The Tailor and Ansty (Eric Cross)

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In the townland of Garrynapeaka near Inchigeela in West Cork, Ireland, lived the Tailor, Tim Buckley, and his wife Ansty (Anastasia), two of the great characters of modern Irish life. Their Boswell, Eric Cross, made their acquaintance when he came to live for a few years in nearby beautiful Gougane Barra. He and many other people, including the Irish writer Frank OConnor who contributed the introduction to this volume spent many hours in the Tailors cottage or in his field with him as he watched the Cow. Although not wealthy in material things the Tailor himself had what was then called a withered leg since birth the Tailor and his wife possessed riches untold in their generosity, spirit and the gusto with which the Tailor, especially, lived his life. The two mottos which like him became famous were: The world is only a blue-bag. Knock a squeeze out of it when you can and Glac bog an saol agus glacfaidh an saol bog tú: Take the world fine and aisy and the world will take you fine and aisy. (Both the Tailor and Ansty were bilingual in Irish and English.)The Tailor and Ansty spoke frankly about all topics to do with human life, sometimes in a colourful or earthy way, and their comments on human relations and animal reproduction led to the book being banned for being in its general tendency indecent in one of the most shameful episodes of the de Valera era of censorship. The Tailor remained philosophical but Ansty was bewildered and bitterly upset. They are buried together in Gougane Barra, under a beautiful tombstone designed by Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy.