Posted by: Michele Erdvig | February 10, 2019

Dinny of the Cliffs

Dinny Front fix crop

 

Every time I visit the Cliffs of Moher I remember Dinny. He was a tiny little man of indeterminate age wearing an old gray tweed jacket that had seen a better decade and a battered Irish cap pulled down over his sparkling eyes. The postcards he was selling were yellowing, rain-spattered and curled at the edges but we bought a few anyway for the loose change in our pockets. His stubby fingers grasped a fistful of shillelaghs and he was there in sunshine and in rainstorm.

One beautiful morning at the cliffs when the sun was splitting the stones, we arrived very early thinking to be the only ones there. Wrong! There was Dinny waiting for us at the cliffs’ edge with a broad smile on his weathered face. On that day he told us of the mermaids that haunted the cliffs and frequented the cave we had difficulty seeing. “But don’t be lookin’ at ‘em if you’re seein’ ‘em,” he cautioned. Dinny explained that those seeing the fearsome creatures (they didn’t sound like any mermaids I’d ever heard of) were doomed to soon depart this world. It was a fact. Some people he knew had met a sudden demise after viewing the mermaids.

“And how old were they when they saw the mermaids?” questioned my husband.

“Well now…” Dinny began, telling of this one who was 92 and another who was a young 81. “And then there was…” The story continued.

COM WEB afc1

My husband decided that it was worth a peek and he and Dinny proceeded to a large flat stone with no retaining wall. Dinny explained that to see the cave my husband would have to lean right over the edge—almost 700 feet down! “But don’t be worryin’—I’ve got ye!”

“I want the keys to the car,” I wisely told my husband. “Is your life insurance paid?”

Then with little four-foot-nothing Dinny holding him by the hand my husband—all six-feet-two and two hundred pounds of him—leaned over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, saw the cave but (thankfully) not the mermaids, and survived!

Several years later on St. Patrick’s Day there was Dinny being interviewed at the Cliffs of Moher on Good Morning America! Next time we saw him he told us all about it and sold us his autobiography—-a forty-seven page booklet with his photo on the front. He autographed it for my husband. “To Barry from Dinny McMahon, Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare 6th May 1988.”

In the booklet I learned that Dinny was born in 1909 and had many wonderful adventures at the cliffs and in his mind. He met people from all over the world, was interviewed on American TV and is remembered to this day. Sadly, Dinny saw the mermaids and is no longer with us. But his memory lingers on at the Cliffs of Moher…look quick and you might see him!

Dinny ends his booklet with:

“My good friends and readers I hope it will please.
But in the near future yous are welcome to see,
My proud Cliffs of Moher going down to the sea.”

 

So ends his story.

 

Dinny Memorial afc WEB

 

Today at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor’s Center there is a memorial stone to Dinny. Those looking for a touch of nostalgia can even rent Dinny’s cottage, which is now a self catering rental.

© 2001 Michele Erdvig

Michele’s Irish Shop

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: