Bohea and Bridge Street, Westport, Co Mayo
Gregory Dyar came into the world on August 12, 1951. Born on the Newport Road, his parents Jim and Moira soon moved to their family home at the top of James Street where he grew up, played and worked with his siblings Damien, Anna, Leo, Paul, Veronica and Olivia.
As a boy, and no doubt in competition with his older brothers, Greg was an avid sportsman. Hurling, football and rugby were his early loves, with Connacht schoolboy medals as proof.
As a young man he could be found at the Starlight or Pavilion or any of the other dance halls littered across the county. Rhythm flowed through his body and he could literally dance the night away.
When not working in the family newsagents, he pursued his hobbies and schoolwork. His social consciousness and faith could be seen when he joined the Order of Malta in Westport in the ‘60s. Whether driving the volunteer ambulance and ferrying the infirm of the local area or supporting the many pilgrimages to the Vatican and Lourdes, he was very proud of his time with the Order and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. This is where he learned the value of giving blood and was very honoured with his golden pin. He remained involved for many years.
In the ’70’s he joined the Westport Badminton team where he made lifelong friends and had lots of success, with multiple trophies to prove his talent.
He was also involved in the famous night rallies (or orientation drives as he called them) in which he swore he never drove too fast!
His father, Jim, taught him to fish and fish he did. The father-son duo often coming home with twin salmon fished on the fly. Competitive fishing on the lakes of Mayo and Galway didn’t always bring home a prize but the many hours drifting in a boat on the breeze with his fishing friends brought him great joy.
Greg always loved the outdoors and God’s creatures. His interest in horses started with riding in his younger days with Eamon Staunton putting him up on many a wild yoke! Greg would later go on to breed beautiful Connemara ponies. He loved the action at the fairs and the craic on show days.
He moved to Dublin to study Horology at the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology and graduated in ’72. He told many stories of their pranks on tutors there, such as the often borrowing and sometimes returning of the “communal cars”, which made his time there very enjoyable and he always spoke of it with a glint in his eye.
During the Easter weekend of 1980 on the bottom of James Street, Greg followed in the footsteps of, and directly competed with, his father Jim by opening his own shop. It was a proud moment for both. When Jim passed, Greg moved his business to his father’s premises on Bridge Street.
He treated everyone equally. He became a fixed point in the town for having a cigarette at the tree outside the shop where lots of jokes were shared with friends and passers-by. Inside, friends would pop in for a chat, or sometimes advice. He was a confidant to many, who knew their conversations would never be repeated.
He was a Commissioner for Oaths and he took that responsibility very seriously and was very proud that it allowed him to help people.
He never passed the church without calling in. His faith was an important part of his life. He always carried rosary beads and wore his miraculous medal. These were, for him, the anchors of his beliefs.
He was a great man for playing cards. He always respected your ability to play cards well and made a lot of friends sitting at tables planning the best way to lay a sneaky five and draw out everyone’s trumps.
He was a lovely singer and was involved in the Choral group, church choir and most recently the Westport Singers. He loved music and playing the bodhrán to the beat of a good trad rhythm.
He could often be found playing golf with his brother Paul and the boys (a select group of professional golfers!).
St Patrick’s Drama Group, where he was a member for over 40 years, held a special place for him. It was there that he and Marian’s friendship turned to romance which lead to 40 happy years of marriage. Together they were involved in many plays and pantomimes. She was the love of his life and he adored her.
Greg had a great ability to mimic, capture characters and express himself on stage, with roles in The Playboy, Many Young Men of Twenty and Factory Girls among many others.
The Bridge Street business started by Jim in 1938 drew down its shutters after 80 years in 2018 with Greg and Marian’s retirement.
Retirement was just a word to Greg, who was always game for something new.
He developed even more interests including Stand Up Paddle boarding and most recently ice skating, refusing to fall from either to the disappointment of his family! He loved swimming at the Point with his family, a place he had fond memories of, from his youth. He said it was some of the best times in his life.
Greg was diagnosed in February with terminal cancer. He faced it courageously and with great dignity. His one worry was for Marian and his children James, Gregory, Elizabeth and Miriam and their partners Desiree, Siobhán, T.J. and Adam, all of whom he loved dearly and brought him joy and support when he most needed it.
Gregory Dyar trod the boards of life for the last time on June 4, 2020. He will be painfully missed but his memory will live on in the hearts of those who love him.
“Goodnight, God bless, I love you”.