Pádraig Doherty was a mystic. His tragic death in his native Mulranny on March 31 was shocking. He had unique insights into life and its meaning. He was introspective and deeply spiritual. He was a quiet presence and most reverential. His faith informed his daily living. It was central to his life. A living relationship with a living God was his modus operandi. He didn’t shout it from the rooftops; he simply lived what he believed in.
“Without God we have nothing. If there is no God there is nothing,” he would say. He wore his faith well. He was imbued with the qualities of a person whose life is open to God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear (utmost respect) of the Lord.
Yet, he was as human as the rest of us. The first to admit he wasn’t perfect, he was still unique. He responded to all situations respectfully. He kept judgement at bay even when he was in a better position to judge than some who did. He brought a calmness and wisdom to situations, especially in trying times, often at great cost to himself. He had a deep inner peace thanks to his profound faith.
He was a builder, tradesman, fish-farmer and dry-stock farmer. He was at home both at sea and on land. He proudly harvested Irish organic salmon in a wholly owned Irish company. The keeper of cattle, he lately took to having a few sheep, which he enjoyed immensely.
On Judgement Day with sheep to the right and goats to the left Pádraig will be there also rooting for the goats! While they caused him many headaches he also ensured that the Mulranny Old Irish Goat herd was properly conserved.
He was a fine tradesman, proficient at many disciplines. He trained as a carpenter in Edinburgh, the hometown of his late mother, Anne (Moran) Doherty (a niece of the famous Thomas Moran, Number 9, who built the armoured car, ‘Queen of the West’).
He worked in Germany and recounted many a tale from his journeys. He and Máire were married in Egypt by their great friend Fr Mattie McNeely, SMA, who stoked Pádraig’s interest in the Coptic Church and its influence in Ireland. He revelled in his Westport family of Grace Cawley and Ger.
He loved books and instigated the republishing of Pádraig Ó Móráin’s ‘A Short Account of the History of Burrishoole Parish’ in 2004. “It will benefit a new generation,” he said. He thrived on culture, heritage and history – the more local the better. A keen lover of poetry, John Donne’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ was never far from his lips.
Bhain sé sult mór as na imleabhair a scríobh Fiachra Mac Gabhann, Log Ainmneacha Mhaigh Eo. Bhí suim mór aige sa Ghaeilge.
Pádraig was deeply influenced by his uncle, Fr John Moran, a White Father missionary from Edinburgh, ordained in 1938 who served in North Rhodesia. Pádraig visited the Aror Partnership in Kenya with Fr Tony King and the late Johnny Fergus in 1987. He returned to Kenya and stayed for over six months, building houses and clinics in several villages. He was deeply impressed by the commitment of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, with whom he remained lifelong friends. Providing shelter for people was a trait of Pádraig’s that many of us are aware of and benefitted from.
His real legacy is the love he had for his anam chara and wife, Máire Cawley, and their two sons, Seán and Liam, of whom he was always so immensely proud; his siblings, Liam, Tom, Seán and Máire; family, friends and local community. He also expressed that love through his support for local sporting, civic and cultural organisations.
He was a noble soul, old soul, honest, respectful, humble, wise, principled, generous, kind, full of integrity and honour, good company, a faithful friend and rare treasure. And he had a great sense of humour. Suffice to say:
“We trade his jests and laugh till grief is mended,
Then grieve again to think such laughter ended.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.