Lack School - 1863 to 1975

A History of the School and its Pupils
by James Hehir


18. Personalities

(f) Buddy Connell, Cloncolman

Buddy Connell (1986)

Buddy Connell - 1923–2006

Buddy Connell from Cloncolman, Lissycasey was one of the great personalities of the area in the second half of the twentieth century. He earned his reputation as a traditional musician and singer and also as a mechanic.
His mechanical talents emerged at an early age when attending primary school at Pitfield. He and a colleague, Pat Joe Gavin repaired alarm clocks. While attending the Ennis Vocational School he assembled bicycle wheels to earn pocket money. The reward was about 1 shilling or less than €0.10 per wheel, hence skill and speed were vital if this tedious operation was to be worthwhile financially.
By the 1950s the mechanical revolution began to reach the area as old tractors and cars were purchased. Buddy quickly established himself as a mechanical expert and kept these old unreliable machines in working order long past their normal life. Indeed Buddy’s car set a good example as it was generally the oldest car in the area, always on the road and never seen to breakdown. His reputation was unequaled in the area of the ignition system and the Ford three speed gear box. All of these gear boxes slipped out of second gear within a couple of years. Buddy was kept busy replacing them with a 'Connell modified' gear box that never failed and was known to take particular pleasure in solving difficult cases where other mechanics had failed.
By the early 1960s the area was supplied with electricity and Buddy took to wiring houses. In general he had few tools but that proved no obstacle to achieving good results.
The area where Buddy was best known far and wide was in the field of traditional music. He played the fiddle having been self taught and had a very fine singing voice. He was a member of the Daingean Castle Ceili Band in the 1950s. Over a fifty year period Buddy played and sang at every session and party that took place in the area. His party piece was generally the song entitled 'The Boys of Baile Na Sraide' which always received the attention of those present. Indeed he was generally the life of the party. He performed at Lack school and recalled many enjoyable concerts/ ceili there.
Buddy lived life to the full. He was a rebel at heart always challenging the establishment in every field. Unfortunately disaster struck in the last years of his life when he lost his sight. He will be remembered long into the future.