IN a lasting legacy to his beloved Kinawley, Patrick McArdle has penned a book filled with memories of bygone days from the 40s and 50s in Fermanagh.
Born and bred in West Fermanagh, his title, ‘Wet Saturdays’ is laced with heart warming tales of long ago, when manual labour was the order of the day, when there were no washing machines, no fancy cookers and certainly no phones and when people bonded to form a close-knit community and helped each other out through real neighbourly gestures.
It is not the first time Patrick has put pen to paper. But he believes that this particular book will be a legacy to leave his family, ensuring his memories of Kinawley will live on for generations to come.
“I have always felt that a lot of the old people died taking with them so many great memories,” says Patrick, “The way I see it is that I experienced a way of life in the 40s and 50s that was there for centuries before we moved into what we call now ‘modern living’.
“I thought it a great pity not to preserve some of that information, those memories. Then I became one of those older people and I thought: ‘why not write it down myself?’.”
He admits that although at the start “I was only messing about”, his project soon took on a life of its own.
“Once I got started I couldn’t keep up with all the memories that were coming up. I would set aside an hour, three days each week to spend on the computer - there was so much to note down.”
He adds too, that the writing became a form of escapism.
“I was always quite an active person - doing a lot of things in the community. My wife took a stroke and that left me confined to the house.
“So I started to use the writing as a bit of therapy - this is the end result.”
‘Wet Saturdays’ includes accounts of key events in Patrick’s life, such as school days, the big snow of 1947, farming, a misadventure in Marble Arch Caves and trips to the old cinema.
“It is a bit of local history and a bit of craic too,” offers Patrick, “In certain ways the people of those days didn’t have any pressures.
“There was great community spirit. I think we have lost a lot of that because everyone is working now.
“We have got the cars, big houses - all of that has to be paid for and people are under a lot more pressure nowadays.
“It is a long lost way of life that now only exists in the minds of old codgers like myself!”
Patrick’s book will be officially launched at Roches Bar, Kinawley next Saturday, May 12 with music at around 9pm.
The following Saturday, there will be a book signing in Kennan’s shop, Macken, from 9am until 12 noon.
Copies of the book will be available in local shops and pubs.