Daily Archives: May 12, 2009

A Barrel of Memories

When you look through a window, what do you see?

I suppose it depends whether you are looking out or looking in.  I have on occasion looked out while looking in.  This happens in my back garden when the sun is shining.  Looking towards the glass I see a reflection of the garden, no wonder the birds are forever stunning themselves and landing in a heap on the ground.

Sometimes looking out through a window, the view or some aspect of it, turns my thoughts inward.

This happened to me on Saturday while at the Waterfront Hall.  We stopped for a quick coffee in one of the bars and as I moved to sit by the window my eye was drawn to a sculpture on the other side of the glass.

A gentleman sitting on a barrel.  By his side and at his feet were the tools of his trade.  He was a Cooper.

We did not have the opportunity to go out onto the roof level for a closer look at the sculpture or find out who the Sculptor was.  To be honest I never asked I will go back and ask some day.  I became engrossed with the little man on the barrel.  I was thinking of ‘Red Dick’ a man I never met. By the time I awoke from my reverie it was time to move on to the next level.

( () )–( () )–( () )

Red Dick was my maternal grandfather and he was a Cooper by trade with one of the Distillers in Dublin in days gone by.  Alas, he died before I was born.  The ‘Red’ in his name came from the colour of his hair, it was much the same as Tommy’s!  In fact he came from Murroe, Co Limerick, a place mentioned by Tommy the other day.  I have talked about that branch of the family in a Podcast back in August 2007.  Our records go back to my 3rd Great Grandfather (1763-1836) and a branch of the family is still in residence.  In the Great Potato Famine c.1854 the old Homestead was a soup kitchen with funds provided by American Quakers.

UPDATE: Thanks to Alice we now know that The Barrel Man was the inspiration and work of Artist & Sculptor Ross Wilson Visit his website for information about other pieces in and around Belfast.