“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music,” – Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.
The Late Jackie Dan Jerry O’Connor
I have the late Jackie Dan Jerry in my phone as ‘Farmer/Musician’ and that’s a fair summation of the man’s life.
He was equally serious about both and could carry conversations to beyond the very edges of these topics with anyone who cared to go there with him.
Jackie left a life in which he entertained, lavished and obliged many people with his music in the course of his 82 years.
In recent years he was ‘the man’ at Brennan’s Bar on Friday nights and at No. 22 Lower Main Street in Sheila Prendiville’s Bar and Grocery when music took off there again in the mid 1990s.
On Fair Days
On fair days, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas Eve and the like, people sought him out. They knew there would be an afternoon and night of pure entertainment and fun where ever he was.
However, it was a case of Sheila’s revisited for Jackie as he had played there before in the late 1950’s and through the 60’s when the place was hopping with polka mad local, Cordal and Scart people.
They were Sheila’s own people and Jackie knew their music and he let them have it. Talking about those days later on, Jackie said:
“Sunday night’s were a fright here in this house that time. We’d be playing polkas all night and they used go home dropping sweat.”
Jackie and Dick Fitz
The first time I met Jackie was in the early 1960s and he was with the late Dick Fitzgerald – late of Laccabaun and Adare.
It was outside Browne’s Cash Stores and they called me over to the van they were in. One of them had an eye on a girl who worked in the shop and they gave me a 6d bit and told me to ask the girl at the counter for moth balls.
Elbows on the Counter
In my innocence I did as I was told. The girl asked me who sent me for them and I pointed out the men in the car outside.
By now they were in convulsions of laughter and when the girl saw them she put her elbows on the counter and her face in her hands and did likewise.
They told me to get an ice cream with the sixpence.
Not an Average Football Match
On a Sunday in deep, mid winter in the late 1960s I was over through Leane’s fields with a dog and I heard shouting and whooping coming from the direction of the football field. These weren’t the conventional rising and falling sounds of your average football match.
There was a thick fog down as I made my way over across the river at Jack Martin Reidy’s and on to the field by Patsy Begley’s.
Even on reaching the field I could just make out the foggy figures engaged in the unchoreographed dance of unconventional football.
Yellow Rubber Ball
The ball was of yellow rubber with the print of a football and the size of a normal ball.
Jackie was in the thick of the action as were his neighbours: Donal O’Loughlin, Tommy and Timmy Joe Griffin, Martin Kelliher, Pa O’Connell and Francie Lenihan and more.
I wasn’t left long on the sideline before being invited to join the foggy fray with my wellingtoned team-mates and opponents and the odd dog also chasing the ball.
Jackie and Dessie O’Halloran
In more recent years, Jackie and Dessie O’Halloran spent a memorable Saturday playing music in Brennan’s Bar and got on famously well.
From this sprang an invitation from Dessie to a crowd in Brennan’s to visit Inishbofin. The delegation was led by Jackie and Seán Brennan.
The crossing from Cleggan to the the island was a bit rough and, as it was his first time ‘out of the country,’ Jackie expressed his concerns a couple of times on the way accross.
We got there safely and into Day’s Bar. Jackie and Dessie greeted each other like old friends.
All Nearly Drowned
Dessie and his Bofin neighbour, Michael Burke asked Jackie about the trip across and he told them that we were all nearly drowned and that the waves were a fright.
On that, the islanders turned and looked out over the sea and assured Jackie that there was no fear of us.
Jackie has played music for polka dancers and presidents and he and his talented family featured on a Ceilí House recording from Brennan’s Bar in the winter of 2002.
Makes People Smile
A feature of Jackie’s life remains. The mention of his name made and still makes people smile. Isn’t that a fair enough summation of a life well lived and enjoyed. May God be good to him.
Condolences to Anne, Margaret, Mary, Jeremiah, Joseph and Annie and all his extended family members.
John (Jackie Dan Jerry) O’Connor, Mullaghmarkey, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, November 19th 2017.
Peacefully, surrounded by his loving family in the tender care of the Palliative Care Team at University Hospital Kerry.
Sadly missed by his loving wife Anne, his beloved family: Margaret, Mary, Jeremiah, Joseph and Annie, sons-in-law Jason and Aidan, daughters-in-law Cathy and Temony, his adored seven grandchildren, brother Philip, sisters Eileen and Sheila, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and many friends .
May He Rest In Peace
Reposing at Tangney’s Funeral Home, Castleisland, on Monday evening from 5pm to 7pm followed by removal to Castleisland Parish Church.
Requiem Mass on Tuesday at 11am, followed by private cremation. No flowers, please.
Donations in lieu to Palliative Care c/o Tangney’s Funeral Home, Castleisland.
Date Published: Sunday 19th November 2017. Date of Death: Sunday 19th November 2017.
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