Billy Browns Road

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

There is a rail line running out of Heuston Station in Dublin, it’s a shunting line, a line to get carriages and trucks out-of-the-way and to make up trains. I wouldn’t imagine that a lot of the people working in Heuston know why it’s called Billy Browns Road but it’s named after my father in-law.

Billy Brown, (or Pop as he was known to us), worked in Heuston station for 45 years, imagine that, 45 years. He started as a porter and worked his way up to Senior Inspector, spending all the years in between working seven days a week, a stint of seven years working nights and only in the months coming up to retirement taking Sunday’s off.

He worked all those years to support his family, to make sure they got an education and along with Mary his wife, to raise a family of four sons and one daughter that any man could be proud of. Pop was one of those people I’ve mentioned before, one of the heroes of this country who help to build it from the ground up. Not necessarily one who spilled blood for his country, but one who spilled plenty of sweat and tears for it, working every hour, obeying the rules, not complaining and just getting on with it. He liked a few pints and apart from that, he never asked for or expected anything from anyone. The one thing I never heard him do in the 21 years I knew though was swear, it was quite amazing really, especially these days, but he never did, no matter what. “A bird by his Song and a man by his Tongue”, he would say. I wish I could follow his example but alas…

After he retired, we would often go down for Sunday dinner and I would be told to meet him in his local for a pint before hand. Now I’m not one for drinking during the day and if I had more than two, I’d be falling asleep soon after dinner. It took me awhile to figure out why he would be quite insistent that I meet him for a pint but after a time I reckoned I had figured it out. I think because my dad had died when I was so young, that he felt he had to be a surrogate father. He would ask me how things were, if I was alright for money, if the job was going ok. He would tell me stories about his life, his job, what he believed and didn’t believe, he was trying to give me a hand along the road. I’m ashamed now, but I didn’t appreciate what he was trying to do at the time. Growing up without a strong male influence made me kind of pig-headed and I thought that I could manage perfectly well acting on my own advice. That’s nonsense of course and as I get older I realise that.

What he was trying to for me, was what he did for his own kids, to give me a guiding hand. He’s gone now and I’m sorry I didn’t thank him but I love him for it, where ever he is now, I hope he knows that. I hope he also knows that I miss him and that some Sundays there’s nothing more I would rather do than to have a pint with him.

  1. Trich says:

    This is a lovely story A.
    Heartwarming & real.

  2. Ray McGrath says:

    Nice story full of locality, loyality, compassion and caring unconditional love. Well done bigUN

  3. Just Beautiful and touching, Thank you again for sharing these thoughts.

  4. Lovely, uplifting – particularly appropriate at this time of year….loved it. Frank

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