Yes. The gentleman sitting quietly on the concrete bench in front of the O2 shop did have what looked like a miniature church by his side. He smiled at me and I smiled at him.
‘Excuse me,’ I said. ‘Is this yours?’
He told me it was. He had made it himself. When I looked closely I saw that his model of a church was made entirely out of matchsticks and was incredibly detailed.
‘How long did it take you?’ I asked.
‘Nineteen months,’ he said.
‘Gosh,’ I said. I was impressed. It wasn't even a church he knew, it was a church he'd imagined in his head. Now, I'm not keen on churches, but I liked his.
I thought they were wonderful and told him so. The idea of making any kind of art for very little reward or recognition, without much thought as to whether it’s in fashion or out, cool or uncool, delighted me.
Jeremiah said he didn’t mind if I wrote about him on my newly-created blog and when I asked to take a few photos with my phone he said that was fine too.
As we conversed further I found out that his name was Jeremiah O’Hara.
‘No relation to Maureen O’Hara?’ I quipped, referring to the film star.
‘No,’ he grinned. ‘But they do call me “The Quiet Man”.’
(Maureen O’Hara starred with John Wayne in a 1952 John Ford film called ‘The Quiet Man’.)
Any donations went for the Children’s Ward of the Mercy Hospital, Cork, for children with leukaemia. Jeremiah showed me the thank you letter he’d received from the Mercy Hospital for his previous donation.
He also showed me his licence to collect for charity that Saturday. He told me that the first time he did it he hadn’t realised he had to have a licence – so he made sure to be legal this time round.
I suggested that perhaps he needed a proper sign. He said he probably did. He seemed pretty relaxed about it all. I thought that being relaxed about stuff was probably a good thing.