Thatching on the Move - Paddy's Rambling House
This year as every year, at the Paddy's Day Parades in Kilmaine, Shrule and Ballinrobe
Some years ago I was staging a thatching presentation at a country show in Mayo, a rare day of hot sun, and on the next pitch was a giant of a man with a disposition as warm as the day. He’d surrounded himself with a fine collection of old artifacts from days long gone; butter churns, forged tools, cooking utensils and the like. Traditional music and ballads filled the air from an old cassette player and speakers.
He introduced himself as Paddy Walsh, pronounced Welsh locally, fondly known as Vintage Paddy because of his connection with vintage car rallies, and his love of the culture and traditions of past times. He was delighted to see me demonstrating the thatching and had been obviously studying me. He liked the way I encouraged both old, and especially young, to enjoy handling these ancient materials and practising the craft. We struck up an immediate friendship which is alive still after many years.
He explained that he wanted to organise all his stuff in a mobile thatched cottage, which he soon built and which I thatched. This has often travelled the country at speed, to shows as far flung as Ballycastle, Crossmolina, Castle Hackett and many more, often with me at the wheel and my thatch demo in the cottage, ready to set up on site. Paddy has a simple plan; he sets up a semicircle of chairs, puts on a daft costume, turns on the music, and waits. All day long folk will come and sit, listen to the music and share the craic. He’s a focal point for people, and gives joy to all.
You’ll see me driving Paddy’s Rambling House, this year as every year, at the Paddy’s Day Parades in Kilmaine, Shrule and Ballinrobe. Enjoy the day!