Grow or Die


Reilly took a ramble through the New Cemetery in Bohermore during the week.

En route to his parents grave he passed a good number of graves where he’d once been well acquainted with the guests in residence. He’d pause momentarily and reflect with them on an incident from their friendship.

Walter Macken, and his wife Peggy Kenny, the iconic writer of ‘Flight of the Doves’ and ‘Rain on the Wind,’ are buried a few graves away from his parents. Reilly can recall as if it was yesterday chatting to Peggy and reminiscing on Walters greatness.

‘It was such a shame Reilly. Walter was only 52 when he was taken and was only coming into full bloom. He was only beginning to fulfil his real potential. His greatest works sadly lie up in the New Cemetery – unwritten.’

He then ambled along to his Auntie Marys grave.

Above the din of the traffic coming up Prospect Hill he could clearly hear her singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ as if she was sitting beside him. Reillys kids mock him when he tells them that Mary once sang ‘The Fields’ at a reception for the Liverpool soccer team in Anfield.

Reilly assures her, as always, that they’re still singing it in Anfield today. Just not anything as good as she did. How he’d love a recording of that occasion in Anfield..

Eager to get in on the chat, her husband, Joe Costello, the former Connacht rugby player begins a conversation Reilly had heard a thousand times with his former half-back partner, Danno Heaslip, a few graves away.

‘Danno, have I ever told you that you cost me four international caps.’

‘What are you talking about Joeen?

‘They sent a selector down from Dublin to confirm that I’d be the starting fly-half for Ireland that year. Now you were normally a poor passer of the ball. On that particular day you were appalling.

‘Imagine the career I could have had if I’d had a decent scrum-half!
Reilly ended his sortie at his parents grave. As always it was tinged with a smidgen of guilt. Had they had it all over again Reilly and his Mother could probably each have been a tad more forgiving with each other.

As he sauntered out onto the Bohermore Road with the November chill deep in his bones it occurred to Reilly that cemeteries the world over have one thing in common. To paraphrase Mark Victor Hansen.

‘Graveyards are filled with books that were never written, songs that were never sung, words that were never spoken, things that were never done.’


• If you’re not growing you’re dying.

• Make growth your focal goal as a person. Many business people are obsessed with business or external goals. The thing is that if you focus on goals, you may or may not hit them, and you may not grow as a person. However, if you focus on growth, you will grow as a person and hit your goals. As James Allen, the Daddy of modern psychology, said. ‘People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.’

• Growing is an intentional pursuit and it’s very easy to slack off or put on the back burner. It’s easy to get comfortable where you’re at and think you’ve got everything together.

• If growth scares you, get over it. Life is growth. If you’re growing, you’re living. Period.


If you are not growing you are dying.’
—Tony Robbins.

The greatest sin of all is the life unlived.’
—John O’Donohue.

People are the cornerstones of life.’
—Inscription on Walter Mackens grave in The New Cemetery in Galway.


1. What are your growth goals for 2023?

(If you have difficulty answering that then sign up to Reillys new course ‘Ready, Steady, Grow.’ For further details read here.

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