Friday, May 08, 2015

Bill Cullen and the Kilcullen connection

When Bill Cullen officially opened the relocated Vincent's Shop this morning, he revealed his connections with the Vincent de Paul Society and Kilcullen, which are linked in an intriguing way, writes Brian Byrne.

"I was one of 14 children in Dublin, living in the tenements in 1948, and the St Vincent de Paul often gave us stuff," he told the packed event after he had cut the ribbon. "One day there was a knock on the door, and a young man, a big guy with red hair, handed me load of things. That was a man that you all know around here. He was a pupil at Belvedere College and the boys were encouraged to spend a night a week helping the Vincents with their work."

That conversation led to a lifelong friendship between Bill and that schoolboy ... who was one Tony O'Reilly. So Bill was a regular visitor to Castlemartin when the O'Reillys were at home there.

In relation to the work which is helped by the funds raised in the Vincent's shops, he said 'this what help is, giving things to people who need it'. "I'm really impressed with what's happening here, and all the volunteers who help. I used to help out with the St Vincent de Paul in Mountjoy Square, and I even did the books for them for a while."

For the Kilcullen event, Bill donated a Louis Copeland suit that he wore during the 'Apprentice' TV series. "I think I wore it five times," he said. "I've put a little note on it to say where it came from."

So, there could be a stream of men of a certain build making their way to the Vincent's Shop over the next few days.

More pictures here.

(Bill's partner Jackie Lavin was supposed to be there this morning too, but had to cancel out for family reasons.)