A family always on song
No 68 was home to arias and Ali Baba, Ave Maria and Aladdin, says Miriam O'Callaghan. And now it's gone
I never spoke about what happened in our family. It didn't go on in the homes of my friends. Or, not that I knew. But, in retrospect and it being Cork, it was probably widespread: The Singing.
Not your respectable Dean Martin, Perry Como or Sinatra, though they featured. My father did a phonetically perfect Tristesse, a la Tino Rossi. I'm talking actual arias. Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Balfe. On the big liturgical feasts, or around a death or anniversary, there'd be Panis Angelicus; Ave Maria.
On my father's side, The Singing happened in the old O'Callaghan kitchen at "68", his childhood family home, an elegant, double-fronted distillery house on Blarney Street. One bedroom had a view to the harbour. Good for the soul. It also had a view of a father returning from work. Good for the body: a brilliant, handsome man, my grandfather had a short fuse, a long reach.