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The Centenarian

Today the 27th of October is my late Dad's birthday. If he were still living now he would be the ripe old age of one hundred! Receiving the acknowledgment from the President and all the trimmings! His father was in the GPO during the 1916 Rising, so all things Éire were his favourite topics.

As a Gaeilgeóir lots of Gaelige was spoken in our household. It is a beautiful language and culture but needs to be taught by those who believe in and love it in order for it to be credible to the young people coming up today.

His father lived two houses away from us and he was a Gaéilgeóir too. The flowers in the garden whenever I asked him what they were called, I was told the name ‘as Gaelige’, the Latin name, and then the English name! So when I came to study Aromatherapy the Latin names were a doddle as I knew lots of them already!

I remember when I was sixteen my Dad brought me to receive my Fáinne Airgead a silver Fáinne. The Fáinne was worn as a symbol of love for the native language and that you were available and willing to speak it. The silver Fáinne is earned first then the Gold one follows. The night the Fáinne was presented it was here in Tallaght, Clannad was playing at the event. I remember listening to the beautiful voices of Moya Brennan and her siblings. Enchanting music that I still listen to now.

That was as far as I went with the Fáinne, and it is like everything else, if you don’t practice a language it fades. He had a Fáinne Óir and so did his sister my late Aunt Treasa, whom I loved dearly and the feeling was mutual.

It is hard to believe that a hundred years could pass so quickly, in the wink of an eye really. Whoever thinks of their parents being that age? Or any old age for that matter? Or that they may not be around anymore to take part in the many ‘happenings’ in the lives of the extended family.

Well, he left me with his legacy of the love of flowers and fragrances and all things education. A great storyteller and writer. He never drank so I can’t raise a glass, but as I fill the flower vase today with the most beautiful flowers I can get, Birthday Greetings to you dear Dad the legend there was.

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