Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3, Page 7

Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3, Page 7
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Na Píobairí Uilleann
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Chairman, NPU
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Píobaire, An
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(26)PIPERSThe Late Br. Gildas Felix (Patrick Shea)When I first saw Br. Gfldas he was actually on sick leave, recruiting his health. 1-Uspersonality was quite imposing, though one quickly detected that shyness associated with thoseof big physical proportions.Much later in life, learned to know his temperament more intimately as we workedtogether in St. Gall s School, Belfast. I shall just remark here that he spent a quarter of acentury in Northern Ireland which he used rather like to call Carsonia.He was proud to recall that as a young man he worked on his parents farm until hesuccessfully tried his reIig ous vocation in his early twenties. This would in part account forhis dogged adherence to what were principles for him and an unbounding resistance to changeeven when it concerned Gaeldom. He was really an old Victorian adown the twentiethcentury, even after the second world war. He laid claim to descent from the old chieftancyof the O Shea and proudly retained the rural culture of a longforgotten !Kingdomfl. Thiscan even apply, as we shall see later, to his religious principles.He qualified as a teacher in 1904 and was headmaster in two important schools in theNorth Downpatrick and Belfast. He approved only of a rather stern discipline and insistedthat all boys be thoroughly grounded in Arithmetic.Though a native speaker of Gaelic, he confined his idiom to that of Kerry and WestCork. He showed little approval of the official Gaelic which the twenties brought withthem and never warmed to the Connaught and Ulster dialects.The other aspect of Gaelic culture that interested him was its traditional music,instrumentally rendered His preference in this was for the Uileann Pipes, which he playedin quite a restricted manner. Traditional players restrict themselves to a few related keys.This renders traditional playing monotonous.In this restricted field, he made some important contacts with Leo Rowesome ofDublin, Mr. Mealey a Belfast presbyterian, and at a much earlier date with the renownedDr. Henebery of U. C C, He was also on intimate terms with the late Seumas Fenton,Inspector of Schools The latter invited him to play the pipes at the unveiling of a memorialto Tomas Ruadh 0 Suilleavan in 1928 at Derrynane. I think Br. Gildas 9 s most cherishedperformance would have been when he entertained the SuperiorGeneral of his order in 1950at a soiree in Castiebar community.It is surely unexpected to find his next greatest interest in Shakespeare He loved tofind in Shakesperian idiom parallels with Irish terms or phrases He was capable of quotinglong extracts from the plays and sonnets. Indeed his memory in this, and a few other respects,was truly prodigious bearing evidence to Caesar: In scholis, pueri cuncta memoriae mandant.Br, Gildass reiigious bearing may be said to have been of the national type. It wasfirm but undemonstrative He fulfilled the many serious obligations of the religious life,particularly the giving of good example. Though undemonstrative, I could easily perceive hisultimate attachment to the Devotion of the Nine Fridays as we saw them practised in our homesat the beginning of the 20th century.Finally, did he not persevere in the vocation to which he was called, This requires alife of sacrifice of which world lings know but little. Both the achievement and the reward forso doing are contained in the following plain words of Christ Himself Qui perseveraverit infinem, his saivus erit.Br. Malachy Carey..** * *** * * ** *7
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Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 3

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