Along with some pupils from the school he won gold and silver medals and a pound for their skills in Irish drama.
After completing his national school education he worked with the Land Commission and also on the family farm. Mike also spent two years working in Dublin and a further twelve years working in England.
There he enjoyed the convenience of urban life, social life, cosmopolitan experience, and his trade as a painter and decorator. Nevertheless, his main ambition was ultimately to set up a painting and decorating business. However this ambition was quenched when he returned home to Dereendafderg in 1959 becoming self-employed on the family farm. His main reason for coming home was loyalty to his family and the home place, now vacant due to the sudden death of his brother, Tom, earlier that same year.
Before making that boat journey home Mike married Sarah Concannon, a native of Co Galway, on March 31, 1959 in London.
He often described his first meeting with Sarah in 1957 and subsequent marriage as a ‘steeped in luck experience’.
Mike was the proud dad of nine children - Gerry, Maura, Laurence, Seán, Tom, Bernadette, Barbara, Cáit and Michael. He also enjoyed the company of his son-in-laws, Michael, JJ, John and Gerry, as well as his daughter-in-law, Mandy. Mike was constantly animated and rejuvenated by his sixteen grandchildren.
Mike was a decent man and if you carried out some work for him you would be offered more than your fee.
He believed that if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well. A man of detail, a sod of turf had to be placed a certain way in a stack. Even though he paid great attention to detail, Mike had the good sense to avoid being over-burdened by detail, and would stand back and see the bigger picture.
He enjoyed many TV comedies and dramas. Mike’s other interests included reading, history, music and current affairs.
It seems as though Mike’s politics were not based on the happenings that took place during the year of his birth, but were based on the proper treatment of people.
The economic war of the 1930s was most-influential. Mike was open minded, flexible, modern and progressive, but like the oak trees in Dereendafderg was very well rooted. He edited for the better projects carried out by former family generations, some projects he deleted to facilitate the modern way of doing things, and other projects he reverentially respected as monuments to the past.
There were many aspects to Mike’s spirituality; devotional, sacramental and practical. It was part of his personality and expressed naturally and spontaneously at any time. He had a wonderful appreciation for nature at all levels; his own, people, animals, plants, and the land.
No matter how busy Mike Morahan was he always stopped and chatted to his neighbours. He often times would leave his own farm work and give a harvesting job in a neighbour’s field the same attention as if it was his own.
The central aspect of Mike’s life was undoubtedly his family. He was only two years of his 90 years physically away from his family. Even when he was in London as a young man he chose to live with his sister, Peg, her husband Pat, and their eight children, and was affectionately known as Uncle Mike.
He returned home in 1959 out of family loyalty. He, with Sarah, wanted to give their children a similar upbringing as they themselves experienced. He may not have read books on parenting but he was undoubtedly a good practitioner. The health and happiness of his family was paramount.
Mike Morahan’s life, time, qualities and stories were sources of conversation among family, friends, and neighbours at his funeral. His requiem Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated in St Patrick’s Church, Killawalla. It was a reflective and inspirational liturgy expressing his life in story, prayer, music, and symbolism. It was led by local priest Fr Frank Fahey, Ballintubber assisted by Fr John Kenny, Tourmakeady, with readings and prayers carried out by members of Mike’s family.
Speaking during the funeral Mass his son, Gerry thanked everyone for all the support when he said “On public family occasions Mike Morahan would confidently take microphone in hand and thank people for coming to the event. On this occasion the Morahan family wishes to say thanks for all support received. Thanks toPakie MacEvilly undertaker, for co-ordinating funeral. We appreciate sympathies expressed and tributes regarding Mike. Our gratitude is extended to the many people taking time to be with us. Thanks for practical help offered and received, as in managing the grave, hospitality, traffic management, taking care of the family home and your unquantifiable good will.
“Mike Morahan’s life is a unique and fascinating story of a life lived with courage, sensitivity, enthusiasm, hard work, energy, and incredible generosity and kindness. His love of people, nature, and his sense of humour was never found wanting. We, his family, will proudly tell the wonderful story of his life forever. May he rest in peace.”
Mass will be celebrated in memory of Mike at St Patrick’s Church, Killawalla, Westport, on January 20, at 10am.
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