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Pakie Dooley of Mountshannon who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare community mourns passing of its most senior member

TRIBUTES are being paid in Mountshannon, following the passing of its oldest citizen, Cappaduff’s Pakie Dooley.

Pakie turned 100 in February, marking his centenary in the grip of lockdown, and showing characteristic courage and selflessness in enduring the public health restrictions.

Pakie’s cousin, Senator Timmy Dooley was among the many people who remembered the centenarian fondly.

“He was my father’s first cousin and we lived a few fields away from him,” he recalled. “He was highly regarded as a hard-working man, a great neighbour and always very positive.

“He had time for children and you remember that when you’re a kid. He knew every blade of grass and turn of the ditch in his local area.”

The Fianna Fail member said his cousin had provided recounted many stories of political events in Clare.

“He used to tell me about Dev’s visits and he was a great man to follow news and politics,” Senator Dooley said.

“It’s always sad when someone passes, even after such a long life, and he will be greatly missed.”

On the occasion of his 100th birthday last February, Pakie generously agreed to a Facetime call with The Champion, with his daughter Nuala at his side.

At that time, Pakie explained how he had combined a busy working life, spending 32 years in the forestry sector, with a passion for farming. He has also worked for the ESB and Clare County Council.

“When I’d get home from work in the evening, I’d go out and nearly do as much work again on the farm,” he said.

“We had calves, horses and ponies as well as geese and turkeys, you’d be kept going. There is no job in the world like farming. I loved going to the mart and meeting people.”

While he travelled to England three times over the course of his long and happy life, Mountshannon has always been home and holds a very special place in Pakie’s heart.

In 2016, when he was 95, he made a mark on his beloved village, planting an oak tree, as part of an initiative to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

“I had three brothers and five sisters who all went to England, one by one,” he told The Champion last February.

“I was over there a few times to help them out at different times and I was always very glad to get back home. I wouldn’t live anywhere other than Mountshannon and I was lucky that I met my wife in Ireland.”

Pakie met the late Mary Moroney, a Feakle native, at a dance in a marquee in Tulla and the couple married in 1962.

“We had three girls and one boy (Bernie, Annette, Pat and Nuala) and they’re all here in our own parish,” he said. Pakie was granddad to Alan, Rachel, Laura, Barry, Sarah, Lily, Harry, Jack and Ryan and great granddad to Lorcan and Pakie.

After lockdown, as part of the 1x1x2 Exhibition in association with Mountshannon Arts, Clare Champion photographer John Kelly photographed Pakie and his great-grandson, who was named in his honour.

Pakie will repose at Long’s Funeral Home, Scariff, on Thursday (October 21), from 5pm.

Removal will take place to St Caimin’s Church, Mountshannon, at 7pm.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 11.30am, with burial afterwards in the New Cemetery, Moynoe.

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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