Great sadness in Cooley at the passing of Pat Carroll
It was with sadness and shock that the news reached the Cooley Peninsula of the sudden passing at his home in London of Pat Carroll late of Willville, Carlingford on 8th January.
The second eldest son of the late Tommy and Kathleen Carroll, Pat was born, reared and spent many happy carefree days as a child at the Big Crosses in Cooley. He attended Muchgrange National School and always spoke fondly of his days serving Mass in the Boher Church.
At the tender age of 18, Pat followed the footsteps of thousands of other young people from that era, as he boarded the creaking passenger ship at Dun Laoghaire and set sail for England. The bare wooden slatted seats and the smell of the cattle under deck in the basement of the old boat brought cold comfort to the masses of apprehensive young people bidding goodbye to their homeland.
As with so many others, on arrival at Holyhead, Pat boarded the steam train for the long journey to London. Pat soon found lodgings in London where his cheerful personality and hard working ethic brought much employment his way.
The rebuilding of London after world war two was in full swing. There was great demand for young strong Irish labourers. Pat worked at various jobs, eventually finding his niche in carpentry - a trade which had been in his family for generations.
He grasped each opportunity presented, as his work ambitions flourished. For fifty years Pat toiled side by side with his brother John. They were constant companions working long hours. Their carpentry skills are evident in buildings all over London. Pat relished the city life, easily making friends with all nationalities.
By night he enjoyed socialising in the many meeting places which were a mecca for the young Irish emigrants at the time - the Galtymore Ballroom in Cricklewood, The Bamba Ballroom in Kilburn and many more. He met and married Maureen Heaphy from Durrow.
Together they had three daughters and one son. Each summer Pat and his family returned to Cooley. Their visit was eagerly awaited at The Big Crosses. While on holidays Pat loved to visit friends and relations. He enjoyed many nights in The
Broadway Bar Greenore dancing to the sweet music of his cousins – The Halpenny Brothers.
Sadly, like thousands of other hard working Irish, the years of exposure to the deadly coal smog which was so prevalent in the London of the 1950’s would eventually take its toll on Pat’s health. He had worked through an era which was completely dependent on coal – both for industry and for the heating of houses. Constant exposure to the smog and often a lack of shelter from the elements brought their own health complications. Another hardworking Irish man would pay dearly for the building of London’s fine city.
In 2007 Pat made his last trip to Ireland. The winds of change were blowing gently. It coincided with his 70th birthday. Despite his failing health he was a man who remained anchored to his homeland. Weekly phone calls were made across the Irish sea, hours of enjoyment spent catching up on the local news, reliving the old times and remembering with humour the great characters from the days of his youth.
Pat held close to his heart, the memory of his childhood days playing for the Cooley Kickhams. His achievement in winning a schools championship medal in 1948 was often recounted. Despite being away from home for over 60 years, he remained a loyal Irish man who held on to his Irish identity with pride. Values instilled in childhood never wavered.
He treasured his Catholic faith. It is a comfort to those left behind to know that the final guest to Pat’s home was The Lord which he received from the Lay Minister just hours prior to his passing. Pat proudly wore his gold Pioneer pin, remaining true to his pledge taken in 1954
As the month of January came to a close, Pat’s family from Ireland made the poignant trip to London for Pat’s funeral. Ironically the journey found them retracing Pat’s original footsteps, travelling by boat to Holyhead and on to London. With each passing glimpse of the Welsh hills and valleys, thoughts often turned to the brave young man who once travelled the same route into the unknown.
Pat’s remains were brought by Dunphy Funeral Directors to the Church of St William of York in Brockley for requiem Mass. The respect and care which they showed to their fellow Irishman was deeply appreciated by the Carroll family. A fitting Mass was celebrated by Fr Gregory Griffiths.
The readings were read by Pat’s daughter Kathleen and his sister in law Anne. The offertory gifts were presented by Pat’s brother Ambrose and his sister in law Margaret. Pat’s five grandsons recited the prayers of the faithful. Pat’s remains were then respectfully taken from the Church, through the busy streets of South London to the beautiful oasis of peace which is the Hither Green Crematorium.
A clear blue sky, bright spring sunshine, with yellow daffodils blowing in the breeze drew a peaceful curtain on Pat’s life on this earth. All the while, life continued in the busy city, as another Irish emigrant quietly found his eternal reward. May we always cherish the golden memory of the generation of hard working young Irish men and women who gave so much to create the magnificent City of London as it stands today.
Pat’s loss is sorely felt by all who knew him. No more will they draw from the fountain of knowledge which the university of ‘ life in London’ bestowed upon him. Pat was predeceased by his parents Kathleen and Tommy, and his brother Tom.
He will be missed immeasurably by his wife Imelda, his daughters Kathleen, Patricia, Jackie, son Keith, brothers John and Ambrose, sisters in law Margaret and Anne, Daughter in law Lynn, sons in law - Anthony, Gary and Mark, grandchildren, great grandchildren and wide circle of family and friends on both sides of the Irish sea.
His ashes will be interred in the family plot in Grange Cemetery, Cooley at a later date.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.