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97 year old Dun Purcell, of Feakle, serenades Mrs. Kathleen Corbett, of Crusheen, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, at the Older People's Council Volunteer Of The Year Awards in Hotel Woodstock. Photograph by John Kelly

East Clare mourns the passing of Dun Purcell

HEART-FELT tributes have been paid to the late Feakle singer and poet Dun Purcell who passed away in his 99th year on Saturday (August 14).
Dun, who was a native of Bauregegaun, was a much-loved character with a wide circle of relatives, friends and admirers of his talent, wit and care for his community.
Having battled Covid-19, which he recovered from earlier of this year, Dun demonstrated huge spirit – one that had already seen him overcome the threats of TB and Scarlet Fever in his youth in East Clare.
His contribution to life in Feakle and the wider community have been very fondly remembered in recent days.
A renowned singer, Dun handed the musical tradition down to his family, with his daughter Kate an accomplished folk singer and guitarist.
He was a popular participant at musical gatherings of all kinds in the area.
Dun was a life-long volunteer in a host of ways in his local community and was shortlisted for The Clare Older Person of the Year Award in recognition of his contribution.
On the occasion of his 90th birthday, he was recognised by Bluebird Care as an advocate for positive ageing. Dun was also one of the driving forces of the Feakle Looking Forward Group, which he set up with TJ McGuinness in the mid-2000s.
The initiative was founded to ensure young and old had access to a free social event organised four times a year in Feakle.
It started out in 2004 as a night out for people in the area who didn’t have a partner to socialise with and attracted visitors from across Clare.
In an interview with The Champion in 2012, Dun described Looking Forward as “something for everybody”. He firmly believed that older people should maintain their social lives and community connections.
“It’s good for older people and I enjoy seeing other people enjoying themselves,” he said.
In 2009, a DVD was produced by Dun’s son Matt, featuring entertainment, music, song, recitations and stories recorded at the gatherings.
Dun’s enthusiasm, energy and tenacity were instrumental in capturing Feakle’s vibrant social history and encapsulating it for the future.
Dun also had a deep interest in young people in the area and was very involved with the Living Scenes project at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla, which involved older members of the community working together with transition year pupils on projects.
Dun later participated in the school’s Cairde group, bringing together transition year pupils with older members of their community.
Dun had the honour of being the most senior member of the intergenerational group.
Dun was predeceased by his wife Nancy (née Darcy), his sisters, Sister Mai (Bon Secours), Ita, Brid and Celine.
He is survived by his children, Matt, Maurette, Tess, Kate and Denis; his sister Imelda Rodgers; his 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; his brothers in law; sons and daughters-in-law; nieces and nephews, neighbours and friends.
Dun was laid to rest in Feakle Cemetery after mass at St Mary’s Church on Tuesday last.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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