Brothers and sisters one and all we've come from far and near
To celebrate the birthday of Padraic Neylon here.
His story starts in days gone by in the old homestead Glenbrack
So listen while I reminisce as my memories take me back.
To a lad in old Kiltartin School with mischief on his mind,
Though his pranks were often funny they were never too unkind.
He rocked his mother's hens to sleep and sat them on her bed,
When she opened up the curtains all the hens flew round her head.
Old Birdie grabbed the sally rod in the midst of all the din,
And Padraic had to run like hell to save his sorry skin.
In a boyhood scrap he blacked his eye and covered it with meat,
And later on decided that it wasn't fit to eat.
So he tossed it on the wardrobe where it lay for several weeks,
Till Birdie wrinkled up her nose and cried, "This wardrobe reeks!"
He swapped the eggs beneath her hen for a clutch of wild duck eggs,
And once again the sally rod was felt about his legs.
Another time John Spellman decreed poor Padraic's fate,
As he raced a poor old pregnant mare towards the garden gate.
Those carefree days so long ago, when we trespassed down at Coole,
Old Paddy Hehir met his match, the poor misguided fool.
Padraic shot wild pigeons, he hurled, he swam, he played,
Till a boy no more young Padraic went to learn the tailor's trade.
The time rolled by, the war broke out, and Padraic changed career,
In '46 he joined the R.A.F. as engineer.
The knowledge and the expertise he learned have served him well,
And saved his bacon more than once as far as I can tell.
1951 found Padraic back on Civvy Street,
DE mobbed with just £11.00 , prepared to find his feet.
A few choice games of 3 Card Brag proved Padraic's no man's fool
He'd soon amassed enough in cash to buy a set of tools.
And so began a 6 year stint in tow with Freddie Laker,
Who soon discovered Padraic was a giver - and a taker!
Years of hellish hours, of damned hard work and sheer hard graft,
Of death-defying escapades while Padraic learned his craft.
Avro Tudor, Avro York, Bristol and Rolls Royce
Padraic worked on all of them - he didn't have much choice.
The learning curve was steep, along the way mistakes were made.
Padraic made some errors for which Freddie Laker paid!
Fuel tanks not connected explosions, faulty wires,
De-icier pump disasters, snow and fog and fires.
But it wasn’t all disaster. Success was often sweet,
And with some help from Padraic, Freddie Laker built his fleet.
The Berlin Years brought Padraic Neylon memories galore,
Of Tommy Thompson, Dusty Miller and many many more
Johnny Bridger, Freddy Pickert, the Names roll off the tongue
Of the varied cast of characters he met when he was young.
Of all his different memories few can come much sweeter
Than the escapades the Padraic shared with his boon companion Peter.
The pair frequented nightclubs on the famous Reperbahn
And while Padraic got his woman, poor Peter got a man!
I hope that Peter saw his priest and offered up confession.
For his exploits with the ladies of the world´s oldest profession
Padraic favored ladies who possessed a bit of class.
In the canteen at the airport he espied a bonny lass.
Of all the many lessons that Padraic´s learned in life
The most important one of all is to appreciate his wife.
When evacuating Belgians in the Congo, Now Zaire
Padraic learned to dodge the bullets and he learned to conquer fear.
He survived the aircraft crashes, the mosquitoes and the heat.
He even dodged the cannibals - too tough for them to eat!
From Zaire to Biafra then, once more to lend a hand,
Flying food to starving people in that war beleaguered land,
Despite a diet of rice and snake, and Russian Migs galore,
Padraic lived to tell the tale and made it home once more.
As years rolled by and Padraic´s dealings led to pastures new
His business ventures prospered and he made a bob or two,
But men don’t live for work alone and all through Padraic´s life.
He´s enjoyed the love, support and care of Roswitha his dear wife.
With Michael, Sheila Kevin all the family railed round,
When in 1991 his World came tumbling to the ground
A painful time, a testing time, with friendships sorely tried.
But his courage, faith and strength of spirit cannot be denied.
The qualities he´d learned in life would see him through these days,
And Padraic’s strength of character´s has been in the other ways.
For old age doesn’t come alone – arthritis proved a menace,
And threatened to deprive yer man his weekly game of Tennis.
More recently a heart-pass was found to be required
But Padraic rose above it all like a Phoenix bounced right back
(Let’s hope the bye-pass goes as smooth for the folks in old Glenbrack)
Some say that three score years and ten is man´s allotted span,
But clearly this is not the case in Padraic´s Neylon´s plan
And if I was a gambling man I´d place a hefty bet
Padraic´s very far from done – you ain´t seen nothing yet!
So join me as I raise a glass and offer up a toast.
To the Man we´re here to honor, our much respected host.
May your days be filled with happiness and health up to the end!
I give you PADRAIC NEYLON a brother and true friend