The late PJ Connor: An Appreciation

by Ollie McCormack (a neighbour and friend)

It was with deep sadness I learnt on Saturday of the passing of PJ Connor of Ballyglass, Four Mile House. PJ was a lifelong family friend, a true gentleman, and the best neighbour anybody could have.

  One of my earliest memories of PJ was the delight I felt on seeing him strolling up the field where we were harvesting corn. It meant that your patch to tie the sheaves would be greatly reduced and I could look forward to taking a ride on the empty seat on the mowing machine with the auld fella, as we called my dad. It was such a treat to sit on that seat and pretend you were driving the horses.

  To this day I don’t know how the auld fella could operate a two-man machine, drive the horses and make the sheaves, especially as one horse was a two-year-old – mad to be out in front. The other one was more like PJ – steady as she goes – but without PJ’s help that treat would not be possible.

  My mother would arrive with the tea and sandwiches and her first words would be ‘Arra how are you PJ? It was God that sent you’. I don’t know if it was God or Pat that sent him or if he heard the hum of the machine down in Ballyglass, but we were very glad to see him coming up the field.

  PJ lived all his life in Ballyglass, working the land, and caring for his parents in the early years. Later, he met and married Phyllis and they had two sons, Padraig and Declan. It was a house you could go to for anything you wanted, even if that was only a chat.

  Indeed PJ loved nothing better than to go to Harvey’s/Con Moran’s/Hurley’s or the Kilbride Inn as our local (now sadly closed) was known down the years and have a pint of Guinness and enjoy the chat and the craic with his neighbours.

  PJ was in and out of hospital for the past while. Speaking to a member of staff at Roscommon Hospital during the week it was clear that they, like ourselves, loved to see him coming – not because he was sick, but because he was a pleasure to be around.

  PJ’s harvest is now home and I am sure he will reap the rewards for all the good deeds quietly done throughout his life.

  To his wife Phyllis, sons Padraig and Declan and the Connor and Lyons families, my sincere sympathy. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.