Articles

Mike Moloney

In Life & Stuff on April 23, 2013 by Miche

I remember the last time I saw Mike Moloney. It was on the Dublin Road – he was walking south towards Shaftesbury Square, I was heading north towards the City Hall – and we didn’t stop to have a chat. But I walked on feeling a little bit lighter, a little bit happier. He was a good man, Mike. Just seeing him put a spring in your step.

Like so many in this town today, I feel adrift, nonplussed. As if someone told me Shaftesbury Square wasn’t there any more, or the City Hall fell down.

I remember one time we did have a chat, in the back bar of the Errigle, years ago. He wasn’t long back from Australia, and he told me he’d been there when 9/11 happened, and that he’d felt a pang of longing to be in Belfast. Why? “For the jokes, Miche. I wanted to be here for the jokes.”

Well, Mike, I know you loved our gallows humour but I’m afraid I’ve let you down. I’ve racked my brain to think of a joke. There aren’t any.

I remember the first time I met him. I was a young scared actor doing Shakespeare for the first time, and I had to dance on stilts. I couldn’t have wished for a more patient and kindly teacher. He talked me through it, walked me through it, reassured and encouraged me. And as I progressed from tentative to confident, he shared my pleasure in discovering that I could, indeed, do that thing I’d been afraid to try. A proper teacher, that man.

You walk around Belfast and, now and again, get a glimpse of those big yellow cranes. I think I’ll always half expect to turn a corner and see Mike in his Drizabone coat and hat, and nod hello, and walk on with a spring in my step.

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