Exclusive Interview With Glenelly Man – ‘The Loneliest Person On The Planet’
An 88-year old Glenelly man, who claims to be the loneliest man on the planet, revealed that he hasn’t spoken to anyone since 1986 until this interview today.
As I made my may to the quaint ramshackle home of Peader Kearney’s under the shadow of Slieve McCreesh, I couldn’t help but notice how the temperature dramatically dropped the closer we got to the Sperrin Mountains. From a balmy 12 degrees in Plumbridge, we were now negotiating temperatures of minus 14 as the truck carely weaved its way up Kearney’s loanan in the heart of Glenelly.
Although we had arranged the meeting by phone the previous day, we had to knock on his door for 20 minutes before he opened it and greeted my cameraman and I with
‘What the fcuk do ye want?’
I was now face to face with ‘Glenelly Man’. Once inside, I was reminded of the pictures we looked at in our History books at the Christian Brothers’ School in Omagh of old shebeens in West Mayo around the turn of the 19th century. Some sticks were burning in the middle of the bare room as Peader delicately placed himself on a decrepid rocking chair, using a blunt pen knife to cut a small branch into what would surely be a sharp weapon. I asked him what he was doing, knowing full well he was preparing himself for catching some live food later in the day, maybe a salmon or small bear:
“Mind yer own fcukin business and I won’t be makin ye anything to ate either.”
Taking the opportunity to explore his surroundings as he worked on his spear-like killing machine, I couldn’t help but admire the idyllic lifestyle Kearney had embraced – away from electronic devices from mobile phones to microwaves.
A small stream quietly rippled along behind his back yard, its hushed tones in keeping with this little piece of paradise Kearney had embraced as his own. The unmistakeable sound of a corncrake warbled in the distance as rabbits and hares danced in unison on the north Tyrone horizon.
On returning to the house, Kearney was still in the same spot, still chipping away at the piece of wood which now resembled a small but lethal steel-sharp spear. Trying to find out what makes the man tick, I asked him if he missed talking and interacting with others – sharing experiences and deliberating over current affairs.
He looked me straight in the eye, grimaced slightly, scratched his beard and said:
“Shut the dur on the way out.”
As I pulled out of Kearney’s loanan, I knew I’d probably never see this great man again, a man at one with nature and himself. This instinct was confirmed when I saw Peader in the rear view mirror giving me the middle finger and shouting something before firing one of his tiny spears with pin-point accuracy at my tyre, bursting it instantly. I saw him smirk, offer another more modern hand gesture and slam his door shut.
I just drove on, smiling to myself that Peader Kearney had it all.