'Gerry would love it if people would sit down and have a chat,' writes Billy O'Riordan

This week's column in The Nationalist

Billy O'Riordan


Billy O'Riordan



Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Clonmel’s Gerry Daniels

My “vaccination shirt” was ironed within an inch of its life – all to no avail.

All day Monday, news was filtering through that the men in suits were about to pull the plug on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I went to bed Monday night staring at my “vaccination shirt” hanging on my bedroom wardrobe door, a feeling of dread building up in the pit of my stomach.

Not, I must add, fear of the vaccine itself, but of a vaccination cancellation.

To come so close and then to have it snatched from your grasp is the biggest disappointment.

It appears that on Monday the vaccine was as safe as houses and by Tuesday morning – overnight - it suddenly became deathly dangerous.

I’d hate to have been the last person to get the vaccine Monday afternoon, one wonders how they feel. I was given no assurances that another vaccine would be whizzing its way to Clonmel anytime soon. They informed me that I would receive the vaccine “sometime in the future”.

The same morning the headlines on the national papers heralded the news that a large quantity of vaccines had been found – down the back of a couch – over in Brussels and they’d be winging their way over here any day now.

I viewed this news with mixed feelings.

As I write the gas boiler is purring away in the background, as it is in homes throughout the towns in the county.

Spring is attempting to push through this lingering winter chill. My big plans this spring are to paint the downstairs hall and internal doors.

Attempting such an endeavour will mean leaving the doors open throughout the evening resulting in yours truly, contracting double pneumonia.

So, like the migratory birds who sniff the air and rely on an innate natural sense, my innate senses tell me to hold off on the painting until at least next month – that is my excuse, anyway.

We all miss the everyday things in life such as meeting friends and social gatherings of one type or another.

Also, it is worth pondering on the disappearance of certain characters from the precincts of the town. I was reminded of one such gentleman, by Liam Ahearne, who told me that he recently met a well-known Clonmel gentleman named, Gerry Daniels.

Gerry was a fixture in the Binchy’s/Eason’s area of the town, and he would happily – with a copy of The Nationalist under his arm– supervise the comings and goings of the local bus service. Liam, while out on a stroll happened upon Gerry, who at the time was happily enjoying a sit down on the Mall.

Gerry explained to Liam that “He (Gerry) would love it if people would sit down and have a chat with him,” if they come across him sitting there.

As Liam observed, you don’t know what people are going through and a quick chat isn’t going to cause too much interruption to your day.

Older citizens of the town have a lot to teach us about the fabric of the town, which is to say: about the history of the buildings, streets and the people who lived and died here.

They also deserve recognition for the contribution they have made in bringing their uniqueness of character to the town.

The best of health to you Gerry and a big thank you to Liam for his ongoing work in cataloguing the history of the town, through his photographic collection.

At the time of writing, the “vaccination shirt” has been put back in the wardrobe.

The phone remains fully charged, as I await the call to head up again to the vaccination centre.

The Panadol is back in the medicine cupboard and I’ve stopped Googling about AstraZeneca. My collection of face masks remains at hand and the hand sanitiser is still flowing freely in the O’Riordan household.

Until next time.