Tom Richards on Liam O’Neill and “Dolphin Song”

Author Tim Richards pays tribute to his friend and work partner Liam O’Neill, who died of Covid. Part of their creation, the book, “Dolphin Song” is now available.

I was born in Chicago and at that time, in October 1955, my parents Bill and Mary Richards were living in Chicago. I attended Rolling Meadows High School and graduated in 1974. It’s a complex, almost magical story. But it’s also convincing …

I moved to Ireland in 1982 and now live on the Beara Peninsula in the far southwest of this beautiful country. Recently I started an Irish romantic fantasy novel, “Dolphin Song”. He did a lot better than I could ever have dreamed of. It is always on the list of new releases of Amazon US, in its various categories. He stayed there for 18 days.

The guy who started it all – who prompted me to write a few words about a possible film – was Chicago-born Irish-American filmmaker Liam O’Neill. You can find out more about him on his IMDb.

Liam and I had to move to Ireland to meet each other and we did so by accident. From that day forward, we understood that we were both born in Chicago and we only guessed miles from each other. The problem was, we weren’t sure where. Oh, Liam knew exactly where he was born but I didn’t. All I knew was that the hospital was Michael Reese. We used to laugh about it.

I had forgotten, but my parents’ address at the time of my birth was on the original birth certificate Mom gave me. It is now yellowed with age but I held onto it.

For some reason just a few days ago I removed it from my files. The street address is smeared. I think it reads 105 or 108 26th Street. But the typed name of the city of Chicago is as clear and solid as my friendship with Liam. Forest Park.

It was then that I realized that “Dolphin Song” was, in many ways, born in this city of Chicago so many years ago. Two guys must have walked thousands of miles from home and found each other first, even to discuss those first 25 words that create a connecting line. Those words became the story that became the book that could become the movie Liam wanted.

The book is successful and I can’t believe it. After all, it’s just a book. Over two million books are published each year. Did you know because I didn’t know.

But its success does not concern me at all. Everything revolves around Liam.

You see, a little over a year ago – in May 2020 – Liam died here in Ireland from a Covid-19 contracted in hospital. His family could not visit him because of the virus, so he had to die alone. His death breaks my heart but I continue to walk with a smile in my heart. I walk with Liam by my side and all I can feel is his warm embrace.

If you like, you can take a look at Two Guys from Chicago’s journey of dreaming a “Dolphin Story”.

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