Sixty years ago a young Leitrim woman came into Sligo to visit her sister. Unexpectedly she went into labour. Her sister called her local GP, my dad who was 34 at the time, who directed her to Garden Hill Nursing home where he helped her deliver three beautiful babies, six weeks early.
As the nursing home had no incubator they were placed in wicker baskets and he drove them up to the hospital in his car.
Mary, Paddy Joe and Peter Daly spent the next three months in an incubator between Sligo General and Manorhamilton hospitals before returning to their Leitrim cottage as local celebrities.
Thankfully this became the impetus for Garden Hill to get an incubator which he had canvassed for so long. My dad never saw his first and only triplets again.
Two months ago he asked me to go on a mission to find these triplets as he had been invited to their twenty first ( which he thought wasn’t too long ago) but at the time was too busy and regretted he couldn’t go.
Now, at 94, with a bit more time on his hands he was determined to meet them. We had no names, addresses or any contact details but a rough idea of the area in Leitrim.
“We’ll go to Drumkeerin and ask in Mrs Mc Paddens, a patient of mine, she’ll know,” he suggested.
So off we headed into the depths of Leitrim in search of the lost triplets but time has moved on , the town has changed with many of the old shops long gone or boarded up (unfortunately typical of so many Irish towns). With no sign of McPaddens, as it closed up shop over 20 years ago, we enquired at the local Centra for ‘triplets aged about 25 or 30’ but drew a blank face until a customer walked in and overheard us.
“I know of triplets who had their 50th birthday some time ago and I can show you where one lives out the road if you wish?”
The age seemed way off but it was the only lead we had and so we followed her out the road to a tidy farm where we met a few young lads and their dad, Paddy Joe.
“Its a long shot but by any chance were you born in Sligo?” we asked “as we are trying to trace triplets our Dad helped deliver in Sligo some time ago?”
“Is that Dr Dorman?” he asked pointing at the older man in the car. “Yes, we were born in Sligo and he was the doctor!”
This reunion some 60 years later was a magical moment with beaming smiles. It was made more special when we went off in convoy further into Leitrim to meet his sister Mary, her husband and daughter where we were greeted warmly, invited in for tea and cakes and offered that very special hospitality so typical in rural Ireland.
Moving forward two months to the big reunion for the triplets 60th birthday party. Now the reunion was complete with Peter returning from England for the occasion. Dad was given a place of honour at the party which he enjoyed very much.
He was happy and comfortable among the kind of people he gave so much to during his working life and who in return gave him so much over the 60 years he was in practice as a GP in the west of Ireland, in particular Sligo and Leitrim people, who he holds so much affection for. My Mum, who died just two years ago, would have loved this moment.
Life offers some wonderful moments of surprise, joy and happiness.
Mary, Paddy Joe and Peter would like to thank all their family and friends for all their well wishes. They would like to thank Dr. Michael Dorman, his two daughters Mary and Jane and son John for the special part they played in the celebrations.
By John Dorman (son of Dr Michael Dorman, based in Garden Hill).