Meet the Character: Riordan Boyle

You might not have met Riordan Boyle, but you’ve probably seen him telling stories, maybe even stopped to listen while shopping at O’Leary’s Market or on your way to a table at Corcoran’s Pub.

Boyle’s a third-generation lawyer, and is well-known in town for taking on cases other atttorneys wouldn’t touch. He does pro bono work for clients of some of the local social services agencies, and credits longtime friend Becca Stone with opening his eyes to some of the groups that needed help.

But when people talk about him, they’re quicker to mention his stories. Boyle is the unofficial town historian, and he has a tale for any occasion.

Full name: Riordan Seamus Boyle III

Family: Not many left these days. None of my sisters stayed in Exeter, and their children have scattered even further afield. These days, it’s just me and Becca.

Childhood ambition: I always wanted to be a lawyer, just like my father. Though we did have some disagreements about our approaches to law from time to time.

Three most important people in life: Becca of course, and her niece, Ellie, because she’s so important to Becca. F.X. O’Leary is a good friend, one you can rely on.

List of three things would take if evacuating: Ma left me her engagement ring to give Becca, and I’d save that to have in case she ever turned traditional on me. The family Bible has history recorded in it back to our days in Ireland, before my great-grandfather emigrated during the Famine. Becca sketched me at Corcoran’s one time, one of the few times she worked in pen and ink, and had Dan Reilly make a custom frame for all six of them, a collage of sorts.

What would your last meal be? Something simple, baked beans and brown bread shared with good friends.

What’s in your iPod? I often listen to the Clancy Brothers and other Irish groups, but on my stereo, not a headset.

Dream vacation: I’ve been to Ireland a few times, and I’d love to take a few months and just tramp around, a different pub each night, full of music, stories and song. If I ever retire, perhaps.

Idea of hell: I see too many people there already, living lives of quiet desperation because that’s all they know.

Best advice you ever got: In college, I discovered Edmund Burke in one of my philosophy classes. He never actually said this, but I didn’t discover that until later. He pointed out that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I can’t always do enough, but I try to do something.

Fun Friday night plans: These days, just spending time with good friends and a good woman are the best plans I can think of.

Ideal date: I probably should say my ideal would be the date where Becca actually accepted my proposal, but it’s been so many years, I don’t think either of us would know what to do if she said yes.

Favorite sport? Like everybody else, I’m a Sox fan. And thee Celtics, of course, though it’s not like the old days with Bill Russell or even Larry Bird.

Hobbies/activities: I do enjoy spending time in the garden, though my knees don’t always agree.

Favorite season: Fall always feels like the turning point of the year for me, the brilliant colors giving way to the stark bareness of winter.

One thing you would tell your 13-year-old self: That which requires the most courage also has the most reward.

Favorite quote: Oh, the Burke quote, of course. I’ve shared it with a number of people over the years.

Person you’d love to have dinner with: He’s not real, of course, but I always wanted to have a conversation with Atticus Finch.

Coffee or tea: Good Irish Breakfast tea to start the day. Earl Grey is better later in the day, not quite as strong.

Beer or wine: I’m more a whiskey man, myself, but a pint with friends is never a hardship.

Righty or lefty: Righthanded. The nuns would have beaten it out of me had I favored my left, so I was fortunate.

Introvert or extrovert: There’s nothing I enjoy more than a night of good conversation with friends, so I’ll say extrovert.

Beach or mountains: A hike in the woods is the perfect opportunity to pause and think.

— CJ Jenkins

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