Posts Tagged ‘Willie Bermingham’

“Willie Bermingham described graphically the awful scene he encountered in that chalet on that bitter cold February day. A frail, old man, blind in one eye, lying dead on a wet bed with an old blanket gripped in his left hand, two cold rooms in that timber chalet, no fuel for the fire and no food in the press and he half naked, stiff in his death sentence, alone and in misery”

This piece is taken from the fantastic The Dublin Fire Brigade: A histoy of the Brigade, the Fires and the Emergencies by Tom Geraghty and Trevor Whitehead, recounting the time Willie was sent into a residence in 1977 as a routine part of his job. The residence was located at Charlemont Street.

Below the picture of Willie I have posted a wonderful and quite witty piece he wrote on himself, which always brings a smile to my face when I read that last line. I think it only right to allow characters of such magnitude to speak for themselves.

Don’t just think of him when a fire engine goes roaring past you on the street, but rather when you encounter an elderly neighbour in need of aid of any sort, including company.

Willie will be twenty years gone from us this Friday.
ALONE continues to work on behalf of the elderly people of Dublin.

“Willie Bermingham landed at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin 29th March, five years before the big snow of 1942.

One of a family of seven with a father -a farmer, merchant, dealer, turf cutter, scrap man or just a hard worker, and a mother- a great woman to milk cows, feed pigs, cut turf or feed the nation.

Educated at Goldenbridge, St Michael’s Inchicore, on the streets, in the bog and at the university of life itself. Married with 5 children from 17-5 years. Hobbies include hoarding junk and curios and foreign travel.

Joined the Dublin Fire Brigade in 1964 and spent a long time pushing for the pension. Favourite food, good old irish stew and lots of fish. For breakfast several mugs of tea at work. Also loves to eat lots of red tape to teach the bureaucrats a little manners.”

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D'ya Remember Jem? Will I Ever Forget (side b)

I’d very much like to welcome the Skytec vinyl player to the Fallon household. She’s a gem. You take a 7″ vinyl, give her a spin, and via Audacity – there it is. An MP3 file. Put the song in your pocket, put it on Youtube, do what you will- you have it now. Brilliant.

So this morning, the younger lad finds Santa left this thing. A few hours later, and I’ve already hijacked it.

The ‘Official Millenium Single‘, on 7″ vinyl, has been sitting in my room for some time now. My Dad built up a great collection of 7″ traditional vinyls, ranging from the likes of Planxty and Jim Page to one off oddities like ‘The Magnificent Seven’, a rushed out propaganda type tune about the seven prisioners who escaped from the Maidstone in Belfast. All these records offer interesting historical insight. What better place to start however, seeing as this is a “Dublin blog”, than with the Millenium Single of the capital, issued in 1988 by K-Tel.

The Official Millennium Anthem- Performed By The ‘Band Of Dubs’

The Record

Performers list:
Paddy Moloney (Chieftains)
Maire Ní Bhráionáin (Clannad)
Leslie Dowdall (In Tua Nua)
Maura O’ Connell
Mary Black
Finbar Furey
Johnny Logan
Jim McCann
Christy Moore
Paul Brady
Colm Wilkinson
Ronnie Drew
Shay Healy
Tony Kelly
The Dubliners
The Fureys/Davey Arthur

While Side A, a performence of ‘Molly Malone’ does nothing for me, Side B is absolutely fantastic. A spoken word performance from the late Ronnie Drew. Witty as ever, I recommend you give it a listen. It’s amazing this 7″ hasn’t found its way online before now.

And the day we went to the Phoenix Park
To look at the deer and sit in the grass.
And you held my hand and asked for a kiss
But I wouldn’t give in, cause I knew it was a mortal sin.
And then you said you loved me and promised a ring.
Do you remember Jem? Do I remember, will I ever forget?

SIDE A: Band Of Dubs- Molly Malone

SIDE B: Ronnie Drew- Jem

Of course, with a large enough collection of vinyl, the dad couldn’t originally be entirely sure of the backstory on this one. The back of the 7″ however notes that “All royalties from this single go to ALONE” ALONE is a “voluntary action group” that was founded by Dublin firefighter Willie Bermingham. By this logic, I presume it was through the job that this vinyl arrived in the household originally.

In the Dublin Fire Brigade museum you can find a great piece Willie wrote about himself hanging on the wall, which I’ve always considered one of the best examples of Dublin wit I’ve laid eyes on:

Joined the Dublin Fire Brigade in 1964 and spent a long time pushing for the pension. Favourite food, good old irish stew and lots of fish. For breakfast – several mugs of tea at work. Also loves to eat lots of red tape to teach the bureaucrats a little manners.

Classic. So anyway, give this 7″ a play. Side B in particular.

Lastly, if you have a copy of the complete album ‘Official Dublin Millenium Album: Dublin Songs’ issued by K-Tel (cat no. Dub1000) on vinyl, get in touch!

Now run off to Tower Records to nab yourself a Skytech 😉 Expect plenty more posts like this in the coming months.

ALONE still exists today and can be found online HERE

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