Family and friends bid fond farewell to poet and author

AS anyone who knew him will attest, the poet, playwright and author Patrick Galvin had a keen sense of humour.

It could even be detected in his death notice in Wednesday’s Irish Examiner which concluded with the lines: “Throw the cat another goldfish /Caith iasc órga eile don chat”.

Paddy, author of the Song for a Raggy Boy trilogy of memoirs along with numerous plays, volumes of poetry and folk songs was a committed socialist, and not at all religious, and that was reflected in his funeral arrangements.

He was waked at his home off the South Douglas Road on Wednesday evening and removed to Connolly Hall on Lapps Quay by horse-drawn hearse yesterday afternoon.

The hearse was accompanied by Paddy’s widow, Mary Johnson, and their children Gráinne and Macdara and a large contingent of friends.

This is the first time that anyone’s remains have lain in repose at Connolly Hall, and many friends and admirers came to pay their respects from 4-8pm.

“Today is the date on which James Connolly was executed and Dad was a lifelong socialist — so it seemed an appropriate place for the removal,” said his son Macdara.

Paddy wrote the ballad James Connolly that commemorates the 1916 leader.

Macdara recalled that his father was in great spirits to the last. “The day he died, a speech therapist came in to work with him — Dad stopped her mid-sentence and said, ‘you know, you’re a gorgeous girl!’

“Then he told my sister he loved her and told my mother she was the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Paddy’s widow, Mary, spoke of how frustrated he had been towards the end of a life when the effects of a stroke had left him without a creative outlet.

“He thought the country was in a shocking state, and he would have loved to be able to comment on it,” she said. “But Paddy had a very full and eventful life, and he gave back as much as he took from it.”

Paddy was aware that he was dying and asked, as recently as last Saturday, he be cremated rather than buried. His remains will be cremated today at the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy.


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