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Farewell to a master who mapped out our nation's place in the world

Tim Robinson and his wife Mairead gave Ireland back a vital part of our history and heritage

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JOURNEYS OF DISCOVERY: Writer Tim Robinson

JOURNEYS OF DISCOVERY: Writer Tim Robinson

JOURNEYS OF DISCOVERY: Writer Tim Robinson

Memory is a treacherous thing. At an event in Roundstone several years ago, a renowned sean-nos singer forgot the words to the second verse of a song he was singing to a hushed audience. For a few tongue-tied moments, there was a deadly silence, and after a respectable amount of time had passed someone quietly whispered: ''Tim, help him out, you know the words of that song." The instruction came from Mairead, Tim Robinson's wife, prodding him to lend the singer the first line of the missing verse, which he did with his usual quiet and gentle grace.

The fact that the words of an old Irish song about a smuggler from the west of Ireland were temporarily mislaid, only to be ''found'' again by this Yorkshire man, was not lost on that particular audience.

Everyone gathered in the hall that day knew who Tim Robinson was, and there was an unspoken acknowledgement that it was entirely appropriate that it would be he who should provide the gift of the key line to unlock that particular song-memory.