Irish stones stretch for hundreds of miles from Crookhaven to Ballycastle, and from Claddaghduf to Dublin. Jagged blue limestone cuts across the impossibly green landscape of Ireland like veins. The dry-stacked walls, fragile as they are, have parceled out the countryside in beautiful geometric shapes dating back four-thousand years before Christ.
Irish stones are foundation stones, the first to be laid, giving rise to great houses of civilization. They are the first to bear the weight of castles and blacksmith forges, parliament buildings, and peasant homes. They mark the beginning of century-old houses of worship like St. Finbarr’s in the village of Inchigeelagh. Irish stones are stalwart sentinels of wars and weddings, funerals, and great acts of cruelty and forgiveness.
Irish stones are lucky stones. Kiss the Blarney Stone and walk away with the oratorical equivalent of raising the dead. Off the tongue rolls ten-thousand words of unparalleled eloquence, flattery, and love. And behind those; ten-thousand more.
Michael Creedon was an Irish stone, a dry-stack wall. He connected people across lines of politics and religion, across oceans and continents, and most especially, across generations. He sought out common bonds, facilitating delicate and meaningful compromise. And he purveyed joy and laughter through a brogue as thick as a smoke-filled pub and as melodious as the penny whistles that still lift the roof in the front parlor of the Creedon Hotel in County Cork. He was a lover of art and literature, and a tireless champion of musicians. Michael’s blue limestone, making up his dry-stack wall, was humor, high-minded and low-browed. Micahel’s blue limestone, making up his dry-stack wall, consisted of a spiritually deep dissatisfaction for injustice and boundless enthusiasm for the marrow of everything.
Michael was an Irish Stone; a foundation stone for marriages, first breaths and last gasps. And along with his office mate at The Catholic University of America, a foundation for students to build a life of meaningful service, reaching heights far beyond the building blocks their professors laid.
Michael was an Irish Stone; most certainly the Cloch na Blarnan. His words tenderly healed, excitedly uplifted, and ferociously advocated. Whether in English or in Gaelic, he was full-throated in his words, and never at a loss.
Yes, Michael Creedon was an Irish stone. But more importantly, to me, he was a friend of my father’s.