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Gabriel Lyster

Interviewed by  Alba Trigo-Lyster / photos by Emma O’Brien

Alba: How long have you lived in your area?
Gabriel: 45 years.

Alba: What’s a fond memory you have of living here?
My grand uncle Gabriel’s fond memories of living here are working the farm land with his father and brothers and also he loved watching his brothers Jim and Jack play for Westmeath in Croke Park. Gabriel is one 12 children born to his parents (my great grandparents) John and Christina. He has lots of fond memories with all of his siblings.

Alba: Have you seen this community come back from hard times before?
In the first 20 years of his life he saw a lot of changes, for example- electricity and flushing toilets. Nearly everyone had a bike and cars were rare. Poverty was widespread but everyone helped each other.

Alba: What are some things that have helped you through lockdown and what brings you joy?
Living with his wife Marie makes him happy, who is a Wexford native originally from New Ross. Watching the flowers bloom in the garden. Writing new poems and stories e.g ‘New Spuds’. And listening to music before he goes to bed makes him happy.

Alba: What sort of things are you doing now to stay connected to your community and family and what does community mean to you?
Going to the mens shed makes him very happy, and the community means a lot to him. The internet and high speed broadband helps Gabriel connect with the Lysters in Canada, America, Australia, England and Argentina.

Alba: What message do you want to leave for yourself and this community in 10 years time?
He hopes the world will be a kind and peaceful place where people are not locked in poverty and war. Gabriel hopes that climate change doesn’t happen and that the planet can be a safe place. He hopes that Westmeath could win the GAA football championship ‘The All Ireland’.

Inspired by Gabriel’s flare for poetry and their lives in Rochfortbridge, Alba wrote a brilliant poem titled ‘Living in The Bridge’. Gabriel’s poem ‘New Spuds’ is also featured below alongside some other photos taken by Emma O’Brien.

Gabriel Lyster