Padraig Niland was part land, a fluid part sent out on nocturnal inspections to report back on what those odd beings trampling above were up to. He was a fox, he was a badger, he was a hare, not bound by the same bizarre societal laws as you or I. A fox perhaps most fitting; red hair, night roaming, and of course, that he was often misinterpreted to be crazy – like a fox that is.
For a man that seemed to dwell at the bottom of societies illusory food chain he was very comfortable in the company of those at the even more illusory top. I guess the distance that he placed between himself and the madding crowd allowed clarity, his opinion of you wasn’t influenced by the status of you. The demeanour of one with such an utter indifference to the circus made for the ideal companion in any cosy pub corner.
He was an immediate friend, conditionally funny and polite in earnest, he had a non intrusive way of attracting your ear that bore shades of skills administered in any covert intelligence agency. That he seemed to be insulated from the madness of our broken world brought a level of comfort, like a rogue buddhist monk, wandering in contemplation.
Though as with any mortal he was less than perfect, battling the same demons, burdened with the same inadequacies. But how did he make you feel, did he ever really hurt anyone, did he take more than he needed, did he add a little sparkle to the world. Forgive the savagely over used and abused cliche – Kilcolgan is a lesser place without Padraig Niland. One especially starry night while en route for the 2am bus to Dublin airport, I spotted him casually strolling over the quiet fields, perhaps he’s there now, spending time well.