EPISODE 59 BONMAHON IRELAND ALAN SKEOCH’S JOURNAL
SIDEBAR STORY OF GERALD AND HIS DOG
GERALD AND HIS DOG
Time passes. Sometimes moments in time are captured and cherished. This is one
of mine. The story o fGerlad Kennedy and his dog.
This was Gerald’s companion who I have named Fergus because I cannot remember his
proper name. He was taken for granted. He was also magnificent. A dog I cannot forget
The little boy was named Gerald Kennedy. He loved having three Canadian miners at his home. He would have loved to be part
of our mining exploration. I realize now, 60 years later, that Gerald was part of our job.
That might be Gerald with his kiddy car heading for the ocean. He would not be alone for long.
There are so many stories to tell about that Irish job in Bunmahon, County
Waterford. One sidebar story touched us all but was soon taken for granted
as a routine event. Hard ti forget, Better to be remembered.
So I would like to tell the story of Gerald Kennedy and his companion separately. Gerald was
afflicted with Down’s Syndrome. People sometimes try to pretend children so afflicted
are not part of the give and take of daily living. That they Are present as an embarrassment.
Gerald could not be treated that way. He asserted himself wherever he could. The sudden
presence of three mining men from Canada was a great thing for Gerald. So, when Mrs.
Kennedy got our meals ready, Gerald hung around. But never alone. Wherever Gerald
went his Companion, ‘Fergus’ wes rogjt beside him. Fergus was a big rather aged black
Labrador dog. To Gerald, his companion Fergus was an extension of himself.
Sometimes he rode on Fregus’s back as if the dog was a pony. Fergus never
flinched. Sometimes Gerald would even Bite Fergus on the ears. Fergus did not
growl or indicate displeasure. Fergus did not try to avoid Gerald. Where Gera;d
went. Fergus went. Simple as that.
Loyalty of dogs to their masters is not unusual. Common. Expected. Taken for granted.
But Fergus took loyalty a good distance further as I witnessed one stormy evening on
Gerald came down the road with Fergus. They walked right by Kirwin’s pub after crossing
the main road. Was I wrong or did Fergus look both ways before he let Gerald cross.
Hard to say. They were pressed close together. Was Fergus pressing Gerald?
Then they continued down to the beach where some good sized waves were
beating up the sand into swirls.
Ocean’s are dangerous places for little boys like Gerald. His dog Fergus knew that and kept Gerald safe.
Straight down to the water. I began to get concerned lest Gerald drown.
Then a wonderful thing happened. Fergus went into the water right away.
He was a Labrador after all.. A water dog. But that was not the reason
he preceded Gerald. Fergus stopped when the water waves were lapping
his legs. He turned. And Gerald waded in immediately but Fergus would
not let him get in much deeper than his ankles. If Gerald moved along…Fergus
And eventually they both came back and went home.
A minor incident that has stayed in my mind’s eye for 60 years.
We went back to Bonmahon, Marjorie Eric and I…but both Gerald
and Fergus were no longer there.
I met Gerald and Fergus in 1960. My wife Marjorie and I went back to Ireland on a visit in 1965. Neither Gerald nor Fergus
were still around.