Mike Jones Coachign - Kayaking Connemara

In September 1998 I boarded a train in Dublin to head west and start a new chapter in my life.  Little did I know at the time that it was to be one of the most significant chapters, and not only did I glean an important college education over the next few years it was the lessons in life, love and loss that would prove most significant.

Within hours of starting college I met some of my best friends and wife (not that I had any idea that she would become my wife at the time) and the remainder of first year went by in a blur of Monday morning bus journeys to Achill, Thursday nights in the TF, a sprinkling of lectures all finished off with some late night study sessions and exams.

Along the way friendships blossomed and by the start of second year I had chosen to move in with 3 great guys.  Paul the dark tanned outgoing ladies man, Ger the country lad who loved tractors and hurling and Eoin, the odd one out, the only one not studying Outdoor Education but his outgoing nature helped him fit right in.

With a Barman, Bouncer and DJ for house mates a few house parties were inevitable but the monster that grew and became “Club 79” took us all by surprise.  Some of the biggest parties of the year, which took days of planning and even required security on the door, took place under the roof of our four bed semi and the 4 of us held minor celebrity status around town.  The hard work of creating this party Mecca was rewarded with an award for party house of the year at the College Clubs and Societies ball, something which we celebrated with another party!

By the end of the college year we had cemented our friendships and as we went our separate ways for the summer we had big plans for the future and shared that invincible feeling of youth.

Little did we know that within 2 short years, what feels like a blink of an eye, Eoin would be taken from us.  He was diagnosed with Cancer and although he fought hard, in the end he lost his fight and was laid to rest in a graveyard only a stone’s throw from his family home in the Connemara village of Carna in late August 2002.

When I set out today from Inismor for the Connemara coast I had thoughts of Eoin in my mind and when over my shoulder I spotted the graveyard where he is buried I diverted my course to check in with him.  I paused just off the shore to ask, as he would have put it, “What’s the craic man?”

Moving on I could not help but wonder what he would be doing now, almost 10 years has passed and Paul, Ger and I have all moved on and remain great friends and no doubt we would have also remained close with Eoin.  But what would he be doing now?  Would he be gracing the airwaves with his own radio show as a top jock or would he have attained Super Star DJ status and be rocking the clubs of Ibiza, London and New York?  One thing is for certain whatever he would be doing he would be doing it with style and with his unmistakable and unforgettable cheeky grin.

With lights winds and sunshine on my back I paddled off to Slyne head my mind filled with fond memories of those college days and the happy times we all shared.



10 Responses

  1. you did not waste your day of rest its a great read Eoin”s family will be so proud to hear how well he is remembered. safe travelling rest of trip we are following you every mile of the way, already looking forward to the book, congratulations on winning blog of the week.

  2. you never fail to bring me to tears unconsolable here fantastic read i am sure eoin is smiling down at you and keeping you safe

  3. Great blog……………well said…………Life was never meant to be easy……………so they say…………but its life stuff………….Long .. Short… Happy…. Tough… Hard….Helping…..thats Life…..People have so many little and big crosses to bear…..But to be lived as we all see it……….Your doing your bit at this stage……..Lets just enjoy what we can and live with the difficult parts and the fun situations….Paddle on…………..Shakespare says stuff like that ..,,“Paddle On.“..(I doubt it )……..talk soon P……

  4. Fab writing mike and im sure that Eoin is watching over you on you mad aventure xx

  5. Beautifuly written piece, great memories of Club 79, think I still have a customized t-shirt! Eoins memory and presence is alive and well in The Irish House. Safe travels

  6. Thank You for writing about Eoin who was my cousin. His father Robert Healy and my mother Elizabeth May Healy/Evans were brother and sister. We lived in England and I never got to meet my cousin Eoin, so it was very nice and enjoyable to read about him……..I am sure he is watching over you! Best of luck in your journey………Ann

  7. Correction to above post.

    Eoin’s grandfather Con and my mother were brother and sister. Eoin’s father Robbie and I are cousins, so Eoin is my second cousin.
    Happy travels……..

  8. The funny thing is that Eoin was not one bit fond of the sea and yet his great friends seem to have sea water in their veins. He really did enjoy you all. Keep safe Mike ’cause Eoin won’t come swimming to the rescue
    🙂 Fáilte go Carna anytime!

  9. Class mickey, lovely piece, fair play to ye! I think I will call out to Eoin tommorow and play him a visit from us all! x x x

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