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07 Oct 2022

Obituary: Den Ruadh Gallagher, skilled crafter, farmer and conversationalist

Den Ruadh was in great demand by local farmers when a birth proved difficult

Obituary: Den Ruadh Gallagher, skilled crafter, farmer and conversationalist

The peaceful death took place at home on Wednesday, August 10 of Den Ruadh Gallagher Stranacorkra, Derrybeg. 

He was born in Sleeghan, Derrybeg on February 20, 1928 and was one of nine children born to Dominic Eoghain Charlie Gallagher and Nellie Arais (née Gallgher). 

Den stayed at home to help with the running of the small family holding. He would help in cutting and saving the  turf, the planting of corn, potatoes, cabbage and turnips and look after the livestock which included sheep, cattle and hens. 

In later years he emigrated to Scotland and while there he worked on the construction of houses and also worked with the Ferarri Company on laying underground cables.  

While living in Scotland he married Margaret Joe Bhilly McGee, and four children, Eileen, Joe, Dominick, and Máire were born to them. 

He always disliked living in Scotland and the family moved back to Gaoth Dobhair in 1969, built a new home and further two children, Nóirín and Dónal were born to them.

Den secured employment as a caretaker in the former Technical School which was located a short distance from his home. 

When the Technical School closed he went on to work as a caretaker of Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair,  Lunniagh. A very good conversationalist, he always got on well with the staff and students at the school. He retired when he reached 65 years.

Den was a loyal Fianna Fáil supporter throughout his life and was a member of the Derrybeg Cumann. In 1954 he was one of 21 Fianna Fáil Cumann members who organised fundraising events to have a  Monument erected in Derrybeg in memory of the late Pádraig Mhícheáil Airt O’Donnell. This impressive Celtic Monument stands between Pete’s Pub and the former Derrybeg Hall.  

Den  was a man of many interests. He was a good card player and he enjoyed card playing at Derrybeg School, Dungloe and through the houses. 

He was a man who was very much into nature and always had a smile on his face going to the bog. He also grew his own potatoes and vegetables and was an experienced creel maker.  

Den Ruadh was always in great demand by local farmers when the birth of a lamb or calf proved difficult. He was always available even in the middle of the night to go out and help local farmers who needed assistance.


His remains reposed at his home on Thursday and Friday.  His concelebrated Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Mary’s Church, Derrybeg at 11am on Saturday. The main celebrant was an Dr Ró-Oirmh. Pádraig Ó Baoighill, PP, Gaoth Dobhair and he was assisted by Monsignor Kevin Gillespie (neighbour). 

Family members read the lessons and the prayers of the faithful while neighbours brought the gifts to the altar.

At the end of the Mass his cousin, Andaí John Arais Ó Gallchóir read a lovely Irish poem he composed  especially when Den Ruadh was  80 years.  

Den’s son Joe thanked everyone who helped his mum care for their Dad in the past few years.

Mass was followed by burial in Magheragallon cemetery.

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