The carving is on a beautiful and unusual headstone at the bottom of the cemetery, looking out to sea. The wording engraved is a simple message that Dr. Paddy Moriarty, who ministered to the peninsula for 30 years, died on 31 May, 1944.
My interpretation of the boat was escapism, Jonny Baker’s was returning to a safe harbour – there are probably many other interpretations. The engraving was memorable to more than us.
And that was where the blog would have finished until I went searching for more information on Dr Moriarty and, unless there were two Dr. Paddy Moriarty’s on the Dingle peninsula in the 1940’s, the headstone story weaves through Patrick Kavanagh, Raglan Road, a Fianna Fáil minister, and on to Dido.
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‘On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue’
Raglan Road - Patrick Kavanagh
Hilda Moriarty was a student at U.C.D when Patrick Kavanagh spotted her on Raglan Road – the poem, and song followed. In 1947, she married Donogh O’Malley who went on to be Minister for Education and introduced free post-primary education for all.
In U.C.D., future President, Paddy Hillery, was a classmate. Richard Harris was a friend.
It was Autumn 1944 when Patrick Kavanagh spotted Hilda Moriarty and was smitten. He followed her home to Dingle peninsula, uninvited, that Christmas.
If there was indeed only one Dr Paddy Moriarty, that was the Christmas period that he died, aged 51.
A lovely headstone now has a story attached to it in my head.
‘When Hilda went home to Dingle for Christmas in 1944, Kavanagh followed her. There was no invitation to the Moriarty home, of course. A middle-aged, out of-work journalist and ex-small farmer was not the kind of husband Dr paddy Moriarty envisaged for his beautiful daughter. Kavanagh put up at Kruger Kavanagh’s guesthouse in Dunquin and defrayed his expenses by publishing an article on “My Christmas in Kerry” in the Irish Press.”