ALAN :: In Ireland

Death of a Figurehead

The Aisling logo was designed by Declan Fahy and features one of our first Aisling clients, taken from an iconic photograph by Deirdre O’Callaghan. Alan MacDonald came on our trip to Wexford about 15 years ago and while we were there we went to visit his home town of Enniscorthy. Alan and I went for a drink in Stamps bar in the town square. Sitting at the bar in the empty pub chatting with the landlord about the weather and hurling, Alan eventually said, ‘Do you not know me Willy?’ Willie Stamp couldn’t place him but when Alan told him who he was he nearly dropped dead on the spot from a heart attack. Alan had left home after celebrating his 18th birthday in Willie Stamps’ bar. This was his first time back in 35 years which would make Alan 53 although he looked older than Willie who was at least 20 years his senior.

Later that day we went looking for Alan’s family home, which we found down a leafy lane in a well-off part of town. It took a while to find because it was behind a big hedge but when we did the house was unmistakeable, a single storey house with five gabled windows in the roof and a mature garden. There was no-one home but about 15 of us spilled out into the garden and Alan walked around remembering the trees, one in particular where he had sawn off a branch and he remembered being severely chastised for it. Both his parents were architects and had designed the house themselves. While we cheekily explored a big Mercedes pulled up and a couple got out giving us quizzical looks. When we explained to the current owners who we were and introduced Alan they were delighted having heard all about the family and wanted to know more. They brought us in for tea and proudly showed Alan around the house which had remained pretty much as it was all those years ago. In a particularly interesting twist the owner had an engineering business and had an office in Mornington Crescent in Camden a stone’s throw from where Alan lived in Arlington House.

Alan made a few trips back with Aisling and the iconic pic was taken by Deirdre in Doolin, Co. Clare and thanks to it appearing in a feature on Arlington House and Deirdre’s pictures in the Aer Lingus in-flight magazine Alan’s cousin got in touch and then his brother who was by now a priest. Thereafter Alan enjoyed many visits from his family and the last will be his final homecoming this weekend when his body will be taken to Galway to rest at his mother’s side.