The Fairways, Westport, Co Mayo
The death occurred of Gerard McNally, The Fairways, Westport, Co Mayo on April 7, 2020. Gerard was the eldest of three children to John and Carmel McNally, Pinewoods, Westport.
Gerard met his wife to be Rita in Maynooth University. Rita was a second year Theology student and Gerard was studying for his MA in Music. When they first met, Gerard told Rita that Westport was the real capital of Mayo and he remained a proud Covie throughout his life.
Adam, their first child arrived the following Summer. Adam followed his parents to Maynooth and graduated in September 2019 with LLB International (Hons). Gerard and Rita married in April 2000 and have three other children, Caoimhe (18), Grace (16) and Niamh (9).
Gerard began his teaching career in Our Lady’s Secondary School Belmullet in 1999. Before starting his position, Martin Carney, Rita’s Dad, brought Gerard and Rita on a tour of Erris. Martin loved Belmullet and wished to retire there but unfortunately passed away two years later. Gerard quickly understood what Martin loved about Belmullet; while it’s a truly beautiful part of Mayo, it’s the people that make Belmullet so special.
Their warmth, kindness, hard work and sense of fun connected with Gerard and ensured that he would stay there despite being offered jobs closer to home. He was so proud of each of his students and proud to be a part of Our Lady’s Secondary School community. Gerard reintroduced Musicals to Our Lady’s in 2003. What many people in the school community might not realise is that Gerard wasn’t particularly fond of the musical genre and lots of discussion would happen at home about different musicals. Over the years, Caoimhe, Grace and Niamh played a huge role in helping him decide what musical to choose. Every year, the McNally family would attend to see the matinee. Time off school and work was obligatory. This day was sacrosanct. The children were treated like royalty when visiting the school and loved it.
The McNally family would like to thank Our Lady’s School Community, students, alumni, parents and colleagues for their continued support and kindness throughout Gerard’s illness and in his passing. As a family we have been blessed to be a part of this community for last twenty years.
Gerard was an accomplished musician. He played piano, organ and flute and his students in Our Lady’s would concur that he could pick up most instruments and get a tune from them. He also composed music for the school Masses over the years and did the music arrangements for all their musical productions. When Gerard began his second round of chemotherapy, this time in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, he began a new project in which he composed 12 original jazz pieces which became ‘Hiatus’. Gerard, with Donal Hoban and Chris Darby, practised in Donal’s shed and put together an amazing album which launched in May 2018. Gerard wanted to say thanks to Rock Rose House Cancer Support and raise funds and awareness for the great work they do. As well as support for Gerard, they provided support for Caoimhe, Grace and Niamh. The McNally family would also like to thank Rock Rose House for the invaluable work they do in the community.
The McNally family would like to thank Donal Hoban and Chris Darby for the months of dedication to this project, to Rosaleen Heraty and Paul Dunning from the Westport Town Hall. Extended thanks to Conor McKeown for taking the photos for the album, Oisin McGreal and Nick Dolan for recording the concert which can be viewed on YouTube and Greg Marsh on sound.
The McNally family would like to pay special tribute to all the musicians who have played with Gerard over the years. As a family, we have been privileged to meet and become friends with most. There are too many to name but we would like to say a special thank you to Larry Hingerton and his family for their support and love over the years to our family, as well as Eddie Rodgers for his steadfast friendship throughout Gerard’s illness.
The McNally family wish to thank friends, old and new, who have supported Gerard and us over the years. Living with a long term illness is difficult but Gerard did not let it define him. He took on the challenge and embraced life. He was at his most creative and was surrounded by people he enjoyed. Few of us truly realise how precious life is but this is both the curse and gift of a long term illness.
The McNally Family wish to pay tribute to all staff in both Tallaght University Hospital and St Vincent’s Private Hospital. Staff in both these hospitals; nurses, doctors, health care workers, catering staff and cleaning staff made the journey easy for us as a family.
The McNally family wish to say a very special thank you Oisin (Justin) McGreal. Oisin has been a constant in the lives of all the McNally family for past twenty five years and we hope will be there for the next twenty five or more. He is a wonderful best friend to Gerard and Godfather to Adam and has supported all of us immensely.
The McNally family wish to thank Pauline Moran and all the staff at Sancta Maria Secondary School, Louisburgh and Máire McNally and all the staff, parents association and third class parents of Fahy National School and Bernie Walsh and family for their continued support and kindness during Gerard’s illness and in his passing.
Gerard will be sadly missed by his loving wife Rita, children Adam, Caoimhe, Grace and Niamh, parents John and Carmel, brothers Declan and Ciarán, sister-in-law Máire and godson/nephew Seán, his mother- in-law Mary Carney, his sister-in-law Margaret MacCann and her family Adrian, Sally and Stephen (Dublin), sister-in-law Denise Carney and family Donal and Lorcan Magner (San Francisco), brother-in-law Peter Carney and family Siobhán, Séan, Sam and Daniel (Dublin), his aunts, uncles and all his cousins and relatives as well as his many friends.