At a time when many people might be retiring or taking life a little bit easier, a student who recently graduated with an MA in Writing degree was doing the opposite. He might not have sat down and planned it as such, but life seems to have got busier for one such person, Daniel Sammon.
It is not far off a half a century since Daniel sat for his Leaving Cert and finished with academic studies or so he thought for the rest of his life. But fate had other things in store for the seventh son from Renvyle, who went to secondary school in St. Mary’s College in Galway in the mid to late sixties. Galway football at that time was at it’s zenith, a time when one of his teachers John Bosco McDermott played right corner-back on the famous three-in-a-row team that won the All-Ireland senior football title in three consecutive years 1964, ’65 and ’66.
Life outside of academic circles beckoned with wide open arms and he fell wholeheartedly right into those arms, opting to become a self-employed businessman, without a penny in his pockets.
Looking back on those times nowadays people sometimes say that opportunities were very limited then, but he doesn’t agree. That was a time before Ireland joined the EEC as it was known then, later to become the EC and now the EU.
Without having a profession or qualification in any trade Daniel became a jack of all trades and master of none. Without a guaranteed regular income he quickly learned that top class dependable and reliable service, efficiently delivered in any job was the key to success. Anything short of that, made it easy to count his weekly income.
While he tried his hand at many different jobs, including being a Dublin taxi-driver, a school of motoring teacher and a door-to-door salesman, remunerated on commission basis only, this soon made him think of more dependable forms of income especially as he got married before his twenty first birthday. He’s still married to the same lady today more than forty five years later.
Towards this end he bought his first family home in Dublin, while he was only twenty one and his second house, for renting out to tenants a year later. To them he added a number of others and never lost his gra for the rental property business, but now, many years later he would like to exit that business even though many of his tenants down the years told him he was the best landlord ever they had.
Keenly interested in Irish history, he walked across Ireland in 2009 from Renvyle where he now lives, to the GPO in Dublin to commemorate and celebrate the 1916 Rising, seven years before the worldwide centenary celebrations of that seminal event in Irish history.
This walk was a seminal event in Daniel’s life also as he wrote his first book My Great Walk Across Ireland telling the fascinating story of that walk, through all the towns, villages and cities through which he walked and the interesting characters and places he came across, such as famous churches and cathedrals, major rivers, battlefields of long ago, iconic statues erected to the memory of men and women who fought in the War of Independence, Civil War and many other things.
He had by then acquired the love of writing and the rest, as they say, is history. The following year he published a book of sixty poems to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. No stopping him now!
His next publication was a compilation of twenty seven different stories Saints off Connemara Coast & Other Stories. His latest book Croagh Patrick & Me tells the story of his overnight sleep all alone in 2015 on the summit of Croagh Patrick and what it must have been like for St. Patrick who did the same thing in 441. He has contributed a number of articles to The Galway Review and other publications. In between writing these books and articles he also took courses in Legal Studies, Accountancy & Taxation and Creative Writing and received Certificates of Distinction in all three. Not satisfied with that, he applied for a Master of Arts degree course in NUIG. ‘One of the best decisions I’ve ever made’ was his own testimony at the end of the course and pleased he was, on the second last Thursday (Thanksgiving Day in America) in November when he received his Magisterii in Artibus parchment from the President of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Dr. Jim Browne. He is now in the process of writing an novel, due to be published in October 2018.