Irish wake story brought back fond memories

To the Editor: Growing up in a strong Irish-American family, I immensely enjoyed your May 24th article of “An Irish send-off” for fine Irishman Ronald Cook at the Wild Rover Pub. That celebration of life made me recall my family’s and friends’ similar joyous send-off of our Da, my rough and tumble railroad man grandfather, Jeremiah J. Doyle, from Newburyport, Mass. He worked on B&M freight trains and lived with us his last few years, often visited by friends with roots in Da’s County Sligo. In contrast to Mr. Cooks grand celebration, Da’s two-day Wake was held in our home with an open casket (of course) in the living room. Day 2 filled our home with lots of Clearys, McGuires, Powers, Walshes and our whole McGinley & Doyle clans.

Like yesterday, I remember whiskey consumed widely in small jelly jars by most of the boys. The ultimate occurred late in the evening when my dad brought out the pure Irish rye whiskey. Begosh and begorrah, the Darcy twins halted the priest from prayers, filled a tall glass of rye and attempted to give Jerry Doyle his final drink along with a half-full pack of Tarrington cigarettes.

As the glass neared Da’s closed lips, my dear mother entered the room and cleared the noise and smoke with a loud yell to my father of: “Dan, stop those damn Darcys right now or I’ll close the wake!” Erin go Bragh, a grand send-off to remember.

DON McGINLEY

New Boston