Corkman Patrick O’Regan lived in West London for 78 years
Last week Patrick ‘Paddy’ O’Regan, a Cork native who resided in west London for 78 years, passed away in hospital in his 103rd year.
At the beginning of 2015 the Irish World spoke to Paddy about his life in Cork and in London, as he would have been alive at the time of the 1916 Rising.
He told us about the many changes he had seen in both his native and adopted homes over his 101 years, having worked in the Fire Brigade, pubs with his wife Catherine and the postal service once he moved to London.
Paddy’s reason for moving was that although his parents had a farm he was the second youngest in the family, so would have to make his own way as it would not be passed down to him. His first attempt at getting work out of London was through the British Army, and he joked that his mother got to the letter first and forbade him from joining, although Paddy was impressed by the offer of a £4 a week wage and free clothing and shoes.
“I hated school, but I stayed until I was 15 and then put to work. My father said ‘You’ve left school, you’re a man now’ and put me in charge of a couple of horses,” he told us. “Working at home we never got paid, save for a bit of money to put on the church plate each week. But we were always well clothed.
“My nephew has that farm now. We used to have ten cows but they have 150 now over that 30 acres. A couple of years ago he and his wife used to breed and sell geese, they’d have a couple of thousand of them.”
His daughter in law Margaret, married to Paddy’s only son Pat, says he remained independent right up until he took ill. When we met with Paddy he still faithfully attended his ’25 drive’ card nights with Paddy Barry and other friends at the local British Legion Club every Friday, but in the past year was too weak on his feet to do so.
“For the year before he passed away he wasn’t able to go anymore but he was still fiercely independent and all of his friends still visited him so he had plenty of company. He lived alone and did everything himself, and even for the week he was in hospital with hypothermia he kept telling the doctors that he wasn’t ill.
“But he was in full capacity right up until the end. He was still interested in current affairs and his favourite thing to do was watch the Prime Ministers Questions every Wednesday morning. “He had a great love for his home place and we used to visit there often with him and our daughter and granddaughters.”
Patrick will be received into St Mary of the Angels Church, Moorhouse Road, London W11 2RP on Wednesday 16 November at 6pm.
The funeral Mass will take place on Thursday 17 November at 12noon followed by burial at Kensal Green cemetery.