John Harley was a kind young man, mourners in Falcarragh told

Priest pays moving tribute to 'unassuming, caring, kind, quick-witted young man'

John Harley was a kind young man, mourners in Falcarragh told

The remains of John Harley are removed from St Finian's Church, Falcarragh by family members. Picture:North West Newspix

Cars lined both sides of the road in Falcarragh this afternoon as hundreds attended the funeral Mass of John Harley at St Finian’s Church in Falcarragh.
The parish priest of Falcarragh, Fr James Gillespie said that today was a dark and difficult day for Falcarragh and all the surrounding communities in west Donegal.

John was the third victim of Sunday's road crash near Magheroarty to be laid to rest on Thursday. Daniel Scott, 23, from Gortahork, Shaun Harkin, 22, from Falcarragh and Mícheál Roarty, 24, from Moneybeg, were also killed in the single-vehicle collision.

Fr James Gillespie recalled hearing the news on that ‘normal’ Sunday night, how news of the tragic accident seeped through to him and how eventually he discovered that he knew the young man.

Fr Gillespie recalled calling to the family home that night and how saddened the family were.

“It was a house of tears,” he said and he described the kitchen as being in deep silence.

He told those gathered that one of John’s relations had said to him that it was only through faith that people will come through this.


John had achieved much in his short life, Fr Gillespie told the mourners. He loved sport and he played with Glenea United senior team and played with CLG Cloich Cheann Fhaola. He had won many medals and trophies during his sporting life which was clear to be seen from his home.

In a light-hearted moment, the  mourners were told that despite being a gifted a footballer, John wasn't too keen on training as he was of the opinion that training was for those who needed to improve.

On the football field he was respected by all those he played with.

Father Gillespie described John as someone who had achieved so much in one life. The priest said that someone had said to him that John had achieved more in one life than many had achieved in two lifetimes.

Kind young man

John used to work in the local pub on a part-time basis. He loved his job and loved speaking to the people that would call in.

It was only recently that John's parents heard how he lifted the heart and spirits of a man who had found himself in poor health. Those gathered heard that it was John who raised the spirits of this man. His good deeds went unspoken - he told no one of how he helped others. It is stories like these that are giving his family solace at this time, Fr Gillespie said.

People had travelled from America, Canada, South Africa and Australia to be present at the funeral.

"John was a quiet, unassuming, caring, kind, quick-witted young man," Fr Gillespie said.

The 24-year-old brought great joy and love to his family.

The Falcarragh-based priest said that John has left a rich and lasting legacy behind him and that memories of John will bring great joy to those who care about him for years to come.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.