New Ross Standard - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID LOOBY

THE CLOSE-KNIT com­mu­nity of Dun­can­non is reel­ing af­ter the sud­den and tragic death of Martin Colfer last week.

Forty-six-year-old Martin was en­trenched in the area and al­ways had a kind deed and a good word for every­one.

He leaves be­hind his dev­as­tated wife Ce­line, their three chil­dren Rebecca, Caitlin and Ni­amh, his par­ents Nicholas and Kath­leen and his sis­ter Avril.

Heart­bro­ken Ce­line said the whole fam­ily is in a state of shock fol­low­ing his sud­den death.

‘It has hap­pened but I can’t ac­tu­ally reg­is­ter that he is gone. I just think of the fun side of him when he was well. He just saw the good in ev­ery­thing.’

Martin loved the sea and was an avid whale and dol­phin watcher. He reg­u­larly took groups out on his boat, the Rebecca C, and his knowl­edge of the sea was un­ri­valled.

THE SEA and be­ing out on the water in his char­ter boat, the Rebecca C, meant the world to Martin Colfer, who died trag­i­cally young aged 46 on Tues­day.

Fish­er­men lined the streets of the vil­lage as his re­mains were brought from his home to The Star of the Sea Church where trib­utes were paid to him by his former teacher Dun­can­non NS Prin­ci­pal Martin Lyons and Dr Johnny Cud­dihy.

Martin of Black­hill, Dun­can­non, was a larger than life char­ac­ter in ev­ery way. Stand­ing 6ft 4in tall, he lived a life filled with hu­mour, fun and love.

The son of Nicholas and Kath­leen Colfer, Martin grew up in Dun­can­non.

He at­tended Dun­can­non NS and Rams­grange CS, but was al­ways more in­ter­ested in what was go­ing on out­side the brick walls of both build­ings.

At Dun­can­non NS his eyes were al­ways drawn to the sea and he was more in­ter­ested in the move­ments of ev­ery gull that passed the win­dow than what the teacher was dis­cussing.

A kind hearted man, even as a child he could be seen car­ry­ing el­derly neigh­bour’s shop­ping; his favourite say­ing be­ing: ‘It’s nice to be nice, it costs noth­ing’.

A home­bird by na­ture, he loved Dun­can­non so much that when he left for a fam­ily hol­i­day with his par­ents and sis­ter Avril as a child he would beg his mother to take him home and would go straight to the quay to catch up on the lo­cal news upon his re­turn.

An en­ter­pris­ing soul, Martin sold her­ring as a child and was known to be a great wheeler and dealer.

Martin was al­ways out­go­ing and met his wife Ce­line on a night out. They were mar­ried in 2006 and set­tled in Black­hill, where they pro­vided a lov­ing home for their three chil­dren, with ponies for them to en­joy.

Martin loved be­ing out­doors, be it walk­ing the dog or a spin on the bike.

He trained as a plas­terer but the call of the sea was too strong and saw him buy a boat and re­lo­cate to Youghal to fish from April till Septem­ber. Through his South Coast Char­ter Martin made many life­long friends from around the world.

His pas­sion for ma­rine life was un­ri­valled and he loved im­part­ing his knowl­edge about dol­phins and whales to any­one who cared to lis­ten. He would go out on the ‘Rebecca C’ on the look­out for whales and dol­phins in the win­ter months and was al­ways keep­ing him­self busy. Ev­ery trip with him was a mem­o­rable one and he would stay out as sea as long as it took to make sure and cap­ture those spe­cial mo­ments of whale and dol­phin ac­tiv­ity.

He was al­ways do­ing good turns for peo­ple.

Martin adored his wife and chil­dren and when Caitlin (9) was un­well he made one of her dreams come true by bring­ing her to Youghal Fire Sta­tion where she got dressed up as a fire­woman.

He named his char­ter boat the Rebecca C af­ter his el­dest daugh­ter.

Martin worked out of Youghal for 20 years and saved a wo­man’s life when her car crashed into the sea from the quay, man­ag­ing to get her win­dow down just in time and over the years he was in­volved in sev­eral res­cue op­er­a­tions.

He was a prac­ti­cal joker who loved play­ing tricks on peo­ple and en­joyed many a wind­ing up ses­sion with Ce­line.

AS Ce­line said: ‘He could never miss an op­por­tu­nity for fun.’

Martin suf­fered from se­vere mi­graines over re­cent years and de­spite the best ef­forts of doc­tors and try­ing ev­ery­thing he could, he could never find a cure. He was rel­a­tively pain free over the sum­mer but his mi­graines came back with typ­i­cal fe­roc­ity the week be­fore he died. ‘He was get­ting acupunc­ture and he though he had a han­dle on it. He had im­plants put in to try to con­trol the pain and he was on med­i­ca­tion. He had nerve block­ers in­jected reg­u­larly. We talked about his ill­ness ev­ery day,’ Ce­line said.

She said the fam­ily and every­one are in a state of to­tal dis­be­lief over his pass­ing. ‘It has hap­pened but I can’t ac­tu­ally reg­is­ter that he is gone. I just think of the fun side of him when he was well. He just saw the good in ev­ery­thing.’

Martin was laid to rest af­ter his fu­neral Mass in Dun­can­non ceme­tery. May his gen­tle soul rest in peace.

The late Martin Colfer.

The late Martin Colfer.

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