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The late Joe Dooley of Sellernane, Mountshannon had a legendary knowledge of livestock and cattle.

Late Joe Dooley fondly remembered as ‘a man of the land’

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WARM tributes have been paid on the passing of Joe Dooley, a highly-regarded member of the Mountshannon community, who was widely known and well respected through his long career as a cattle dealer.

Mr Dooley, from Sellernane, was a popular figure across Clare and further afield and deeply involved in the farming community. The father of Senator Timmy Dooley, Joe Dooley was widely respected, particularly for his expertise when it came to livestock. 

Paying tribute to his late father, Senator Dooley wrote: “A life well lived in his local community, witnessing many changes over the decades. His life centred around family, farming and his cattle.”

A nephew of Joe Dooley’s, Noel Hogan from Mountshannon, described his uncle as “a mighty man”. “He was born in August 1928 and lived and died all his life in the same house in Sellernane,” he said. “As a cattle dealer, he would have walked the roads of Ireland, going to all the fairs. He knew everybody. In those days, dealers would have been allowed to keep their animals in farmer’s fields overnight, as they went from place to place. Of course, Joe would have been quick to repay those favours too and he was a very kind man. 

“When the marts opened, he was a regular there and very well known and well liked. He was very straight, genuine and honest, but could drive a hard bargain too. He was an outstanding judge of livestock.”

In Sellernane, Mr Dooley was a valued member of the community and was quick to support others in the community. “He was a great neighbour,” Mr Hogan said. “As soon as he had his own hay saved, he would be ready to help others. He would see the small practical things that needed to be done and he would come come quietly and do them. I remember him coming along with the pony and the slide rake.”

Much of Mr Dooley’s social circle was closely connected to his cattle dealing. Dancing and cards were his main pastimes. “In his younger days, he was a terrific dancer,” Mr Hogan recalled. “Himself and his lovely wife, Mary, were really graceful ballroom dancers and you’d love to watch them if they were at a wedding. He was a mighty man and he was lucky that he met such a mighty woman as Mary.”

Councillor Pat Hayes described Mr Dooley as “a very easy going man and a man of the land”. “He was very much part of the community of Sellernane and highly respected, particularly for his knowledge of livestock. His passing is sad, but if you had the choice, a life like Joe’s is very much what you would like. He had a lot of good friends and he loved to meet them at the marts. He was a quiet, unassuming man who loved the mart and was very loyal to his friends.”

Whitegate’s Councillor Pat Burke described Mr Dooley as a great character. “He was a bit of a legend and a man who would have been know from Kilrush to Portumna and well beyond, on account of his expertise in cattle dealing,” he said. When it came to Local Elections, Councillor Burke recalled that Mr Dooley was always very honest about his allegiances. “I used to enjoy calling to his house to canvass in the last three Council elections,” the Fine Gael member said. “He would have a great welcome and we’d have a chat about the price of cattle. I would ask him, ‘What about this election?’ He would say, ‘I can’t vote for you, but I won’t do you any harm either. He was very honest. I used to love meeting him at the mart. He’d be in the heifer ring and would come into the bullock ring to ask about the prices and how many I had bought. He was 100% genuine and will be sorely missed.”

Thousands of online tributes have been paid on Mr Dooley’s passing, with neighbours, friends, political figures and representatives of the farming community extending their condolences. Among them was a message from a former member of staff at Clare Marts who recalled Mr Dooley kindness in sending her red berry holly every Christmas. 

Mr Dooley passed away, in his 94th year, in the early hours of July 8. He is survived by his wife Mary, daughters Liz (Cork) and Mary (Ballinruane), sons Timmy and Paddy, sister Therese Flynn, grandchildren Edie, Aisling, Aoife, Ciara, Niamh, Lilly, Eoin and Cathal, sons-in-law Seán Finn and Brian Keehan, daughters-in-law Emer and Lynda, sisters-in-law Eileen and Ann, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

After Funeral Mass on Monday last in St. Caimin’s Church, Mountshannon, Mr Dooley was laid to rest at the cemetery on Holy Island.

ENDS

Fiona McGarry
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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 The University of 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.

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 The University of 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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