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Mac an Ghoill, Padraig (Pat)

Date of Birth: 10th August 1918

Place of Birth: Ballingown, Blackwater, Co. Wexford

Date Interviewed: 3rd December 2008

Summary: Padraig Mac an Ghoill (Pat McGill) recalls growing up during the Civil War. When Eamonn DeValera decided to set up a special Army regiment in the 1930s Padraig joined up. He was brought to the Curragh in 1939 at the outbreak of WW2 where they were prepared to defend the country. He was picked out to become an officer but a night of celebration led to him being caught drinking after hours and he was given 5 days detention. However the Commanding Officer sent for him and he was put in charge of stores and payments. When his father became ill in 1942 Padraig was released on sympathetic grounds to look after the farm. He decided to take up mental nursing and joined Enniscorthy Lunatic Asylum in 1943. The rule book they worked from then was dated 1818 – the asylum had 630 patients who were not allowed out and no one was allowed to see them. Padraig joined Fianna Fail in 1942 and in the 50s was elected to Enniscorthy Town Council. He also became the party’s director of elections. Padraig relates a fascinating incident where, as a leader of a delegation to Northern Ireland, he was physically assaulted in Stormont by an enraged Ian Paisley! The interview concludes with Padraig reciting a poem he wrote in 1949 called Cooladine Bridge.

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