A tribute to Ogie Nolan by Cllr Johnny Mythen
The big wooden door flung open with the tug of an improvised rope, then up the L-shaped cement stairs that reeked of new leather and into the secret world of the Ogie's oddities.
Ogie was at the last, hammering and tacking, on a leather boot. His eyes were wild and seemed to go in opposite directions when required. Without turning his head he spoke. 'Well, young man, have you come for your Da's shoes?'
'Yes, Mr Nolan - how much do I owe you?'
'That'll be half a crown, they're over on the bench. Oh and by the way, there's no Misters here. Call me Ogie.'
Jack was waxing and repairing an old saddle, the pot-bellied stove was crackling. I'd swear the kettle was whistling to the air of Danny boy. It was a wonderful place, where old boots and shoes, footballs, saddles and yokes, were restored to their newness by the two masters of their trade.
It was the Tír na nÓg of the cobblers' world. I thought it would go on forever. Alas, the old cobblers ways have gone, to be replaced by plastic and rubber.
But I will never forget the beautiful smell of new cut leather, or the warmness and friendliness of a couple of cobblers who took so much pride in their place of work, and always had the marvellous gift of making time stand still.
Slán, Ogie. I'm sure jack has the kettle on for you.