Padraic Hynes passed away this week. For those of us who knew him the sense of disbelief is still stark. He was so full of life that we all took it for granted that he would outlive many of us. He was an ordinary man but in his own way and to many of us he was an extra-ordinary man. It is easy sometimes to say a few nice words about those who have passed, but in Padraic’s case the words come naturally. As long as I knew him and as long as I was privileged to call him a friend I never heard anyone utter a single bad word against him.
As another of our friends said to me in the last couple of days, he was the one man outside of your own family that you would drive 50 miles on the off-chance of meeting. You were always guaranteed a warm welcome and a “How’s it going auld stock” and after that the craic and the conversation would always be top class.
As far as banter went there was no one better than Padraic. He would sit in the corner of PJ’s bar in Salthill and join in the conversation, often taking the side directly opposite to what he knew was right, just to stoke up the fun. If you ever came even close to being insulted by him - which was not really an option - he would poke you lightly in the chest and say quietly in that Galway drawl and with the most endearing smile on his face “I’m only slaggin’ ya”.
You could not get angry with Padraic. Of all the people I have known in my lifetime he was the most infuriatingly likeable individual.
He loved his sport and was looking forward to the hurling and the rugby world cup down the road. A consummate Galway and Salthill man, he supported Munster Rugby as if they were a team from his own backyard. Why? Because he admired their passion and their honesty, something he possessed in abundance. When we met for the first time 15 years ago I was still a carpenter, as was he. I was adequate – he was gifted. When I left carpentry and returned to college he used the expression which still makes me smile, “Ah the tools are in the river now, you’ve got the foreman’s job at last”.
One of the last times I saw him he said, messing, after he knew I had published a couple of short stories: “I hope you will write my obituary”, to which I answered “Only if you write mine.” Neither of us knew and I did not believe that I would actually be doing so.
I could do the whole ‘and flights of angels speed you to your rest’ stuff but he would not have had any time for that. Straight talking was his forte and he admired those who spoke their mind. To say he will be missed is an understatement. The shock will continue for a long time. So to a gentleman, a friend and one of the finest people so many others and I have had the utter privilege of knowing all I can say is: “Take care auld stock, you were the best of us.” — (Damian Cunniffe )