ONE Newbridge senior citizen who spent last Tuesday with President Michael D Higgins took the opportunity to reveal a little bit of shared history between the two as their both fathers served jail time together from 1922 to 1923.
Jimmy Murphy from Highfield, who was invited to the Aras as part of the Friday Club, informed the President that his late father Mick served with the late Mr Higgins in Garda Barracks in Newbridge as members of the IRA under Michael Collins leadership.
“They were both members of the IRA,” he said. “I told him and he was delighted and then went on to mention it in his speech. I thought it was nice of him. He is a real gentleman.”
In a brief address the President also recounted the time his father spent as a lodger in Con Cummins bar in Newbridge, when he was based in The Curragh.
“They were lobbed into the same cell and they used to make little houses out of match boxes,” added Jimmy. “I used to hear my father talking about Mr Higgins but it wasn’t until he got the Presidency that I made the connection.”
The event was organised by Willie Crowley who met the President through the Geard Manley Hopkins poetry festival. The Newbridge group known as the ‘Friday Club’ attended a two hour reception and were given a guided tour of the Aras followed by refreshments in the State Drawing Room where they listened to singer Lynda Lee accompanied by pianist Dearbhaile Brosnan. President Higgins also complimented Lauri Murray on hi books on Newbridge. The group which consisted of Jim O’Sullivan and Mike O’Reilly from Pairc Mhuire, Phil O’Donnell from Dominic’s Park, Laurie Murray from Piercetown, Jimmy Murphy from Highfield, and Patsy Mahon from Great Connell were transported to and from the Aras by South Kildare Community Transport driver Joe Loonan.