27 Jun 2022

Killybegs mourns loss of much loved 'outstanding member of the community'

Tribute to the late Cathal Conaghan, Fintra Road, Killybegs

Killybegs mourns loss of much loved 'outstanding member of the community'

The late Cathal Conaghan

Killybegs and its environs lost an outstanding member of the community with the sad passing of Cathal Conaghan. 

He had a deep interest in the town and got involved in anyway he could to help develop it and attract services to it.

Cathal was the youngest of three sons, born to the late Con and Mary Conaghan, Drumanoo. He was predeceased by his brother Tony in 2005.

He initially attended Roshine National School, but the family moved to St Catherine’s Road when Cathal was 11 years old, and he then moved to Commons NS. He later attended Carrick Tech.

When Cathal left school, he joined Killybegs Boatyard as an apprentice and progressed to work in various departments of the yard. 

As a union representative he travelled along with three others on a weekly basis over a long period to union meetings in Dublin to try and establish better working conditions for all employees. During his last years with the boatyard, he held the position of Safety Officer.

At the age of 17, he thumbed a lift to Donegal Town to join the FCA, the Army Reserve Force.  He loved his time in the FCA. In 1987, he was commissioned to the rank of Officer. He held the position of Captain at this retirement at the age of 55.

Cathal had a wide range of interests and was involved in many committees. He had a quiet unassuming manner and was very practical in his contributions to meetings and he quietly got things done. 

At the local branch of the Irish National Foresters, Cathal, in the past, held the position of Chief Ranger, and continued to be a member up until his death. 

Every August Bank Holiday, he enjoyed the company of the members of the Irish National Foresters, either in Northern Ireland or the South of Ireland at their annual convention. He made lifelong and loyal friends and looked forward to meeting them at the annual convention and banquet. 

Priority for Cathal though was his interest in developing the local Foresters Hall for the benefit of the community. He also helped with setting up Foresters Active Retirement Group.

Cathal had a keen interest in history and was a member of Donegal Historical Society. He regularly consulted his late uncle and historian, Charles Conaghan, in pursuit of knowledge about Killybegs that he did not have himself.

Cathal held the position of Chairman of the Parish Council, now known as the Community Council, for a few different terms, and was a member of the Niall Mór Centre Board of Management as well as being a member of the Killybegs Men’s Shed project. 

In 2018, Cathal, along with a group of local people, campaigned to have a second ambulance based in Killybegs.

He was also Chairman of Killybegs Credit Union for two different terms, and he was a regular contributor to the annual general meetings, plus he had great interest when Ballyshannon Credit Union merged with Killybegs in 2016.

Cathal proudly led the Killybegs Accordion Band for many years and was happy that the accordion band continued to flourish with new young members over the years.

Farming was a big part of Cathal’s life, and he was Chairman of the local branch of the Irish Farmers Association until illness struck.

The strong religious practices handed on to him by his parents were always the centre point in his life. He never missed weekend Mass and when possible, he attended daily Mass. 

He was a church reader for many years often taking part in Holy week ceremonies.  

He was dedicated to the Eucharist Adoration since it began and in fact, his very last visit to the chapel was to spend time in Adoration just before Christmas. 

Cathal was involved with preparing the local Drumanoo Mass-Rock for the celebration of Masses.

Cathal valued education greatly and over the years, he furthered his education in different areas of interest to him, doing boatyard related courses in Galway and farming courses in Ballyhaise in Cavan as well as many correspondence courses on interested topics.

He had a great love of all types of music but loved to listen especially to classical music. His favourite piece was played during his Funeral Mass, An Cuileann.

Cathal was above all a family man. He attended the Pavesi Ballroom Donegal Town in 1976 and there he met his soulmate and life partner, Marian Lyons from Glencolmcille. They married in 1980 and celebrated 42 happy years of wedded bliss recently on April 9. 

They became the proud parents of daughter Carol and son, Conor. Family was everything to Cathal and when grandson, Lorcan, came along, he was a treasured gift and brought Cathal so much joy and fun.

The esteem in which Cathal was held was evident as his funeral cortege made its way from his home to St Mary’s Church with roadsides and streets lined with people paying their respects. 

On reaching the church, the Guards of Honour by the FCA, The Irish National Foresters and the Pupils and Staff of Brackey National School, Ardara, where Conor is Principal, was so appreciated by the family.

The Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fr Colm Ó Gallchóir, PP Killybegs and Fr Johnny Moore, CC Ardara.

Cathal is survived by his wife Marian, daughter Carol, son Conor, daughter-in-law Celine, and Grandson Lorcan. 

Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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