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There’s a happiness, as warm as the sun, about Paddy Roche that’s pretty darn infectious.

It’s there in even the briefest of meetings, in even just a passing smile, and it’s definitely there in her kids.

Of course, you can tell a lot about a person by how much they smile, and a little bit more by how much they laugh. In the case of Paddy Roche, it’s a lot, on both fronts, and such happiness tells you that not only is this a life-loving, neighbour-hugging, tea-slugging and bed-snugging bundle of joy, but she also plainly knows the value of a good and productive life.

This is the woman, after all, who helped both The Irish Choir and The Holy Rosary Choir sound suitably heavenly for over forty years, but, along with a little help from Charlie Roche, managed to produce seven fine, upstanding-verging-on-outstanding little Greystonians too.

But first, a little history.

Young Paddy Johnson was born in Limerick, raised in Kerry and was educated in Roscrea. Which would explain the wicked sense of humour. Studying medicine and pharmacy in UCG and UCD (where she also played camogie and hockey), it was in 1958 that Paddy married the bould Charlie. And a terrible beauty was born. Followed, in rapid succession, by six others.

Working in various hospitals throughout the years – and, of course, the recently resurrected Roche’s Pharmacy in Blacklion – Paddy handed in her badge (and her taser) at Newcastle Psychiatric Hospital in 1996. So she could dedicate more time to her music, man. And causing mischief with choirmaster Brendan Kelly, and organists John Aldridge, Donard McGee and John Morris.

Today, surrounded by those beaming kids – some of them beaming in via Skype from faraway Florida and Chicago – Paddy is happy in her world of South Beach sunrises, family get-togethers, lunch with friends down the town, and maybe even another black and white rainbow.

When the light is just right… 

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