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Lum: Our German Clockwinder

by Jimmy Rhatigan

IF ONLY we could turn the clock back.

When news of the passing of Liam ‘Lum’ Walsh of Glendine Heights broke the memories came flooding back.

My mind jumped back to the reasonably early days of Emfa Soccer Club when the bold Lum we loved was our local publican, sponsor and friend at the then Silver Birch, now The Pumphouse in Parliament Street.

To us, he was a living legend, larger than life, full of energy and with the kind of a wonderful buzz about him that told us we were all members of the one gang.

Kilkennyman Lum, a nickname Liam enjoyed was back in his native city, back from the busy beat of the streets of Dublin where, as a member of An Garda Siochána, he was a partner in crime, or rather against crime, of another man who had earned legend status, the famous Lugs Brannigan.

Liam enjoyed an odd tipple but he moved to inside the counter when he retired from the Gardai and opened a hugely popular pub in Dublin called The Foggy Dew where he had many Kilkenny customers, living in the capital and visiting for Croke Park showdowns.

The saying goes that you can take the bog out of the man but you will never take the man out of the bog.

Lum returned to the Kilkenny he loved and with the support of his wife and children soon built up a great rapport with his fellow natives as he worked hard to turn a Silver Birch into a crock of gold.

 As apprentice tipplers we settled in to what we called Lum’s Place and soon got very comfortable.

It truly was a home from home for us and along with enjoying his pints of porter we became business partners of a kind as he supplied the kit for many of our club teams.

It was a beautiful relationship. He was kind to us and we knew we had found a home for home that was to be a local tippler for several years.

We were prime boys but we behaved ourselves and on many occasions Lum told me he was so happy to be associated with the club.

If I had a penny for every time we sang what we called his song to him, with a few jars of fire water in us, we would now be rich men.

The song was called the German Clockwinder.

Here are the lyrics of the song as sung by Danny Doyle at another time.

There are no prizes for guessing which lines we leaned on as we serenaded our hero.

May Heaven be his bed.

A German clockwinder to Dublin once came
Engelbert Schnuck was the ole German’s name
And as he winded he way up the strand
He played on his flute and the music was grand

Singin’ tu ra lumma tu ra loor a lumma tu ra lie a

A woman came out from Fitzwilliam’s square
She said her ol’ clock was in need of repair
She invited him in and to her delight
In lees than five minutes, he had her clock right

Singin’ tu ra lumma tu ra loor a lumma tu ra lie a

They sat down together, just takin’ in stock
When all of the sudden, there came a loud knock
In walked her husband,
And oh what a shock,
For to see the ol’ German wind up his wife’s clock

Singin’ tu ra lumma tu ra loor a lumma tu ra lie a

“Ah, wife Maryanne, ah wife Maryanne, “
“Why did ya take in, such an innocent man?”
“For to wind up your clock, leave me on the shelf”
“If your ol’ clock needs windin’ sure I’ll wind it me’self!”

Singin’ tu ra lumma tu ra loor a lumma tu ra lie a
Tu ra lie yur a-lie yur a-lie way
Tu ra lumma tu ra loor a lumma tu ra lie a
Tu ra lie yur a-lie yur a-lie way

Liam passed away at Archersrath Nursing Home. Reposing is at his family home, in Glendine on Wednesday from 5pm, concluding with rosary at 7pm.

Burial is at St Kieran’s Cemetery on Thursday after 10.30am Requiem Mass in St John’s Church.

He was predeceased by his wife Margaret and son Finbar. He is survived by his children, John, Gráinne, Deirdre, Emer, Oonagh; brother Seán, sister Bernadette, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, sister-in-law, nephews, nieces and extended family.

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