The sudden death of Noel Leneghan was a shock to all. He was a quiet man, yet expansive in all he thought and did. He was unique company. His ‘take’ on things was different. He was an extraordinary thinker.
A man of gentle disposition Noel was totally content in his own skin. He spent many an hour enjoying his own company, up mountains, down dales and resting in caves. He was close to nature in so many ways, always respecting the balance of life. He acknowledged that there was a place and role for all living things. Being alone was never a burden to him.
We were privileged to hear stories of his mountain climbs and especially his descent into caves. It was remarkable to hear him describe the sense of peace he experienced when caving. He would often sit in the darkness just being. Fear was not an issue for Noel while caving. Their secrets were revealed to him and now remain in his safe keeping.
He loved the sense of freedom mountain climbing gave him. An outdoors man to the core, one day in the bog for him was never enough. He often packed food and a drop of wine and headed to the bog, content to stay in his beloved Toyota overnight. His turf still burns in many a home across the area. To think he has handled each sod, as we watch the flames dance to the tune of the chimney. Warmth was his nature.
He loved looking at the stars. His imagination would run riot. His view is much better now, flicking the stardust of eternity. Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has a new book called ‘The Universal Christ.’ In it, as it says on the tin, he encourages the reader to understand the universal aspect of the presence of God. Noel Leneghan could have written that book, because he lived it. He was fiercely plugged into the universal consciousness.
Noel was always a welcome visitor to our home. My wife Ger says: “Noel had an intuitive theology, an indigenous seeker and keeper. He had an inner vision that gave him an all-seeing eye for all that was pure and good. He had that sense of wonder that continued to grow into a kaleidoscope of awesome majesty at the fusion of natural beauty contained in this earth and encircled by the splendour of all beyond in the cathedral sky. He was ever respectful and reverential towards the sacred.”
He was a handyman, in every way. He could turn his hand to anything, mechanical or otherwise. Recently, he made a new door for my (doorless) shed, drilling two fine holes at its top as an entrance for the swallows. “They’ll get used to it,” he said. He completed shelves for a close friend. “Nothing was a problem but everything was an issue!” said my friend. Noel loved a challenge and he always overcame it, at his own pace.
He didn’t suffer fools gladly. Selfishness, arrogance or someone trying to exploit another person cut deeply into his soul. He always believed in fair play and fair pay. He treated everyone the way he would like to be treated. Sceptre and crown, crooked scythe and spade were all the same to him.
He was a man always ready to do a good turn for another person, regardless. If he could solve a problem for someone he did, willingly. There are many people who have benefitted from his kindness and quiet generosity. He left unexpected blessings in his wake.
He always wore his trademark baseball cap. He would breakfast in Curry’s Cottage and enjoyed coffee in many an establishment. He was a remarkable man and will be sorely missed by many and especially his family, of whom he was very proud. He was a father and grandfather, much to his complete joy. He had a special circle in his heart for his dear niece Aoife, whom he always spoke fondly of.
Noel is survived by sons Patrick and Daniel; daughter Shona; their mother Sheila; grand-daughter, Aaliyah; brothers John, Ger and Peter, sister Maureen, extended family, neighbours and friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílís.