A Fistful Of TrawlersJune 22, 2019
Between A Rock And A Hard PlaiceJune 22, 2019
Be the jiggers, that’s a lot of life for just one man, and no mistake…
Having worked at Greystones library for a staggering 45 years, Danny Hatton has seen it all. He’s also heard, said and done it all, I would imagine.
Being an integral part of so many people’s lives around these parts for so long has given the surprisingly sprightly Mr. Hatton a firm handle on what makes us tick. And, in one or two cases, thick.
“You’d get people from all walks of life coming into the library,” says Mr. Hatton. “And that’s what made it so wonderful. You got to relate to everyone around here, from the smallest, poorest kid to the richest, grandest old codger. And a big part of the fun was the fact that we’ve always had more than our fair share of characters in this part of the world.
“There was one guy, Colonel Fitzjohn, who used to read only westerns. We couldn’t keep enough of them in stock for the man. And then there was Major Magee, who lived up here in Killincarrig. He shouted at everyone – a real army man. ‘HOW’S YOURSELF?!‘ he’d roar that out from about a mile away, and no one was ever really sure who he was shouting it at.”
Much has changed here since that day in 1951, when a certain 15-year-old bookworm started his job at Greystones library, but hanging out for an afternoon with this still wide-eyed man 65 years later, you get the distinct impression that Danny Hatton hasn’t changed all that much. He might be turning 80 in September, but there’s the sparkle in the eye here of a man who’s just celebrated his 21st.
But, just like Shakira’s hips, the facts don’t lie. Danny Hatton has been with us for quite a while. How else to explain the 45 years at the library, or the many pitch battles alongside his brother, Jimmy, this dynamic duo helping Kilcoole GAA win the Snr Championship back in 1956 (when the 17-year-old Danny was the team’s youngest player)? That early love for the GAA has never faded, Danny – the current President of Éire Óg in Greystones – passing on that passion to his son, Vincent, who would go on to win six championships in New York.
There’s also the 20 years working as an usher in our belated, beloved Ormonde cinema, where Danny ran a tight ship. Turfing out a bunch of Killincarrig lads for being a bit too boisterous resulted in a long-running weekly ritual where, on a Saturday night, said ruffians would unhinge the Hatton family’s front gate, and every Sunday morning, Danny and two of his sons, John and Vinny, would go and retrieve it.
And when Danny Hatton spent many a year being Santa for Greystones’ annual lights event, well, he made it very easy for the kids around here to truly believe.
Not that the man hasn’t been busy at home. Along with his beautiful wife, Marie, the two have brought six children into the world – John, Danny, Anne-Marie, Bernadette, Vincent and their favourite, Michael – and are now proud grandparents to 15 more, and great-grandparents to 8 more – with another 2 on the way.
So, here’s to you, Danny Hatton, the King of Killincarrig – thanks for making life around here that little bit smarter, fitter, and, most importantly, a lot more fun.
Check out Danny boy’s 80th birthday celebration right about here, and a little local history with the man himself here.