Jim Hourihane and Salmon eile.


My father in law, Jim Hourihan, passed away this day last week.

Jim was the perfect example of how one person can influence the lives of hundreds of people. He was a true entrepreneur, who created wealth from thin air. He was the consummate salesman. An inventor, father to his children, father to those not his children!

I will probably never again meet a man so full of ideas. More importantly he could realise those ideas and create businesses. A practical and empirical person, he learned his mechanical engineering skills the old way, by building engines. When it came to mechanical theory he could baffle the finest academic minds with theoretically challenging but physically obvious reasoning.

He understood something that is crucial to entrepreneurship. A concept that is not taught in business courses in university; that money is not a physical resource, it is a belief system. If a businessman is limited by the availability of funding nothing will ever be achieved. If you can grasp the concept that finance is more a belief than a reality you can leverage great things and create wealth where none existed.

He was born in West Cork on a thriving Salmon River; the Owvane in Carrickanass near Kealkill.   Hence the picture of Fionn Mac Cumhaill above.  Fionn was with the Druid who caught the legendary Salmon of Knowledge.  While cooking the fish Fionn burned his thumb and sucked it, and so became the first to taste the fish and gain wisdom.  A fitting metaphor for a very smart man who grew up catching salmon.

Nobody will ever claim him as a saint. Jim was famous in Thurles Golf Club as a man who could walk into an empty room and cause an argument. He loved his Golf and was good at it. You will find his name on the honour roll of the club. He was proud of his role in preserving the old clubhouse. He analysed the game of golf with his keen mind, and became a coach to many, myself included.
Jim is one of those people who connected together a broad and diverse congregation of followers. In his absence many of those links will be lost, and the world will be a smaller and lonelier place.

A Boy and his Dad; by Edgar Guest
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman’s way.

I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who’s with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.

Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he’s finding out, to his heart’s delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life’s companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life’s truths from my father’s lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.