3rd March 2013
By Tom O’Sullivan
Born into poverty in a house that used to be an alleyway, John Michael
Cahill’s book “Two Walls and a Roof” charts the history of a family and
their town from the 1950’s onwards.
John’s book swings from Angela’s Ashes type humour to tragedy, but mostly
back to humour, and despite his modest beginnings he showed signs from an
early age of his genius with electronics, science and as an inventor.
“All those of a certain age, will recognise the Ireland, and particularly
the hard schooling, which John describes, and it is very important such
social history is preserved, and the life and times of a family – living,
laughing and surviving in small towns like Buttevant – is recorded for
posterity” said Manus O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser.
John Cahill was named April Cork Person of the Month to mark the telling of
his North Cork stories, his genius at electronics when as a young man he
had the engineering expertise to establish some of the first local radio
stations in Ireland. He is still involved in radio, as well as video
production. His inventive skills has seen him lodge numerous Patents, and
recently he and his brother Hugh as well as their business partner Gerard
O’Connor have succeeded in being granted two US Patents that will help to
cure the condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis.
“I think my proudest achievement, was providing the engineering for
Ireland’s first Joint National Independent Radio appeal to help gather
funds for the starving people of Somalia. That appeal raised a million
pounds then, and I was glad to be able to help Mick Mulcahy and his friends
pull it off” says John.
Today he is still working for charities, where he and his son Kyrl provide
the engineering for the 96FM Radiothon, which is now a very successful
annual event, raising huge sums of money for Cork Hospitals.
John’s book, which is dedicated to his mother, is a book about hope and
adventure. It covers growing up in Buttevant, his teenage and early adult
years, as well as his working life in Charleville and Mallow, and finally
meeting his second wife in his beloved America where real magic happened
“Inside our house, an extraordinary drama was played out between a father
too fond of the drink, an inspiring mother and dominant grandmother. Like
many other families at the time, the six scrawny kids in our home were
destined for a big fat nothing. But that was not how it turned out. All six
of them amounted to a wonderful something,” said John Cahill, quoting from
John’s name now goes forward, with the other Persons of the Month chosen
this year, for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at a Gala
Awards lunch, to be attended by 250 invited guests representing all
sections of Cork society, which will be held at the Rochestown Park Hotel
on Jan 17th (2014) next.
Pictured l/r Manus O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser; John Cahill, Cork Person of the Month; John Lehane, Lexus Cork (Sponsor); JoAnn Cahill, Pat Lemasney, Southern (Sponsor). Picture: Tony O’Connell Photography.