, back at the Christian Brothers School they didn’t have detention.’

‘No?’

‘No, they’d just bounce you up and down the corridors. And if a Brother saw you acting the goat on the way home, you’d pay for that the next day too. You didn’t do it twice.’

Patrick laughed at the way his grandad put things. He had this way of speaking that was full of warmth, and humour and also full of history somehow. They lapsed into a comfortable silence, watching the quiz on screen. The contestant answered that Mozart had composed Verdi’s Requiem.

Sean and his grandson laughed at the wrong answer. Sean waiting a few moments before trying again.

‘What’s up, Pat?’

‘School.’ Patrick mumbled.

‘The teachers giving out?’

Silence.

‘The kids, then? The other kids, is it?’

Patrick nodded, his eyes filling with tears. Sean fidgeted with the gold Claddagh ring on his finger and waiting for his grandson to speak.

‘These lads in the year above are giving me a hard time. They push me around and call me names. My mates all call me Pat, but these year 9 boys, they shout Paddy at me. They threw my rucksack off the bus on the way home so I had to get off and get it. I had to walk the rest of the way because I didn’t have money for a second bus.’

‘Kids can be cruel, Pat, but they’ll soon get fed up with it. They will move on to someone else in a few weeks.’

‘I hope so.’

‘You just have to tough it out, unfortunately, but it will pass.’

‘Tough it out?’ he sighed. ‘I’m not tough, grandad.’

‘Rubbish. You come from tough stock. I was the under-fifteen County Dublin boxing champion. You’ve got my blood in your veins. You can’t deny that.’

‘Really? You were a boxer?’

‘I was, so. I gave it up a few years later when I met your grandma. She used to say she didn’t want to see me get beat up, but I always used to say she didn’t want me beat by anyone but her. God rest her soul.’

‘It’s just the lads, they shove me around and they scream Paddy down my ear. I wish I could change my name.’

‘Patrick Doyle is a fine name, a grand name.’

‘Yeah, whatever.’

‘And your name isn’t actually Patrick.’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘You’re half Irish, on the good side, of course. Your name is actually Padraig. That’s the Gaelic.’

Patrick listened to his grandad with interest. His tales and stories and poems of what he called the old country, were just fascinating. He would regale Patrick whenever he saw him, the tales becoming more animated and outlandish, especially if he’d had a whiskey or what he called a drop of the pure.

‘Your great-great grandfather was Padraig Doyle. My grandad’s Da. There was a man. You have his blood and share his name. In Nineteen Sixteen he was twenty-one years old, and my grandad was a wee baby. Life was hard back then. Things had been bad across Ireland for years. Dublin had the worse slums in Europe and, like a lot of people, Padraig had had enough of the rule of the British. They wanted freedom and decided it was time to take a stand.’

Patrick stared at his grandad, listening intently. Sean leaned forward, his voice a dramatic, conspiratorial whisper.

‘And so, the people got together. There were whispers of discontent, hushed talk of rebellion, of uprising. On the foggy morning of that Easter Monday, they made their move. Their names would go down in history. Names like James Connolly, Patrick Pearse, and Michael Collins. Pearse took to the steps of the General Post Office and read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. They flew the green white and gold flag of the Republic. They barricaded themselves in the General Post Office, the G.P.O. Many wore the dark green uniform of the Irish Army, others wore green bands on their arm. Padraig Doyle was one of those comrades.

‘They were Irish volunteers and civilians. They were vastly outnumbered and taking on professional soldiers used to fighting on the battlefield. The rebels seized key sites across Dublin, they blocked the bridges and erected road blocks. British reinforcements arrived the following morning and the fighting intensified. The rebels were shot at with long-range guns and blasted with artillery shells. The G.P.O was completely surrounded. They fought on against all odds and against greater numbers and weaponry. They lasted six long, bloody, days. By Saturday, still under constant bombardment, and with Connolly injured, and many rebels having laid down their lives, and with the G.P.O. and most of Dublin, in flames, the rebels surrendered. In the declaration of surrender they said they were ceasing hostilities to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens and the hope of saving the lives of their followers. Padraig Doyle was one of those brave rebels who died that Easter. A sniper’s bullet catching him in the throat on the morning of the surrender. He died on the steps of the G.P.O.

‘So, young Patrick Doyle, don’t you ever be afraid to be who you are. Never be ashamed of your name. Just remember whose name you have and the blood that runs in your veins.’

‘Grandad, I had no idea.’

 

The next week, Sean’s phone rang.

‘Hello?’

‘Da, it’s me.’ said his son, Christopher.

‘Howayeh, Christy? How’s things?’

‘Patrick is in trouble at school.’

‘How so?’

‘A teacher says Pat was seen throwing a year 9 boy’s bag off the school bus.’

‘That’ll teach ‘em.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Nothing.’

‘I spoke to Pat. He says you have been telling him about the Easter Rising?’

‘I thought it would help him, and it looks like it has.’

‘And what’s all this rubbish about his namesake being involved?’

‘It’s the boy’s family history.’ Sean insisted. ‘He needed to know.’

‘Really, Da, was our relative really at the G.P.O? This isn’t just another one of your tall tales, is it? Do you know for a fact it’s true?’

‘Padraig Doyle was a hero, just like our Pat.’

 

After he hung up the phone, his son’s comments went around his head.

Do you know for a fact that it’s true? He shook his head before saying aloud, with a smile.

‘Do you know for a fact that it’s not?’


Submitted: October 08, 2021

© Copyright 2022 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

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AdamCarlton

Amusing. The placebo effect in the realm of family history :).

Fri, October 8th, 2021 9:00pm

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Reply

Thanks as always for your comments. :-)

Mon, October 11th, 2021 12:11am

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