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Dominick O’Grady


Shraloggy, Newport, Co Mayo

Dominick passed away very peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday morning, September 14, 2021, at his home in Shraloggy, Newport, surrounded by his loving family. It was in this same home that he was born on May 16, 1930. He was the second youngest of nine children born to Patrick and Annie O’Grady. As well as running the small family farm, Patrick worked for Mayo County Council as a foreman on the many road projects across the county at the time.
When Dominick was just seven years old, his father died from pneumonia at the age of 47. At the time, this brought great hardship on the family as there was very little state support available to them. During this time, Dominick learned the value of hard work as the family had to pull together to make ends meet. He attended Knockloughra National School and by all accounts, he was a very good and diligent student, excelling at English and Arithmetic. He developed a great love of poetry at school and right up until his passing he could recite many poems he learned in his early school days.
He left school at the age of 14 to contribute to the running of the household as most of his older brothers and sisters had emigrated to England, like so many other young Irish people at the time. Dominick worked on various road projects in the local area after leaving school. In the early fifties he went to work for Chambers’ in Newport, helping in the shop, the store and the farm as well as carrying out deliveries to the local farmers. It was during his time working in Chambers’ that he met the love of his life, Nora Higgins from Recess, Connemara. The courtship wasn’t straight forward as within a few months of meeting, Nora emigrated to Boston, USA and over the coming four and a half years they kept in touch by letters every week. Their love endured through this long-distance relationship and Nora returned to Ireland in July 1959 and they married on September 16,1959, in Christ the King Church, Salthill, Galway. They settled in Shraloggy and over the coming years they were blessed with 10 children. Dominick concentrated fully on farming from the early sixties and built up a very productive dairy herd which he kept up to the mid-eighties. He also kept sheep to optimise the output from the land. He loved horses and there were always ponies kept on the farm, including Jess the mare who has been around for over 25 years. He loved the land and worked tirelessly, always improving his holding and moving with the times. He was very much in tune with nature and was always mindful of the changing seasons and their effects on his surroundings.
From the mid-eighties, Dominick took on a milk round and did this very diligently for 10 years where he built up a very expansive business travelling every day from Newport to Bellacorick and out to Achill Island.
Among Dominick’s many interests outside of the home and the farm were Irish history and culture. He read many books on these subjects and had a brilliant memory and the ability to retain what he read. He was also a fountain of knowledge on local history and was always willing to share this knowledge with the many people who called to him over the years. He was always very active in the local community through the various farming organisations and was coach to the successful Tiernuar tug-o-war team of the late seventies and early eighties.
Much like his love for poetry, it was while at national school, that he first developed a keen interest in traditional music and at the age of seven started playing the tin whistle. This became a huge part of Dominick’s life and he played right up to a week before he died. His talent earned him a gold medal at the Newport Fleadh Cheoil in 1956. He didn’t read sheet music but learned his tunes by ear. He relished playing with other musicians and talents from the locality and beyond. He was a regular attendee at the Céilí’s in Derrada Community Centre down through the years and enjoyed many Tuesday nights in the company of his fellow musicians, providing the music for the set-dancers. In later years, he also loved nothing more than a visit to Shraloggy from his musician friends where a good session would ensue into the late hours.
Words cannot express how much he will be missed by his family. His passing is an enormous loss to us all, softened only, in time, by the memories of the years we were lucky enough to celebrate with him. He will always remain close to us, in the music that will always remind us of him, poetry, especially by his favourite poet Thomas Moore, and through each other and in our own families.
All his life he had a very strong faith, and this remained with him right up to the end. After a long and very full life, Dominick was laid to rest in Burrishoole cemetery after Mass in Tiernuar church on September 16, 2021, on his and Nora’s 62nd wedding anniversary. Fr Todd Nolan was chief celebrant and he was joined by Fr Billy Sheridan.
Dominick is survived and sadly missed by his loving wife Nora, his daughters; Kathleen Moran (Aughagower), Mary O’Malley (Newport), Noreen (Castlebar), Theresa (Westport), his sons; Pat (Castlebar), Michael (Carrowsallagh), Paul (Galway), Kevin (Westport), Seamus (Preston, UK), Thomas (Westport), his thirty-five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family and a wide circle of friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Lé cúanh Dé.