Whatever is going to be, that thing will be. Years ago I used be down in the county Limerick working for farmers. An' I used love to be there. Everywhere I was I used find every one of 'em nicer than each other.
An' this time, anyway, my brother - he used to be here at home along with my father an' mother while I used go away down to the county Limerick. But I stayed at home one year. We were building the cow-house over there beyond. An' I used be working weeks then with the farmers around here.
An' the following year, then, I said I'd hit off down again. My sister was just after getting married to a fellow down there in the county Limerick an' she told me to call down some time, as soon as I could. An' isn't it the Devil's work, now - that's what I always say, that whatever is going to be, that's going to be the way! - when they told me to call down, when I was leaving here that morning my intention was to go to one o' the farmers an' stay below. I need only walk in to 'em an' I'd get hired, for I knew a lot of 'em. I was full sure an' certain o' doing that.
I went down , anyway, an' I stayed at my sister's that night, but by the Lord God, however it was, didn't I change my mind. I came away here home again. I came away up. "By God", says I, "I'll leave it go for another week".
Every Thursday, then, they used be hiring boys an' girls in Newcastle. An' I was full bent then to go down to Newcastle the next Thursday - that'd be a week after. An' before that Thursday came didn't my brother peg off down to Brosna this night an', I s'pose, took a few drinks. That was the time o' the 1914 war, now.
So, he went up to the barrack then for a paper to join the army.
"Yerra", says the sergeant, "you're drunk. Go 'way home. Don't mind going to the army".
He was a great sergeant in Brosna that time, man. Sergeant Coughlan.
So, by Jay, he didn't give him the paper at all that night. An' what did he do? He came down in some part o' the village an' went into an oul' shed an' stayed there that night. The following morning he went up again to the barrack to the sergeant for the paper. An' he had to give it to him then. He said he couldn't refuse him when he asked it the second time.
He hit off back for Tralee, an' someone came in here an' told my father that he was gone off back, joining the army for the German war.
So I had to stay here then. I couldn't go to county Limerick any more. Don't you see now the way 'twas. What I wanted to do I couldn't do. That was what was to be, d'you see.
So my father went back then a few days after to the barracks in Tralee to know could he get him out of it. But no good. So he went to someone in Castleisland - I don't know who was it - an' he was telling him his story. An' didn't that man write out a bit of a note for him, an' says he "When you'll go back, now, to Tralee give that to the officer".
An' he did. An' when the officer took the note an' read it he called out my brother from the rest o' the men an' he says to him, "Will you go home now along with your father?"
"By God", says he, "I'll stay where I am now".
That finished it. He wouldn't ask him the second time.
He was in Tralee a good while then, training. An' he was sent off to England. I don't know how long was he there. He was two or three months, anyway. An' he got two days here home then. An' everyone here around, even the sergeant in Brosna, was telling him not to go back. The sergeant told my father, "He could skeet away to some friends of his in some place. An' o' course we'd go looking for him, but that'd be no difference".
An' by God he wouldn't go.
After his two days here he pegged off again. That was June, an' he was killed in October. An' the war was just nearly at the last battle, an' all. In October of 1918.
6/10/2016 03:04:18 am
Well told story, but very sad all the same. Thank you for putting it on the site. Eddie, you're a real gem! Would love if you got your own TV program. It would be very popular.
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Eddie has been collecting folklore in Co. Clare and further afield for nearly 40 years. Here, Eddie shares some of the stories he has collected on his travels. Print copies of each story appear in his long-running "Folklore Corner" in the Clare County Express.