Published in Feature Article, Personal History

At the age of thirteen, in the late 1950’s, my dad stole a horse. Well, when he tells the story he always insists that he only borrowed the horse, and I suppose that he did give it back in the end, however borrowing usually implies that you’ve asked permission beforehand which he hadn’t, so I guess the terminology is still up for debate, but anyways, when my dad was thirteen, he ‘took temporary possession’ of a horse named Trinity.

It was late March and he had been at school in Ennis for the day and afterwards, he was supposed to be picked up by his elder brother Jack on his bike as it was a very long walk home and he had been working on the farm for the entire day beforehand, so he was very tired. Jack, however, had finished work early that day and stopped into the pub in town and while there, was distracted by a very pretty girl named Laura Connelly, whom he married a year later and had two children with, Deirdre and Frank. Jack, who was caught up in his pint and the conversation, completely forgot about Tony, my dad, and never went to collect him.

My dad waited outside his school for nearly an hour, very reluctant to walk home in case Jack came along and he got into trouble for wasting time. However eventually he relented and began the two hour walk home. About forty five minutes into the walk, he was passing by a field with horses in it, horses he had worked with last summer when he had done some extra work on a neighbour’s farm to get a bit of extra money. Trinity was at the gate, leaning over to eat the grass on the other side.

The combination of his sore feet, the clouds looming overhead and threatening to rain and just plain stupidity, caused an idea to form in my dads head and he opened the gate, coaxed Trinity out with some grass, shut it behind him and hopped up on the horses back, setting off home. He got home in half the time he would have on foot and put Trinity in the empty field behind their small house, out of the view of the kitchen window, knowing that his parents wouldn’t be going to that field until the next week when they moved the cows. Then he headed inside, had his dinner, did his homework and went to bed.

The next morning he woke up early and rode Trinity as far as his own field again, leaving him in and walking the rest of the way to school and no one was ever the wiser.


Tony, my dad, has given me permission for this to be published on the History Ireland Website.


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