Peadaí Neoiní’s colourful views of life
EVEN in a part of the world as rich in culture and sport as Corca Dhuibhne, rarely has West Kerry seen a character as multi-talented as the late Pádraig ‘Peaidí Neoiní’ Ó Cathalláin.
Now, thanks to collecting and editing by Lios Póil’s Roibeard Ó Cathasaigh, Pádraig’s thoughts on a life steeped in music, drama, language, and sport have been committed to the pages and the two CDs accompanying ‘Ná Treascródh Duine Éicint an Bloc Sin’.
The Irish-language book and CDs from the Mary Immaculate College lecturer is beautifully illustrated by Dómhnal Ó Bric and provides an aural, written, and visual account of Pádraig’s thoughts on matters such as his home life in Paróiste na Cille, music, drama and the Irish language. The collection also includes poems, songs, handwriting and stories collected from his father, Seán, for Scoil Smeirbhic.
Pádraig hailed from a “tigh mór bothántaíochta”, was heavily involved in acting; taught in primary schools all over Ireland, including his first post in Low Island; and played football both for and against Roibeard’s father, Kerry star Billy Casey.
Among those games was an infamous West Kerry football final against Lios Póil, in which An Ghaeltacht protested against the eligibility of All-Ireland-winner Gerald Teahon. Teahon was from Castlemaine, which would normally have ruled him of the Lios Póil catchment area. However, he had cattle grazing in Gabhlán, Lios Póil and, on this basis, Lios Póil claimed he was eligible to play. Afterwards, West Kerry GAA Chairman Fr Beasley refused to go ahead with the presentation, saying Teahon was ineligible.
Pádraig, who was born in 1925, passed away last year, but Roibeard struck up a friendship with him in the 1980s, and between 2012 and 2015 he captured the essence of the man in a series of recordings made in Caherdavin, Limerick,
“Chuireas aithne ar Phádraig i mbunscoil sna ’80idí agus é ina phríomhoide ar Scoil na mBuachaillí, Cathair Dhaibhín, agus mise i mo fhéithóir ar ábhair múinteoirí bunscoile ó Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál,” a dúirt Roibeard leis An Kerryman. “Chuaigh pearsantacht thíriúil nádúrtha Phádraig i bhfeidhm ón gcéad lá.
“Tar éis do Phádraig dul amach ar phinsean i 1985, ba bheag caidreamh a bhí eadrainn go dtí gur chuas ar a thuairisc san ospidéal thart ar 2010.
“Ó shin i leith is mó babhta bothántaíochta eadrainn agus d’fhás ár gcaidreamh. Ba léir dom gur cumarsáidí agus smaointeoir é Pádraig. Agus eachtraithe suimiúla óna shaol agus tuairiscí suainteasacha á roinnt aige liom, rith sé liom gurbh fhiú buanú a dhéanamh ar a chuid ráiteachais.”
The book is available in An Caifé Liteartha and Siopa Oideachais, Dingle. It costs €20 and, Roibeard promises that it’s perfect for anybody who wants to immerse themselves in Bliain na Gaeilge.