The Willett
On the same day that we went shopping in Ballinamore, we stopped at a local pub for refreshments. It was the noon hour and the Smyth's Pub was packed. We ended up sitting in the back bar area and had an unexpected surprise. As soon as we sat down, I recognized the bartender. His name was Keiran Smyth. He was the first person we met in Ballinamore in 1998. When I called him by name, he wondered how I knew him, so I told him that I have a great memory for names and faces.

We sat there and talked to him between his orders. We reminded him about our first meeting but I don't think he remembered us. While we were catching up, we noticed that he had a pub lotto going on and that it would be held that night at 11:30 PM. We didn't have to be there to win so Terry and I each chose our numbers and put our 2 euros in each envelope.

When Keiran came back we handed him the envelopes. He read Terry's name first and then my name, Tyna Willett. He stared at the envelope and then at me. After a pause and a dropped jaw, he finally said, "I don't believe it! I have to find a witness! Is this really your name? Willett?" Terry and I looked at each other, bewildered at why he was making such a fuss over my name. I told him that, yes, Willett is my name, and it's an English name. We still didn't know what the big deal was as he took my envelope and showed it to every waitress and bartender. They all came over and stared at me! One of them actually asked me if I had identification.
Keiran Smyth at Smyth's Pub,Ballinamore,Ireland

Keiran then took the envelope and my ID and showed it to all of the 'regulars' that were there for lunch. When he came back to the bar I asked him what was going on. You can't imagine what I was thinking. Did I have a twin they knew? Did I have the same name as local criminal? Did they think I was a celebrity? I didn't have a clue!

Finally, he told me that there was a local character, who always came into the bar, whose nickname was 'The Willett'. He told me his real name which I didn't catch. This man's uncle had nicknamed him 'The Willett' when he was a child. He didn't know why, but that was how he was known, and he had never met anyone with that name. No one else had ever heard the name before, either, so I guess it was a big deal to them.

Street in Ballinamore, Ireland

Keiran said that 'The Willett' worked up the street at P.J. Reynolds Hardware. He told us that this man would be at the pub that night and we should come back for the lotto drawing and we could meet him. By this time, my curiosity was running rampant. We told Keiran that we would think about coming back but we really didn't want to drive that far on a rainy night.

Ballinamore Credit Union

When we left the pub, we decided to go to the hardware store to see if we could find 'The Willett'. He was out on a delivery and we were told that he would be back in about an hour. While we waited, we went to the Co. Leitrim Genealogical Centre and Library. After an hour, we went back to the hardware store; however, 'The Willett' had come back and was out on another delivery. We wanted to get a picture of him but I guess it wasn't in the cards for us that day. We thought we might get back to Ballinamore before we left the area but it didn't happen. So, 'The Willett' is still a mystery to us.

Click here for the next story Where's John Reynolds.

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