The late Pat Gonnelly
The death after a short illness of Pat Gonnelly, Rathmore Cottages was the fourth bereavement within his family in the past two years and was devastating for them. But consoling for the family was the ready acceptance with which Pat faced his Maker and looked forward to re-uniting with his wife Eilish who passed away in 2008.
Ironically it was when Pat was just returning to something like his normal self after the loss of Eilish that he became unwell. This was after his return from his favourite annual trip with his golfing buddies in the TJ society to Rosapenna in April.
He felt it necessary to seek medical help, never having been really ill in his life. Doubtless what he learned was not what he expected or his family, but accepted it with a gracious and inspiring resignation. His one request was to spend his last days at home which his loving family were so glad to accommodate, and were with him when he passed away peacefully on October 24.
Pat was a kind hearted, easy going character who took life in his stride, and loved a bit of craic. He was happy among family and friends, singing and playing the guitar which he learned himself to play and was an accomplished singer.
He was well known as a sign writer of renown, for whom life started out in Mary Street North in town. He was the second youngest of nine children of the late Patrick and Catherine Gonnelly. He was predeceased by his brothers, Tom and Martin and also by sister, Margaret Kelly. Margaret along with Martin and brother-in-law, Tom Murphy all died within that short period prior to Pat’s demise.
Pat as he grew up attended the Christian Brothers primary school and the secondary college. He started working at a young age as a barman in the then Tara lounge bar in Park Street when it was owned by his sister Noeleen and brother in-law Tom Murphy.
His working career was a wide and varied one, which involved spells of employment with the Spring factory on the Ardee Road before going to work with his father-in-law Johnny Woods and learned his trade as a sign writer.
He also worked in O’Hare’s Mill and Louth Commercials, while he was employed as a part-time barman in Carrickdale Hotel, Avenue Inn and Readypenny Inn.
This was prior to returning to sign writing and he started up his own business which he continued for the remainder of his life, helped by his two sons, Martin and David.
He carried out work for the ESB but was skilled in making any signs, and especially adept at gilding and golf leaf signs.
Eilish Woods who was his wife of 29 years, hailed from Pearse Park. When the couple married they set-up home in Laurel Grove, Greenacres, and they had three children, daughter, Karen and sons, Martin and David. The couple moved home to Rathmore Cottages in 2000.
Golf was one of the pastimes Pat loved and played it with his brother-in-law Pat, son David and friend Michael all round Ireland. He was a member of the Greenore club where he gave up his membership in recent times, but continued to travel with the TJ society to Rosapenna for their annual week long outing after Easter . He started going with the group in 1997 and enjoyed the golf, social inter-action and camaraderie that it entailed.
He also briefly played indoor bowls in the local Kilkerley club after the death of his beloved wife.
Life will never be the same for Pat’s family without him, but they are glad for him that he is rejoining wife Ailish.
His absence is deeply regretted by sons, Martin and David, daughter, Karen, brothers, Dermot, Newtownbalregan and Anthony, Shelagh, sisters, Noeleen, Little Mills, Briege, Boyle O’Reilly Terrace, Dundalk and Marian, Dromiskin, along with his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family, neighbours and friends.
After reposing at his home from the Tuesday, Pat was taken to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kilkerley on the Thursday. Father Gerry Campbell PP celebrated a beautiful Mass and delivered a moving eulogy.
Gifts symbolising Pat’s life, including a picture of his late wife and of their wedding day, his guitar, paint brush and small tin of paint, and a golf trophy were presented at the altar by Noeleen, Briege, Marian and Geraldine.
The Readings were given by his niece and nephew, Fiona and Cormac, while nephews and nieces, Francis, Olivia, Selene, Bernadette, Martina and Gavin led the Prayers of the Faithful.
The Offertory Gifts were taken up by brothers, Dermot and Anthony.
Brother-in-law Jim Kelly provided a reflection after Holy Communion.
The lovely music was provided by organist and singer, Olivia Finnegan and Roisin Crawley along with Mickey Clarke.
Burial took place in Saint Patrick’s cemetery, Dowdallshill.