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Bíonn tionchar ag a lán daoine ort i rith do shaoil. Bíonn níos mó tionchair ag do thuismitheoirí ná mar a bhíonn ag daoine ar bith eile. I mo chás féin, léirigh m’athair dúinn cad is obair ann. D’oibrigh sé gach uile lá beo mar sclábhaí thall in Albain le riar maith a chur orainn. Chuir mo mháthair an-bhéim ar an oideachas.

Bhí creideamh iontach láidir ag an bheirt acu. Bhí sagairt mhaithe againn (Éireannaigh a mbunús) agus múinteoirí maithe a chuaigh i gcion orainn. Tógadh mé in Albain, ach bhí tionchar mór ag Gleann Gad orm nuair a bhí mé ag fás aníos, cé nach ndeachaigh mé ar ais ach ar laethanta saoire.

Rinne mé tagairt do Dháibhí Eoghain agus an t-eolas a bhi aige ar logainmneacha cúpla mí ó shin. Luaigh mé ár gcomharsana béal dorais, muintir Bhriain, in alt eile. Bhí mé millte ar fad ag an teaghlach sin nuair a bhí mé in aois linbh, agus ag Madge ach go háirithe.

Chuaigh a deartháir, Barney, i bhfeidhm orm: chuaigh seisean go hAlbain le m’athair, ag lorg oibre. Fear mór léitheoireachta a bhí ann. Bhí suim mhór aige i stair na hÉireann agus thug sé leabhair ar iasacht dom, leabhair a léigh mé go fonnmhar.

Phós Madge Mannix Collins, agus chuir siad fúthu i gCúil Dabhcha. Bhí tuiscint don ghreann ag Mannix. Bhí a fhios aige go raibh spéis agam sa Ghaeilge, agus bhí cúpla focal aige dom i gcónaí. Spreag sin mé gan amhras.

Fuair Mannix bás sé bliana déag ó shin. Bhí a fhógra sa Journal an tseachtain seo caite. Níl sa saol ach tamall beag. Ach is buaine clú ná duine, agus bíonn daoine áirithe i do chuimhne i gcónaí.

REMINISCING

Many people influence you in the course of your life. Your parents have more influence than anyone else.

In my own case, my father showed us what work is. He worked day in and day out as a labourer in Scotland to provide for us. My mother put a great emphasis on education. Both had a very strong faith.

We had good priests (mostly Irish) and good teachers who had an influence on us. I was brought up in Scotland, but Glengad had a great influence on me while I was growing up, although I only went back there on holiday. I mentioned Davey Eoghain and his knowledge of place names a few months ago.

I mentioned our next door neighbours, the Brians, in another article. That family spoiled me when I was a small child, especially Madge. Her brother Barney had an influence on me: he went to Scotland with my father to look for work.

He was very fond of reading, He had a great interest in Irish history and he lent me books which I read avidly. Madge married Mannix Collins and they settled in Culdaff. Mannix had a great sense of humour.

He knew I was interested in Irish and he always had a few words in Irish for me. This definitely gave me encouragement while learning. Mannix died sixteen years ago. His notice was in the Journal last week. Life is short. But a person’s reputation lives longer than the person himself, and some people always stay in your memory.