A veil of sadness loomed over Ardoley and surrounding areas following the death of Paddy O’Donnell on March 16th last at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Paddy was born on September 14th 1942 to Pakie and Margaret O’Donnell (nee King).
He was the second eldest of four siblings, sister Mary Garner (USA) RIP, brothers, Jim and Martin (both UK).
Paddy was a gentle caring person. When his mother Margaret died when Paddy was only a child, his father cared for the children and then later when Pakie was diagnosed with MS, Paddy cared for him at home.
Paddy loved life and those of us who were privileged to have him in our lives were the richer for it. He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone he met. A great friend and neighbour, who was always there to lend a hand without a second thought. A quiet man, not a big talker but a great listener and if he gave you advice it was worth taking.
He was devoted to his wife Eileen. They were married in Rome in 1986. He also become stepfather then to my brother Michael and I (David). A better or more loving father we could not have asked for. Such a great influence in our lives, he taught us so much and was an amazing example to us of how to behave, respect others and their differences and to never give up on dreams or people. We’ll never forget him.
Having previously worked with Pollexfen Mill, Paddy then joined CIE/Bus Eireann in July 1978 and remained there until his retirement in Sept 2007. During his time there he made many lifelong friends with colleagues and customers, many of whom made it along to his funeral service from different parts of the country.
He had a strong faith, a regular Mass goer until recently. Knock Shrine held a special place in his heart and he visited there often. The song Our Lady of Knock was one of his favourites and Westport Church Choir sang it beautifully at his funeral Mass.
He was so proud of his family and especially grandchildren, Ryan and Daniel. They kept him young in his retirement both having been born after he reached pension age. If they weren’t playing football in the front garden they were flying kites over the fields with him. He loved to treat them and always had some sweets or mints for them when they’d visit. He loved them dearly and I’ll never forget how, even in his last days, a smile would come to his face when he heard them in the room or if we mentioned their names.
He had a great affection for his home village of Ardoley and Westport and loved to take walks on his land and take pleasure in the beautiful views of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick. Paddy was laid to rest in Aughavale Cemetery, less than half a mile from his home, where as his grandson Ryan pointed out recently when we visited the grave, he has a great view of the holy mountain.
Paddy loved to take trips with his wife, Eileen including visits to his family in England and the USA, and regular breaks in Doolin, Ennis and Galway.
The large crowds at the funeral ceremonies bore ample testimony to the high regard in which Paddy was held around the area. Father Charlie McDonnell was the chief celebrant at the Requiem Mass and delivered a beautiful homily celebrating his life. He was joined by Father Tony King.
Paddy was predeceased by his parents, Pakie and Margaret and his sister Mary.
Paddy will be sadly missed by all, especially his wife Eileen, stepsons David and Michael, daughter-in-law Caroline, grandchildren Ryan and Daniel, brothers Martin and Jim, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, his extended family and a wide circle of friends and neighbours. May his gentle soul rest in peace.