On The Buses: A lifetime romance that began in the Majorca

On The Buses: A lifetime romance that began in the Majorca
Daniel and Mark McCarthy on the 207 Douglas bus. Picture Denis Minihane.

DANIEL McCarthy's wife's last words to him still echo in his head a number of years after her death.

"You were a good husband, " she had said.

Seven years later and he's travelling on the 207 Douglas route with his son, describing how a double tragedy brought them closer together.

Patricia died from bronchopneumonia after being sick for only a day or two," the Glen resident said. "She told me I was a good husband before asking for a glass of water. Then she just passed away with Mark and I on either side of her. She was just 57.

After her death, Daniel and Mark took over the duty of helping look after Patricia's elderly brother Jack. However, just a few years later tragedy struck once more.

"The cause of the fire wasn't found out, but it may have been down to an electrical fault." It happened at 4.45am in Kelleher's Buildings. A neighbour called saying that the house was on fire. At that stage, I thought he might have got out. 

"Later we learned he had died of smoke inhalation. When the coroner told us he felt no pain we were relieved. It was a comfort to know he hadn't been badly burnt. Mark used to go in five times a week to visit him. I used to make him dinners and Mark would bring them down. I'd normally make soup and roast poppies. I often joked that I was the Gordon Ramsay of Mangerton Close. It will be two years ago in December since Jack was killed in the fire."

Daniel laughed at the memory of his late wife's mischevious nature.

"We used to always warn her not to be smoking but after visiting Jack we got the smell of cigarettes from her. When we confronted her about it she'd say 'well I couldn't leave Jack smoking on his own!'. She had an answer for everything."

The pair carry Patricia and Kack with them wherever they go.

"Mark has them both on his keyring. I had the same but my keyring broke so I'll have to get a new one soon."

Daniel will always remember his late wife as the love of his life.

"Patricia and I were married 39 years. We first met in the 'ballroom of romance' known as the Majorca in Crosshaven. I was out with a friend at the time when we spotted two girls. We decided to both approach one each and that was how I met Patricia."

Daniel's four kids and 11 grandchildren keep him going through the tough times.

"They're why I'm so grey," he joked. "I'll have to start tinting the beard."

Ken O'Callaghan, who lives in Kinsale recalled his days working on RTÉ radio.

"The only way I could get to Cork was to transfer to radio instead," said Ken who previously worked in television. 

"There were some people who considered this a step back but I never did. With tv, the sound matches the picture, but on radio, the sound creates the picture. That's what makes it so special. I loved my work. My wife used to say: 'you love radio more than you love me.' I joked that I married my job long before I married her but she was welcome to be my mistress!"

Ken's love affair with radio started at an early age.

"I had a tape recorder in the 1950s back when nobody had one. When it broke down I diligently replaced every part until it began working again. That was when my love of radio first started."

Ken O'Callaghan spoke of his time working with RTE radio. Picture Denis Minihane.
Ken O'Callaghan spoke of his time working with RTE radio. Picture Denis Minihane.

The live and unpredictable nature of radio meant Ken often had to improvise.

"We had a regular slot for a chef who cooked on air and gave out recipes. When he arrived late one day we didn't have any time to prepare the food. We started banging pots and pans together to give the impression he was cooking. The only drawback was we didn't get to experience the lovely smells we normally did from the kitchen."

Since his retirement, Ken has been focusing on other passions. He has already starred in seven short films including the award-winning 'When the Car arrives' by Cork director Brian Stynes.

"I love being at the other side of the camera," he said.

Travelling on buses has also become a hobby for Ken.

"If I see a bus and that bus is going to Galway I'll just hop on without a care in the world. The free travel is the most valuable gift I have. It's also probably the one thing that can't be taxed."

Robert Flynn from Douglas is also a lover of radio. He is now assisting Youghal based Jeremy Meehan as he prepares to launch the John McCormack Electric Edition, a 16-CD collection spanning all known recordings by the singer.

Kathleen Kelleher and Robert Flynn. Picture Denis Minihane.
Kathleen Kelleher and Robert Flynn. Picture Denis Minihane.

"John McCormack died in 1945 and was the youngest tenor to sing in Convent Garden," he explained. "He had starred in the Hollywood film Song of my Heart which he was paid $500,000. I drink, eat and sleep everything John McCormack."

Robert said he plays piano every day and enjoys volunteering as a pianist at various daycare centres around Cork.

"Ballyphehane are the best crowd," he said. "There's one lady who's 102 that gets up and takes the microphone to sing. The fact that I'm volunteering means I can do my own thing and really enjoy it all."

More in this section

Sponsored Content