30 Jun 2022

Life is too short for Leitrim man Seamus O'Rourke to ‘be sucking on dry turkey’

Seamus O'Rourke named Leitrim Person of the Year

Seamus O'Rourke

There is no doubt that businesses have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with the lockdown earlier this year and the move to Level 5 over the last number of weeks.
This week, well known local Leitrim man Seamus O'Rourke is appealing to everyone to shop local and support local businesses.
While doing so they look fondly back on their earlier Christmases and the best gifts they ever received. They also reveal how they intend to celebrate this year's festive season which will be like no other we have experienced.

What local gift would you like to find under the tree this year?
This year, I’d like to get a gift of a book... (not one of mine – I’m fed up looking at mine). I’d like a book from one of the many Leitrim authors who have popped up in the last few years. I can’t mention any names, as I might leave someone out, but in this end of the county... Carrigallen/Ballinamore... you’d be tripping over writers and poets... going about with the big thoughtful heads on them... one as diverse... or odd... as the next. And there’s poets now, where there wasn’t even a YELD sign... God Bless us every one, is what I say.

Where will you be shopping locally this Christmas?
I’ll be shopping locally this Christmas – My first stop – Newtowngore – it has everything to burst open a man’s ‘fat man pants’ – A Craft Butcher and supermarket... an Inn, that we’re not allowed in... yet... hairdressers and beauticians to beat the band and an undertaker, that won’t let you down.
In Carrigallen, there’s always a festive atmosphere... If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the Christmas lights being swept away by another high load of fodder... The annual kidnapping of the baby Jesus from the crib... but mostly, a warmth and openness that you’ll find hard to match anywhere.

What will you be doing differently for Christmas this year?
This year... and for the first time in my life... I’m not having turkey... I’ve decided, it’s a dry auld hoor of a thing... and my life is getting too short to be sucking on dry meat. I might do a rack of lamb... or steak... or maybe even salmon... I'll miss the stuffing and the turkey gravy... but there ya go!

What is you favourite Christmas memory of growing up in Leitrim?
My favourite Christmas memory is: coming home from mid-night mass and the smell of the Christmas ham coming to meet us at the door. It would still be in the range from earlier. My father would get out the sharpening stone and put an edge on the ‘big’ knife... and we’d sink into ham sandwiches, made from a ‘Cully’s Batch... smeared in mustard and butter.

What was the most thoughtful Christmas present you ever received?
My best present: One year we got a second Knife...

And there's lots memories in Seamus's memoir, 'Standing in Gaps'... (The best thing to come out of lockdown, according to Joe Duffy) Selling in Richardson's, Newtowngore, Marterson's and the Post Office, Carrigallen, Mulvey's and The Reading Room in Carrick-on-Shannon.

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