Memories of my Uncle John

Memories of Uncle John (4-12-22)

Yesterday was my Uncle John Sheeran’s 20th anniversary. It was also my Dad’s 5th anniversary. John was a very big influence on me as was John Jnr. Dr John.

I spent happy teenage summers in magical, hospitable Mullinasole with Lottie eating their Calvita cheese or was it Galtee? And playing Cluedo. They were very good to me. Great times out on the ‘Mary Kate’ boat, swimming and fishing. His own work. He built the Mary Kate. An amazing man, really. Very talented.

John was a legend in many ways eg keeping bees, pigeons and hunting dogs. He was very gifted with his hands. Very artistic. I think he was a reader too. Mullinasole was awash with books. His death was sudden and premature, a bit like my wife, Maura’s brother Pat Hooper. Unexpected.

John was quite a serious guy. He had grandfather’s gravity. He was like grandfather in many ways. He could get angry. But he also liked Brendan Grace “Bottler”. Those old tapes in the car. Great laughs.

I did not get talking to John as much as to Joe and Charlie. Like Uncle Paul, John kept himself busy. He was an active doer. Very energetic. John did not confide much in me really. He did not do much small talk. In those days, before I got married, I was very unmaterialistic. Very idealistic/unrealistic. John had hearing problems too. He threw his hearing aids into a lake once in frustration!

John’s real experience of the world of money as a bank manager was not on my youthful wavelength, really. I was a bit of a dreamer. As they say “Love is blind. And marriage is an eye opener”. Family was his big thing.

Also the Troubles in the North soured living in Magherafelt in County Derry for many years. He was most himself in nature in Donegal eg fishing for brown trout with an otter board up in lakes in the hills. He minded his family well. All v bright.

We had fishing in common. At 17, I was a keen angler. And a fly tier. Before I got the Religion Bug age 20. I also worked in Timoney’s Factory when I was 15. A good experience. Happy, sunny memories of beautiful Donegal and a very special soul.