The invitation to me from NewsFour to submit a piece to mark the passing of Austin Cromie on May 29th was much appreciated. He was a good friend of mine since his retirement in 2007 from his post in DIT, Kevin Street. He introduced me to NewsFour and it became evident to me that he was not only a loyal reader but a very talented contributor over the years.
It afforded him a great outlet to share his deep knowledge of the history, people and places of his native city, in particular.
He was an avid reader and the layout of the bookshelves in his apartment reflected an organised mind and revealed at a glance, the wide range of topics that kept him so well stimulated. These included such diverse interests as stained glass, trees (especially the Giant Redwood), bridges, philately, the greats of Irish art, our politics and many more subjects.
Without doubt he not only enlarged my range of pursuits but I learned from his style of research and collation of information. Regular NewsFour readers over the years will recall some of Austin’s quality articles including the following: O’Connels CBS – Ahead of the Class! (2005), Reads Shop, Parliament Street (Established 1670), Dublin Cattle Market (1863-1973), Carl Linnaeus – The Father of Modern Botany, Rupert Brooke, the war poet, and the use of one of his sonnets in The Irish National War Memorial Gardens.
I had the honour of speaking at his funeral Mass in Chapelizod and likewise there was no problem in finding material to attest to Austin’s list of achievements. One of the offerings used as a symbol of his life and interests was a book on the stained glass works of Harry Clarke. This was an ideal choice, as Austin had an encyclopaedic knowledge of these windows and their locations.
I would like to say a special word of thanks to the former Editor of NewsFour, Karen Keegan, for her kind action when she heard of Austin’s illness. She sent a card to convey to him the good wishes of all his old acquaintances there, for a restoration of his health. She offered to arrange a hospital visit but he preferred to wait until he was in better shape.
It was not to be and sadly Austin lost the battle to recover. All who knew him realised how much he had achieved in his lifetime and his wide range of pursuits.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
By Joe Walsh