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One hundred thousand welcomes to you to my official blog of all things Irish from me, Diane Byrnes, host of the Echoes of Erin radio show on WEDO Radio 810AM.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Carpenter From Kerry

A long time Irish stalwart in Pittsburgh passed away on Sunday, June 17, 2007. Tom O'Donoghue, Proprietor of The Blarney Stone Restaurant in Etna.

Tom had a huge impact on the Pittsburgh Irish Community; his passing was sad because of all he had to endure the past four years. He had a big impact on my life as well as many others. I wanted to do something 'special' in tribute to him, so I wrote a poem. One of my listeners suggested I post it to my blog and website. Enjoy.

The Carpenter From Kerry
By Diane Byrnes

There was a young carpenter from Kerry who came to our shores years ago,
God be good to him. Died he did last week which left us in sorrow and woe.
We’ll never forget him, himself and his brogue and the comical gleam in his eye
Twas he could talk, and tell a story too and even sing verse to make us cry.
We’d laugh at his jokes as he would at ours and sometimes our eyes were teary,
And we never grew tired of his wonderful flow of the language
from the carpenter from Kerry.

In the long winter nights by the light of the lamp and the weather outside often dreary and damp,
Or in the spring of the year when the flowers would bloom
and the trees brought forth new life,
Or in the summer time after practice when the young men played ball
with energies still rife,
Twas grand to his place to drop in for a bit for a pull at the tap
with the rest of the folks
For a bit of the craic and an argument, too, about this thing and that,
But the best of the argument always would go to the carpenter from Kerry.

He built many things from bottom to top and always was proud of what he could do.
He worked long and hard and did many jobs to instill
in his children that work was you.
He brought music to many to dance and to sing
and gave work to those who had lesser things.
Listowel was his home, always would be,
he had such delight when he took the family in wings.
The love of his life always by his side and all the children they loved
and nurtured with pride.
We all have memories that carry us through life provided
by the carpenter from Kerry

Peggy his bride, forever his love, in good times and bad and in water above.
Dennis his first born, with wings of his own and Daddy so proud
of the skies Dennis had sown
Mary Kay his flower who blossomed so brightly and brought tons
of laughter ever so mighty
Jack his third, handsome and charming, but most like his dad
it was sometimes alarming
Jeff number four, very soft and gentle and more like his mother
so often an angel
Tommy a twin so pleasant and delightful, played on the field
it was goal and score
Timmy a twin also pleasant and delightful, they were so much alike
it was hard to decipher.
Sheila, the spark that kept them in stitches, on their toes always
so no one would snitch her.
These are the seeds sowed by Peggy Linehan O’Donoghue and
the carpenter from Kerry.

Thomas O’Donoghue, born April 15, 1935 - died June 17, 2007.
The Dash between born and died is life.

Tom O’Donoghue had an impact on many of our lives. Had the Blarney Stone still been in business, the 33rd anniversary would have been celebrated last week. And I am sure many of you participated in Tom’s First Irish Jubilee at Schitizen Park during the late 70’s; had that festival continued it would have been one of the oldest ones in the country.

Tom O’Donoghue had foresight and was responsible for many things that we enjoy today in our community, perhaps now under a different name or organization; but he began many things.

If it were not for Tom O’Donoghue, our Irish community may not exist as it does today as he was instrumental in introducing Irish Americans, to so much of Irish culture, music, Gaelic sports and international visitors. May we always remember him and the many good things he did. May he forever rest in Peace!

Let’s listen to a song he cherished, this goes out to his wife Peggy and all their children. Here’s Mary O’Dowd singing ‘At the Close of an Irish Day’.


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