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Paddy Hynes with his new companion, a 10 week old puppy named Pudsy, sitting in the sunshine outside his home in Carron. Paddy will celebrate his 94th birthday in August. Photography by Eugene McCafferty

Puppy love for Clare widower thanks to caring community

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COMMUNITIES around North and East Clare have come together to unite a man from Carron with a new puppy after the passing of his wife, Catherine, and the death of his dog in quick succession, writes Conor Clohessy.
Paddy Hynes (93) is well-known in the region for his storytelling, having honed his craft at the Teach Ceoil in Corofin and in Ennistymon.
Burren Riding Club was instrumental in finding the pet for Paddy, asking their members for any help they could get – and found themselves very fortunate.
Margaret Corry, secretary at the club, said: “One of our members, Hazel Frawley, answered the call, saying she had just been to the vet with her own dog because of a phantom pregnancy, but promised to keep a look out.
“A few weeks later, she called me and said that the phantom pregnancy was a real pregnancy, and she now had three pups! When I dropped the pup to Paddy at his house after six weeks, it was like he won the lotto.”
Paddy recalls that while he had originally named the pup Maskie, his grandson Luke has taken to calling Paddy’s new companion Pudsie, a moniker the Jack Russell has taken to much quicker.
Even though Pudsie has since been the culprit of many a destructive crime in the house, Paddy assures that he has been enjoying their time together immensely, having wanted a pup rather than an older dog so he could train them from the very beginning.
He explained that his skill for storytelling was passed down from his late uncle, and that he began learning poems and stories to recite as a child.
Paddy said: “All the choirs in the area would go to Ennistymon for the Plain Chant, and an inspector from Kerry would visit our class often.
“One time in Ennistymon he came with us, and he noticed I wasn’t singing. My teacher explained my voice was breaking, so the inspector gave me a poem by Douglas Hyde to read instead.
“Afterwards, he told me he would be back in the autumn and he would give me another poem.
This time, it was The Capture, the Trial and the Escape of Séamus O’Brien, which had about 23 verses in it.”
From there, Paddy began telling poems regularly, his first public reading taking place over 85 years ago, in a pub in Kinvara during a session that was held there every December 8.
Paddy considers himself lucky because he lives in one of the most beautiful places in the country, the heart of the Burren, and that he has very little to complain about these days, with regular visits from his grandchildren and his new pup at his side.
Burren Riding Club has enjoyed a good time of it recently also, winning gold at the National Show Jumping Championships in Mullingar two weeks ago and qualifying for the All-Ireland Dressage on Sunday.

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