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Dunmore East is a small fishing village on
the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from
the city of Waterford.
It sits on the western side of the Waterford
Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford,
As a child living in the Lower village during the 60's, I would often meet with Richie Fanning,
either while out playing in the square or out walking with my mother. Richie lived on the
Lower Road , in the last cottage before Molly Burke's house, with his mother. Every time that
we met, he always went through his pockets and managed to find a penny to give me for
sweets. A kindly act for a man that did not have a whole lot for himself. I always liked Richie,
as he never seemed in a hurry and always had time to talk to anyone that had time to listen.
At some stage near the end of the 60s, his mother died, which left him to dispose of her
belongings. To my father he gave a Jacobs biscuit tin, which contained some Marietta
biscuits and some cream crackers, also a Christmas cake, which his mother had baked the
previous Christmas. He didn't like the currants and figured it would only go to waste. I
remember eating all the biscuits, but not the cake, as I, being like Richie, didn't like the
After a few days the box was empty and I decided to play with the red paper in the bottom of
the tin. When I took the paper out, underneath was a 1 pound note and a ten shilling note.
Images of a new Batmobile flashed before my eyes, but when I showed it to my mother she
said that it belonged to Richie and would have to be returned. She reminded me of all the
pennies that he had given to me on our walks.
That evening I went into the Strand and found Richie on his usual stool. I told him about the
find and gave him the money. It was the first time that I had ever seen a tear roll down a
man's face. My mother later explained that he had cried because he was happy. It was as if
his mother had given him one final gift.
A Man You Don't Meet Everyday