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West Clare man brought ‘joy, hope and laughter’ to people

A West Clare father-of-two was lauded for bringing “joy, hope and laughter” into the lives of countless people during tributes read out at his Funeral Mass on Friday, writes Dan Danaher.

Paul Dillon (42) Knocknagore, Kilkee, and formerly of Tullycrine, Kilrush died tragically after he was swept out to sea near Farrihy Bay a few miles from Kilkee on Sunday afternoon.

Addressing the congregation at Our Lady Assumed into Heaven Church, Doonbeg, co-parish priest, Gerry Kenny said everyone was gathered at this Funeral Mass to remember and pray for Paul Dillon.

At this time, Fr Kenny offered deep felt support, prayers and sympathy to his wife, Roisín, son, Thomas, daughter, Aoife, parents, Paddy and Kitty Dillon, family, relatives and friends.

Fr Kenny recalled Paul walked with his council colleagues as they formed a guard of honour for former local authority employee Michael Ryan, Bansha, when his funeral left Kilkee Church the previous Friday.

“Little did anyone think that we would be gathered here this Friday at Paul’s own funeral. It has been a heart-wrenching week especially for the Dillon, Vaughan, and extended families.”

Fr Kenny said the gospel story illustrated people are called to engage with the unexpected in life, with moments of “sudden tragedy, sudden twists and turns that all of us encounter on journey”.

“The words of Jesus are a strong reminder that we often don’t know what any day will unfold for us.”


The West Clare man was described as a “gifted carpenter” and an accomplished set dancer. Mourners heard how his ability as a sean-nos would always be remembered.

Symbols representing Paul’s life were brought to Fr Kenny at the altar.

These included a family photo, his measuring tape, a soccer jersey and a football to represent his love of sport, his dancing shoes and St Brigid’s Cross.

Details of Paul’s life were provided during a tribute read out at the start of his Funeral Mass.

Paul Anthony Dillon was the third child of six born to Paddy and Kitty Dillon in Tullycrine on June 12, 1979.

Home was a happy place and Paul enjoyed spending his summers on the McCarthy farm. Paul started his education in Tullycrine National School where he was the only boy in a class of six girls.

Paul forged many of his great friendships in secondary school and this has led people in recent days to recall stories about impersonating revenue officials and the annual first night of the Willie Clancy Festival.

During his youth, Paul enjoyed dancing around the kitchen with his siblings.

He spent summers farming and later was remembered for his visits back home for the Sunday roast and the Sunday Game.

Paul loved woodwork and was regarded as a gifted carpenter. The father-of-two was a proud Shannon Gaels clubman, lining out at corner back in all grades, collecting silverware along the way.

However, soccer was a greater draw. Despite starting out with a neighbouring club, he quickly switched once the famed Tullycrine Celtic was formed, wearing the No.3 jersey and playing at left back.

One season Paul played every minute of every game, which is considered a great achievement in Clare Soccer.

His wife, Roisín and his parents were ever present on the sideline with Roisín quickly getting the job of filling in the team sheet.

The after-match refreshments in Murty Browne’s pub were just as important as the match.

Paul really enjoyed his work as a carpenter in the council and his knowledge and obliging nature were appreciated by his work colleagues.

While he was part of a guard of honour for another council employee last Friday, Paul was approached by an elderly lady and asked would the local authority fix her heating.

Paul called and fix the lady’s heating after the funeral. While he working on this job, he got a phone call and was asked where was he. “I am in the hot press,” Paul quipped.

The deceased completed countless jobs in houses for people from painting to plumbing in a generous and unassuming way.

In 2001, Paul met the love of his life, Roisín in Inca’s Nightclub, Kilkee. Their first date was in Morrissey’s Pub, Carrigaholt to hear Patrick Roche perform.

They spent several nights in McMahon’s cottage and were considered as a perfect match. After building their home and the arrival of Thomas in 2009 and Aoife in 2011, this brought great joy to the couple.

Regardless of how busy Paul was during the day, he always came home in the evening, kicking football, throwing darts and playing cards. His devotion and love for his family was unconditional.

Paul was the proudest dad when Thomas won his U-13 county final and the day Aoife won her U-12 county final.

During the Prayers of the Faithful, Paul was thanked for “hope, joy and laughter” he brought into peoples’ lives. The congregation was told that Paul had touched the lives of many people in a very positive way.

Prayers were offered for people who work in the emergency services.

Paul commenced employment with Clare County Council in December 2006 and worked in water services for a period of time until he took up a craftworker post in the West Clare Municipal District.

A Clare County Council spokeswoman said the deceased was a highly regarded staff member who would be dearly missed by all his colleagues and friends in the council.

Paul will be sadly missed by his loving wife, Roisín, nee Vaughan son, Thomas, daughter, Aoife parents Paddy and Kitty (Dillon), brothers John, Stephen and Patrick, sisters Siobhán and Edel, parents-in-law Philip and Marian (Vaughan), uncles, aunts, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family, work colleagues in Clare County Council, neighbours and many friends.

Burial took place in Lisdeen Cemetery, Kilkee.

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