I had an Uncle named Tony who was the head waiter in Wynns hotel on Abbey street on the northside of Dublin city, he was the head man in there through tough times and was let go to much distress, 30 years after he started. I had ice cream there when i made my confirmation, i remember my Planet of the Apes action figures in their plastic boxes from Cleary’s toy department, the smile on my dad’s face in a blue suit and i think we had a closed restaurant to ourselves in the afternoon, sheer important bliss.
He worked very hard according to my cousin Paula, who worked with him during her summer holidays and Paul Hand a friend i do photos for sometimes in the Drury Court hotel said he was a hard task master who still stood by the silver service ways of dining, a consumate professional.
Apart from his Honda 50 which he visited us on during Sundays laiden down with sweets and cake and a sideline in statues of Padre Pio and nativity sets made of plaster of paris, he was a very religious man and devoted a great deal of time working with locals in Ballyfermot and was well loved for the work he did, so much so that 19 years ago whilst playing keyboard at mass one sunday he had a heart attack on the altar. I suppose if you’re gonna go then go out with angels by your side and straight to the gates ahead of the queue. i was at the mass for his removal and it was the strangest time.
Alongside all his talents he was very good with his hands, he installed speakers in every room from one sound system at the house in Ballyfermot, was a very keen photographer and in the attic of this house [which yes, had its own speaker] was a makeshift darkroom with all his liquids contained in old re-cycled bulmers bottles and films in plastic ice-cream containers, he had a condenser enlarger strapped to the main beam holding up the roof and a suitcase full of organised negatives in envelopes each named for all the daughters and people he took photos of. I found all this out when i was asked to go through his last bit’s of equipment when the house was up for sale and amazingly Paula who knew that i took photos suggested that i take whatever i thought i would like as surely i was the best person and the cameras and things would only go to waste otherwise. she then gave me a plastic bag full of cameras and in there I found a Chyrstar, a Leningrad Light-meter, a really nice Ziess ikon and a Zenith-E amongst other bits and pieces, like discovering a coin in the ground i was handed this mans history and in turn remembered i was really a Tierney instead of a Kelly, that it was only natural to be a photographer sure the whole family’s been at it since time began. You can’t take the snapper out of the man, thats messing with genetics.