One of a kind

De Facto

QUINTESSENTIAL COVIE Dominic Moran at the door of his shop on Bridge Street, Westport, with  Dana Rosemary Scanlon, who was canvassing during the 2010 the Presidental election campaign. Moran’s shop mainly provided footwear for many generations of families of Westport and beyond. Whether it was for slippers, Irish dancing shoes, wellies or boots, a visit to the shop was an experience inself.  Pic: Conor McKeown

A tribute to the late Dominic Moran

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

He was known as Dominic. The surname wasn’t needed. Fr Tony King reminded us of this when celebrating Dominic’s funeral Mass this day last week.
Dominic Moran was laid to rest in Aughagower alongside his parents John J and Kathleen (née Findle), grandparents, uncle, grandaunt and infant siblings John Joseph and Ann.  
His brother Fr Gerard and sister Marguerite were unable to travel from the US for the funeral due to Covid restrictions. Their cousin Mattie Reidy read the eulogy on their behalf.
We learned that the Moran family moved from the Erriff Valley to Westport in 1791, setting up a wool and clothing business on High Street, the main street of the town at the time. George Washington was US President.
The family later moved to Mill Street and in 1906 moved to Bridge Street and opened a tailoring business. Dominic’s father, John J, then opened a shoe shop. Kathleen (Dominic’s mother) took over when John J passed away in 1965. Dominic took the reins after his mother’s death in 1987.
“Some years ago, when Marguerite was ill in Ohio, he flew to the United States to be with her and to monitor her progress. Sadly, due to Covid-19, Marguerite could not reciprocate this concern by being with Dominic during his final illness.
“Thoughtfully, Dominic never threw out a Mayo News but kept them in a neat pile, of sometimes over 50 papers, in the kitchen for his brother, Gerard, to take to his summer home in Louisburgh, when he came home from California, to catch up on the Westport news.
“Dominic was especially comfortable around children. The McHale and Carter children growing up on Bridge Street loved him dearly. Also, his relatives’ children on Castlebar Street, Foxford and Straide. Not once did he ever get vexed with a child but always made them feel comfortable, enjoyed their company, and they very often thought of him as a larger species of child.”
Dominic was a character for all the right reasons. He was a member of Junior Chamber and enjoyed many foreign trips with fellow members, of which the stories are legion! He was responsible for the creation of the official Westport Coat of Arms, according to Michael O’Donnell, ratified by Westport UDC in 1975.
Dominic was also the motivator for planting forty trees along the Mall, supported by local businesses and residents, especially along the Mall. Trees were sourced from the Duke of Abercorn’s estate in Tyrone. Over time, Seán MacBride and US Ambassador Walter Curley planted trees along with the Westport-Plougastel Town Twinning Committee. Dominic was a keen photographer, award winning, replicating the skills of his father and uncle Stanley. His photos of the Corpus Christi procession in the 1920s Westport are well known locally. Dominic never failed to clear his shop window for the annual procession, adorned with the Sacred Heart statue and flowers from Gráinne Kelly’s garden. They had a great rapport, and one was blessed to be present when the ‘rowling’ started. Both could shoot from both hips at the same time!
Dominic was a quintessential Covie. He loved Westport and its people; enjoyed discussing family links, ancestral lines and relationships. He was a proud member of the Westport Historical Society, Westport Gun Club and Westport Civic Trust, and supported local lectures and exhibitions.
Not one to suffer fools some customers fell into that category unwittingly until Dominic jolted them back to reality, his reality! He had a great sense of humour and could easily laugh at himself as at others. His good friend Pat Warde was ‘gently’ reminded while climbing a ladder Dominic was holding that he hadn’t bought his shoes in Moran & Co!  
A woollen heart was placed in his coffin before he left Mayo General, a reminder to his family that he was never alone. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed. The huge socially distanced turnout at his funeral was testament to his popularity and will provide some comfort to Fr Gerard and Marguerite in their loss. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
‘Serve God and be cheerful, look upward beyond / Beyond the darkness that masks the surprises of dawn’.