The late James Condon
ON Friday, December 21, 2012, Kilflynn and Swords, Dublin, lost a true gentleman, father, father-in-law, brother in-law, uncle and treasured grandfather.
James Condon was born on October 17, 1937 and was the youngest child of Richard and Elsie Condon (Nee Brosnan) - the original proprietors of Kilflynn Post Office and shop. He had three siblings, Denis, Sr Mary and Margaret.
Many a story has circulated in Kilflynn that 'Ritchie Condon fed Kilflynn during the War' and James would smile and look extremely proud of his family and in particular his father during that time.
He loved Kilflynn and attended school in the village before going to London in his early teens to look after his aunt whose husband passed away, before returning to Kilflynn and finishing school in Killarney. From an early age it was clear that his devotion was to mechanics and at the age of six he was riding his first motorbike.
As the 40s and 50s became the motor age, James was teaching his 'elders' in the village how to drive cars at the age of eight. He would do anything to get behind the wheel or handlebars of anything with an engine. He would have one or two incidents during his young life and his first concern was always the motorbike and if any damage had been done!
James received his real schooling, though, working with PJ Stack of Lixnaw. PJ became a part of James' life from that moment, and up until his death the Stacks of Lixnaw remained very close to him. He always said that Hugh Stack had a terribly difficult job as a funeral director, but did it very well with dignity and respect. It was Hugh who made that sad journey to Dublin to bring his friend James home to Kilflynn.
During the summers of the 1950s, he worked threshing hay and it was during one of many mechanical breakdowns that he met young Dublin lassie, Elizabeth O'Gorman, on the Leen Farm in Knocknacaska next.
It was to be love at first sight and the pair courted during several summers while she holidayed here. James followed her to Dublin, got a job with Irish Shell, and they were married in 1963. They moved to Cork for work that year and had three children there - Norma, John and Brian - before returning to Dublin where they had their fourth child, David.
Throughout his working life, James worked with cars or aeroplanes, which he idolised. He could tell you the make and model of either simply by the sound of its engine. During his time in Cork, he was the first on the scene of the fatal crash of private plane, Piper Comanche on August 7,1964 , which claimed the lives of three members of the Gaulle family from Youghal, Mrs Maureen Gaule and her two sons, Brian (25) and John (12) along with the pilot.
Golf was to be a major part of his life too and he proved to be quite the operator around the greens. He thoroughly enjoyed playing, but especially the fun and friendships that were built over the years. He was particularly proud of winning the Pro-Am with Arnold O'Connor in 1986 in Ballybunion - a course he loved and respected on a calm day, and feared on a windy day.
James was quite a personal and private man, who simply lived for and loved his family. He would make and remain friends with many people over the years as he had time for everybody , and they for him. It is remembered with fondness that when his grandchildren were in the house, they could do no wrong.
While Swords became his family's home, James' heart never left Kerry or his beloved Kilflynn. Visits back to the village became more regular over the last 10 years when his daughter Norma and son David both purchased houses in the village. Both houses have James' signature all over them - with kitchens, sheds and attics all displaying the work of his hands.
He liked nothing better than to finish a day's work with his beloved fillet of steak, sauted onions and mushrooms specially prepared by Karen and John in Prims Restaurant followed by his equally loved Bacardi and Diet Coke (don't forget the orange Shane) in Herbert's Bar. There he and Pat Herbert would enjoy long conversations about the current day and times since past, with Donie Walsh and Paudie Fuller joining in for good measure.
When local postman Tommy Neenan and local mechanic John Joe O'Sullivan arrived, stories emerged and conversations changed to the more humorous sides of things and that really just capped a typically wonderful day for James - being back home and treated like he had never left.
You could see the respect that James had for the village and all her inhabitants whenever he spoke of them and it was something special too to see this reciprocated whenever he returned to Kilflynn by those very same people he spoke so fondly of elsewhere.
Many years ago James decided that Kilflynn was and would always be his eternal home and on Sunday, December 23 James Patrick Condon was laid to rest in Kilflynn cemetry with his beloved wife Elizabeth (Betty), who sadly passed away on May 21, 2010.
We pray that they are now together, for he was never really the same man after her passing. James, will be remembered as a very kind and gentle hearted man with a huge heart for all those who loved him, especially his heartbroken family.